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A Letter to My Self-Esteem on the Day My Pee-Proof Undies Came in the Mail

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Dear Self-Esteem,

I know. I hear your soul crying. You’re only 46 and owning a pair of pee-proof underwear is outrageous and humiliating. But try not to let the gravity of this day weigh you down. God knows most of your physical self has already lost the invisible force war. Don’t let your ego bite the same dust.


Bladders are flighty organs. You’ll be hard-pressed to find loyalty in their relational DNA. We hear so much these days about irritable bowels. But forget all the fame IBS gets. You and I both know the bladder is a petulant child in need of serious scolding.

Here’s the thing. You pee your pants. So what? LOTS of women do, but most don’t have the chutzpa to talk about their problem. For crying out loud, do you think a company would make a $30 pair of pee-proof undies if a market didn’t exist?

Heck to the no!

Oh, a market does exist, Esteem. And it’s a big one. You belong to a silent majority and it’s about time someone leaked the truth.

Listen, I get it. The struggle is real. The affliction drips with irony, in fact.

The story begins with having beautiful children whom we love with every fiber of our being. They curate within our sacred womb for nine months, pressing and prodding every organ within the general vicinity of our uterus, i.e. every single organ. Our bladder feels the biggest pinch.

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Over time our mom bodies begin to falter one part at a time, sometimes entire sections malfunction overnight. For some of us, once 40ish hits, our plumbing goes to Hades due to diminishing bladder skills from housing and delivering our kin.

These are the same kin who willfully abstain from using the porcelain God during potty training season. Our children don’t want or like to use the bathroom because diapers allow playing to continue through peeing. The joy and freedom of all-day dryness is foreign to toddlers.

Meanwhile, as adults, we want nothing more than to expel in a toilet, but instead succumb to piss-anting in our pants against our will.

Forget the paradox. We’re talking about flea flipping karma here.

Don’t you get it, Esteem? You’re being punished for your blatant lack of patience during your kid’s potty development! Remember the unrealistic expectations you had for your toddlers back in the day, the anger and frustration? Well, who’s crying now?

Esteem, I know you are feeling low and broken today. Your sadness is understandable, but don’t prolapse from your confident place in the world. In an attempt to ease your misery, I’ve come up with a pros and cons list of owning pee proof panties.

Absorb the positives as best you can and try not to let the negatives dampen your spirit.

PROS of owning pee-proof panties

1 | You now own conceivably the most expensive pair of underwear ever made. Props to you for having an extra $60 in your budget for undergarments. Holla!

2 | Considering the absorption guarantee, you will recoup your initial investment in eight-and-a-half months. Because an 80 pack of rapid-dry Always costs about $7. Two to three liners a day times 30 days in a month is just about one package, give or take leaks. So, your $60 investment divided by $7/Always box gets you to eight-and-a-half. Consider the turn an A+ commodity exchange.

3 | The trauma of going out wearing a pantyliner only to realize you forgot to bring extras will no longer haunt your soul. (Remember the time you were at your friend’s 50th celebration and your “only liner” reached full capacity so you had to throw it out? And remember how you then tried to refrain from significant movements, well, except for all the wine you kept pouring into your mouth? And then remember how you and several other friends decided to scare other members of your friend group by running through their yards in the dark and sneaking up to their windows?

Do you remember how running through the yard “liner free,” laughing no less, caused you to have that really bad accident? And how you had to make the walk of shame wearing pee-drenched clothes from your friend’s door to her bathroom – the same friend you rudely tried to frighten – and then wait inside for her to bring you dry underwear and pants from her closet? Honestly, Esteem. I can’t even. You only have yourself to blame.)

4 | You will once again be able to bust out your stellar dance moves at the club. No more simple side-to-side step moves with meek finger snapping to the beat. Now we’re talking full-blown twerking, Shakira style. Oh, wait. Nevermind. You’re too old for shakin’ it and clubbing anyway.

Sorry. Sorry. I keep forgetting I’m not really supposed to speak the truth in love in this letter. Eek.

5 | You will lessen your risk of having an aneurism every time you attempt to refrain from sneezing. Too many close calls for comfort!

6 | Your love/hate relationship with Ms. Always is over. Move over twisted sister. And weep while you’re at it.

7 | And the best pro of all – laughing is fair game. Loud, cackling, belly laughs are back in business. You don’t even have to cross your legs in fear anymore. Because we all know how awkward and obvious it looks when you try to cross your legs while stand-laughing. Ridiculous.

CONS of owning pee-proof panties

1 | We don’t yet know for sure whether the $30 wonder undies work. And we also have no practical case studies on what happens if Victoria’s real secret malfunctions. Therefore, a due amount of stress will continue during the first trials. Wine wisely.

2 | Owning a pair of $30 pee-proof underwear is surefire proof you have an incontinence problem. But remember what your high school “friend” just messaged you on Facebook, “The first part of recovery is acceptance.”

3 | If the undies do the trick, you might become a spokesperson for Icon Undies. The unfortunate sidebar of notoriety is the circle of people privy to your peeing will widen. But fret not because if you sign up for the newsletter you earn VIPee status. Check their website. Truth.

When it’s all said and done, your control issue is either a bladder-half-full or bladder-half-empty struggle.

DEPENDS on how you look at it…

Chin up, Self.

Love,

Yours in Yellow

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Student loan debt is a major problem for many mamas and their families―but it doesn't have to be. Refinancing companies like Laurel Road help families every year by offering better rates, making payments more manageable or helping them shorten their loan term.

If you're ready to start taking control of your student loan debt, here are five steps that could help you conquer your student loan debt and get a loan that works for you.

1. Understand your refinancing options.

Like motherhood, managing student loan debt is a journey made much easier by experience. If your eyes start to cross when you hear variable and fixed rates or annual percentage rate, start your process with a little education. Laurel Road offers a user-friendly resource hub with student loan refinancing guides and articles that can help explain your options and get you started on a more informed foot.

2. Potentially improve your credit score.

Your credit score is important because it provides an objective measure of your credit risk to lenders. It also has an impact on many aspects of your finances, so it's a good idea to understand and track your score regularly. To try and improve your score, pay your bills on time—your payment history is one of the most important factors in determining your credit score. Having a long history of on-time payments is best, while missing a payment may hurt your score. Another action to improve your credit score would be to keep the amount you owe low—keeping your balances low on credit cards and other types of revolving debt, such as a home equity lines of credit, may help boost your score. Remember, good credit scores don't just happen overnight, but taking positive financial steps now can lead to more positive outcomes in the future.

3. Get a better understanding of your current loan benefits.

Different loan types have different benefits and you want to make sure you don't lose any valuable benefits by refinancing your current loan. Before you're ready to apply for a better option, you need to know what you have. Determine your loan terms (how long you have to pay off your loan and how much you're required to pay each month) and find out your current interest rate.

When you took out your original loan, especially if it was a federal loan, everyone who applies is given the same rate regardless of their personal credit. When you look to refinance, companies like Laurel Road look at your credit score and other attributes to give you a personalized pricing option―one that's often more competitive than your original terms. However, it is important to know that federal loans offer several benefits and protections, including income based repayment and forgiveness options, that you may lose when refinancing with private lenders (learn more at https://studentloans.gov). Try Laurel Road's Student Loan Calculator to get a bigger picture perspective of what it will take to pay off your loan and the options available to you.

4. Pick the terms that fit your lifestyle.

Your long-term financial goals will determine what refinancing terms are right for you. For example, a 3- or 5-year loan means faster payoff times, but it will mean a higher monthly payment―which might not be possible if you're planning to purchase a home or looking to move your toddler to a more expensive school. A loan with a longer term will have lower payments, but more interest over the duration of the loan.

Want to see what your options are? Check your rates on Laurel Road. They'll perform a "soft credit pull" using some basic information (meaning initially checking your rates won't affect your credit score ) so you can make an informed decision. If you do proceed with the application Laurel Road will ask for your consent on a hard credit pull.

5. Don't miss out on discounts.

With a little research, many people can find opportunities for lower rates or discounts when refinancing their loans. For example, if your credit isn't the best, look into the possibility of adding a cosigner who may help boost your rate. There are also many associations and employers who offer student loan benefits. Laurel Road partners with a number of groups and employers who offer discounts on rates―so check with your professional associations or HR to see if any options are available to you. Finally, talk to your financial institution, especially if you're planning to take out another major loan like a mortgage. In some cases, having another product with an institution can get you a preferred customer rate.

This article is sponsored by Laurel Road. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's Father's Day and dads around the world are getting some love from their loved ones, and we are loving all the adorable posts on Instagram today.

Celebrity dads are getting (and dishing out) a lot of love today, and these 10 Instagram posts, in particular, are melting our hearts.


James Van Der Beek 

James Van Der Beek will always be Dawson to many millennial mamas, but to his five kids he's just "Daddy." His wife Kimberly posted the cutest pic of James with their kiddos, Olivia, Emilia, Annabel Leah, Joshua and baby Gwendolyn.

James posted the same photo to his own account, with a caption that may make you cry.

He wrote: "For me, being a father means having that quiet little voice inside of you that says 'Be a better man,' get louder and more consistent... to the point where you can't really remember where that voice ends and where you begin. It means being tired beyond what is probably healthy, and patient beyond what you previously thought possible. And even though you know you're far from perfect... being a father also comes with an unshakable awareness that all your actions have consequences - context that reaches far beyond your own self-interest. It's scary to feel that interconnected with the rest of the world - especially with your heart now walking around outside your body - because it demands more personal responsibility... but it will make you a better man. Of at least that I'm sure. #HappyFathersDay to all the imperfect dads out there, trying their best and learning on the job.👊#fatherhood"

That post gives us more feels than any episode of Dawson's Creek ever did.


Today, our Istagram and Facebook feeds are filled with evidence that today's dads are doing more than any other generation of fathers. Congrats guys, you really deserve a Happy Father's Day!

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The bond between sisters is special, but Jill Noe and Whitney Bliesner have a unique bond that goes beyond just being siblings. As twins, Jill and Whitney shared a lot throughout their lives, and when Jill became Whitney's surrogate they even shared a pregnancy.

As first reported by Today, Whitney has a rare disease called NF2 (Neurofibromatosis type 2). Because of NF2 she lost the vision in her left eye and hearing in her right ear, along with partial hearing loss in her left ear. The condition makes pregnancy risky, and the disease is hereditary.

Whitney and her husband, Pete, wanted to start a family, but adoption and surrogacy fees seemed to be putting parenthood out of their reach. Until Jill stepped in as their surrogate.

"We have always had a strong connection, I do think this experience made our connection stronger, for sure," Whitney tells Motherly, adding that she's sure that when Jill eventuallu has kids of her own the sisters will likely bond over motherhood, too.

Through IVF, Jill carried donor eggs fertilized with Pete's sperm to make her twin sister's family, and on June 7 Jill delivered Whitney and Pete's son and daughter, little Rhett and Rhenley.

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"Going through this with Jill was so easy," Whitney tells Motherly. "We both had no idea what was going to happen or how we would deal with stuff during this journey. We had our ups and downs, but I think that's life, and in any situation you would experience that. But with my sister, there was a sense of everything was going to be ok, like always. We always get over our annoyance and disagreements with each other very fast with no hard feelings. It was just a great experience to have with my best friend, my twin sister."

Rhett and Rhenley are keeping Whitney super busy these days (with twins, someone is always hungry!) but she's making time to share her story because she wants other people who can't physically be pregnant to not give up on their dream of being a mom.

"It's not about blood or biologically carrying a kid that makes you a mom, it's the unconditional love, care, and security you give a child that makes you a mom," she explains.

Whitney continues: "Even though you aren't carrying or blood-related, you still have those feelings of babies being yours!"

Whitney calls Jill her best friend and Jill says the feeling is mutual, telling Today that she knows Whitney would have done the same for her if the roles where reversed.

"She's always wanted to be a mom and her disease has already taken so much from her. I wasn't going to allow (NF2) to take this opportunity from her, too," Jill said. "It just felt like the right thing to do. Our family is so strong and so supportive of one another, especially since Whit's diagnosis in 8th grade."

Thanks to Jill, Whitney is now living her dream, taking care of her two adorable babies.

Jill is an amazing sister, and Whitney is already an amazing mom.

[A version of this post was originally published June 14, 2019. It has been updated.]

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A dad's first Father's Day is always special, and Prince Harry is no exception. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a new photo of Baby Archie clutching his father's finger.

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It's been just over a month since little Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor came into the world and changed his father's. Shortly after the birth, Prince Harry described new fatherhood as "the most amazing experience I could ever possibly imagine."

This sweet Father's Day Instagram post is the first look at Archie the public has had since the royal family did their post-birth photoshoot in May.

While Archie's mom and dad recently attended the Queen's birthday celebration, Trooping the Colour, little Archie is still a bit too small for such a big party. His older cousin Prince Louis made his first Trooping appearance this year, so we can expect to see Archie at the Queen's birthday parade next year.

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Baby Archie and Prince Louis will likely be together soon for Archie's christening. Reports suggest the event will take place next month at Windsor Castle, the same venue where Archie's mom and dad got married, and where Prince Harry was baptized back in 1984.

We can't wait to see more photos of sweet baby Archie on his big day!

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Do you feel guilty when you don't want to play with your kid? I do.

Do you give in and play with them anyway, all the while checking your phone and wondering exactly how long you have to pretend to be a dinosaur? Or do you say "no" to play time and endure the inevitable whining, coupled with mom-guilt that ensues?

Neither of these options is particularly tempting.

So what's a mom, with a fully developed intellect and adult interests and subsequent lack of interest in playing with toys for 10 to 12 hours a day, to do?

Here are six phrases to try next time your kid wants to play and you need a break.

1. "I will be cleaning the kitchen. You're welcome to join me."

This is my personal favorite and one I use daily. The next time you need to get something done and your child is clinging to you, offer an invitation instead of a dismissal.

Try asking your child to join you instead of saying, "go play." The beauty of this phrase is that it gives your child a choice—they can either be with you and help with what you are doing, or they can go play independently.

Often my toddler will join me for a while and then drift off to play on his own.

2. "I'm not available to play dinosaurs right now. Would you like to read with me?"

While sometimes we simply need to get something done, other times we just honestly do not want to play whatever our child is asking us to. And that is okay.

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There are only so many hours in the day that you can reasonably be expected to play dinosaurs or princesses. If you are available to spend time with your child, but find yourself cringing at the idea of one more game of superheroes, offer an alternate activity.

It's important for children to get the chance to choose the activity sometimes, but it doesn't have to be all of the time. Offer one or two activities that you would genuinely enjoy doing with your child and give them the choice of whether to join you.

3. "I'm going to read for 20 minutes and then I will be able to play Legos with you."

Let your child see your interests too. You don't have to cram your own life and hobbies into nap time and after bed. It's okay, and even valuable, to let them see that you are a whole person with your interests.

Tell them that you want to read or garden or workout for 20 minutes. Invite them to sit nearby, or to play on their own. It helps to start with a very manageable amount of time, like 15 or 20 minutes, and stretch it as your child's ability to play on their own grows.

Your child may sit and whine for the entire 20 minutes. While this can be annoying, it is best not to respond in anger. Try to acknowledge their feelings, but don't give in to their demands. You might say, "I see that you're having a hard time waiting for my attention. Reading is important to me. I'm going to read for 15 more minutes, and then I would love to play with you."

If you do this consistently, your child will get used to the idea that you have needs and interests too.

4. "I don't want to play right now, but I would love to sit and watch you."

Be honest with your child. It's okay if you want to be with them, but don't feel like actively playing. This can be an excellent way to observe how your child plays when left to their own devices. It is also a way for them to share their favorite games with you, without you feeling forced to play something you don't enjoy. Children can tell when we're not having fun, even if we try to fake it.

5. "I would love to play for a few minutes. Then I will need to fold the laundry."

Sometimes children need help getting started. It often works well to play with them for 10 or 15 minutes and then back away to do something else nearby. This allows your child to play independently while also saving your sanity.

6. "Sure, I'll play! You choose the game today, and I'll choose tomorrow."

While we naturally do not share all of our young children's interests, it is important for children to get to choose what we do together some of the time. Create a system where your child chooses sometimes, and you choose other times. Once your child is confident that they will get to decide what you play together sometimes, they will likely let go of the need to always demand that you play certain games.

Bottom line:

The beauty of learning to say "no" to your child's requests to play is that you will enjoy the time you do spend playing together. No one has fun when they feel like they're being forced to do something, even if it's by a 4-year-old.

And the thing is, they can tell. Children know when we want to be there and when we're just phoning it in—we're not fooling anyone.

When I force myself to play, I imagine my toddler feels sort of how I feel when I drag my husband to the farmers market. Yes, we're doing what I wanted to do, but I can tell he's not into it and that kind of takes all the fun out of the experience.

Once you feel the freedom to decide whether or not you want to play, you can choose the times when you do feel like being silly, playing pretend or merely dropping everything to build the tallest tower ever in the whole full world.

And your child? They will know the difference. Their little heart will be so full of playing with you when you want to be there. That's what will stick with them, not all of the times you said no.

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