A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

Many an article is written on ensuring we teach children all the right things at the right time. Parents are told to keep their kids active, to ensure they engage in creative play, to have them participate in sport, get them to learn a musical instrument, the list goes on.

But what parents sometimes are not told is to slow down, enjoy their children and make sure they love them. How do we express our love other than in words? We hug. We are a tactile animal and enjoy the touch of another human being right from the day we are born. A baby cries as it comes into the world and instantly transforms into a quiet happy bundle of joy when placed in its mothers’ arms.

And that early memory of feeling loved and nurtured imprints onto the baby and lasts a lifetime.

Be honest, how many hugs have you received today and how many have you handed out? Have you put your phone/laptop/tablet to one side and grabbed your child to envelope them in a bear hug? If you have, you’re on the way to keep the blues at bay.

It is not only an old wives’ tale that hugging is of great benefit. Research has confirmed it as well.

Remember the Disney movie Inside Out? If you have you may recall Joy discovering it is Sadness who can restore balance to Riley’s life. And if we connect the dots we realize why this is. Hugging has been shown to release happy endorphins. When do we hug our children? When they re feeling down, sad or crying, which means sadness is replaced with happiness. Balance is restored.

But how does it work?

According to research, when we hug for an extended period of time we increase the serotonin level in the body. Serotonin is responsible for making us feel happy.

Other health benefits of hugging are:

To boost self esteem and feelings of self worth.

Reduce anxiety and levels of stress that can often threaten to overwhelm children. 

Teach about being in the moment.

Relaxing muscles and increasing circulation. 

To boost the bodies’ oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is a hormone produced in the brain and if its production is increased leaves the individual feeling happier, more loved and less lonely.

My mother in law, who passed away about twelve months ago, was a firm believer in hugging your children at least eight times a day. According to her eight hugs would be enough to keep the blues away. And she should know, she was a mother to nine children. Yes you read correctly, nine children.

It turns out that her instincts were correct. The late Virginia Satir, psychotherapist and pioneer in family therapy believed “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

Thus the lesson for all of us in this is we need to hug our children more often, not only when they are feeling down or are hurt. Squeezing twelve hugs, meaningful hugs that is, into the day will require conscious effort on your part as the parent, particularly if your kids are of school age.

Here are some tips on how to make sure you hand out twelve hugs a day:

1. Start the day with a great big bear hug.

2. Don’t let them go out the door with another hug.

3. Hug your child when they look tired.

4. Hug your child when they have done something good.

5. Use a hug as a reward.

6. Hug them when you pick them up from school.

7. Hug them before bedtime.

8. Hug them as often as you can.

9. Hug them when they look stressed.

10. Hug them any time.

Squeezing in twelve hugs a day seems a lot. In a twelve-hour day it is at least one hug an hour. With everything else we have to remember you’ll need to make sure you go out of your way to hand out those hugs. Soon enough though it will become part of daily life.

The best part is you, as the hug initiator, will also receive the benefits of hugging. It’s a win-win situation.

What are you waiting for? Grab your child and wrap your arms around them in the first hug of the day. Don’t forget to treat other members in your family the same way.

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Jessica Simpson celebrated her baby shower this weekend (after getting a cupping treatment for her very swollen pregnancy feet) and her theme and IG captions have fans thinking this was not just a shower, but a baby name announcement as well.

Simpson (who is expecting her third child with former NFL player Eric Johnson) captioned two photos of her shower as "💚 Birdie's Nest 💚". The photographs show Simpson and her family standing under a neon sign spelling out the same thing.

While Simpson didn't explicitly state that she was naming her child Birdie, the numerous references to the name in her shower photos and IG stories have the internet convinced that she's picking the same name Busy Philips chose for her now 10-year-old daughter.

The name Birdie isn't in the top 1000 baby names according to the Social Security Administration, but It has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, according to name nerds and trend watchers.

"Birdie feels like a sassy but sweet, down-to-earth yet unusual name," Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry told Town and Country back in 2017. "It's also just old enough to be right on time."

Simpson's older kids are called Maxwell and Ace, which both have a vintage feel, so if Birdie really is her choice, the three old-school names make a nice sibling set.

Whether Birdie is the official name or just a cute nickname Simpson is playing around with, we get the appeal and bet she can't wait for her little one to arrive (and her feet to go back to normal!)

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Mamas, if you hire a cleaning service to tackle the toddler fingerprints on your windows, or shop at the neighborhood grocery store even when the deals are better across town, don't feel guilty. A new study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School shows money buys happiness if it's used to give you more time. And that, in turn could be better for the whole family.

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As if we needed another reason to shop at Target, our favorite store is offering some great deals for mamas who need products for baby. Mom life can be expensive and we love any chance at saving a few bucks. If you need to stock up on baby care items, like diapers and wipes, now is the time.

Right now, if you spend $100 on select diapers, wipes, formula, you'll get a $20 gift card with pickup or Target Restock. Other purchases will get you $5 gift cards during this promotion:

  • $20 gift card when you spend $100 or more on select diapers, wipes, formula, and food items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select beauty care items
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select household essentials items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select Iams, Pedigree, Crave & Nutro dog and cat food or Fresh Step cat litter items using in store Order Pickup
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select feminine care items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock

All of these promotions will only run through 11:59 pm PT on Saturday, January 19, 2019 so make sure to stock up before they're gone!

Because the deals only apply to select products and certain colors, just be sure to read the fine print before checking out.

Target's website notes the "offer is valid using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock when available".

The gift cards will be delivered after you have picked up your order or your Target Restock order has shipped.

We won't tell anyone if you use those gift cards exclusively for yourself. 😉 So, get to shopping, mama!

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This month isn't just the start of a new year, but the start of a new life for those due in 2019. If you're expecting a baby this year you've got plenty of celebrity company, mama.

Here are some fellow mamas-to-be expecting in 2019:

Alexa and Carlos PenaVega 

The Spy Kids actress and mom to 2-year-old Ocean will soon have to get herself a double stroller because PenaVega and her husband Carlos are expecting again.

"Holy Moly!!! Guys!!! We are having another baby!!!!" captioned an Instagram post. "Do we wake Ocean up and tell him??!! Beyond blessed and excited to continue growing this family!!! Get ready for a whole new set of adventures!!!"

Over on Carlos' IG the proud dad made a good point: " This year we will officially be able to say we have 'kids!' Our minds are blown," he write.

Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald

In January Counting On Jessa Seewald (formerly Jessa Duggar) announced via Instagram that she is pregnant with her third child with husband Ben Seewald.

We love that she was able to make the announcement in her own time, not worrying about speculation about her midsection. She's been over that for a while.

[Update: January 18, added PenaVega]

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