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Being a parent is hard. It’s time consuming, stressful, exhausting, and a whole bunch of other things that you already know too well. So, for the sake of your time, I’m going to cut to the chase and get to listing all of the things that I’ve stopped wasting my time worrying about. Maybe you’ll find camaraderie in my words, maybe you’ll think I’m insane. Either way, I’ll be vacuuming the never-ending pile of cracker crumbs out of the couch, not worrying about that either because like everything on this list… ain’t no momma got time for that!

1 | Drinking enough water – We’ve all heard about the benefits of drinking enough water a million times. It aids in metabolism, makes our skin glow, helps us lose weight, keeps those kidneys doing their kidney things, yada yada yada. According to WebMD, we should be drinking between a half to one ounce of water per pound of bodyweight each day, plus more if you exercise or live in warm climates. To which I say again, yada yada yada.


Due to the fact that it’s two p.m. and I’m still arguing/bargaining/pleading desperately with my three-year-old to just eat two bites of the mac-and-cheese I prepared for her at noon, my own nutritional intake is way down at the bottom of my priority list. Maybe WebMD could re-evaluate the water-intake formula for mothers. I’m thinking something along the lines of the suggested amount minus forty-five ounces of coffee, divided by the number of uninterrupted hours of sleep the night before – now that may be a target I can actually attempt to hit! Until then, two cans of La Croix a day keeps the doctor away. That’s how it goes, right?

2 | Tweezing my eyebrows in between waxes – Let’s be honest, I’m lucky if they get waxed at all. As much as I want my eyebrows to be on fleek, there are just not enough free moments in a day to methodically stare at tiny hairs growing above my very heavy eyelids while grabbing them ever-so-slightly with two pieces of pointy metal. By the time I finally get to having them waxed again, I may be looking like Chewbacca, and guess what? That’s just fine with me. I love “Star Wars.” Everybody loves “Star Wars.”

Anyway, doesn’t the thought of a woman who is so tired she may be accused of being under the influence using sharp tools by her eyeballs worry anyone else? Instead of risking it, my overgrown brows and I will be aiming for eyebrows on geek.

3 | Hang drying laundry of any kind – Bras, 100 percent cotton, swimwear, dry-clean only. Sorry guys, you’re all going in the dryer for a plethora of reasons. The first is that I simply don’t have the time to do the laundry for all four people who live in this house as it is, let alone sort through it for delicates that must be hung with care.

Secondly, I think it’s kind of bullshit. My bras have been going through the dryer cycle since before I knew they weren’t supposed to, and they seem to be holding my breast-milk-makers up quite satisfactorily.

Thirdly, how many of us actually have somewhere to hang laundry these days? I, for one, live in a townhouse with virtually no backyard. It might be a little strange for my neighbors if I start lining the driveway with our intimates in the middle of the afternoon. I could look for a solution but due to my fourth and final reason, I’m not going to.

That reason is… drum roll please… I just do not care. No, no, I don’t.

4 | Taking my vitamins – Like drinking enough water, taking vitamins falls into that nutritional intake category that I tend not to really pay attention to anymore. I tried, I really did, but it’s Too. Damn. Hard. Every vitamin has it’s own set of directions: take with food, take with a full glass of water, don’t take in combination with ‘x,y,z’, don’t eat for one hour, only take after petting your unicorn with a comb you hand-made out of rhinoceros horn without harming any animals to make it. Okay, I made the last one up… or did I?

Regardless, there are just too many different sets of instructions that I either don’t have time to follow or don’t have the mental capacity to pay attention to while I’m trying to rationalize with the three-nager about why the blueberry pancakes (she insisted I make) are blue. In the meantime, I’ll be glad the kid chose antioxidant-rich blueberries instead of chocolate chips and take my chances without vitamins.

5 | Stretching, yoga, meditation – I need zen badly, so badly that I’ve purchased the outfits and the mat, followed other yogis on Instagram, and looked up when classes are in all of my surrounding gyms. I am here to report that I am still the inflexible, shoulder-hunching stress ball that I was before I did all of those things. Sure, some may say you have to actually practice yoga before reaping its benefits, but each time I’ve rolled out a mat of any kind, my children have flocked to practice their somersaults.

Countless times my nighttime-self has naively convinced me to set an alarm for 15 minutes earlier than usual in hopes of fitting in some stretches and a little deep breathing prior to the circus that each day becomes. Then my morning-self has kindly told my nighttime self to “shove it.” Every single time.

6 | Watching the news – If it wasn’t hard enough to get my children to turn off surprise egg videos long enough to watch the “Housewives,” I might consider watching the news on a more regular basis. No guarantees though because, frankly, each time I hear a politician say, “It’s going to be great, we….” my eyes roll so far back in my head that they may require surgery to come around again. It’s like when my toddlers insist they’re not tired as they freak out about their juice being in the wrong cup. To both I utter, “Okay lunatic, I’ll be waiting for the madness and misery that’s about to ensue.” At least if I use my allotted 40 minutes of TV time on Bravo, I know I won’t want to sink into a depression afterward.

7 | Changing my air filter monthly – I like clean air. I like lower energy bills. I apparently don’t like them enough to remember what size air filter belongs in my house, or enough to go back to the store after getting home without it, or enough to put it on a list for the next time I’ll be in a store so that I don’t forget its size again.

In the world I live in, it’s only crucial to remember to purchase juice boxes and goldfish. Without them we shall falter, but with them, we can do all things (except remember the size of our air filter, apparently). Everything else on store runs is optional, and likely forgotten, as the chants for Tsum Tsum blind bags get louder.

Besides, if I didn’t let the air filter become blackened with soot, it wouldn’t feel as authentic when I sing, “Chim chim cher-ee! A sweep is as lucky as lucky can be,” while changing it. Priorities, people!

8 | Squats – Ever since Sir Mix-A-Lot made it cool to like big butts, we’re all expected to squat our tiny butts off to make them bigger. Pre-child-me may have cared but present-day-me is perfectly content to accept not having an apple bottom because I don’t have time for stuff I hate, and I hate squats and I cannot lie.

I’m not sure my sentiment is shared on this one because my social media feeds are full of people biggering and biggering their derrières faster than the Once-ler and his factory. This, however, does not discourage me and my scrawny-booty-swimsuit pics followed by the hashtag, #GirlsWhoDontLift.

I mean, have you ever attempted to squat with thirty pounds of monkey-child hanging on your bicep? Not worth it, not even for a Kim K. booty.

9 | Yearly physicals, dental cleanings, eye exams, etc – Put more simply, for any appointment that is not pediatric in nature, I will probably not be there. Lord knows there are enough of those to keep me busy the whole year round. As important as my own health is, there are just too many obstacles keeping me from having my gums prodded with a piece of metal that is strikingly similar to the tweezers that I already said I don’t have time for.

For starters, all of these offices are closed on weekends and at night when my spouse would be home to stay with the kiddos, and (also as previously discussed, see stretching) your girl is just not limber enough to spring out of the gyno-stirrups fast enough to wrangle the tiny human who is trying to swallow a cotton ball or catch the glass jar it came from before it crashes to the ground.

The absolute only appointment I make religiously is my manicure, a glorious child-free hour in the salon that is within walking distance of my house in the event that the miniatures start World War III over a Shopkin. Therefore, health-related checkups are just not in the cards at this time.

If I wanted air blown in my eye I’d just attempt to nap on the couch while holding the remote and wait until Doc McStuffins ended. If I had to take bets, I’d say Disney-fueled toddlers will get that eyeball opened quicker than anything else.

Oh, did I say 10 things? I did, but number 10 is that I don’t finish lists anymore. I usually can’t even find the list, you know, the one that I didn’t write the air filter size on. List is gone, mind is gone, time is gone. Come to think of it, it probably ended up in the dryer with the other stuff that wasn’t supposed to be there.

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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.


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).


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.


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!


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.


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!


Gap Stripe Long Sleeve Crewneck

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


Gap Chenille Smartphone Gloves

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


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.


Gap Flannel Shirt

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


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.


Gap Crazy Stripe Scarf

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


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!


Gap Crewneck Sweater

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


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

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There's a lot of discussion about the importance of early education—but what about soft skills like respect and kindness? How can mamas teach children important values like cooperation, gratitude, empathy or politeness?

These values are basic, foundational beliefs that help us know right from wrong, that give balance and meaning to life and that enable us to form community bonds with one another. These soft skills are crucial for kids to learn at any age, and it's important for them to be reinforced, both in the classroom and at home, throughout their childhood.

Here are fundamental ways to build character in your young children:


Performing random acts of kindness can have a positive influence on both the individual showing and receiving the kindness. As a family, think of ways that each one of you can show kindness to others. Some ideas may include baking cookies for the mail carrier, donating an unopened toy to a local charity, purchasing canned goods for a homeless shelter or leaving notes and drawings for the neighbors. Include your child in the process so they can see firsthand the joy that kindness can bring to others.



Children have a strong desire to mimic adult family members. Encourage your child to help complete simple chores in and around the house. Children feel a great sense of accomplishment when they can do their share and feel that sense of responsibility. Two-year-olds will enjoy folding towels, putting books away, putting paper in the recycling box and tending to the garden. Older children may enjoy helping out in the kitchen or with yard work.


Patience is the ability to demonstrate self-control while waiting for an event to occur. It also refers to the ability to remain calm in the face of frustration. This is a skill which develops in children as they mature. While it is important to practice patience, adults should also be realistic in their expectations, evaluate daily routines and eliminate long periods of wait time from the schedule.


Schedule a time when the whole family can sit down together for dinner. Model good manners and encourage older siblings and other members of the family to do the same. Use phrases such as, "Can you please pass the potatoes?" or "Thank you." Be sure to provide your child with guidance, by explaining what to do as opposed to what not to do.


Change your routines at home to encourage children to be flexible in their thinking and to try new things. Try being flexible in the small things: enjoy breakfast for dinner, eat ice cream with a fork, have your child read a bedtime story to you or have a picnic in the living room. Let your child know it is okay to do things in a different way.


Children are beginning to understand different emotions and that others have feelings. Throughout their childhood, talk about their feelings and share one's own feeling with them as well. By taking the time to listen to how children are feeling, you will demonstrate to them that you care and reinforce with them that you fully understand how they are feeling.


Coordinate playdates or take your children to events where they can practice introducing themselves to other children, and potentially with adults. Find games and other activities that require turn-taking and sharing.


Encourage your child to spend five minutes every day listing the things they are grateful for. This could be done together just before bedtime or after dinner.


As parents, our goal is to teach children to recognize that even though people have different likes and dislikes or beliefs and ideas, they must treat each other with manners and positivity. Respect should be shown when sharing, cleaning up, and listening to others. Always teach and model the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated. Also remind children that respect can be shown towards things in the classroom. Treating materials and toys correctly shows appreciation for the things we have.
Learn + Play

Medical researchers and providers consider a woman's postpartum period to be up to 12 months after the delivery of baby, but too often, health insurance doesn't see it the same way. Nearly half of the births in the United States are covered by Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and while the babies who are born during these births are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP for a year, their mothers often lose their coverage 60 days after delivering their child. There is clear data showing 70% of new moms will have at least one health complication within a year of giving birth.


This week, members of Congress' Subcommittee on Health met to mark up H.R. 4996, the "Helping Medicaid Offer Maternity Services (MOMS) Act of 2019, and it was favorably forwarded to the full Committee.

What does this mean? It means that while this bill still has a ways to go before it potentially becomes law, its success would see states get the option to provide 12 months of continuous coverage postpartum coverage to mothers on Medicaid. This would save lives.

As we at Motherly have said many times, it takes a considerable amount of time and energy to heal from birth. A mother may not be healed 60 days out from delivering. She may still require medical care for perinatal mood disorders, breast issues like thrush and mastitis, diabetes, and the consequences of traumatic births, like severe vaginal tearing.

Cutting off Medicaid when her baby is only 2 months old makes mom and baby vulnerable, and the Helping Moms Act could protect families from dire consequences.

The United States has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the developed world, and according to the CDC, "about 700 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications." This is not okay, and while H.R. 4996 is not yet signed into law this bill could help change this. It could help address the racial disparities that see so many Black mothers and Native American mothers dying from preventable causes in the first year of motherhood.

A report from nine American maternal mortality review committees found that there were three leading causes of death that occurred between 43 days and one year postpartum: cardiomyopathy (32.4%), mental health conditions (16.2%), and embolism (10.8%) and multiple state maternal mortality review committees have recommended extending Medicaid coverage to one year postpartum in order to prevent these deaths.

Basically, making sure that moms have have continuous access to health care the year after a birth means doctors can spot issues with things like depression, heart disease and high blood pressure at regular check-ups and treat these conditions before they become fatal.

The Helping Moms Act is a step forward in the fight for maternal health and it proves that maternal health is truly a bipartisan issue. Republicans and Democrats alike recognize the value in providing support for mothers during the postpartum period.

The Helping MOMS Act was was introduced by Democratic Congresswoman Robin Kelly of Illinois, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust. It was co-lead by Texas Republican Michael Burgess (who is also a medical doctor), as well as Georgia Republican Buddy Carter, Washington Republicans Jaime Herrera Beutler and Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Ayanna Pressley from Massachusettes and Lauren Underwood of Illinois (both Democrats).

"Incentivizing postpartum Medicaid expansion is a critical first step in preventing maternal deaths by ensuring new moms can see their doctor. I'm proud that my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, came together to put an end to the sad reality of American moms dying while growing their families," said Kelly. "We can't allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. This is a good, bipartisan first step, but it must be the first of many."

It doesn't matter what your political stripes, reducing America's maternal mortality stats should be a priority.


Whether you're having a low-key Friendsgiving with your closest friends or prepping to host your first big Thanksgiving dinner with both families, figuring out all of the menu details can be the most overwhelming step. How much should I cook? What ingredients do I need? How does one actually cook a turkey this big?

But, don't worry, mama—HelloFresh is lending a helping hand this year with their Thanksgiving box in collaboration with Jessica Alba. Because you already have enough on your plate (and we're not talking stuffing).

Here are the details. You can choose from two Thanksgiving boxes: Turkey ($152) or beef tenderloin ($132). The turkey box serves 8-10 people while the beef one will serve 4-6 and both are $6.99 to ship. We got to try both and they're equally delicious so you can't go wrong with either one, but the turkey does require a 4-day thaw period so keep that in mind. And if you're wondering what the sides are, here's a sneak peek:

  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Green bean casserole with crispy onions
  • Ciabatta stuffing with chick sausage and cranberries
  • Cranberry sauce with orange, ginger and cinnamon
  • Apple ginger crisp with cinnamon pecan crumble

While someone still has to do the actual cooking, it's designed to take the stress out of Thanksgiving dinner so you can focus on spending time with your loved ones (or watching Hallmark Christmas movies). You don't have to worry about grocery shopping, portion sizes, recipe curation or forgetting that essential thing you needed to make the meal perfect. Everything is super simple to make from start to finish—it even comes with a cooking timeline.

Orders are open through November 21 and can be delivered anytime through November 24. Even better? You don't need a subscription to order.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


My mother's death propelled me to start the process of becoming a parent as a 43-year-old single woman. As my connection to her remained strong in spirit after her death, I was ready to experience the same bond with my own child. I began the journey with Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI), and after three failed attempts at getting pregnant, I decided to adopt.

The adoption process is a lengthy and humbling one—one that includes fingerprints, background checks, references, classes, doing a profile of yourself and your life that birth parents eventually use to choose adoptive families.

After my application was approved, a young couple chose me just a month later. I couldn't believe my fortune. But I had to get to work and prepare the house for my baby's arrival. I bought the best of everything—bassinets, clothes, diapers, car seats… the list goes on. I told close friends and family that it was finally happening.


But all of this was in vain. The day I was supposed to pick my daughter up, I learned that the birth parents had changed their minds. They no longer wanted to give their daughter up for adoption. As time passed, it was difficult to endure no interest from potential parents but the faith in believing what is meant to be continued. To increase my potential, I enrolled with a second adoption agency.

A few months later, as I was getting ready to try IVF for the first time, I received a phone call to let me know that a woman had selected me to adopt her child. So I opted out of IVF and found myself in a hospital delivery room with the birth mother, assisting her in the delivery of MY child. It was a boy! I was so thrilled, and he was just adorable.

After six years of losses and disappointments, I was able to bring him home and awaited the final word that the mother and father have given the needed consent. I was getting ready to watch the Super Bowl with him dressed in football gear, I got a phone call.

Once again, the adoption agency informed me that the birth mother had changed her mind. That evening, I had to return the baby to his birth mom. I was heartbroken, and my hopes were shattered.

What now? Going back to IVF meant starting from scratch, and that would take a minimum of six months before being able to really start getting pregnant. I was 49 years old, and the clock was ticking. I really wanted to be a mom by the age of 50.

I was in Chicago, recovering from a collapsed lung, when I received yet another phone call from the adoption agency. An expecting mom had chosen me and had already signed over all of her rights. This little girl was mine. For real, this time. But I had to get to Southern New Jersey by Thursday to pick her up from the hospital.

After negotiating with my doctor to give me the green light to leave while recovering from my condition, I hopped on a train, and 22 hours later, I arrived to New York City in a massive snow storm. I took longer than expected to get to her, but after navigating the icy roads of New Jersey, I met my daughter!

She is now 2 years old, and she has changed my life in ways that just can't be fully described. What I can say is that I now understand my mother's love even more and her devotion to me and my siblings, and as I am sharing the same with my daughter, my bond to my mother keeps on growing.

Becoming a mom at 49 was never what I had envisioned. But whether you are trying to conceive or have decided to adopt a child, the road to becoming a parent is rarely easy. I know that inner strength and believing in what was meant to be kept me moving forward.

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