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Do parenting and patriotism mix?


They do if you’re the founding or presiding fathers of our country, from George Washington right up to our current first dad, President Obama!

With their double role as leaders of our country and leaders of their family, the U.S. Presidents bring a unique perspective to parenting and family matters. But the same traits that helped them guide the nation – leadership, tenacity, loyalty, diligence – were likely both a help and a hindrance when it came to raising their children.

While most parents wrestle with the work-family conflict, the complexity of the presidency takes this struggle to a whole new level. While some first dads approached their dual role of leader/father with equal levels of devotion, others let their presidential concerns consume them, making them absentee fathers in the process.

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As author Joshua Kendall points out in his new book First Dads: Parenting and Politics from George Washington to Barack Obama, most presidents have consistently put work over family. “After all, a single-minded focus on one’s career is the most direct path to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” writes Kendall, whose book bridges the connection between the presidents’ parenting styles and their effectiveness in the Oval Office. 

So, let’s break it down. What parenting lessons can we learn from our forefathers?

Lesson #1

Childhood is fleeting, so let kids be kids and cherish the time you have together.

Abraham Lincoln

(16th President, 4 sons)

Long before the phrase “free-range parenting” described a parenting style, Abraham Lincoln embodied this let-kids-be-kids approach to child-rearing. As a permissive parent, Lincoln spoiled his kids, often allowing them free reign of the White House. Two of the boys, Tad and Willie, often took full advantage of Lincoln’s leniency.

In White House Kids: The Perks, Pleasures, Problems, and Pratfalls of the Presidents’ Children, author Joe Rhatigan reveals the prankster side of Lincoln’s boys. One time, Tad and Willie pulled all the bell cords in the White House, simultaneously summoning the servants, Cabinet members and secretaries and creating a state-of-the-union frenzy in the process. Another time, the boys created a huge mess with paint supplies brought in by an artist commissioned to paint a presidential portrait. No one recalls any resulting punishment from the boys’ misdeeds.

Not much of a disciplinarian, Lincoln allowed Tad to interrupt important meetings and even canceled war counsels with generals when Tad wanted to go for a carriage ride.

“It is my pleasure that my children are free, happy, and unrestricted by parental tyranny,” explained Lincoln.

With heavy political matters weighing on Lincoln’s mind, playing with his children provided him with a great sense of relaxation, whether they were roughhousing on the floor or playing catch outside.

Since firstborn Robert would be the only Lincoln child to live to adulthood, the president’s enjoy-your-kids-while-you-can philosophy served him well.

Lesson #2

Both men and women can be nurturing, hands-on parents.

Rutherford B. Hayes

(19th President, 7 sons, 1 daughter)

With a large family to fill the White House, Rutherford B. Hayes brought a lively, informal vibe to his tenure as commander-in-chief. And, unlike most men of his time, Rutherford B. Hayes took a very hands-on role caring for his eight children (three of whom died in infancy).

Hayes softer side likely stems from his fatherless childhood. After the sudden death of his 35-year-old father just months before the future president was born, Hayes’ mother and older sister raised him in a warm and loving environment. This nurtured upbringing spilled over into Hayes’ adulthood, as he led the nation—and his family—in a calm, comforting manner. Whether caring for wounded soldiers fresh off the battlefield or nursing his sick children back to health, Hayes’ knew how to calm and comfort others.

Never one to delegate his fatherly duties, Hayes made being there for his kids a welcome priority. As proof of his hands-on approach, Kendall cites how Hayes chaperoned his young son’s birthday party and took a week off to help his older son settle in as a college freshman.

In a letter to his son, Webb, he passed on this fatherly advice, “Do not let your bachelor ways crystallize so that you can’t soften them when you come to have a wife and a family of your own.”

Our 19th president, a softie. Who knew?

Lesson #3:

No matter how busy you are, carve out time to play with your kids.

Theodore Roosevelt

(26th President, 4 sons, 2 daughters)


An active, adventurous, rowdy First Dad, Teddy Roosevelt approached fatherhood the way he approached politics—with great gusto. Playful and powerful, Roosevelt bonded with his six kids through games, sports, roughhousing, pillow fights, taking care of their menagerie of pets, playing tag in the attic, telling ghost stories and even snuggling in bed together many mornings.

“I love all these children and have great fun with them, and I am touched by the way in which they feel that I am their special friend, champion, and companion,” Roosevelt said.

Fun-loving Roosevelt brought a youthful energy to the White House, encouraging imaginative play and teaching his sons how to shoot, box, swim row, sail, and ride, according to Kendall. He encouraged his kids, both boys and girls, to grow up tough, “manly,” and active. Leading by example, rugged Roosevelt went hunting, fishing, and horseback riding.

No matter how busy his schedule got, Roosevelt made time for his kids, starting with the family’s morning ritual of sharing breakfast together. And in the summer of 1905, although busy preparing for peace talks and consulting experts about building the Panama Canal, Roosevelt still found time for the family camping trip he took every year.

After winning the 1904 election, he wrote to his 15-year-old son, Kermit, “No matter how things came out, the really important thing was the lovely life with Mother and you children, and that compared to this home life everything else was of very small importance from the standpoint of happiness.”

Lesson #4:

Find teachable moments to share with your kids.

Lyndon B. Johnson

(36th President, 2 daughters)

Nestled in among the playful, family-focused first dads, you’ll find Lyndon B. Johnson, a president so preoccupied with the pressing duties of his office that he didn’t spend a lot of quality time with his two daughters, Lynda and Luci.

But what Johnson lacked in attentiveness, he made up for in his ability to share many teachable moments with his patient, understanding girls (both teens when he became President).

“I can show you a note from my father on my seventeenth birthday—it’s actually the only handwritten letter I have from him,” said Luci in an interview with Texas Monthly, “A history teacher always, he timed it at 12:10 p.m. At four o’clock that afternoon he signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Can you imagine a better birthday present for me, something that changed all of our lives? What a thrill.”

While most teen girls might have felt slighted, Luci understood the important work her father was charged with. In fact, Johnson often imparted life lessons to his daughters through the political issues at hand, such as civil rights or education

“Luci, it doesn’t matter what color you are. It doesn’t matter what your ethnicity is. If you don’t have an opportunity to take advantage of all the education you can, you’ll never be your best,” Johnson advised her.

Forever a teacher at heart, Johnson molded his daughters through teachable moments, presidential style.

Lesson #5

Provide plenty of love balanced by structure and discipline.

Barack Obama

(44th President, 2 daughters)

The quintessential modern day parent, President Obama takes an authoritative approach to raising his family. He’s calm, steady, nurturing, attentive, deliberate, loving and firm.

“We’re a strong believer in structure and rules, and unconditional love but being pretty firm, too,” explained Obama at a September 11, 2015, town hall meeting held with service members at Ft. Meade.

Obama points out that he and first mom Michelle implemented structure and discipline when their two daughters, Sasha and Malia, were very young, especially when it came to common issues all parents deal with—bedtime, watching TV and eating their vegetables.

“If you start early enough with high expectations, I think kids do well with that,” Obama advised. “Part of that involves loving those kids to death but also letting them know, ‘I’m your parent, I’m not your best friend. I’m not that interested in what your friends are doing. This is what you’re doing in our house. When you leave here, you’ll be able to make your own decisions, but we’re trying to prepare you so that you’ve got some sense when you get out of here.’”

Obama also stressed the importance of sharing family meals together as a way to connect.

“As much as possible, when we’re home, they have to sit down and eat dinner with us. I’m a big believer in not getting the TV trays out and watching the Kardashians,” said Obama. “You sit down, leave your cell phones somewhere else and we’ll have a conversation.”

Whether they’re leading the nation or leading their families, the U.S. Presidents, through both their strengths and their weakness, can teach us a few lessons about what it means to be a good parent.

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Pop quiz, mama! How many different types of car seats are there? If you guessed three, you're partially correct. The three main types are rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. But then there are a variety of styles as well: infant car seats, convertible seats, all-in-one seats, high-back booster seats, and backless boosters. If you're not totally overwhelmed yet, keep reading, we promise there's good stuff ahead.

There's no arguing that, in the scheme of your baby and child gear buying lifetime, purchasing a car seat is a big deal! Luckily, Walmart.com has everything you need to travel safely with your most precious cargo in the backseat. And right now, you can save big on top-rated car seats and boosters during Best of Baby Month, happening now through September 30 at Walmart.com.

As if that wasn't enough, Walmart will even take the carseat your kiddos have outgrown off your hands for you (and hook you up with a sweet perk, too). Between September 16 and 21, Walmart is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle used car seats. When you bring in an expired car seat or one your child no longer fits into to a participating Walmart store during the trade-in event, you'll receive a $30 gift card to spend on your little one in person or online. Put the money towards a brand new car seat or booster or other baby essentials on your list. To find a participating store check here: www.walmart.com/aboutbestofbabymonth

Ready to shop, mama? Here are the 9 best car seat deals happening this month.


Safety 1st Grow and Go Spring 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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From rear-facing car seat to belt-positioning booster, Grow and Go Sprint's got you covered through childhood. Whether you choose the grey Silver Lake, Seafarer or pink Camelia color palette, you'll love how this model grows with your little one — not to mention how easy it is to clean. The machine-washable seat pad can be removed without fussing with the harness, and the dual cup holders for snacks and drinks can go straight into the dishwasher.

Price: $134 (regularly $149)

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Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Bermuda

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When your toddler is ready to face forward, this versatile car seat can be used as a five-point harness booster, a high-back booster, and a backless booster. Padded armrests, harness straps, and seat cushions provide a comfy ride, and the neutral gray seat pads reverse to turquoise for a stylish new look.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia

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Looking for something snazzy, mama? This black and hot pink car seat features a playful heart print on its reversible seat pad and soft harness straps. Best of all, with its 100-pound weight limit and three booster configurations, your big kid will get years of use out of this fashionable design.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat

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This rear- and forward-facing car seat keeps kids safer, longer with an adjustable five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. To tighten the harness, simply twist the conveniently placed side knobs; the Infinite Slide Harness ensures an accurate fit every time. As for style, we're big fans of the cozy quilted design, which comes in two colorways: grey and magenta or grey and turquoise.

Price: $116 (regularly $149.99)

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Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat

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Outfitted with an adorable pink-and-white polka dot Minnie Mouse infant insert, even the tiniest of travelers — as small as four pounds! — can journey comfortably and safely. This rear-facing design is lightweight, too; weighing less than 15 lbs, you can easily carry it in the crook of your arm when your hands are full (because chances are they will be).

Price: $67.49 (regularly $89.99)

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Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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We know it's hard to imagine your tiny newborn will ever hit 100 lbs, but one day it'll happen. And when it does, you'll appreciate not having to buy a new car seat if you start with this 4-in-1 design! Designed to fit kids up to 120 lbs, it transforms four ways, from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster. With a 6-position recline and a one-hand adjust system for the harness and headrest, you can easily find the perfect fit for your growing child.

Price: $199.99 (regularly $269.99)

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Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

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With its unique space-saving design, this 3-in-1 car seat provides 10% more back seat space simply by rotating the dual cup holders. The InRight LATCH system makes installation quick and easy, and whether you're using it as a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, or a belt-positioning booster, you can feel confident that your child's safe and comfortable thanks to Graco's Simply Safe Adjust Harness System.

Price: $149.99 (regularly $229.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat

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Making sure your infant car seat is secure can be tricky, but Graco makes it easy with its one-second LATCH attachment and hassle-free three-step installation using SnugLock technology. In addition to its safety features, what we really love about this rear-facing seat are all of the conveniences, including the ability to create a complete travel system with Click Connect Strollers and a Silent Shade Canopy that expands without waking up your sleeping passenger.

Price: $169.99 (regularly $249.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

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With just one click, you can know whether this rear-facing car seat has been installed properly. Then adjust the base four different ways and use the bubble level indicator to find the proper position. When you're out and about, the rotating canopy with window panel will keep baby protected from the sun while allowing you to keep your eye on him.

Price: $129.99 (regularly $219.99)

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This article was sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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If I ever want to look alive before dropping my son off to school, there are two things I must put on before leaving the house: eyeliner and mascara. When using eyeliner, I typically use black liner on my top lid, a slightly lighter brown for my bottom lid, and then a nude liner for my water line. It works every time.

My mascara routine is a bit different. Because my natural lashes are thin and not the longest, I always opt for the darkest black I can find, and one that's lengthening and volumizing. For this reason, I was immediately drawn to It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara. The new mascara is developed in partnership with Drybar (the blow dry bar that specializes in just blowouts) and promises to deliver bold and voluminous lashes all day long. I was sold.

Could this really be the blowout my lashes have been waiting for? It turns out, it was much better than most volumizing formulas I've tried.

For starters, the wand is a great size—it's not too big or small, and it's easy to grip—just like my favorite Drybar round brush. As for the formula, it's super light and infused with biotin which helps lashes look stronger and healthier. I also love that it's buildable, and I didn't notice any clumps or flakes between coats.

The real test is that my lashes still looked great at dinnertime. I didn't have smudges or the dreaded raccoon eyes I always get after a long day at work. Surprisingly, the mascara actually stayed in place. To be fair, I haven't compared them with lash-extensions (which are my new go-to since having baby number two), but I'm sure it will hold up nicely.

Overall, I was very impressed with the level of length and fullness this mascara delivered. Indeed, this is the eyelash blowout my lashes have been waiting for. While it won't give you a few extra hours in bed, you'll at least look a little more awake, mama.

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara
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Here's how I apply IT Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara:

  1. Starting as close to lash line as possible (and looking down), align the brush against your top lashes. Gradually turn upwards, then wiggle the wand back and forth up and down your eyelashes.
  2. Repeat, if needed. Tip: Be sure to allow the mascara to dry between each coat.
  3. Using the same technique, apply mascara to your bottom lashes, brushing the wand down your eyelashes.
Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Having children isn't always as easy as it looks on Instagram. There's so much more to motherhood than serene baby snuggles and matching outfits. But there's a reason we've fallen so deeply in love with motherhood: It's the most beautiful, chaotic ride.

Every single day, we sit back and wonder how something so hard can feel so rewarding. And Eva Mendes just managed to nail the reality of that with one quote.

Eva, who is a mama to daughters Esmerelda and Amada with Ryan Gosling, got real about the messy magic of motherhood in a recent interview.

"It's so fun and beautiful and maddening," the actress tells Access Daily. "It's so hard, of course. But it's like that feeling of…you end your day, you put them to bed and Ryan and I kind of look at each other like, 'We did it, we did it. We came out relatively unscathed.'"

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And just like that, moms all over the world feel seen. We've all been there: Struggling to get through the day (which, for the record is often every bit as fun as it is challenging), only to put those babies to sleep and collapse on the couch in sheer exhaustion. But, after you've caught your breath, you realize just how strong and capable you really are.

One thing Eva learned the hard way? That sleep regressions are very, very real...and they don't just come to an end after your baby's first few months. "I guess they go through a sleep regression, which nobody told me about until I looked it up," she says "I was like, 'Why isn't my 3-year-old sleeping?'"

But, at the end of the day, Eva loves her life as a mom—and the fact that she took a break from her Hollywood career to devote her days to raising her girls. "I'm so thankful I have the opportunity to be home with them," she says.

Thank you for keeping it real, Eva! Momming isn't easy, but it sure is worth it.

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My labor and delivery was short and sweet. I started feeling contractions on Monday morning and by Tuesday night at 8:56 pm my handsome baby boy was born. Only 30 minutes of pushing. Afterward, I was still out of it, to be honest. I held him and did some skin to skin and handed him off to my husband, my mother held him next.

When he was in my mother's arms, I knew he was safe. I started to drift off, the epidural had me feeling drowsy and I had used up all my strength to push this 7 lb baby out. My son's eyes were open and then I guess he went to sleep too. My mother swayed him back and forth. The nurses were in and out, cleaning me up and checking in on us.

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When yet another nurse came in, my mom said to her, "He wasn't latching because he wanted to sleep."

The nurse yelled, "He's not sleeping!"

The next 25 minutes happened in slow motion for me.

After the nurse said these words, she flung my son onto the little baby bed. I looked over and he looked a little blue. Then I heard the loud words of CODE PINK. In matters of seconds about 30 nursing staff descended into my room and crowded around my baby.

I couldn't even see what was happening. I tried to get out the bed but they wouldn't let me and after a couple of failed attempts one of the nurses look at me and said, "He's fine, he's breathing now."

Breathing now? He wasn't breathing before? Again, I tried to push my way to my baby, but once again I was told to not move. They had just performed CPR on my 30-minute old newborn and I couldn't understand what was happening even after a pediatrician tried to explain it to me.

I just started crying. He was fine in my stomach for 39 weeks and 6 days and now I bring him into this world and his heart nearly stops?

I was told he needed to go to the neonatal intensive care unit. I was confused, as I thought the NICU was only for preemies and my son was full term.

After what felt like an eternity we were finally allowed to see our son. My husband wheeled me there and we saw him in the corner alone. I saw the incubator and the wires, he's all bundled up.

The nurse explained all the beeping and showed me the heart rate monitor. He's doing fine. We go over the feeding schedule. I'm exhausted still. I stay with him until about 1 or 2 am. They all suggest I get some sleep. There's no bed in the NICU, so I head back to my room.

The next day was better, he doesn't have to be in the incubator anymore, but the wires remain. By that night or early the next morning, the wires in his nose come out and I try feeding him. I try pumping. It was painful.

He gets his first bath and he loves it. The nurse shampoos his hair (he had a lot!) and he seems so soothed. The nurse explains that because he's full term he doesn't need the same type of support in the NICU. She tells me my baby's strong and he'll be fine.

I look around. I see the other babies, the other moms. They could be there for weeks. And unlike me, the moms have to go home—without their baby.

Friday comes and by now he's done all his tests, blood work came back normal, all tubes have been removed and I get it. I get my going-home package. Finally. I get my instructions on doctor follow-ups and we finally get to go home.

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There have been a lot of iconic entertainment magazine covers featuring pregnant women over the years. Who can forget Demi Moore's bare baby bump on Vanity Fair or Britney Spears' similar nude pose on Harper's Bazaar?

Pregnant women on a magazine covers is nothing new, but a visibly pregnant CEO on the cover of a business magazine, that's a first and it happened this week.

Inc. just put The Wing's CEO Audrey Gelman on the cover and this is a historic moment in publishing and business.

As Gelman told Today this week, "You can't be what you can't see, so I think it's so important for women to see that it's possible to run a fast-growing business and also to start a family."

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She continued: "It's so important to sort of burst that bubble and to have new images of women who are thriving and working professionally while balancing motherhood … My hope is that women see this and again feel the confidence to take greater professional risks while also not shelving their dreams of becoming a mother and starting a family."

The Wing started in 2016 as a co-working space for women and has grown rapidly. As Inc. reports, The Wing has eight locations in the U.S. with plans for more American and international locations by 2020.

Putting Gelman on the cover was an important move by Inc. and Gelman's honesty about her early pregnancy panic ("I can't be pregnant. I have so much to do." she recalls thinking after her pregnancy test) should be applauded.

Gelman says pregnancy made her slow down physically, and that it was actually good for her company: "I had this realization: The way to make my team and my employees feel proud to work for me and for the company was actually not to pretend to be superhuman or totally unaffected by pregnancy."

We need this. We need CEOs to admit that they are human so that corporate leadership can see employees as humans, too. Humans need things like family leave and flexibility, especially when they start raising little humans.

There are a lot of iconic covers featuring pregnant women, but this one is different. She's wearing clothes and she's changing work culture.

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