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My daughter loves to bake. A few years ago she decided to create fortune cookies from a recipe book dedicated to artful baking.


Nine-tenths of the recipes in this book are banned in our house because they are too fiddly to make, require too many odd ingredients that cost a fortune, or have flavors that just don’t work with the delicate palates of my family. The fortune cookie recipe was quickly added to this list.

The author promised to deliver 12 cookies, but the instructions over-simplified the task of folding and bending hot cookies into the required shape before they cooled. We ended up with about eight from the batch and quite a few of them did not have good fortune. Despite many tears, we had one perfect fortune cookie that was set aside for later worship and the baker and myself retreated to different parts of the house to regain our composure.

I have three children and the baker is my youngest, so I’m sure you can imagine what happened next… Within an hour the perfect fortune cookie-looking cookie was missing. It was later found to be in my eldest’s insides, with the report that it was “good.” More tears followed and the drama played out for days as only an eight-year-old girl can do. 

All would have been good if it ended there, but fortune cookies are still a touchy issue in our house and any injustice this child experiences is directly related back to the fortune cookie saga. At the time, I thought the greatest challenge was crafting the tricky cookies. In reality, the toughest part has been getting a child to let go of an injustice.

Why do children hang on to grudges?

When someone wrongs us, there are probably three paths we can take. We can shrug it off as a mistake and forgive them. (That’s what most adults would expect in this situation, particularly as the offender was unaware of his crime.) The other responses are to nurse a grudge or seek revenge. From experience, boys tend to seek revenge in situations like this, with a quick swipe of the fist or an old-fashioned wrestle on the floor. Girls seem to have a preference for the grudge option. 

So there’s a fair chance that no child – girl or boy – is going to choose to shrug it off and forgive. Sorry if that’s news to you.

The reason is that kids’ brains are just not wired to think about forgiveness until they have moved into double digits, age-wise. Two big theories of what they call “moral reasoning” were developed by Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg and map out the development of how kids think about rules, law and order, and forgiveness.

They found that up until kids are eight or nine years old, they focus on the outcome of someone’s behavior, rather than the reasons behind what they did. They are also very strict on sticking to the rules, which I’m sure you’ll know if you’ve ever played Monopoly with an eight-year-old. 

When you have a number of kids in your family, you can be dealing with different stages of this moral development. So the wronged eight-year-old could be caught up on their older brother not following the rules about asking before eating a cookie, while the 12-year-old can reason their intentions and decide their little sister is over-reacting and being a drama queen – and then make matters worse by telling them how good the cookie was. 

As parents, we need to help our kids develop an understanding of forgiveness and help them move towards this option even if they’re still caught up in the breaking of rules.

The brain of a child doesn’t have an in-built setting to forgive. If we are going to teach our kids to forgive, we need to be patient and help them to develop moral reasoning over time.

Here are five things that you can do when a fortune cookie saga unfolds:

1 | Talk about forgiveness

We have to make it clear to our children what forgiveness really is. It’s not excusing what has happened but accepting that person’s mistake and letting go of the resentment we feel towards them. Remind your kids that humans make mistakes and sometimes hurt one another. For the eater of the fortune cookie, it’s also important to talk about how to ask for forgiveness and how to show true regret rather than throwing out a quick “sorry.”

2 | Set up a process of apology

Forcing an apology when everyone’s tempers are up is unlikely to bring about forgiveness, so parents have to choose the right time to bring the two together to sort out what has happened. There should be some formality in the delivery of the apology and it’s acceptance. You need to be able to draw a line in the sand about what has happened. 

3 | Shut it down

This is the hardest part with young children who are determined to hold a grudge, but ultimately, parents just have to keep reminding them that the situation has been dealt with and they’ve accepted the apology so they can’t talk about it anymore.

4 | Unpack what intentions, love, and harmony are all about.

Over time, your own fortune cookie saga will provide a rich learning space for talking to kids about why people do things that hurt us, the scale of hurt we should feel for different forms of injustice, how people who love each other should treat one another, and how valuable peace and harmony are to good relationships. 

5 | Look out for others poking the bear

One of the greatest joys of being a sibling is being able to poke at one another’s sore spots. If one of your kids makes a big deal out of a little thing, you can be sure they will have that injury poked relentlessly. This, too, needs to be shut down, with a reminder to the offender that if they were truly repentant they would let the matter go and give everyone a chance to move on.

If you feel that your role as a parent has taken on a level of negotiation the FBI would be proud of, then take some time to work out at what point your kids might be in the development of their ability to forgive. Then put these steps into action when needed.

With a bit of time, and a whole lot of patience, you’ll find that your kids can forgive one another and live in relative harmony. 

Just don’t mention the fortune cookie.

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Whether you're filling out your own registry or shopping for a soon-to-be-mama in your life, it can be hard to narrow down what exactly new moms need (versus what will just end up cluttering the nursery). That's why we paired up with the baby gear experts at Pottery Barn Kids to create a registry guide featuring everything from the gear you'll use over and over to the perfect gifts under $50.

Check out the picks below, and happy shopping (and registering)!

MUST-HAVE BABY GEAR

These five gift ideas are designed to make #momlife easier while solving some of the most common parenting dilemmas.

1. Doona All-In-One Infant Car Seat/Stroller

One of the first things you learn when you become a mom? Those infant car seats are heavy. Which is what makes the Doona All-In-One Infant Car Seat/Stroller so genius. It's the world's first completely integrated mobility solution, quickly transforming from safe car seat to functional stroller without any extra parts. Simply pop out the wheels, pull up the handle bar, and you're ready to roll.

Doona All-in-one Infant Car Seat / Stroller, $499

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GIFTS THAT CAN BE PERSONALIZED

Even the most utilitarian gift feels a little more special with some personalization. Here are some of our favorite options that can be customized with baby's name or monogram.

1. Nursery Blankets

You'll never forget the blanket you bring your newborn home in. And with Pottery Barn Kids' assortment of blankets, there's a wrap to suit every new mama's style. Choose from fuzzy neutral patterns or stylish printed options, and add baby's name for an extra personal touch.

Nursery Blankets, Starting at $39.50

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GIFTS THAT GROW WITH THEM

Save money and space by gifting items that will last long after baby's first year. These clever gift items will have mama saying "thank you!" for years to come.

1. west elm x pbk Mid-Century Convertible Crib

A convertible crib is an investment in years of sweet dreams. We love this mid-century-style option made from sustainably sourced wood with child-safe, water-based finishes. When your baby outgrows their crib (sniff!), it easily converts into a toddler bed with the matching conversion kit.

west elm x pbk Mid-Century Convertible Crib, $399

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GIFTS UNDER $50

Sometimes the littlest gifts mean the most. Here are our favorite gifts under $50 they'll be sure to cherish.

1. west elm x pbk Dot Muslin Swaddle Set

When you're raising a newborn, you can never have too many swaddles. Perfect for naptime, burp cloths, stroller covers, and spontaneous play mats, a muslin swaddle will always come in handy. And we especially love this neutral patterned collection in platinum, nightshade, and peacock.

west elm x pbk Dot Muslin Swaddle Set, $45.50

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Learn more and explore all Pottery Barn Kids' registry must-haves here.

In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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They say there's no use in crying over it, but for pumping mamas, spilled milk is a major upset.

When you're working so hard to make sure your baby has breast milk, you don't want to lose a drop, and Chrissy Teigen knows this all too well.

The mom of two posted a video to social media Wednesday showing her efforts to rescue breastmilk from a tabletop. She used various utensils and a syringe to try to get the milk back in the bottle.

"I spilled my breastmilk and this is how important it is in this house," she says while suctioning up milk with what appears to be a baster.

In a follow-up video Teigen continues to try to rescue the spilled milk.

"We're trying," she says as she suctions up a drop or two. "I got some."

Teigen is currently breastfeeding baby Miles, her son with husband John Legend, and has been very public about the fact that she pumps a lot as a working mom.

She's also been open about the fact that milk supply has always been an issue for her, not just with Miles but with Luna, too.

"I actually loved [pumping] because I'm a collector of things, and so when I found out I could pump I [did it] so much because I knew the more you pumped, the more milk you'd make," she told POPSUGAR back in March. "So I loved collecting my breast milk and seeing how much I could get, even if it was very, very little."

Like a lot of moms, Teigen did struggle emotionally when a pump session wouldn't get her the ounces she wanted.

"I wasn't producing a lot of milk, and it was frustrating. When you're frustrated, [it can also make you] not produce that much."

Research backs her up. Stress has been linked to lower milk production. Because of that, she's trying to stay positive this time around, but captioned her video post "EVERY DROP COUNTS IN THIS HOUSE" because, well, they do.


So many mothers can relate. Have you ever tried to save your breastmilk?

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What is it about networking that's just kind of...awful? Typically inconvenient and often awkward, formal networking events rarely yield the results most women (and especially mamas) are looking for.

Whether you're reentering the workforce post-baby leave or simply looking to make a complicated career switch as a busy mom (or just struggling to juggle play dates and professional meetings), making the right connections is often a hurdle that's difficult to surmount. And more and more often, networking comes up short in providing what moms really need.

When time is truly at a premium—a session swapping business cards can be hard to prioritize. Shapr wants to change all that.

Designed with busy people in mind, Shapr is an app with an algorithm that uses tagged interests, location, and professional experience to match you with 10-15 inspiring professional connections a day. You swipe to indicate interest in networking with any of them, and if the interest is mutual, you're connected. (But don't worry, that's where the similarities to that dating app end.)

It makes it easier to connect with the right people.

From there, you can chat, video conference, and even meet in person with potential mentors, partners, and investors while growing your real-life network. No more wasting hours trying to pick someone's brain only to discover they don't have the right experience you need. And no more awkward, stilted small talk—even suggests a few preset icebreakers to help get the conversation rolling more quickly.

The best part? You could do virtually all your connecting from your couch post-bedtime.

It simplifies switching careers or industries.

Sysamone Phaphone is a real mom who was fed up with traditional networking options. When she quit her full-time job in healthcare to pursue founding a startup, she quickly realized that in-person networking events weren't only failing to connect her to the right people, they were also difficult for a single mom of two to even attend. "I was complaining to a friend that I was so tired and didn't know how I was going to keep doing it this way when she recommended the Shapr app," Phaphone says. "I tried it right there at dinner and started swiping. [Later], in my pajamas, I got my first connection."

From there, Phaphone was hooked. Her network suddenly exploded with developers, potential partners she could work with, and even people to hire for the roles she needed. She was also able to connect with and empower other women in tech. Now, checking in with Shapr connections is just part of her routine. "I look for connections after drop-off at school and on my commute into the city," she says. "Then after bedtime is done, I go on to check if there is anyone I've connected with."

It helps you find a mentor—no matter where they live.

Another common roadblock Shapr removes? Location. While you probably wouldn't fly to LA from New York for a networking event, the Shapr app lets you connect and chat with the person who best meets your needs—regardless of where they're based. Even better for parents, the "mom penalty" many women contend with when trying to get back into the workforce doesn't exist on Shapr—if you have the right experience, the connections will still come.

To connect, simply create your account, enter up to ten hashtags you want to follow (either industry related like #film or #tech or by person you're seeking, such as #developer or #uxui), preset what you're looking for (investors, collaborators, etc.), and indicate how you prefer to meet. To connect with more people at once, Shapr also has community groups within the app around interest topics that you can join. And even though the connection begins in the digital space, it often results in the in-person experiences mamas crave.

"I wish I could encourage more moms and dads to use it because it has been a lifesaver for me," Phaphone says. "It empowered my career and career choices, and it provides so much convenience. I can put my kids to bed and not go to an event, but still meet 20 people in a night."

For women looking to grow their business, position, or simply achieve a little self-growth, Shapr is changing the way we connect. This powerful new app could change everything, mama. Download it today to get started.

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