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All day my daughter, who is seven, was excited – thrilled to begin a new rock-climbing class I had signed her up for. She had tried it once before with my sister who climbs actual mountains, and took to it well. I had been amazed the way she darted up it without giving a thought to falling.


When it was my turn, I clutched the pegs so hard my forearms were sore for a week. I wouldn’t be scaling the wall again anytime soon, but when I offered the class to her, my daughter quickly agreed.

 

 

We arrived early. Soon, other children filtered in around us. My daughter’s chatter started to grow softer, then quiet. After a kiss and a hug, she walked uneasily into class. Even from behind I could tell, with every step that grew slower than the last, that her confidence was already fading.

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The instructors were warm and inviting as they welcomed the children. Still, I sat by and watched tears pour down my child’s cheeks for no discernible reason. A few minutes later she folded into herself in a ball on the floor. She became as small as she could be, trembling while the rest of her classmates introduced themselves.

The other children turned and stared. Finally, the female instructor walked my daughter over to me where she collapsed into my lap. It wasn’t the rock wall she was afraid of. This new group dynamic had been too much for her. In the past year, lots of things had been too much for her.

I took her to the bathroom, dried her tears, and asked her to try again. She agreed, but demanded I didn’t leave to go run on the treadmill down the hall as I’d been hoping to. I’d already handed off my toddler son to the women who work at the gym Stay n’ Play without so much as a, “See ya later.” Instead of exercising, I would look after my daughter who was five years older than him and somehow still needed me desperately.

Sitting on the floor, I watched her wipe tear after tear with the mounting feeling that my heart was growing arms, trying to reach through the roped off area to wrap her in every bit of love and bravery I carried. I watched her send me pained expressions and felt other parent’s eyes on me, while their children smiled and climbed. I dared not look their way. Instead, I kept my focus straight ahead, and sent out smiles and thumbs ups to my daughter. I tried not to care how ridiculous I looked to people whose children didn’t have this struggle.  

My child was once eager to try new things, too. Yet lately, her grueling pace has become slower, more cautious. It’s almost as if she began to notice that the world didn’t accept her for exactly who she is: sensitive, artistic, often lost in her thoughts, but boisterous, even hyperactive, when comfortable. She is charming and witty and full of life, but now she’s careful and intentional with whom she shows that to.

For years, I suspected my daughter might not be exactly like other kids. When she was in preschool she flitted from one task to the next, never resting for a moment. As I watched other children begin to draw forms: houses, trees, each other, I wondered when her attention span would grow long enough to draw a picture, or finish listening to a story before gazing out the window.

She sang to herself all day long, which her teacher said was, “very dear.” She played dress-up, baked bread, and got to feel safe and warm for a while. Her sensitive nature, curiosity, and inability to stay within the carefully plotted lines, was viewed as, “age-appropriate,” but that acceptance didn’t translate to the start of elementary school.

At five she was expected to sit still, walk in lines, raise her hand. She got called down for chewing her hair. For asking to use the bathroom. She wasn’t reading as quickly as the schedule demanded. She had nightly homework, only twenty minutes of recess, and testing.

Soon, the safe cocoon built of choices, of going at her own pace, of not being critiqued, began to dry up and fall away. Conform, conform, conform was the constant, deafening message. Differences were no longer appreciated, and I knew enough to know my daughter might not thrive.

She started to push back. Hard. She kicked and screamed when it was time for school. In the first month, I watched her tear up school work in frustration. She told me often, through flowing tears, that she hated school and would do anything not to go. Halfway through the year she stood clutching me in the hallway while classmates walked by calling out, “Hi, Piper!” But she didn’t hear them. She was too busy begging me not to leave her.

At kindergarten’s end, I made the only choice I felt I had. I pushed my work to nights and weekends so I could stay home with my daughter and toddler son. She was thrilled to be homeschooled and instead of sitting at a desk all day, we joined co-ops and went on adventures and made new friends.

She took a handful of classes, but mostly, we spent the year rebuilding her broken confidence that had been shattered all too quickly. I grieved the time I’d lost for my own work, but no longer did our days start and end with angry tears and defeat. When people told me that homeschool was a mistake, it was easy to let roll off my back.

For months I’ve watched her confidence come back in bits and pieces. I’ve watched her uncover new fascinations and feel passionate about what she’s learning. She’s shown interest in starting at a new, less traditional school next year, too, but when her moments of uncertainty come, they come hard. Each time, it devastates me. I try to embrace her with compassion, rather than frustration, even though I feel both.

Still, it is not my job to tell my daughter who to be. She already feels the world speaking to her, telling her that her sensitivity is undesirable. I feel it, too, telling me we shouldn’t coddle our children even when they’re in pain. Instead we should push them, so they are ready for a big tough world. Perhaps, though, it is the ones who refuse to play the game who can rewrite the rules. Perhaps it is the ones who don’t keep up with the rhythm who can make the most beautiful music.

My daughter’s intense sensitivity puts her in touch with her own feelings, and the feelings of those around her. She asks to give money to the homeless. She sobs at sad movies. She performs from her heart in ballet shows twice a year that I never have to urge her to prepare for.

She worries about big things, like death and illness. To be in tune with your emotions is a feat at any age. Yet sometimes, it is all too much. It is why most of us grow to numb our pain rather than feel it. To feel it we could handle. To let the world see us feeling it is the real burden, even though it makes us who we are.

Whether my child is a writer, a dancer, a doctor, a mother, I hope one day she will know that having deep, cavernous emotions isn’t always such a terrible fate. Because, baring your soul, rather than giving the world just what it demands, is the real act of bravery.

The next week, we head back to the gym with the rock-wall for the second class. My daughter is as excited as she was the week before, as if the tears and the trembling and the self-doubt never happened. So I try to hide my own nerves. We’ve talked about taking a few deep breaths, and focusing on what’s happening around us, rather than our own scary thoughts. I remind her of this as we pull up to the gym, and I try to do the same.

The instructor calls the kids in and without prompting, my daughter lets go of my hand. I watch her climb to the top of the wall and repel down, then do it again. When she gets to the bottom, she calls me over. “I’m okay,” she whispers. Smiling, nudging, waving me away.

 

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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)

SHOP

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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