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Leading up to Father’s Day, we’re talking to dads who continue to make and perform music even after having kids. I loved learning more about Bobby Hackney Jr’s personal story and truly amazing family history of making music. His wife Sara is a writer at Parent.co. 


 

I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit about your band?

I’m in a band called Rough Francis. We’re based out of Burlington, Vermont. The band is me, my two brothers, and two close friends. We’re a punk band.

How long have you been making music?

I’ve been making music ever since I was five years old, believe it or not. When I was a kid, there were instruments all over the house. My dad and uncle were in a band called Lambsbread at the time, so they were always gigging, always practicing.

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I remember one year they actually practiced up in our house in my dad’s den, which was kind of funny because it’s a really small spot, you know the office. He used to practice in the office.

Whenever they were done, I would just get behind the drums and play the drums because that was the easiest thing to get to.

Actually, I was originally a drummer. I started playing drums, and my uncle taught me some stuff. I don’t know, I just stuck with it all throughout middle school and high school.

Rough Francis has been together for about six years. Before Rough Francis, I was in a band called The Static Age. We were a post-punk new wave band. Then before that, I was in a few hardcore punk bands.

You mentioned Lambsbread. Can you talk about your family’s surprising family story with music? 

Yeah. Yeah. It all started in Liverpool, England. My father, John Lennon …

Woah! John!

Had no idea that he was a Beatle until … no. Anyway. Like I said before, growing up my dad and my uncle were in a band called Lambsbread, that was a reggae band. All through my childhood, I only knew my dad and uncle as reggae musicians.

Yeah, it’s a well known reggae band.

They did really well. My dad started the Vermont Reggae fest. They toured quite a bit. They brought a lot of big time reggae acts up to Burlington in the 80s and early 90s. That was going on, and me and my brothers naturally got into music through our father and uncle because it was already around. We grew up on reggae, so we got into that.

As I got a little older, when I was in, I don’t know, 8th or 9th grade, I started to get into skateboarding. Skateboarding opened up a whole new door musically. I was hanging out with kids who were punks. A lot of the style and culture revolved around punk rock with skateboarding. I got into it through that.

A good friend brought me to my first show at 242. My first punk show. As soon as I went to that first show, it was just a life changing moment. Felt like that was what fit me the most. I didn’t look back from there.

Most of the kids from my high school were the chuck type (editors note: rednecks). They didn’t like skateboarders or punks. A lot of the kids that I really connected with were from Burlington, and I became friends with a lot of kids who lived in Burlington, and that’s how I got into it. Hanging out with cool people in Burlington.

The whole time with your dad though, you’re still reggae guy.

Yeah. I’m just like “Yeah, I just got into it. It’s cool. Whatever.” And my brothers get into it the same way. As I get older, I’m probably in my early 30s, me and my brothers find out that our dad and uncle were in this band called Death from Detroit in the 70s. That changed a lot.

How old were you?

I was old. It was funny, because I was done with The Static Age. When my son Kiernan was born, I was not in any musical projects. I was just hanging out and stuff.

Being a dad.

Yeah. Being a dad. Then I started playing around with this cover band. This 80s cover band for a little bit. Then once that ended, me and my brothers thought it would be cool to do a Bad Brains tribute set. You know the Bad Brains, right?

Hell yeah. I love the Bad Brains.

We did a Bad Brains tribute set at 242 for Halloween. There’s a significant age gap between me and my two brothers, and this was the first time we could actually be like “Okay, cool. We can actually play some music together,” not thinking anything of our own musical history. We were just big Bad Brains fans. It went really well.

Shortly after that, my brother Julian moved to California, where he starts getting all these little snippets of what my dad and uncles did in the 70s. He started learning about the band that they were in and that they recorded some music, that there was some music out there. He ended up finding two songs on a blog.

When Julian first told me about this, I didn’t believe him. “This is bull! This is bullshit! There’s no way. They’re just reggae dudes. There’s no way that they played punk rock in the 70s.”

I heard the music, and I was just blown away. I was like “Man, I hope this is true, because this is amazing.”

Amazing.

We confronted our dad, like “Dad, okay you got to tell us some stuff! What did you guys do in 70s? Were you guys in a band?” He’s like “Yes. We were in this band called Death. It was me and your two uncles. We were a rock and roll band. People didn’t like us back then because we’re three black dudes playing this loud racket. Everybody wanted us to play funk and R&B.”

I was just like “What?!”

Yeah! Seriously.

I asked him, I was like “So, do you have any more of this music sitting anywhere?” Then he said that all their master tapes were up in the attic. All this time. He took the tapes and he transferred them over to digital for cd. I took the cd home and I listened to it and I couldn’t believe it. I was really just thoroughly blown away.

That’s an amazing revelation to find out that your dad was a real pioneer, in one of the worlds first bands that could be considered “punk,” for which he’s super respected. Meanwhile you’re playing in a punk band with your brothers. 

It’s funny because at the time nobody heard it or knew about it. It was a more of a discovery. They would have been a huge influence if people heard them or liked them back then.

It’s funny how they’re getting the retroactive respect based on the respect that they didn’t get when they first started. It’s pretty wild.

(Note: readers should watch the documentary “A Band Called Death“)

It’s amazing. It’s a scenario where a person falls in love with something and pursues it and becomes really good at it, only to discover that their father did it a generation before them. 

Exactly. That answered a lot of question for me, personally. That’s what made our band Rough Francis so important. After learning about all that. We actually started the band officially after we found out about Death.

The Bad Brains thing was just kind of the fun little project. Once we found out about Death, that’s when we sat down and we made the decision to actually do a band. It just felt so perfect.

It’s a killer band; Rough Francis is definitely one of the rising bands on the scene. I also think that a band of three brothers who are black playing loud full-on punk rock music in a northern town in New England is surprising for people. 

It’s pretty funny. I step back sometimes and I’m like “Man, that is pretty interesting.” If I was just somebody who lived here and didn’t know about it, and then saw that, I would be like “Wow. Very interesting.”

You mentioned that you weren’t playing music when your son was born about a decade ago.  How has being a dad affected making and performing music for you? A lot of people stop pursuing seriously after becoming a parent. What’s allowed you to continue playing and touring? 

The reason why Rough Francis came together in the first place is because of family. This is the first band I’ve ever been in that’s been more family oriented, and family always comes first.

It’s just like a natural progression. It’s most inspiring for me to be with my own family, and think of things to do with the band. They’re both intertwined. I guess we wouldn’t have found out about any of this if we didn’t hang out. If I wasn’t hanging out with my brothers and finding this out, I wouldn’t have known about it.

I was just hanging out with Sara and Kiernan at the time, and we’re all just always together. That’s where it came from. Just being with family a lot. That’s just a big part of it.

Another thing is, I’ve been on many tours and I’ve been in a lot of bands, a lot of sleepless nights. I feel like being on the road and touring a lot has helped me become a parent, because I’m conditioned to lose sleep sometimes.

It’s kind of like those late night drives that you have to do. Sometimes being at home could be the same thing.

Interesting – I never thought of that!

Especially when your kids are sick.

Did any other band members have kids? Any other dads in the band?

Yeah. Yeah. My brother Urian is about to have a kid soon.

Congratulations!

I’ve played music with people who have kids.  You always find camaraderie with other musicians, but when it’s a parent musician, it’s even better. It’s like “Yeah man! We didn’t get paid enough for that gig! Blah blah blah.”

And it’s like “Yeah and when I got home, my kids woke me up at 6 o’ clock in the morning after I got home at…”

I always talk to Eric and Amanda about this kind of stuff. It’s like you stay up all night playing a gig, you get home, but you know your ass is getting up at 6 o’ clock in the morning to make pancakes. They don’t care. The kids don’t care. They don’t care what you did the night before. If you’re around, you’re their servant, pretty much.

Ha – so true. What effect has it had on your kids to see you playing and making music? Does Kiernan remember a time when you weren’t playing?

I’m not sure. Actually, when he was probably around 3 or 4, that’s when I was playing with that cover band. We used to bring him to shows and stuff, and we bring the kids to shows whenever we can. I think Josie, my three-year old daughter, she’s the one that’s really been paying attention.

Whenever she’s at a show, she’ll do soundcheck with us. She’s really into singing. She’s got a whole bunch of instruments at home. She likes listening to our music too. She’ll put on her 7 inch and sing along to it, which is really cool. Same thing with Kiernan. It’s kind of funny when I’m telling the kids to quiet down, but they’re screaming my own songs at me.

I can’t tell them to stop. I’m like “Okay, I guess … You’re singing one of my songs. That’s kind of cool.”

It is very cool. Do you have instruments laying around your house?

Yeah. We do. We have a chimalong, we have a guitar, we have a ukulele, accordion, kazoo, bunch of drums. There’s always stuff to play all over the house. That’s the way it was for me growing up. There was always something to make noise. Usually it was just to annoy everybody else, but one day … It’s funny because you go through the, you want to just annoy people, and then you’re like “Actually, maybe I should just learn how to play this thing.”

Exactly. Any advice to other parents? Dads in particular, but really both parents, about keeping music alive even after becoming a parent?

Well, actually another thing that I forgot to touch on, which is really cool, is we all listen to records together or we listen to music together. We have a record player right in our living room, and it’s really cool that the kids pick out records and they listen to them.

I feel like in this day in age, kids don’t really know how to listen to a record. They’re always jumping from song to song on Spotify or on Itunes, but if you have a record, you pretty much have to commit to it and just let it finish.

Listening to a record like you would watch a movie is a great family bonding experience.

All right. Thanks Bobby! 

Is that it?

That’s it! It’s 20 minutes. That’s good. One side an LP.

Perfect.

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When it comes to holiday gifts, we know what you really want, mama. A full night's sleep. Privacy in the bathroom. The opportunity to eat your dinner while it's still hot. Time to wash—and dry!—your hair. A complete wardrobe refresh.


While we can't help with everything on your list (we're still trying to figure out how to get some extra zzz's ourselves), here are 14 gift ideas that'll make you look, if not feel, like a whole new woman. Even when you're sleep deprived.

Gap Cable-Knit Turtleneck Sweater

When winter hits, one of our go-to outfits will be this tunic-length sweater and a pair of leggings. Warm and everyday-friendly, we can get behind that.

$69.95

Gap Cigarette Jeans

These high-waisted straight-leg jeans have secret smoothing panels to hide any lumps and bumps (because really, we've all got 'em).

$79.95

Tiny Tags Gold Skinny Bar Necklace

Whether engraved with a child's name or date of birth, this personalized necklace will become your go-to piece of everyday jewelry.

$135.00

Gap Brushed Pointelle Crew

This wear-with-anything soft pink sweater with delicate eyelet details can be dressed up for work or dressed down for weekend time with the family. Versatility for the win!

$79.95

Gap Flannel Pajama Set

For mamas who sleep warm, this PJ set offers the best of both worlds: cozy flannel and comfy shorts. Plus, it comes with a coordinating eye mask for a blissed-out slumber.

$69.95

Spafinder Gift Card

You can't give the gift of relaxation, per say, but you can give a gift certificate for a massage or spa service, and that's close enough!

$50.00

Gap Stripe Long Sleeve Crewneck

This featherweight long-sleeve tee is the perfect layering piece under hoodies, cardigans, and blazers.

$29.95

Gap Chenille Smartphone Gloves

Gone are the days of removing toasty gloves before accessing our touchscreen devices—thank goodness!

$9.95

Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug

Make multiple trips to the microwave a thing of the past with a app-controlled smart mug that'll keep your coffee or tea at the exact temperature you prefer for up to an hour.

$79.95

Gap Flannel Shirt

Our new favorite flannel boasts an easy-to-wear drapey fit and a flattering curved shirttail hem.

$59.95

Gap Sherpa-Lined Denim Jacket

Stay warm while looking cool in this iconic jean jacket, featuring teddy bear-soft fleece lining and a trendy oversized fit.

$98.00

Gap Crazy Stripe Scarf

Practical and stylish, this cozy scarf adds a pop of color—well, colors—to any winter ensemble.

$39.95

Nixplay Seed Frame

This digital picture frame is perfect for mamas who stay up late scrolling through their phone's photo album to glimpse their kiddos being adorable. By sending them to this smart frame to view throughout the day, you can get a few extra minutes of sleep at night!

$165.00

Gap Crewneck Sweater

Busy mamas will appreciate that this supersoft, super versatile Merino wool sweater is machine washable.

$59.95

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

Our Partners

I'll admit it: I'm an earbud snob. There I said it. For me, there's nothing like clear, noise-canceling earbuds that allow me to fully immerse myself into music while doing household chores or mindless tasks. I love it. And if they're integrated with a voice assistant so I can be hands-free, it's a complete win-win.

When I was pregnant with my kids, I didn't want to purchase pregnancy headphones. Most are super bulky, overpriced and have horrible sound quality. Instead of buying them, I sang to my babies and hoped they would develop a love for music just like their mama. Turns out, I was onto something. "Even in the womb, little ones respond to the vibrations and later to the beats and melodies that you play for them," says Diana Spalding, author of The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama: Redefining the Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Journey. "Research also shows that music can help build the foundation for your baby's language acquisition, so you can think of taking a moment to jam out to your favorite songs as educational."

Recently, model Ashley Graham posted on Instagram a photo of her using pregnancy earbuds and I had to do some research. How was she building her baby's language skills using earbuds?

"Baby boy is the size of a coconut this week and already getting some advice from @gayleking on my podcast @prettybigdealpod 💙 Gayle you are wild and I LOVE IT. We fast forwarded your story about the stripper pole 🤣" she captioned.

In the photo, Graham is using mbrio, a patented earbud adapter that turns your earbuds into pregnancy headphones so you can use your favorite earbuds while enjoying music with your baby. Pretty smart, right?

mbrio Clip-On Pregnancy Earbud Adapters

mbrio Clip-On Pregnancy Earbud Adapters

mbrio's patented earbud adapters turn your earbuds into pregnancy headphones. Just pop in any set of compatible earbuds, clip them to your waistband and go. It also uses a thin layer of silicone to reduce sound levels by up to 30 decibels (depending frequency and volume) so it's safe for mama and baby.

$29.95

It eliminates the need for splitters, sticky pads, volume control switches and iPhone plug adapters too so you can just carry one device while you're on the go. It's also been independently tested by a Nationally Registered Testing Laboratory, so it meets the safe audio guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Best of all, the ergonomic design adapts to mama's growing belly throughout the pregnancy. Just pop in any set of compatible earbuds, clip them to your waistband and go!

I'm still not a believer in headphones and still plan to use earbuds wherever I go, but if I ever get pregnant again, or need a cool baby shower gift, I know what to purchase.
Shop

When Anastacia Gencarelli shared the story of how her 2-year-old daughter ended up being hospitalized for milk anemia she was not trying to scare anyone—she just wanted other parents to know that "milk anemia is a thing"because she didn't.

But when her Facebook post went viral and the headlines were super scary that didn't quite tell the whole story.

"Toddler who was nearly killed by COW'S MILK," the Daily Mail's headline reads.

Yes, Gencarelli's 2-year-old daughter Mia was hospitalized after drinking too much milk, but it is more complicated than that, we have learned.

Here is what you need to know about this viral story + milk anemia.

As Gencarelli explained in her original Facebook post, she shared her story to spread awareness of the existence of milk anemia. While it is well documented that overconsumption of milk can have a negative effect on a toddler's iron levels, it's not something all parents know.

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Basically, cow's milk is not a high iron food and what iron it does contain is not well absorbed. So if a child stops consuming breastmilk and/or iron-fortified formula or cereal and starts drinking a lot of cow's milk without adding other sources of iron, they're at risk for anemia.

Anemia can be treated or prevented with supplements, but the preferred method of prevention is through iron-rich foods. "Ideally, we would prevent iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia with a diet consisting of foods that are naturally rich in iron," Dr. Robert Baker, co-author of an American Academy of Pediatrics report on the prevention of iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia has previously explained.

"Feeding older infants and toddlers foods like meat, shellfish, legumes and iron-rich fruits and vegetables, as well as iron-fortified cereals and fruits rich in vitamin C, which help iron absorption, can help prevent iron deficiency," he said.

Gencarelli tells Motherly her daughter was drinking 4 to 6 bottles of cow's milk a day and that while she's not a particularly picky eater she is not a huge fan of meat.

Doctors recommend toddlers consume 2.5 servings of dairy per day, and a study in the journal Pediatrics found 2 cups a day is the best amount of milk for toddlers.

"We saw that two cups of cow's milk per day was enough to maintain adequate vitamin D levels for most children, while also maintaining iron stores. With additional cow's milk, there was a further reduction in iron stores without greater benefit from vitamin D," Dr. Jonathon Maguire, a pediatrician at St. Michael's Hospital and the lead author of the study has previous explained.

As reported by CBC, drinking from a bottle rather than a cup is linked to a more dramatic decrease in toddler's iron stores. It's possible that serving milk in a bottle contributes to parental underreporting of milk consumption. Parents might not even realize that milk is keeping their child full, which makes it hard to get iron rich foods into them.

So what can parents do to prevent milk anemia?

If you are concerned your child may be anemic talk to your doctor right away and consider offering more iron-rich foods at home.

Kacie Barnes, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), tells Motherly that while extreme cases like the one described by Gencarelli are not common, mild iron deficiency is common. That's why she recommends serving meat, as it contains the best absorbed type of iron.

"Even babies can eat ground or soft cooked, tender meats. Think crockpot, stewed, or braised," says Barnes, who recommends chili as a family-friendly iron-rich meal (just keep the salt and the spicy stuff out of your little one's serving).

She continues: "Beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas contain iron, so I encourage parents of babies and toddlers to serve those often, especially if their little one doesn't eat much (or any) meat. Vitamin C boosts iron absorption, so it's helpful to serve iron rich foods alongside fruit or veggies like citrus, strawberries, or broccoli. Another helpful trick: Cook with a cast iron pan. Small amounts of iron do absorb into food when you cook with it—and this is a good thing!"

The bottom line:

It's important to remember that Gencarelli's story is the story of her individual child, who is currently undergoing further medial care to deal not just with the anemia, but other issues that presented afterward. When her daughter is discharged from the hospital Gencarelli will be continuing to serve iron supplements and says her medical team has provided her with some iron-rich recipes.

Her post went viral not because she was trying to scare anyone away from milk, but because she was trying to save other mamas from being as scared as she was when her little girl got sick. You only know what you know, and now that she knows her daughter was consuming too much milk she plans to serve fewer servings.

We hope that Mia has a quick recovery and we're thankful that Gencarelli shared her story online. Her family is in a lot of pain right now (something made worse by the many mean comments she's received about her daughter's milk consumption) and she just wants to prevent other families from feeling that pain, too.

News

When I was very pregnant everyone was determined to make sure I knew how terrible it would be to have a new baby. Forget swollen feet and heartburn that made me vomit, they all swore I didn't know how bad it was going to be until I had a newborn around to ruin my life. As if it were a secret, they told me I would never truly sleep again, would age overnight and lose my identity, my body would sag, I would hate my husband, my marriage would transform into drudgery and red wine, with everything covered in poop.

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The relentless low-grade negativity sent me running to the internet to search "best things about parenting a newborn." The discouraging results warned me of Top Things You'll do Wrong as a New Parent, How to Survive Having a Newborn, and Biggest Mistakes New Parents Make. Not a single one was positive, and I really needed some reassurance around then.

So here I am, safely on the other side of the first eight weeks of newborn parenting and I can proclaim that a lot of it is simply wonderful. Here's why:

Your baby is real!

However it happened, you've successfully had a child. For so long you've been living around the idea that you might one day have a baby. It was so hard for me to feel like my baby was real before she was born. I knew every kick and roll, and I knew that she had hiccups pretty much every day, but she still felt more like a concept.

Now I don't have to wonder what she is like. She changes every day. She still has the hiccups. She also stretches and raises her eyebrows and nods her head as she finishes eating as if to say yum yum yum. Someday she will look at pizza that way.

You are the best at everything.

The reality is that until you do it, you don't know for sure that you can. Because babies need about six things on repeat, you get really good at everything. Within hours if not days, you will have it down. The diapers, the feeding, the tiny clothes. Most of it isn't that hard.

The first time I got my baby to latch in the middle of the night without turning the light on, I felt like I was a superstar. When you are able to transform a primal ragged scream of hunger or discomfort into pure silence, and then your baby gives a little sigh and falls asleep on your chest, you will be the champion of parenting.

You can watch all the TV and read all the books.

You have a legitimate reason to spend hours and hours motionless on the sofa and demand that someone refills your water and brings you a snack because obviously the baby wants you to have another cookie.

Watching your partner become a parent is full of unexpectedly sweet moments.

I have so loved watching my husband become a dad. I don't have to tell you it broke me when I came home from picking up take-out to find him tunelessly singing '70s rock ballads while she gazed up at him adoringly. I love seeing my parents as doting grandparents who want nothing more to cuddle her and buy her things she doesn't need. My husband said that parenting isn't like a new chapter of a book, but like you turn the page and end up in another dimension. And I get to watch that happen.

Newborn poop doesn't smell bad and is water-soluble.

Truly, it smells like cereal and washes out of things. Most of the time, it is contained. Parents don't help future parents by describing that one time they got smeared with poop just before a wedding. They forget to mention the literally hundreds of times they deftly changed a diaper and walked away spotless.

Your body is yours again.

Forget all of that business about getting your "body back" in a cosmetic Instagram way, and enjoy that instead of having to lug the baby all over town inside your enormous belly. You can hand them over to someone else to carry! No one is physically pressing on your bladder, stomach, or other organs. Your body may have changed, but it is yours. What a relief.

Rest assured, babies are even cute and a little bit hilarious when they are screaming. Maybe the others weren't all wrong when they told you how hard it would sometimes be, but they probably also spent hours making faces at their baby to see what would coax out the sweetest smile in the world. They just forgot to tell you that part, and that it will all be worth it.

Life

Temperatures are dropping, Christmas decorations are flooding the shelves, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. But take a break from prepping for the holidays, mama, and check out the headlines that made waves this week.

Here at Motherly we know mamas are busy, so we make sure to keep track of everything you may have missed on the Internet this week.

There are the viral stories making Team Motherly smile right now:

This judge went viral for supporting a new mom + new lawyer in the most wonderful way

Juliana Lamar just accomplished something major: She graduated law school and was sworn into the Tennessee bar...and she did it all while raising her 1-year-old son. Doing all of this at the same had to have been incredibly difficult, but oh so rewarding. She celebrated her incredible achievements as a working mother in the most special way, thanks to a wonderful judge.

Judge Richard Jinkins encouraged the mama to bring her son along when she was sworn into the state bar, and he even held on the little boy while his mother recited her oath. Not surprisingly, the incredibly sweet video of the judge carrying the 1-year-old as he watched his mother officially become a lawyer has gone viral.

"On the day of my swearing-in, right before we began, Judge said he wanted Beckham to take part in the moment," Lamar, who counts the judge as a major inspiration and supporter, tells Buzzfeed. "And I am so glad he did because to have my son take part in one of the greatest moments of my life was truly a blessing."

Lamar's colleague shared footage of the incredibly sweet incident. "Y'all. Judge Dinkins of the Tennessee Court of Appeals swore in my law school colleague with her baby on his hip, and I've honestly never loved him more," a tweet from the colleague reads. "She's one of four women in our class who became moms while in law school. Women are amazing."

Why this refreshingly honest birth plan from Reddit is going viral

Pregnant people talk a lot about birth plans. You might even type out a few different versions before settling on the one you want to show your medical team. But the thing is, even if you spend months planning out the perfect birth plan, things can change so quickly.

That's why the internet is loving this birth plan that was uploaded to Reddit. The person who typed this up is so realistic, so honest and so authentically advocating for herself.

"I don't have a plan," reads the first bullet point.

"I've never done this before," she notes in the second.

"I have no idea what I am doing," she explains in the third bullet.

So many first time mamas can relate to this feeling, and also to a passage that is highlighted.

It reads: "I am not trying to be a hero! Please assume that I want every option available to me for pain management and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know in real and update time if any of the pain management options are nearing the point where they are no longer available to me as I progress through labor."

This is a mama who knows herself and also knows that birth plans can change so quickly.

Mom's photo of laundry Christmas tree goes viral on Instagram 

sincerelymumsy

Australian mom and Instagrammer Jessi Roberts (aka @sincerelymumsy) is going viral this week thanks to her hilarious Christmas tree hack.

Instead of dealing with her laundry, this genius mama made it into festive decor.

It actually happened last year, when Roberts family was about to go on a trip. "Last years Christmas tree 🤣 We where going away for 2 weeks and I couldn't and didn't have time to do the washing... so Like any creative person... I improvise 💁🏼♀️ I left it up for 2 weeks... @thebaysidedentist [Roberts' partner] wasn't impressed," she writes on Instagram.

Roberts' original caption back in 2018 was equally hilarious: "The best way to avoid doing the washing - turn it into a Christmas tree," she wrote. "It's free. I'll wash this after Christmas or maybe the 'elf on the shelf' can help me."

This is a Christmas decor hack we can totally see catching on.

A FB moms group help this baby get a liver—and went viral for it 

Moms groups on the internet sometimes get an unfair reputation. You say "Facebook moms group" and people often imagine an online space where mom shaming is common, and while that may be true in some instances, these communities are more often sources of support, not shame.

No story highlights this better than Robin Bliven's. When she posted about how her private group ended up connecting mamas and getting a liver for a baby boy who needed one, the story made national headlines and proved how supportive these groups can be. Internet communities are real communities, and some are amazing places to be.

"You can talk smack about mom groups on Facebook all you want... but don't talk smack about mine, because we crowd sourced a freaking organ," Bliven wrote on Facebook.

When one member of the Facebook group, Beth Rescsanski, learned her baby, Cal, needed a liver transplant over 100 moms in the group were screened to see if they were potential donors. That's 100 fellow parents who were willing to have surgery for someone else's baby. That's the definition of a supportive community!

In the end, single mom Andrea Alberto was a match and donated part of her own liver to baby Cal. The mom of two says it wasn't hard choice.

"I knew organ donation was something I would be willing to do, so when I found out Cal was being listed for transplant, it was a very easy decision," Alberto told TODAY Parents."If there is someone in need and there is something you can reasonably do to help them, why wouldn't you do it? I like to think that if it was one of my kids in need, someone from my extended network would step in to help."

American Girl celebrates diversity by including model with Down syndrome

The American Girl dolls taught a generation about history and showed children reflections of themselves in an era where diverse dolls were hard to come by. Now, in 2019, the company continues to highlight diversity and give children the representation they crave. This can be seen in the new holiday catalog where 4-year-old Ivy Kimble is among the young models.

"There's not a lot of print or media with a lot of kids with Down syndrome," her mom Kristin Kimble told WLS-TV.

Kimble told Today she's so proud of Ivy, and so happy that American Girl is celebrating all girls. "I'm so proud of Ivy," Kimble says. "She's showing the world, 'Look at me, I'm here. I'm doing it. I'm an American Girl.'"

Gal Gadot perfectly captures our feelings about motherhood in this viral Instagram post 

You never really understand the meaning of the phrase "time flies" until you become a parent. Another thing you don't quite understand until you welcome your children? How deep your capacity to love really is. Actress Gal Gadot just nailed both of those ideas in a single social media post.

The famous mama shared a note to her daughter, Alma, on her eighth birthday. "I'm so lucky to be your mother. Thank you for teaching me so much about life without even knowing you are and for giving me the most precious title I could ever ask for. I promise I'll do anything for you, love and protect you forever," she wrote in the Instagram post.

The mama continued: "Just please, don't grow up so fast," she writes. "Take your time. I can't believe you're 8 already . Love you to the moon through all galaxies double the number of grain of sand in the universe."

ALL. THE. FEELS. Hasn't she just perfectly captured what it feels like to watch your children grow?

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