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Our experiences in childhood are still part of our lives, they inform our unconscious reactions and ability to respond to parenting stress. We may think that we’ve left those experiences behind, perhaps through therapy and self-care, perhaps through time and distance. However, there is nothing like raising children to teach you that you really don’t know anything, even about yourself.


Everyone has voices from childhood in their head. Some of them are comforting and speak to us of our strength and bravery. Others shake us to our core and cause us to whisper to our children in fierce voices “I will not do that to you.” Sometimes we do it anyway.

Why? Why do we become the very thing we swore never to become?

Research tells us that one of the biggest predictors of how we perform as parents is how we were treated as children. You may automatically think that a kick-ass childhood equals a stable, nurturing parent, while a less than ideal childhood equals a screaming banshee. However, history is not destiny.

Our parents were our first teachers. We absorbed their words and their body language. We made decisions about our worth and our place in the world. These decisions may not always be accurate, very few parents set out to damage their child. However, even an extremely loved child can still be a victim of circumstance and end up with a negative self-view.

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When we become parents ourselves, we tap into this reservoir of thoughts and feelings about what it means to be a parent. We may find ourselves inadvertently channeling our parents in our speech and actions, or we may find ourselves headed so fast in the opposite direction you couldn’t see our childhood for the dust.

Our ability to navigate this underlying predilection depends on many things – daily stresses, reservoirs of patience, and the complexity of our own personal issues. The best way to traverse this hidden predilection is to bring it into the light. By examining our thought processes and underlying beliefs we can identify areas to improve.

Anger in the Kitchen

Each of us wants the absolute best for our children. We want them to face the world with heads held high and to wear, like armor, the knowledge that they are worthwhile. They are loved. They are perfect in their imperfections. If anyone doesn’t think so, they can piss off.

If you have at your core a voice that tells you that maybe, perhaps, you are worthless – that you don’t deserve to be happy – then the last thing you want to do is hand that to your children. When I’m rested and re-charged then the reach of these voices is limited. Unfortunately, often I’m not.

I’m tired. I’m cranky. All I want is coffee and three minutes to adjust to being awake when I deeply do not want to be awake. My children are bounding around like puppies. They’re barking and jumping up on my legs. The game they want me to play is one in which I pretend they’re real dogs and give them a treat (weirdos).

I wearily comply, but my heart’s not in it, and they can tell. They jump again. “Both of you! STOP!” I throw a tea-towel on the floor like a grenade. There is no bomb, no shock of light, just a disappointing wet thud that feels like a metaphor for my life in general. The puppies are quietened by this display of tea-towel might. They look at me with big eyes and slink away. I really could have handled this differently. I have my silence, but it’s not golden.

Find the Source, Do the Work

Frustration is inevitable and normal, but if you find yourself burning past frustration to white hot rage then, yes, that’s a problem. Anger is usually used as a cover up for fear, so the question is – what are you afraid of?

For me, it was not getting my needs met. The fear was that there would never be enough time in the day or space from my children for me to recharge. I was scared I would be perpetually grumpy and depleted and obviously ruin both my life and theirs. I felt powerless to stop this.

The worst part was that I had taken my problem and made it their problem. I was relying on these two tiny people who had just figured out how to pour juice to not need me. I was asking them to have enough emotional awareness to take care of themselves for twenty minutes when that clearly isn’t their job.

It is not their job to look after me, emotionally or otherwise. It is 100 percent my job to make sure my needs are met. Sacrificing myself on the altar of martyrdom may have made me feel a bit better about my outbursts but it certainly didn’t make my children feel better. Additionally, it was a fairly crappy way to live, for all of us.

I needed to do the emotional work myself. I needed to go to the source of the need inside me and give myself permission to be my own hero instead of waiting for someone else to tell me it was okay to take a break courtesy of Paw Patrol, to book that day of childcare, and that it was definitely ok to heat up that tin of beans for dinner – technically a vegetable! Fiber! Already comes with tomato sauce! Most of all I needed to figure out that it was ok to ask my children to wait. It was okay for them to experience frustration and anger themselves.

Find the source of your anger and do the work to break the cycle. History isn’t destiny, we have the capacity to look at our past and decide what to keep and what no longer serves us.

Choices

I learned a lot of things from figuring out the source of my own frustration, and there were positives too. Sometimes a problematic childhood can lead to some fantastic parenting decisions.

The voice in my head that told me I wasn’t good enough to get a break may have given me a consistent reason to buy self-help books and have a strange relationship with tea-towels, but it also gave me a clear idea of the parent I wanted to be. My awareness of my own hang-ups would prompt me to get down on the floor with my children, to hold them and tell them it wasn’t their fault.

I would do the repair work. My desire to give my children a better life or at least a different hang-up, possibly about baked beans, led me to get up a thousand nights in a row to kiss baby cheeks and soothe them back to sleep, to stroke faces while tiny hearts broke over scraped knees instead of shouting, “You’re fine! Get up!” I made the choice to do better, and while it doesn’t always work, it’s working most of the time – and that’s okay.

Despite historical influences in our lives, relationships with our children are built on decisions. We have the power to change those decisions. There is nothing pre-ordained about parenthood, nothing that we cannot fix or reel back in for another try.

There are only tiny choices. There are only massive choices. If you want to break the cycle, you have to do the work. Give your children the best version of themselves you can, even if it’s not what you were given. Find out what the real need is behind your frustration. What are you scared of? What needs healing? Find the source, do the work, and do better – for yourself and your children.

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By: Justine LoMonaco


From the moment my daughter was born, I felt an innate need to care for her. The more I experienced motherhood, I realized that sometimes this was simple―after all, I was hardwired to respond to her cries and quickly came to know her better than anyone else ever could―but sometimes it came with mountains of self-doubt.

This was especially true when it came to feeding. Originally, I told myself we would breastfeed―exclusively. I had built up the idea in my mind that this was the correct way of feeding my child, and that anything else was somehow cheating. Plus, I love the connection it brought us, and so many of my favorite early memories are just my baby and me (at all hours of night), as close as two people can be as I fed her from my breast.

Over time, though, something started to shift. I realized I felt trapped by my daughter's feeding schedule. I felt isolated in the fact that she needed me―only me―and that I couldn't ask for help with this monumental task even if I truly needed it. While I was still so grateful that I was able to breastfeed without much difficulty, a growing part of me began fantasizing about the freedom and shared burden that would come if we bottle fed, even just on occasion.

I was unsure what to expect the first time we tried a bottle. I worried it would upset her stomach or cause uncomfortable gas. I worried she would reject the bottle entirely, meaning the freedom I hoped for would remain out of reach. But in just a few seconds, those worries disappeared as I watched her happily feed from the bottle.

What I really didn't expect? The guilt that came as I watched her do so. Was I robbing her of that original connection we'd had with breastfeeding? Was I setting her up for confusion if and when we did go back to nursing? Was I failing at something without even realizing it?

In discussing with my friends, I've learned this guilt is an all too common thing. But I've also learned there are so many reasons why it's time to let it go.

1) I'm letting go of guilt because...I shouldn't feel guilty about sharing the connection with my baby. It's true that now I'm no longer the only one who can feed and comfort her any time of day or night. But what that really means is that now the door is open for other people who love her (my partner, grandparents, older siblings) to take part in this incredible gift. The first time I watched my husband's eyes light up as he fed our baby, I knew that I had made the right choice.

2) I'm letting go of guilt because...the right bottle will prevent any discomfort. It took us a bit of trial and error to find the right bottle that worked for my baby, but once we did, we rarely dealt with gas or discomfort―and the convenience of being able to pack along a meal for my child meant she never had to wait to eat when she was hungry. Dr. Brown's became my partner in this process, offering a wide variety of bottles and nipples designed to mimic the flow of my own milk and reduce colic and excess spitting up. When we found the right one, it changed everything.

3) I'm letting go of guilt because...I've found my joy in motherhood again. That trapped feeling that had started to overwhelm me? It's completely gone. By removing the pressure on myself to feed my baby a certain way, I realized that it was possible to keep her nourished and healthy―while also letting myself thrive.

So now, sometimes we use the bottle. Sometimes we don't. But no matter how I keep my baby fed, I know we've found the right way―guilt free.


This article is sponsored by Dr. Browns. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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If there's one item that people claim is *so* worth the price-tag, it's a Dyson vacuum. The cordless tools have become essentials in homes, cleaning up messes quickly, all without the hassle of a cord.

If you've avoided purchasing one because of the high cost, you're in luck! They're having a sale on Amazon right now. Some of the most popular vacuums and air purifiers are up to 40% off.

Dyson Cyclone V10 Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner, $379.99

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Arguably the most popular of the Dyson family, and marked down 20%.

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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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Beyoncé's new Netflix documentary Homecoming hit the streaming service today and gives us an honest look at how difficult her twin pregnancy was.

"My body went through more than I knew it could," she says in the film, revealing that her pregnancy with Sir and Rumi was a shock right from the beginning, and the surprises kept coming.

In the film she reveals that her second pregnancy was unexpected, "And it ended up being twins which was even more of a surprise," she explains.

Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé | Official Trailer | Netflix

The pregnancy was rough. Beyoncé developed preeclampsia, a condition that impacts about 5 to 8% of pregnancies and results in high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the mother's urine. Preeclampsia poses risks to both the mother and the baby. People who are pregnant with multiples, like Beyoncé was, are more at risk to develop preeclampsia, and the only real cure for the condition is to give birth, which proved to be another medical challenge for Beyoncé.

"In the womb, one of my babies' hearts paused a few times so I had to get an emergency C-section," she shares in the film.

Thankfully, Beyoncé made it through her extremely difficult pregnancy, but the physical challenges didn't end there. The road to rehabilitation for the performer was difficult because, as she explains, she was trying to learn new choreography while her body was repairing cut muscles and her mind just wanted to be home with her children.

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"There were days that I thought I'd never be the same. I'd never be the same physically, my strength and endurance would never be the same," Beyoncé recalls.

We know that becoming a mother changes us in so many ways, and in Homecoming, Beyoncé shows the world the strength that mothers possess, and rejects any ideas about "bouncing back."

Becoming a mother is hard, but it is so worth it, and Beyoncé isn't looking backward—she's looking at a mother in the mirror and loving who and what she sees. "I just feel like I'm just a new woman in a new chapter of my life and I'm not even trying to be who I was," Beyoncé said in the documentary. "It's so beautiful that children do that to you."

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Warmer weather is finally here, mama—and that means it's time to switch up the family's wardrobes. 🙌 If you love matching with your little, or are determined to *finally* get those family photos made this spring or summer, we're obsessed with these mommy and me matching sets.

Here are some of our favorite mommy and me matching outfits for spring. 😍

1. Ivy City Co Jumpsuits, $42.00-$62.00

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This linen set is perfect for transitioning from hanging out at home to dressing up for days out. Plus, plenty of space for growth!

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2. Madewell x crewcuts Denim Set, $55.00 and up

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We're obsessed with the '90s vibes these sets give. Now to decide which to choose—denim jacket, shorts, or dress?

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3. Old Navy Floral Midi Dresses, $10.00-$22.50

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Nothing says spring quite like florals. The whimsical prints are dainty and the rayon fabric is breathable for those warmer days. Shop mama's version here.

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4. PatPat Matching Family Swimwear, $19.99 and up

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Match with the entire family with this pinstripe set. We love the one shoulder look, too!

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5. Keds x Rifle Paper Co Sneakers, $44.95-$79.95

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Twin with your little in these embroidered canvas sneakers. Bonus points for a rubber outsole so no slipping. 👏Shop the version for mama here.

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6. Lily Pulitzer Shift Dresses, $58.00-$198.00

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Still not sure what to wear for Easter or that summer soirée? Pick up these matching shift dresses for the most beautiful family photos. Shop mama's version here.

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7. Maisonette x marysia Swimwear, $57.00 and up

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These are definitely splurge-worthy, but we can't get over how adorable they pair together.

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8. PatPat Gingham Dresses, $17.99-23.99

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These will be your go-to pick for every outing this spring and summer.

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9. Old Navy Striped Oxford Shirts, $13.00-$22.00

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A relaxed oxford is a staple in everyone's closet. It's versatile enough to dress up or pair with denim for a more laid back look. Shop mama's version here.

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10. Pink Chicken Garden Dress, $72.00-$198.00

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Whether you have a spring wedding to attend or want something flowy to wear for vacation, we adore these garden dresses. Bonus points for working for maternity wear, too.

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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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Being a perfectionist has naturally been part of who I was since as long as I can remember. I could blame living in the continental U.S., where perfectionism is highly esteemed, or the family dynamics that come with growing up in a household of five women.

Deep down, though, I think it all really stems from a deep and instinctual longing to be loved, accepted and approved. Whatever the reason, it has never really been a part of me that I considered a problem.

That is, until, I became a mom.

When I had my first child, I did the best I could to keep it all together, to prevent people from seeing how my perfection was being pulled apart at the seams.

A nap schedule was, of course, essential. My son was easygoing and slept through the night like an angel baby. My house was still spotless and I managed to somehow work part-time and keep healthy meals on the table every night, but I did struggle tremendously with breastfeeding.

Since I took this failure as a great assault at my abilities to properly nurture my child, I let mom guilt run rampant over the issue. I decided I would just step up my perfect-parenting game in another way by pumping breastmilk around the clock until my son was around 18 months old.

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For anyone who has ever exclusively pumped, you know it can become total madness and take away the joy of feeding your child.

Managing a toddler was definitely wild, but with my background in pediatrics, I knew how to keep him busy while I kept things "under control." In other words, with just one child, I could still play the part of being perfect. All was fine until I became a mom of two children. It wasn't long after my daughter was born that I realized I needed to start letting go of perfection.

I was living alone in a new city with no help and my husband worked long hours. Managing a 2-year-old and a newborn, all while trying to keep a perfectly clean house and healthy dinners on the table every night, was, to my surprise, impossible in every way. My body was a wreck, not "bouncing back" as it did with my first. My daughter never slept for more than three hours until she was over a year old. She cried for hours on end most nights, as I tried relentlessly to calm her.

I remember bouncing her in her carrier for hours trying to get her to calm down and settle in for sleep. Meanwhile, I was a zombie and my son tore every square inch of the house into pieces. Keeping a naptime schedule was nearly impossible with another child to consider. Dinner was often takeout. There were days when I didn't look in the mirror or have proper clothing on until 5 pm.

The demands of motherhood laughed at my idea of picture-perfect motherhood. Every night I went to bed feeling like I had failed my children. I cried. Oh man, did I cry.

It wasn't long until I came to the realization that if I wanted to be a good mom, that is, to focus on things that are actually important, I had to stop sweating all the small stuff.

Even though I didn't really know how I was relieved that I didn't have to keep up with myself anymore. I had grown so weary of the high standards I had set for myself and those around me. I wanted a way out of the perfectionist trap and to loosen the reigns.

I realized that the most beautiful encounters with my children had been when I decided to say, "Oh, don't worry about it!" (i.e. the house, dinner, naptime schedules, etc). Love and joyful encounters with my children was incomparable to the latter. I knew my children needed me to look at them and not the 3-day- old stain on the dining room floor. The beauty in the moments, when I intentionally chose stillness and gratitude over productivity, was the reason I decided it was time to lay down a life-long pattern of perfectionism and control.

The problem was, I didn't really know where to start. I had been living this way for more than three decades. But I did know that I needed to start somewhere. So I started practicing being imperfect. Just like I had been teaching my 4-year old son. "The only way to get better at something is by practicing," I would tell him.

So, I did. And so I still am, practicing being imperfect.

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