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Craigslist is an amazing place to buy a car.


Not only does the company have an interestingly pure and minimalist approach to commerce that even your grandmother can utilize, but tons of local folks are selling great cars right near you, right now.

It might be easier to head down to dealership row in your town, but if you’re willing to do a little leg work and show up at someone’s house to check out their car, you can really find yourself a great vehicle and save a couple thousand dollars in the process. Here’s how.

1| Start with a broad search

Family cars owned by recent empty nesters are the cream of the crop; this is your primary target. So how do you get started? Well, hop onto Craigslist and search for cars “by-owner only.” (There are great cars at dealerships, but the diamonds are in your neighbor’s driveway.)

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Although specificity can be tempting, keep an open mind and try not to sort by a specific make and model. Instead, search for the type of vehicle that fits your lifestyle (minivan, SUV, etc.).

Once presented with a bunch of cars, open another browser tab to Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds, where you can compare the owner’s asking price with the car’s market value. Be sure to select the same options listed on these sites that the Craigslist car has – or at least get as close as you can – to make the most direct and effective comparison.

2 | Ask the right questions

When you’ve narrowed your list down based on price, it’s time to start checking the vehicles out. The first step, before you make appointments to see the cars, is to talk to the seller and ask the following questions:

  • How long have you owned the car? If the answer isn’t that long, there might be a reason they’re selling it so soon. If they are the original or long-term owner of the car and they have put the majority of the mileage on it, that’s good news. Don’t be scared away by a car with high mileage over 100k. Modern cars, if well cared for, can easily crest 200k or more. I recently helped a co-worker purchase a gem of a Volvo she found on Craigslist. The car looked beautiful and had well over 200k miles, but when you think about it, that’s a good thing. A car doesn’t get to 200k without some serious love and attention. The car easily had a few more years in it, and she picked it up for a song because other potential buyers were scared away by the number on the odometer.
  • Did you buy the car new or used? If they are the original owner, that’s great. If not, you’ll definitely want to run a CARFAX vehicle history report to see how many owners the vehicle has had. If a car is changing hands often, it could be a sign that it’s not living up to expectations.
  • What is your reason for selling? Most people have good reason to sell their car. The answer you’re looking for is one about how their lifestyle has changed and the car doesn’t fit their needs as much anymore. If the answer is that it needs “a few small maintenance items,” stay away unless you’re particularly mechanically savvy.
  • Do you have maintenance records for the vehicle? If there is no maintenance history, you may not want to look at the car. People who take great care of their cars generally save receipts, especially for major services.
  • Has the car ever been in an accident? Depending on the answer here, you may want to walk. If the answer is yes, your next question will be: In the front or the rear? If it’s in the front, it’s generally best to walk away.
  • While you’ve owned it, was the car stored in a garage or in the driveway? It actually matters. Cars stored outside are obviously exposed to the elements, and things like seals, paint, and electrical can take a beating. Also, rodents love to get into cars that are parked outside, so just be extra careful when looking these cars over.

3 | Perform a vehicle inspection

Once you have your list of vehicles narrowed down to a few choice gems you’re interested in seeing, get yourself prepared for the inspection of the vehicle yourself. (If you’d rather take it to your trusted independent mechanic to look over, by all means do. If the seller declines a mechanic’s inspection, walk away.)

Ask the seller to have the car cold if possible when you arrive. You’ll want to see how it starts when it’s not warmed up, but you’ll also be poking around a bit and nobody wants to get burned.

Always book your appointment during daylight hours so you can see all you need to see. And remember, you’re going to want to get on the ground and crawl around, so be prepared to get dirty. Bring disposable latex gloves since you’ll need to check out the engine and you might get a little oily. It’s also necessary to bring a good flashlight.

Before you even start the car or drive it, do a mechanical and visual inspection:

  • Paint and bodywork: Walk around the car and take note of dents, paint chips, and most importantly – look for rust. Some cosmetic rust is fine if you’re okay with it, but structural rust is a deal-breaker.
  • Wheels and tires: Make sure that the tires all match in brand and size. Also, look for recognizable brands like Bridgestone or Continental. Cheap tire brands – like Sunny, Nankang, Pegasus, and Geostar – are making their way into the U.S. market. These tires are not only unsafe, but if someone cuts corners and equips their family car with low budget tires, it makes you wonder where else they have cut corners on maintenance.
  • Brakes: While you’re checking out the wheels, have a look through the wheels at the brake pads. There should be some life left in them. Most modern cars have brake pad wear sensors, but it’s good to visually make sure there is at least ¼ inch of braking surface left on the pads.
  • Exhaust: Lay down and have a look at the exhaust system under the car with your flashlight. Make sure the muffler is free from holes and the exhaust pipe looks undamaged all the way up to the engine. Make sure there are no rust-through holes.
  • Under the hood: Don’t start the car yet, but open the hood and have a look around. Make sure that all wires look like they were factory-installed. This is also where you’ll check the fluids – engine oil and coolant, and brake, transmission, power steering, and transmission fluids.
  • Look for wet areas in the engine bay. If you spot some wet area, use your latex gloves and check them out. Touch the spot with your finger and smell it. If it smells sweet, it’s engine coolant. Coolant leaks can lead to big trouble. If you love the car, but suspect a coolant leak, have a mechanic check out the car unless you’re confident you know where it’s coming from. If you touch a fluid and it’s slippery and has a red color, that’s transmission fluid. Transmissions are expensive to rebuild or replace, so if you see red, have your mechanic check it out to be sure it’s not a problem.
  • Engine: Use your flashlight and look up and down the engine. Is it covered with oil? If so, there’s a leak somewhere. Oil leaks at the top of the engine are generally caused by a simple valve cover gasket leak, but those at the bottom or rear of the engine generally speak to more serious issues.
  • Belts: Make sure the vehicle belts are tight and in good shape. Belts that appear overly worn are an indication that the owner isn’t doing routine maintenance since many shops will recommend replacing worn belts. They’re cheap to replace but can cause big trouble if they break.

4 | Take a test drive

When you’re satisfied with the external inspection of the car, start it up. Have the door open or roll the window down so you can listen for any out-of-the-ordinary noises upon startup. With the car running, open the hood and have a look, listen, and smell.

You’re looking for evidence of smoke in the engine bay, you’re listening for anything out of the ordinary like a “tick, tick, tick” that sounds louder than what you’d normally expect. A little clicking when a cold car starts is usually fine, but it should dissipate as the car warms up and everything gets sufficiently lubricated.

Once you’re satisfied up front head around to the back and check out the exhaust. Some water vapor coming out is fine on startup, but you should watch for smoke and, more importantly, coolant. If there is any white smoke, waft it with your hand to your nose and smell it. A sweet smell means the car is burning coolant and that’s indicative of a head gasket issue. This, coupled with coolant in the engine bay, could mean problems.

When you’re done with these steps and you’re still feeling like the car is the right one for your family, it’s finally time to drive. If the car has an automatic transmission, make sure it’s going through the gears without any pops or bangs. It should shift smoothly. If the car revs too high before shifting and then pops into gear, it could mean the transmission is nearing the end of its life.

A few test drive tips:

  • Keep the radio off since you’ll be listening for weird noises.
  • Be sure you get the car on the highway and up to speed.
  • Hit the brakes, slowing the car from highway speed down to zero. Take note of any pulsation in the brake pedal or shimmy in the wheel while you do this. These symptoms are indicative of brake rotor issues. If a car needs brake work, that’s not a reason to walk away since brakes are a relatively easy thing to fix as long as the rest of the car is up to snuff.
  • Go somewhere you can make tight turns while listening out the window for any weird noises. You’re listening for pops, squeaks, whines, or bangs that could indicate suspension or power steering issues.
  • Find a parking lot and make sure everything works. Press every button; turn on the A/C and make sure it blows cold; work all of the wipers; try all of the door handles, windows, and the trunk or hatch release. Basically, you want to make sure every single thing works. Take note of items that do not so you can inform the seller. These items – however minute – are your leverage in a negotiation. Keep in mind though, you don’t want to kill a deal on a great car for a small issue that you believe will be a quick fix.

Have a look at the maintenance records that the seller has provided. You’re not worried about the little things like oil changes. Focus on the bottom line and look for anything over $250. Almost all repair orders show a date and mileage of the car when the service was completed.

Outside of oil changes, belts, hoses, and brakes, the major things you’re looking for in cars over or nearing 100k miles are the timing belt and water pump service. Typically this would be done on most engines somewhere between 90-100k miles. If the seller doesn’t have a receipt for it, pop the hood again and look around. Sometimes a service shop will write the date they did the service under the hood on the radiator cowl.

If you’re still reading this post 2,000 words later, you’re definitely ready to get out there and find a family car on Craigslist. There are deals to be had in the neighborhoods around your house if you’re willing to get your hands dirty. And it doesn’t hurt to know a little more about the car you’re driving than just how to put gas in it.

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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 30, 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

walmart-best-baby-carseat

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

walmart-best-baby-carseat

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)

SHOP

Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia

walmart-best-baby-carseat

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)

SHOP

Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

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)

SHOP

Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

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)

SHOP

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)

SHOP

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)

SHOP

Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

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)

SHOP

Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

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)

SHOP

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

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Kid's birthday parties can be great: There's lots of playtime for little ones to wear themselves out, the entertainment is free and it's the perfect time to bond with other mamas. But when it comes to gift-giving, everyone's interpretation of these unwritten rules is different which can create unwanted stress.

You know the scene: Some mamas prefer to give handmade gifts, others like buying popular toys and some only contribute to the child's college tuition.

If you haven't already heard, the trending theme for kid's birthday parties is "the fiver" and it takes the guesswork out of gift-giving. Rather than spending $20 on a toy they probably won't play with in a month the hosts ask for a $5 bill. The money is pooled together and can be put towards one big, much more significant gift, instead of many smaller, less meaningful things. The idea is simple, and it turns out, hosting one is similar to throwing a traditional birthday party.

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Here are six ways to throw a seamless (and fun!) fiver party:

1. Don't do it alone

Many moms tend to plan everything for their kids' parties all by themselves. They write down a list of things that they need to do and feel accomplished after checking off every single item. But, when the special day finally comes, moms stress over the details for fear that something might go wrong.

When planning a fiver party, delegate tasks and responsibilities during the planning process. Having a helper or two for the big day cuts down on having to clean up a big mess afterward.

2. Create a distraction-free environment

Though this sounds like a tip for doing homework, it applies to throwing a party, too. If you book a show for 3- or 4-year-olds, it's better to hide all the toys and snacks beforehand so they can sit longer and focus better on the activity you planned. Best of all, with fiver parties, you don't have to worry about designating an area to open a bunch of gifts.

3. Remember that hand painting is better for toddlers

Many children like to get their faces painted for their birthdays or for special events. Though face painting is a popular activity, children who are less than 4 years old will often start moving, fidgeting or crying in the middle of it and turn the beautiful butterfly on their faces into a mess. Because of this, try hand painting for the younger ones.

4. Always keep them busy

Fill your fiver party with activities so that the guests will always have something to do. Maybe this sounds a bit difficult, but you don't necessarily need to book 10 shows for one party. Simply prepare a few easy games (like a treasure hunt, musical chairs and sack race) for them to play beforehand. Keeping the children occupied will make your fiver party fun and memorable.

5. Less is more

A shortlist of guests will keep your little one from feeling overwhelmed by the attention. For toddlers, a party that lasts about an hour and a half is perfect. If they're a bit older, add another hour. Just remember children don't need much to feel happy and loved.

Bonus! Here are two ways to save money while making your kids' fiver party memorable:

1. Host the party at home.

Sure, venues are great, but they can be pricey. Having a party at home is inexpensive and intimate. Also, kids are more likely to interact with each other if the space is smaller.

2. Only serve snacks.

A common way to stay on budget is to invite people between meals and prepare snacks, not a full meal. Most kids are usually so busy playing they'll just graze anyway.

This article was originally published on Partify by Natalie Wong and it has been republished with permission from the author.

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Learn + Play

When your toddler is screaming for milk, a toy or a snack in the middle of the grocery store, it may feel like your world is closing in on you. It might not seem like it in the moment, but tantrums are a normal part of your child's development—it's a child's way of expressing how they feel.

But regardless of why little ones throw fits, it can be tough to navigate. We looked to the parenting threads on Reddit where mamas discuss the ins and outs as well as ups and downs of child-rearing. We were all ears.

Here's the best tantrum advice Reddit mamas swear by:

1. Wait it out

"Tantrums are a toddler's way of venting excess frustration, energy and emotion. Just wait it out and once it's dying down, offer some comfort. After, talk with them and verbalize and validate their emotions."— StayAtHome478936

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2. Don't entertain it

"Do not engage with them at all during a tantrum. It's tempting to try to calm them down and introduce some reason to the situation, but don't give in to that. Screaming is a one-way ticket to being completely ignored. They're allowed to be frustrated and upset, but you're not obligated to listen to it."— VoteyDisciple

3. Give yourself a mommy break

"I give myself mommy time outs if I'm getting frustrated or angry and even though no one is enforcing me, I still get the benefit of calming myself down, and my daughter sees me proactively taking care of my mood/behavior."— ChandrikaMoon

4. Let them explore their world

"If you have patience with misbehavior, you open the door to your child escalating until she has your full attention. I let my toddler explore her world and do anything I deem safe, but I am strict about enforcing safety rules and I do not allow her to misbehave without consequences."— soMuchToFind

5. Focus on the real issue

"Rather than punishing the symptom of the issue, work on the actual issue. For my 4-year-old son we are working on breathing and counting as a coping mechanism for when emotions become too overwhelming. For him, it works well. He responds to most minor and medium emotions by breathing now."— Hiitskai

6. Say 'no' less

"There is a school of thought that if the child reacts terribly every time you say 'no,' say 'no' less. Instead of no cookie you say you can have carrots or cheese now. Always offer one or two good choices when you can and it will head off at least some of the fits."— toasterchild

7. Take away things

"My kid started showing signs of being low-level obsessed with a game so we took it away cold turkey. We explained that the game makes him behave in a way we don't like, so we are going to take a break. Sure he wasn't happy about it, but we are the adults and he is entitled to feel any way he wants to."— greenpotatoes9

8. Offer breaks

"Daycare helped us so much with tantrums. They taught her the phrase 'I need my space.' So, when she has her tantrum, she goes away for a moment, and then comes back in a calmer state of mind. Often, the more we try to help her, the worse it gets."— dave moe dee

9. Play music

"The main thing that almost never fails is listening to music during a tantrum. I'm really into music myself so I guess this is no huge surprise but my girl just cannot cry while Beyonce is playing."— PavLovesDogs

10. Do something unrelated

"As long as the kid isn't actively endangering themselves while throwing the temper tantrum, I completely ignore it. I make a point of going about my business and doing something wholly unrelated to whatever lead up to the tantrum. It didn't take long for my kid to learn that the screaming and fussing won't get them what they want."— PerestroikaPal

11. Compromise

"If you give into a tantrum, find a way to make it seem like you're compromising for some other reason, but not because of the tantrum. I always tell my 3 year old 'You know how to ask. If you want something, use your words, ask nicely."—athaliah

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Learn + Play

When kids enter puberty we warn them about the change. We tell them their bodies are changing and that it's normal and natural and they're beautiful just as they are. But when women become mothers and their bodies—and brains—change, we are not offered the same affirmations and comfort as adolescents. Society tells children to accept the ways their bodies stretch, grow and shift to carry them through adulthood, but it tells the women who carry these children in their own bodies to fight change at all costs.

Luckily, that is changing. Women are standing up and saying what society should have been telling us all along: Yes, motherhood changes your body, but that change is beautiful.

And now, in a brilliant move that is both excellent marketing and empowering, hundreds of women are putting their postpartum bodies on display. The act is a powerful statement to themselves and to other mothers: Our bodies are meant to evolve and change, and you are normal and natural and beautiful just as you are.

Knix is selling underwear, but the brand is also creating real change with a project called The Life After Birth Project, which saw 250 photos of real moms exhibited in an NYC gallery before rolling into Knix's hometown, Toronto, Canada, this week.

The photos are refreshingly real and exactly what women need to see in 2019.

The Life After Birth Project shows the beauty and reality of postpartum healing 

One of the most damaging myths about postpartum recovery is that it is quick. It isn't. It actually takes about six to eight weeks for the uterus to shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size. The bump doesn't instantly disappear because it took 9 months to grow. A mother's body needs time to heal after birth, whether it was a vaginal delivery or a C-section, but too many mothers aren't given that time.

In the United States, so many working moms are back at their job within five weeks of giving birth, and even if paid work isn't a factor, unpaid labor and family obligations can have mothers doing too much too soon.

As Diana Spalding, midwife and Motherly's Digital Education Editor and Birth Expert, has said, "You would never expect someone to clean their house a few days after having surgery, or to run errands when they are getting over the flu—so why do we expect ourselves to snap out of giving birth? Pregnancy and birth are not ailments, but they are the real deal. Be gentle on yourself, and allow your body to heal."

Mothers should not be embarrassed by their changing bodies 

A recent survey found more than a third of women (37%) felt embarrassed by what their body was going through after birth. This is not okay, and it is why we need more projects like the The Life After Birth Project and more companies doing what Knix is doing.

That is why celebrities like Jillian Harris, pictured above, stepped up and shared photos of their own postpartum experiences for the Life After Birth project.

Yes, Jillian is wearing mesh panties and a giant pad in the above photo. But that's part of the journey and nothing to be embarrassed about.

We need to see our stories represented and know that this is normal.

More photos from #LifeAfterBirth

Four pregnancies in four years. This mama has been through so much and has some serious advice: "I wish our always busy culture recognized it more and gave new mothers patience and grace."

So do we Amy, so do we.

See the gallery in person

The Life After Birth Project is currently in Toronto but the next stop is Los Angeles on October 24.

The gallery will keep touring the US, too.

Stops are planned in Portland, Seattle, Dallas, Austin, Denver, Minneapolis. if you want to submit your own photos, tag @lifeafterbirthproject on Instagram and use the hashtag #LifeAfterBirth, or email your photos to lifeafterbirth@knix.com.

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News

You know that moment when you find yourself standing in line at the grocery store next to the "All-Together Woman"? Come on, you know the one.

She very well may have just stepped out of a magazine centerfold, while you are fairly certain you resemble something more along the lines of a real-life muppet. This woman is flawless. Her makeup is spot-on, her clothes are wrinkle-free. Her toes are manicured and her fingernails look like they never once, in the course of her what-must-be-a-dream-life, scrubbed a single dirty bathtub, poopy toilet or messy kitchen floor.

Okay, seriously, I know you know what I am talking about now.

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But, here's the thing. I don't hate her. I don't even envy her. Because I don't know her. I have no idea what her personal struggles are. I applaud her for her obvious fashion skills and mad makeup abilities. I will probably even tell her I love her hair. Or her shoes. Or her something.

And, for all I know, while I am admiring her trendy jacket and cropped top she very well may be admiring my children and my life. Maybe, just maybe, she thinks my yoga pants paired with a hoodie and clean-ish Converse shoes along with my ridiculously huge diaper bag that seconds as my purse and kitchen fridge on-the-go are totally adorbs!

I will most likely scrounge up the courage to drag myself to a mirror sometime in the next hour or so just to see what exactly I looked like next to this magical being. Chances are I had green and blue fruit loops bits stuck somewhere between my teeth, a messy bun that closely resembled a bird's nest and overly unplucked eyebrows. Chances are also extremely high there was not a lick of makeup to hide my exhausted, sleep-deprived eyelids, either. My breasts will still be saggy and my tummy will still be loose.

Listen, my seasons will change. All too soon my kids will be older and I will have more energy to prep myself before going out in public. I will be more rested and will probably (hopefully) have lost some pre/post-baby weight. I won't be rushed to pick up peanut butter and milk after school drop-off but before nap. Brushing my teeth in the morning will no longer seem like a luxury. I may even become the "All-Together Woman."

But, in this season, today, I am going to tell myself "I am enough."

Because I AM enough.

My babies don't see her, they see ME, their mommy and #1 person. They love me unconditionally. And I am enough.

My husband respects me as his partner and the mother of his children. He tells me I'm beautiful and loves my body, including all of the wreckage and battle scars left behind from eight babies. And I am enough.

My friends see me for who I am. They know I'm clumsy, goofy and imperfect. And they don't even care that I wear Pajama Jeans. And I am enough.

It is easy (entirely too easy) to look at ourselves as the lesser version of our reality. We can be our biggest critics and shamers. Our own worst enemies.

It's so important that we begin teaching our daughters that they are enough. That who they are in the inside will manifest itself into what they are on the outside. Let's teach our girls, together, to claim their beauty, their strengths and their sense-of-self from within. First and always.

Everything on the outside is literally just the surface. It's time, ladies. And I know you can do it. Because you are enough.

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