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I was pushing my three-year-old daughter in the stroller while my five-year-old son walked next to me in Greenwich Village in New York City. We were only two blocks from our home, about to pass my son’s school when a woman ran around the corner screaming, “He has a gun! He has a gun! Run!”


So, I started to run, except my son ran in the opposite direction, back towards the threat. I was terrified to let go of my daughter’s stroller because people were stampeding towards us but I desperately needed to get my son. I caught his eye and shouted, “It’s okay, it’s okay. Come to me, now!” I stretched out my arm and finally he darted to me and grabbed it. Then we took off, pushing the stroller with one hand, pulling my son with the other.

I scanned all around us for a place to hide. The stores were all shoebox size and I thought if someone found us in one, we’d have no chance. So, I kept running. I didn’t stop to look if anyone was coming, didn’t register gun fire or lack thereof, just the continual pounding thought in my head, that my actions could save, or lose, my children’s lives.

The day before we had just learned about the shootings in Orlando, about the massacre in a gay club, that 49 people dead, and scores wounded, were primarily people of color. My husband is transgender and I identify as queer, and while we’re white and relatively privileged, it had still hit particularly close to home. We read news stories and cried before deciding we needed community so we went to a rally at Stonewall in Greenwich Village, a few blocks from our house. I explained to my son that sometimes people hurt people because they think something about them is wrong, be it color, religion, or who they love. I said people were coming together to remember those who got hurt, that putting love into the world is stronger than bad guys and that collectively we have the power to change the world.

He sat on my husband’s shoulders waving a rainbow flag and shouting “Stop hate, stop hate!” I hugged and cried with strangers and went home thinking that our world is so, so, sad but we can’t let fear win.

Then the next day I hear “He has a gun!” and think that we might die.

As I looked for a safe place to go, my thoughts were far from rational. I dismissed place after place. It was only after I’d run close to 10 blocks that I stopped. I crouched down next to my son on the pavement, hugged him, and told him he was brave. He was sobbing, hysterical, “We can’t go home. What if the bad guy’s in our house? What if he kills our cats?”

I did what any parent would do in that situation: assured him that we were safe and that our cats were safe and tried to hide the shock that reverberated through every one of my cells. I called my husband on the phone and tried to tell him what happened in an oddly sing-song voice, and told him not to worry the kids.

My husband left work, saying he’d meet me somewhere and walk us home. In the meantime, I searched for somewhere, anywhere to sit, something to distract the kids. I spotted a McDonald’s across the street and 10 minutes later,the kids were scarfing down hot-fudge sundaes, surrounded by people for whom this was just an ordinary day. I searched for news on my phone, trying to figure out what happened but find nothing. In shock, I texted friend after friend, trying to ground myself back to the world. My son, who happened to be wearing head-to-toe camouflage said, “I probably saved our lives because those bad guys couldn’t see me.”

“You probably did,” I said, kissing the top of his head, questioning my decision to let him believe it’s that easy. He will end up wearing that outfit every day for two weeks because he’s scared to take it off.

When my husband met us to escort us home, I sunk into his arms. I suggested we take a detour back, but he insisted we walk past the spot where it happened, the spot where a woman screamed and I thought, “What I do in this moment could save my children or get them killed.” I took deep breaths and gripped the stroller too hard.

“This is where we were, right mom?” my son asked. “Where the bad guys came?”

“Yeah, the bad guy had a gun,” my three-year-old daughter added and I realized she’s been taking it all in too, that she had not been as oblivious as she seemed.

I told them we don’t even really know if there was a bad guy or a gun. I said it’s possible that someone made a mistake, that there was nothing there at all.

The next day, I found out it wasn’t a mistake when a friend sends me a link to an article about the event. An off-duty cop pulled a gun during a confrontation with a bike delivery man –  something about the bike hitting a car mirror, an ice-pick that may or may not have been there. But what’s clear is the cop retrieved his gun from his car and didn’t once identify himself as police. A video shows him waving this gun, shouting directly in front of an elementary school. There’s no video of us around the corner, frantically running and running.

When my son woke up the next morning, he curled into my body for a kiss and asked, “What do I do if the bad guy comes back?”

“He won’t,” I told him. “He won’t.”

But how do I know this? The fact that this is the first time my children have run from a gun is disturbingly a relative privilege – many children grow up knowing how to run and hide. No one walked into that Orlando club on Saturday night and thought a “bad guy” would come and weighed the risk-reward ratio between freedom and love and death.

The day after the gun incident, my son left a sign in front of the Stonewall Memorial that said, “No more bad guys, no guns, only love.” I took a picture of it and posted it to Facebook, proud of his sensitivity and my progressive parenting. People “liked” away.

But part of me knew I had it all wrong. The idea of a bad guy is way too simple and we’re far beyond just needing gun control. Violence has become a reflex in our country and it needs to change, for our sake and for our children’s sake. I carry my experience with me, like altered DNA, and a shot wasn’t even fired. For so many others, “Run, they’ve got a gun,” is the last thing they hear.

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There are certain things that get less challenging with each child you have—like changing diapers or figuring out how to tie a Moby wrap—but breastfeeding just isn't one of them. Breastfeeding is different for every woman, and it can even be different for the same woman at different times in her life.

Mom of three Jessica Alba knows how true that is. She tells Motherly she's no longer nursing her 6-month-old son, Hayes, and while she's been through the end of breastfeeding with her older daughters, 10-year-old Honor and 6-year-old Haven, this experience was different and challenging in its own way.

"Emotionally, I know kind of what to expect. But every time, with all the hormones, it's so overwhelming. It doesn't get any easier," she says.

Alba and her husband Cash Warren welcomed little Hayes on December 31, 2017, and in the months that followed Alba shared several sweet breastfeeding photos on social media. In one, the Honest Company founder nursed during a board meeting, in another she breastfed Hayes in a Target fitting room. To her social media followers it seemed like she was always breastfeeding—and now we know that's because she was.

"I felt like he wanted to nurse 24/7, which was obviously really challenging when you're trying to go back to work," says Alba, who wasn't just busy with the Honest Company in the early weeks and months of Hayes' life, but also shooting her upcoming TV series with Gabrielle Union, 'LA's Finest.' The timing of the opportunity wasn't ideal, but the project was.

"I was actually bummed about it, I really did want to take four months but I got the pilot offer and it just happened to be shooting, so it cut into my maternity leave."

Alba was used to juggling the demands of working and nursing, having brought Honor to movie sets a decade ago and having welcomed Haven right when she was launching the Honest Company, but this time there was another hurdle, one many moms can relate to.

"Also my milk supply was challenged with him. I felt like I had the most milk with Honor and then it got less with Haven and even less with Hayes. And so that was just tough for me," she tells Motherly.

Although she had more milk supply back when she had her daughters, she's never been able to exclusively breastfeed for as long as she would have liked. She wrote about this challenge in her 2013 book, The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You.

"I breastfed as long as I could, but not as long as I wanted. I had to get back to work, and I wasn't able to keep it going. But I am proud to say I did the best for my daughters and I'm proud of all of my mom friends for doing the best they can on this issue."

Alba is hardly alone in having to stop breastfeeding earlier than she wanted. According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, "Although most infants receive some breastmilk, most are not exclusively breastfeeding or continuing to breastfeed as long as recommended."

More than 81% of American mothers start out breastfeeding, but less than half are exclusively breastfeeding by the time their baby is 3 months old and fewer than a quarter make it to the 6-month mark without formula.

Studies show that although it is incredibly common, supplementing with or switching to formula is a decision fraught with feelings of guilt, failure or "shattered expectations" for a lot of moms.

But you don't have to breastfeed for a full year or two for your child to benefit from the cuddles and the antibodies, and no mother should feel guilty about doing what is best for her child and herself.

Take it from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: The organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding but also recognizes that a mother "is uniquely qualified to decide whether exclusive breastfeeding, mixed feeding or formula feeding is optimal for her and her infant."

A bit of advice Alba wrote in her book echos the ACOG's statement:

"Whatever you do, trust that you're doing the best that you can for your baby."

Still, weaning earlier than you wished to doesn't get easier even if you've experienced it before.

Years after writing that line in her book, Alba tells Motherly, "The only thing you kind of know the third time around is that it will pass."

Alba is an amazing mama, and she is obviously doing what's best for Hayes. And by being so honest about her breastfeeding struggles, she's also doing a great service to other mothers who are facing similar challenges.

Thanks for the honesty, Jessica.

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In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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I have a confession to make.

I once completely ruined a (rare) date night out over... popcorn. Seriously.

Who knew such a delicious, buttery treat could be such a catalyst for drama?

So, we were at the movies and after sitting down in our seats I asked my husband if he could go get me some popcorn. I mean, I didn't want to miss the beginning of the movie… He said something along the lines of, "Ugh, can you just go get it?" And I said something along the lines of, "You better sleep with one eye open tonight." 😜

I sulked off and got my popcorn. Then, I proceeded to watch the movie with a scowl and a bad attitude, similar to the combo my 2-year-old threw me a few days prior because I wouldn't give her my hot coffee (logical). This nonsense carried over into the car ride home. The evening that could have been a light, carefree night out with my partner turned into a bit of a dud.

But the thing is, it was never about the popcorn.

It was about my stress levels of being a work-from-home mom. It was about my exhaustion around having children who weren't sleeping well during the time.

It was about the mental load of motherhood that I carry around like a boulder in my brain. It was about feeling burnt out by all of life's responsibilities. It was about the fact that we hadn't been out on a date in over a month.

It was about the fact that our lives are consumed by preschool pickup and decisions about childcare and guilt over parenting fails and to-dos. It was about the pressure. Of parenting. Of adulting. Of date night.

Who has time to think of a new place to try for dinner? Who has the energy to shower, do their hair, put makeup on, and pick out a cute, flattering outfit on a Friday night after a long, long, long week? Who has the determination to make sure your date checks all the boxes—Is what we're doing exciting enough?

Are we going to the perfect restaurant? Does it matter that these Spanx are making me feel miserable? Should we do something spontaneous after dinner? Should I come up with some options for our spontaneous activity so we are prepared for spontaneity? 😂

The only question we should be asking ourselves is—what do we WANT to do on our date? The only goal we should have is to ditch the pressure and Just. Have. Fun.

The point of a date, especially as parents, is to connect. To have some alone time together. It's not to plan some magical, unicorn, non-existent "perfect" night out. This isn't The Bachelor. This isn't a planned-by-ABC one-on-one date involving a helicopter and bungee jumping. We both have already accepted the rose—we don't need perfection. What we need is to get out.

We're talking a meal at a restaurant and a rom-com. Sometimes we get wild and throw in an after-dinner drink somewhere. We go on dates to get away from poopy diapers and screaming toddlers. To go somewhere for a couple of hours so we can speak to each other at a normal decibel without pausing to answer questions like "WHERE DID YOU PUT MY WITCH HAT, MOOOOOM? I CAN'T FALL ASLEEP WITHOUT IT!" or "CAN YOU WIPE MEEEEE?!"

After more than a few dates like the popcorn-drama-night, we both have learned our lesson.

The recipe for a great date night is simple:

1. Leave your children home with someone you trust.

2. Exit the house and go somewhere together.

3. Wear clothes that are comfortable.

4. Have a good attitude.

5. Talk to each other.

(Bonus points if you can leave your kiddos home with a family member you don't have to pay!)

Recently, my husband and I went on a day date, to the beach, just the two of us. We left our girls home with their aunt (thanks, Liz!) and hightailed it outta there. We got iced coffees and sat on the sand under the warm sun.

We chatted and laughed and even just relaxed, laying there, closing our eyes—enjoying the peace and quiet. No one was eating sand. No one was complaining of the heat. No one had to go potty.

It was pretty amazing.

There was no bickering and no disappointment. It just worked.

I think we've found the secret to the elusive perfect parent date night: decrease your expectations and then you'll decrease the pressure. By doing that, you'll automatically decrease the chances of something or someone sabotaging your date, like an adult-sized tantrum caused by slick buttery popcorn.🍿

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While we love the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale for clothing and accessories for the fam, some of the biggest savings are on cult-favorite baby gear items.

We're talking Nuna, Joolz, Maxi-Cosi and Bugaboo, mamas. 🙌 These pieces rarely go on sale so if you're in the market for one, grab it while supplies last.

Here are our team's favorite picks:

1. Nuna convertible car seat

This convertible car seat will take your little from their first day well through toddlerhood. It offers a little extra legroom for you toddler as they grow and features ventilation panels that allow baby to stay cool.

Fave features: 10-position recline and head support, one-handed use harness, flip-open cupholders (on both sides).

RAVA™ Convertible Car Seat, $374.90 (after sale $499.95)

BUY

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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