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I’m wading through the flotsam of my kids’ bedroom, mining the piles for dirty socks to wash, when a foreign object pierces the bottom of my foot. I fall against my daughter’s toddler bed, landing on the floor with a gasp of pain.


As I massage my injury, I scan the floor for its source. Judging from the searing sting, it ought to be a rattlesnake that bit me, or perhaps a scorpion. The culprit is, of course, a doll. She smiles up at me with demure sexuality, the kind of willing plaything that looks like she’s had a few ribs removed to accommodate her breast implants, whose appendages are forever extended in beauty pageant spikes of death.

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“Slut,” I hiss at her.

She is unperturbed.

No reasonable human can live this way. Surrounded by a blast radius of doll parts and soiled underpants, I examine the bottom of my foot: definite indentation, skin remarkably intact. I listen to the sounds in the house, and hear only the singing of a forlorn dinosaur who has been abandoned by his father. The triplets are safely occupied with an animated musical they inexplicably adore.

Not only is their room in a state of unattractive disarray, it is now proven to be unsafe. It is my duty to make our home safe for our adorable triplet daughters, is it not? It’s up to me to cull their toys, guide them in a more orderly direction, instill in them values of aesthetic simplicity as I lovingly encourage them to reject all things consumeristic, no matter how much they might despise me for it.

I have until the movie ends – about 20 minutes.

Seized with purpose, I tiptoe to the kitchen to retrieve a black trash bag and slink back to their room. I gather every dismembered doll I can find until the bottom of the bag looks like a repository for medical waste. Some of the carnage includes mermaid tails of pink, green, and purple – eerie in their stillness.

This feels so good I dive into a wholesale purge, doing away with stuffed bunnies crusted with baby snot, cracked tiaras and magic wands, chewed upon spongy letters.

I fling open the closet doors and, in a frenzied lust, reach for the fluffy dresses that no sensible mother would allow on her child’s body, the kind of frufru frock given to children only by sadistic elder relatives. These items shrivel into unrecognizable mats of melted tulle if you stuff them into the dryer, and that’s what I did to the last batch, hoping they would be ruined and out of my life forever.

But then one of the girls, the one with charming dimples she employs as weapons, opened the dryer mid-cycle to discover the mangled cadaver of a dress, and wore it everywhere for a month, looking like a Dickensian orphan. She relinquished it only when she received another tulle monstrosity generously supplied by the same relative when she learned of my “mistake.” This time I’ll take the dresses to the thrift store where they can vex some other poor woman. Into the trash bag they go!

With triumphant resolve I finally turn to the shelving unit where reside dozens of lunatic “educational” toys that play the same songs repeatedly until they fade into unearthly ululations. These are gifts from Grandpa, his revenge for my postponement of his grandfatherhood until he’d reached brittle old age. Goodbye Read Along Lucy! So long Number-Bot! Hasta la vista Mother Goose Caboose. Never again will your cyborg droning hector my tattered nerves!

My husband, sauntering by on his way to the bathroom, pauses to watch as I carefully guide Mother Goose Caboose into the garbage bag, keeping her perfectly level so as not to awaken the demon that lives within. The bitch has no off switch. He shakes his head. “You’ll regret this.”

“No I won’t,” I say.

“Remember LadyBug?” he asks with a raised index finger.

“Shut up,” I growl.

He grins and enfolds himself in the womb of the bathroom – his last refuge.

I accidentally nudge Read Along Lucy and her tremulous soprano launches into a rendition of Goosey Gander.

I flash back to the time when my children were newborns and my father asked respectfully, “What kinds of things can I buy them?”

How considerate! How kind of him to ask! I said, “No electronic toys, please. I want their early years to be naturalistic.”

He smiled, and we turned our attention back to the delicious triplet infants as they slobbered on their icy chew toys.

Ever since, almost as if the man despised me, he arrives for each visit toting giant shopping bags brimming with “educational toys.” His face lights up with anticipatory joy at his grandchildren’s frenzied unwrapping of the kind of gifts forbidden by their draconian mother.

Once the booty is wrested from its packaging, often causing injury, usually to me, all three children begin playing, and the air is filled with cloying beeps and whistles. My father and I look on in tortured silence. The toys’ robot voices chip at my nerves in maddening cadence with my mental list of all the ways my father disappointed me in childhood.

“I thought we said no electronic toys,” I say through my teeth.

“What?” he asks dreamily.

How many times has this scene repeated? Each visit I offer increasingly flaccid reminders of my stipulation about gifts, and with considerable discomfort and a few passive aggressive barbs, we reach a shaky accord.

But next time, every time, he arrives with more piles of brightly colored plastic that I imagine will endure eons unchanged, languishing in some future archeological site until the collection thrills some underpaid researcher armed with a paintbrush and a sifting tray. Only then will these primary-colored monstrosities have value. Only then will they truly be educational.

I toss the last of the trinkets into the trash bag, which bulges grotesquely, itself a ponderous metaphor for the excess of capitalism. The girls’ bedroom now looks like a magazine layout for Real Simple, only my carefully selected wooden puzzles and literary books arranged on the shelves in delightful symmetry. So minimal! So organized!

Sighing with satisfaction, like a macabre anti-Santa I heave the black bag over my shoulder. I tiptoe down the hallway toward the front door, pausing to look at the three little heads all pointed at the TV, one blonde and two brunette, bluish light playing on their plump cheeks like aurora borealis. I skulk toward the front door, but I’m stopped mid-stride by a chilling, “What are you doing, Mommy?”

Slowly I turn. One of them has disengaged from her entertainment and is watching me from the corner of her eye, already suspicious that I am violating her God-given right as an American to own endless piles of shit.

She’s my goofball, my delicious blue-eyed pumpkin-face who loves being tickled and can play “Where’d she go? She was just here…” until I want to pry out my own eyes with a Nuby spoon. This angelic love muffin is also capable of throwing a full-on screaming tantrum complete with self-injury and damage to property. The drama can last as long as 45 minutes and only resolves when she’s exhausted herself and falls into a fitful slumber that resembles fever-induced coma. I am a little bit scared of her.

“I’m taking out the trash,” I say with a nervous smile.

She points at an incriminating corner of fuchsia fabric that protrudes from the mouth of the garbage bag. “Is that my fourth of July dress?” Only she says it, fofe of joowhy dwess. Cute, right? No, it isn’t. Not now. “That wooks wike my dwess.”

“No,” I say, chin stiffened with determination. Oh, I can taste it, the satisfaction of forever disappearing these unwashable voile abominations, these plastic affronts to all that is tasteful! I’m so close.

“Mommy that’s my fofe of joowhy dwess.”

“Honey there’s no such thing as a fourth of July dress.” A weak evasion, for indeed my daughter does have a Fourth of July dress – an especially delicate confection in pink that she wore to watch fireworks last summer.

She sips apple juice from her Minnie Mouse cup, regarding me with a mixture of incomprehension and accusation. Her sisters lazily glance in my direction and, like good children, turn back to the screen to continue their mental deadening. But this one won’t be deterred. “Want to see in bag.”

“No.” I take a step away from her.

“Give it.”

“It’s garbage.”

The sippy cup hits the floor. A droplet of apple juice erupts from the straw and arcs over the edge of the cup onto the carpet. I stare at the drop as it soaks into the once-tufted wool, now flattened and sticky from years of juicy mishaps, hoping her attention span will give out before she gets to the bottom of this. She squints her eyes, spots a fishtail shape jutting through the plastic, and points. “Moo-maid.”

“No.”

I tighten my grip on the mouth of the garbage bag, and immediately cringe at my mistake. A spectral voice issues from the depths of the bag: “Goosey Goosey Gander…”

Mother Goose Caboose!” she cries, betrayal writ large in her crystalline eyes. She throws her head back, wails, “I want LadyBug!” and throws herself onto the floor in paroxysms of grief – a brilliant gambit.

“Told ya,” my husband says as he saunters back to his office.

I glare at his beatle-shaped back as he disappears into the garage.

One naptime a year ago, in a fit of insanity, I packed LadyBug up along with a pile of other products from Chinese sweat shops, hid them in the trunk of my car, and dropped them off at the thrift store, collecting an expedient receipt to be forgotten at tax time.

LadyBug was one of Pumpkin Face’s favorites, an electronic toy that made beeps and buzzes frenetic enough to induce migraine. It had a total of 15 parts in different geometric shapes that, once painstakingly assembled, would spectacularly pop off if the gadget was accidentally breathed upon. I hated it, and getting rid of it had been pure catharsis, until the day Pumpkin Face discovered my treachery.

Not a day goes by without fresh tears for her loss. LadyBug is no longer physically present, but her tacky revenant torments me still through the volatile vessel of my four-year-old daughter.

“LadyBug!” she screams again.

“You never played with it!” I cry, gnashing my teeth at her.

“Yes I did,” she sputters, takes a deep breath, and glares at me.

She is suddenly, eerily calm.

I cower under her gaze as she twists the fabric of her delicate nightie, a gift from a former acquaintance that she adores, which must be hand washed in lavender water and line-dried on a bright spring day lest it disintegrate, leaving her in hopeless and undying anguish.

I think ahead to the Christmases and birthday parties and parades and goddamn restaurant openings and Mardi Gras and preschool picnics, all the venues wherein adults bestow freebies and gimmes and swag unto children, gleefully throwing their plastic beads and flimsy fireman helmets at all the outstretched baby hands of America. All this endless, free plastic crap is already loaded on the pipeline of the future and headed my way, a colophon of curios. What’s the point in fighting?

I release my grip on the mouth of the trash bag and she dives into it, pulling everything onto the floor, laughing, “Silly mommy! These are toys, not garbage!”

But she knows. She knows.

Her sisters emerge from their catatonia and join her in the pile, gleefully diving further into the trash bag, emitting delighted exultations: “My pink moo-maid tail… Bunny Foo Foo was hiding!… Goosey goosey gander, whither shall I wander…” They join in with Mother Goose Caboose, raising their voices in a sick revival of religious authoritarianism.

A protective layer of apathy enfolds me, and I shamble to the coffee maker, reflecting for the thousandth time on the housewives of the 1950s and their enviable access to pharmaceuticals. As I rinse the filter I can hear the voices of my little darlings as they experience the joy of Christmas all over again. I start myself another cup.

If the plastic bag stops rustling, I’ll check.

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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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