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Here’s what I know about sibling rivalry: my big brother refers to the years before I was born — the years of his life between birth and 4, when he was our parents’ only child — as the best years of his life. The glory days. The Era of No Trouble.


I’m pretty sure he’s kidding.

Pretty sure.

I’ve never been the only, don’t know what it’s like, can’t imagine it. I’ve always been a little sister, I’ve always had a big brother, and we’ve always been close. Maybe it’s because we happen to be compatible, and not all siblings are. Maybe it’s because of our mother’s persistent reminder:

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Be good to each other, you’re all you’ve got.

A sentiment as perplexing as it was comforting. Oh ok cool, we’ve got each other! But, wait. Only each other? You sure? We don’t have you? We don’t have friends? We won’t have spouses?

Our mom was our coach, our biggest fan, our sometimes co-conspirator. She loved us so much she often said that she could barely stand it, and we loved her back just exactly the same. She doled out discipline and encouragement in equal measure. She called us “sweetie” and sometimes “you dummies.” It was the same to us, it was love. She defended us to anyone who dare step to her, regardless of our crime or circumstance. She was remarkable, ferocious, steadfast.

Be good to each other, you’re all you’ve got.

I once witnessed her make my principal cry. She’d been called there because I hit a kid in the head with my flute case. Before the meeting was over, the principal was apologizing to my mom and whole-heartedly agreeing that, yes indeed, teasing me about my bookworm project did probably warrant a knock in the head with whatever band instrument might be available.

Not that we were ever off the hook. Oh, hell no. It would’ve been better to be in trouble with the principal than to face my mother’s wrath. But she showed us what love looks like, what loyalty is, what it means to go through life together, and to have each other’s backs. And so we have, and we do.

I’ve watched my brother kick a wall with his already broken leg because we’re stuck in the stairwell of a parking garage and I can’t stop throwing up. I’ve seen him shotgun several cans of soda, then jump around beating his chest like an angry gorilla trying to belch a full sentence. I have an actual printed photo of me standing in the vegetable garden holding a zucchini like a big, erect penis and smirking. A pic stealthily taken by my bro while our mom gardened, oblivious, next to me. We gave it to her for Mother’s Day.

I’ve also called to tell him our dad poisoned himself with carbon monoxide. On purpose. I’ve listened to him listen to me say those words, arriving in waves across the air, rejected and tossed back. I’ve helped him load up a boat with firewood to row out to our mother, alone and ill in her house, refusing to leave, surrounded by floodwater. I’ve asked him, hundreds of miles away in the middle of the night, if I should leave or stay.

There’s been some stuff. But then, so goes everybody, so goes life.

Throughout the years, our sibling antics have remained the same. It’s been a decades-long attempt to make each other laugh. A dynamic most accurately summarized by our German exchange student who, after a raucous family dinner, jubilantly declared in a thick accent: HAHA!! All thee time vee are laughing!!

 Laughing has been the elixir, the medicine, the band-aid, the catharsis.

Yes. All the time we are laughing. Laughing has been the elixir, the medicine, the band-aid, the catharsis. It’s been our shared crutch, second skin, secret weapon. It’s the umbrella, and everything else is underneath.

Cheese-burglers

Our family lived on a university campus in a faculty apartment on the ground floor of a huge dorm. The top floor was the cafeteria, run by a company called SAGA which, given the looming nuclear apocalypse of the 80’s, we assumed was an acronym for: Soviet Attempt to Gag America.

As a toddler, I rolled around the dorm in one of those jumpy-seat saucer contraptions that parents used to love. (Before the were recalled due to various instances of kids rolling out of sight and down the stairs, or out the door and down the street.)

At 3 years old, I was definitely too big for the jumpy-seat saucer, but it was the perfect getaway vehicle for robbing the cafeteria, so we used it anyway. I’d climb into the little death trap and my bro would roll me onto the elevator, sending me up to the cafeteria where, upon arrival, I’d yell-demand: CHEESEBURGERS!

Giving precisely no shits, the work-study short-order cook would walk over, throw a couple char-burgers on my saucer, pat me on the head, and send me back down to my bro.

Few moments in this life have rivaled the deep and satisfying pride I felt upon returning to my big brother, victorious. We were a char-burger duo from the outset, unstoppable in our teamwork — he the mastermind criminal and I, his rolling accomplice.

Never alone. Never hungry.

Whiskey Drunk

Those were also the days of “visiting dignitaries” and our dad kept a well-stocked liquor cabinet in his dusty and newspaper-strewn administrative office. It was inevitable that eventually Josh would figure this out.

One night, there he was at the door. A gangly 12 year old boy with tube socks pulled all the way up and a shock of thick blonde hair, cut by my mother into a style best described as “we saved money and just cut heavy bangs that go all the way around.”

Wobbling on his feet and reeking of booze, Josh tried to explain a couple of things to our distinctly unimpressed father: 1) no need for worry because he was “naaaahh thaaht druunk” and 2) hey, FYI guys, whiskey is pretty good!

Our nurse-mom gave him several cups of coffee, wrangled him into the shower while he flailed around like a baby gorilla, and finally got him to bed.

I spent those long hours crying and watching Magnum P.I., scribbling furiously in my diary about how my brother was drunk enough to die and WHAT THEN, GOD?! WHAT?!

The heavy burden of truth was nearly impossible: Josh was a terrible sinner and would certainly rot in hell — which, for the record, is the sum of every single, thing I learned in five years of Catholic school.

I felt betrayed by his drunkenness, excluded from his world. I didn’t understand where my brother had gone, didn’t like the disaster that had showed up in his place, and felt unsure that my real bro would ever be back.

A deep relief washed over me when, from the other side of the wall, I heard him calling:

Auuutuumn? If yer nah’good da booogie maahn will getchuuu.

It was hilariously ridiculous. He was a drunk and apathetic ghost doing some kind of half-assed haunting. He couldn’t hold for 5 seconds before busting out laughing, so I got started laughing and, outside in the living room, I could hear our mom laughing too.

There would be no hell for the sinner, my brother was not gone. Eventually, we’d both just close our eyes and sleep it off.

Bulls-Eye Bullshit

Years later, in our twenties, we were still at it with the numb-nuts shenanigans.

Josh must have been a couple hundred feet away when he yelled: AUTUMN, LOOK OUT! before chucking a charcoal briquette at me, miraculously nailing me exactly in the middle in the forehead.

I hit the ground, holding my head. The pain was real. But so was my genuine astonishment: how the hell had he managed such an epic throw from so far away? I was mad at him and proud of him at the same time.

He ran toward me laugh-yelling: Oh my GOD did you SEE THAT? Wait, Aut, are you ok? Oh shit, you’re bleeding. BUT DID YOU SEE THAT?

No, I explained, obviously I hadn’t seen it, or I might have ducked. But — dude — that was pretty amazing. How did you do that?!

Josh had tossed a Hail Mary at my head, completely nailed it, and now we needed to hide it from other mother who was just inside the house. It doesn’t matter if you’re two grown-ass adults or you’re 5 years old, when one of you hits the other in the head with a rock, somebody is getting in trouble.

Our brilliant plan was to casually walk inside to casually get some ice to casually put on my face.

What happened? My mother asked, as soon as we opened the door. Come here.

Um. I fell?

Yeah. She fell? On the rocks? My brother added hopefully.

Bullshit. Josh, what’d you do?

We considered our options and then just told her the whole story — not pausing, not editing, no arc, no point, just an endless list of details reported in excited staccato. When we finally finished, breathless, she looked at us — mostly irritated, mildly proud — and said:

Jesus, you guys are dummies. Good shot, though.

So, she was right. And maybe it’s not true that mothers always are. But she was.

No one else shares these memories. No one shares our history, our framework for adulthood, our twisted and zippering DNA. No one else shares the loss of our parents — a loss still and always alive, coursing through our veins, our days, our story. As stardust goes, we’re made of the same.

No one shares any of that. We have spouses, friends, neighbors, co-workers. And somehow we also only have each other. This was our mother’s gift to us, her masterpiece, her swan song — to be damn certain that I’d always have my big brother, and he’d always have his little sister.

Our mom built a legacy of sibling-hood using our experiences, spinning them into memories, then stories, told and retold. Stories of winning, losing, making, and doing. Stories of being babies, and of having babies. Stories of hearts full and broken. Stories of holding on and letting go.

Mostly though — mostly — what our mother built for us was a connection, pulsing through generations. All the time we tormented, argued, advised, compromised. All the time we lost, grieved, remembered. All the time we loved and celebrated. 

All the time we are laughing.

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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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