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“Well, my parents spanked me and I turned out all right!”

If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us would report that more often than not, the way we instinctually approach parenting situations with our children stems from the way we were parented ourselves.

This is not a shocking revelation. It makes good sense that our parenting is a learned behavior. After all, most of us spent 18+ years experiencing and observing the actions and approaches of our parents, and – like it or not – these are the reactions and responses called up by our subconscious when we’re caught in the heat of the moment with our own children.


For some parents, following the path on which they were raised may be working well (good for you, I assure you I am only a tiny bit envious), but the world has changed. Back in the day, survival, respect, and productivity were the main focus of raising kids, which made sense given the cultural and industrial climate of previous generations.

Today, parenting has been flipped on its head, which, in many ways, is a good thing. We now know that parenting based on our child’s unique temperament and emotional needs can enhance their social and emotional development immensely. Here’s some food for thought on why you may want to flip the parenting script a bit with your own kids.

Your child has special needs.

Whether the issue lies in the emotional, physical, or developmental realm for your child, having atypical development is going to make parenting more complex. It’s likely that due to the experiences your child has had, their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors will be more complex and therefore more challenging for you to address. As stressful as this will be at times, adapting your parenting to these needs can be a game changer for both your child and your family life in general.

Parents will likely need to work harder to understand the root cause of their children’s behaviors, in order to find the interventions that will be successful. Of course, there are basic truths that apply when handling difficult behaviors in all children, but children struggling socially, behaviorally, or academically will benefit from a more specialized approach than you likely had as a child.

Your go-to parenting approaches don’t work for your child.

Resist the urge to run and grab your pitchforks and hear me out. No, the world should not revolve around our children, and yes, our kids do need to adapt to the order and routine in the world around them, including adult authorities. However, this is a very different story than adapting our ways of disciplining (teaching) and reacting to them in day-to-day life.

Don’t get me wrong, this one is a painful point for many of us. We are parenting on our merry way with acceptable methods that seem to work well for other kids (maybe even your other kids), but it just feels like you’re banging your head against a brick wall. Your child’s behaviors aren’t changing, and in fact, may be getting worse. If this is happening, it’s likely that your well-meaning approach is not in tune with your child’s personality or temperament. 

As adults, we’re aware that we all have things to which we respond more positively. We know what types of communication get through to us better than others, or what learning styles we’re most receptive to. Our children are no different. Pretending these differences aren’t there doesn’t do them, or us, any favors. The more we can attune and adjust to our child’s needs, the higher the odds are that our parenting efforts will be fruitful.

The way you were parented doesn’t align with your own goals and philosophies.

Parenting nowadays is markedly different than in generations past. We have information, lots of information, and good stuff at that. Although we may take many of these resources for granted (and be overwhelmed by them at times), parents did not always have help or support in navigating the complicated and crazy-making world of parenting.

It only makes sense that we would take advantage of facts that resulted from actual science over previous decades, indicating which approaches yield the best and most positive lasting results with children. When we take time to explore what our parenting values are, we are making the choice to be intentional in the way we raise our kids. Some of these values will align with the way you were parented, and some will not, but figuring out the difference enables us to become conscious of the way we’re approaching things in the moment with our own children. 

The thing is, changing aspects of your parenting approach from the one you experienced is not about whether or not your parents got it right, it’s about whether or not you’re trying your best to get it right with your own unique child.

We know with great certainty that every child and every family is unique. Attuning and adjusting to these needs gives our parenting and our kids an extra edge towards healthy development in all aspects of life. Is it more work? Hell, yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. We only have one shot at this parenting gig. None of us will do it perfectly, but I think we can all agree we’d like to look back and know that we never stopped giving it, and them, our best shot. 

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As a former beauty editor, I pride myself in housing the best skincare products in my bathroom. Walk in and you're sure to be greeted with purifying masks, micellar water, retinol ceramide capsules and Vitamin C serums. What can I say? Old habits die hard. But when I had my son, I was hesitant to use products on him. I wanted to keep his baby-soft skin for as long as possible, without tainting it with harsh chemicals.

Eventually, I acquiesced and began using leading brands on his sensitive skin. I immediately regretted it. His skin became dry and itchy and regardless of what I used on him, it never seemed to get better. I found myself asking, "Why don't beauty brands care about baby skin as much as they care about adult skin?"

When I had my daughter in May, I knew I had to take a different approach for her skin. Instead of using popular brands that are loaded with petroleum and parabens, I opted for cleaner products. These days I'm all about skincare that contains super-fruits (like pomegranate sterols, which are brimming with antioxidants) and sulfate-free cleansers that contain glycolipids that won't over-dry her skin. And, so far, Pipette gets it right.

What's in it

At first glance, the collection of shampoo, wipes, balm, oil and lotion looks like your typical baby line—I swear cute colors and a clean look gets me everytime—but there's one major difference: All products are environmentally friendly and cruelty-free, with ingredients derived from plants or nontoxic synthetic sources. Also, at the core of Pipette's formula is squalane, which is basically a powerhouse moisturizing ingredient that babies make in utero that helps protect their skin for the first few hours after birth. And, thanks to research, we know that squalane isn't an irritant, and is best for those with sensitive skin. Finally, a brand really considered my baby's dry skin.

Off the bat, I was most interested in the baby balm because let's be honest, can you ever have too much protection down there? After applying, I noticed it quickly absorbed into her delicate skin. No rash. No irritation. No annoyed baby. Mama was happy. It's also worth noting there wasn't any white residue left on her bottom that usually requires several wipes to remove.

Why it's different

I love that Pipette doesn't smell like an artificial baby—you, know that powdery, musky note that never actually smells like a newborn. It's fragrance free, which means I can continue to smell my daughter's natural scent that's seriously out of this world. I also enjoy that the products are lightweight, making her skin (and my fingers) feel super smooth and soft even hours after application.

The bottom line

Caring for a baby's sensitive skin isn't easy. There's so much to think about, but Pipette makes it easier for mamas who don't want to compromise on safety or sustainability. I'm obsessed, and I plan to start using the entire collection on my toddler as well. What can I say, old habits indeed die hard.

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

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Military families give up so much for their country, particularly when they have small children at home. Those of us who have never witnessed this kind of sacrifice first-hand could use a reminder of it once in a while, which is just one of the reasons we're so happy to see the beautiful photoshoot Mary Chevalier arranged for her husband's return home from Afghanistan.

The photoshoot was extra special because while James Chevalier was serving a nine-month deployment, Mary gave birth to their second son, Caspian.

Getting ready to meet Dad

"During the laboring and birthing process of Caspian, I was surrounded by family, but that did not fill the void of not having my husband by my side," Mary told InsideEdition.com. "He was able to video chat during the labor and birth, but for both of us, it was not enough."

While James had yet to meet Caspian, their 3-year-old son, Gage, missed his dad a whole lot, so this homecoming was going to be a big deal for him too. That's why Mary arranged for her wedding photographer, Brittany Watson, to be with them for their reunion in Atlanta.

Gage was so happy to see his Dad 

"[He] had no idea he was going to be getting to see his daddy that day," Watson wrote on Facebook. "The family met at the Southeastern Railway Museum for Gage to go on a special train ride... little did he know, he'd be doing it with daddy!"

Watson did a beautiful job capturing the high emotions of every single family member, from Gage's surprise, to the delight on baby Caspian's face. It's no wonder her Facebook post went viral last week.

"Caspian is natural, a very happy baby, but both James and I felt like Caspian knew who his father was almost immediately," Mary told Inside Edition. "He was easily comforted by me husband right off the bat and seemed to have an instant connection. It was very emotional."

The moment this dad had been waiting for 

If we're sobbing just looking at the photos, we can't even imagine what it was like in real life.

"We are all so blessed and take so much for granted," Watson wrote. "I cannot contain the joy I feel in my heart when I look at these images, and I hope you feel it too!"

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During both of my pregnancies, I was under the care of an amazing midwife. Every time I went to her office for check-ups, I was mesmerized by the wall of photos participating in what may be the most painfully magical moment of a woman's life: giving birth. But there was a painting that always drew my attention: a woman dressed in orange, holding her newborn baby with a face that could be described as clueless. The line above the canvas read, "Now what?"

I felt like the woman in the painting as I kissed my mother goodbye when my daughter was born. She came from my native Colombia to stay with us for three months. When she left, I realized that my husband had been working as usual during those first 90 days of our new life. My baby was born on a Friday and on Monday he was back at the office. (No parental leave policy for him.)


Now what? I thought. The quote "It takes a village to raise a child" suddenly started to hit home, literally.

After a few years in Miami, I had some friends, but it truly didn't feel like I had a village. Some were not mothers yet, most of them worked full-time and others didn't live close by. My nomad life left my best friends spread out in different places in the world. I found myself signing up for "mommy and me" classes in search of new mothers, immigrants like me, alone like me.

It seemed like a utopian dream to think about when my grandmothers became mothers. Both of them had 6 and 10 children and they were able to stay sane (or maybe not? I don't know). But at least they had family around—people cooking, offering help. There was a sense of community.

My mother and father grew up in "the village." Big families with so many children that the older siblings ended up taking care of the little ones; aunts were like second mothers and neighbors became family.

When I was about to give birth to my second baby, my sister had just had her baby girl back in Colombia. Once, she called me crying because her maternity leave was almost over. My parents live close to her, so that was a bonus. Hiring a nanny back there is more affordable. But even seeing the positive aspects of it, I wished I could have been there for her, to be each other's village.

The younger me didn't realize that when I took a plane to leave my country in search of new experiences 19 years ago, I was giving up the chance to have my loved ones close by when I became a mother. And when I say close by, I mean as in no planes involved.

It hasn't been easy, but after two kids and plenty of mommy and me classes and random conversations that became true connections, I can say I have a mini-village, a small collection of solitudes coming together to lean on each other. But for some reason, it doesn't truly feel like one of those described in the old books where women gathered to knit while breastfeeding and all the children become like siblings.

Life gets in the way, and everyone gets sucked into their own worlds. In the absence of a true village, we feel the pressure to be and do everything that once was done by a group of people. We often lose perspective of priorities because we are taking care of everything at the same time. Starting to feel sick causes anxiety and even fear because it means so many things need to happen in order for mom—especially if single—to lay down and recover while the children are taken care of. And when the children get sick, that could mean losing money for a working mother or father, because the truth is that most corporations are not designed to nurture families.

In the absence of that model of a village I long for, we tend to rely on social media to have a sense of community and feel supported. We may feel that since we are capable of doing so much—working and stay at home moms equally—perhaps we don't need help. Or quite the opposite: mom guilt kicks in and feelings of not being enough torment our night sleep. Depression and anxiety can enter the picture and just thinking about the amount of energy and time that takes to create true connections, we may often curl up in our little cocoon with our children and partners—if they are present—when they come home.

Now what? was my thought this week while driving back and forth to the pediatrician with my sick son. I can't get the virus, I have to be strong, my daughter can't get ill, my husband needs to be healthy for his work trip next week, we all need to be well for my son's fifth birthday. And so, it goes on. I texted one of my mom friends just to rant. She rants back because her son is also sick. She sent me a heart and an "I'm here if you need to talk."

I am grateful to have talked to her at that random postpartum circle when I first became a mother. She's a Latina immigrant like me and feels exactly like me. I will do it more, get out of my comfort zone and have—sometimes—awkward conversations so I can keep growing my own little village.

It may not look like the one I'd imagined, but still may allow me to be vulnerable even through a text message.

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Halloween is around the corner, but if you are like me you are still trying to figure out what to dress your family (especially the little ones), so here are some cute ideas inspired by famous characters. There's something for everyone—from cartoon lovers to ideas for the entire family!

Here are some adorable character costumes for your family:

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