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Usually it’s me but this time, it was my husband. I had to sit back and watch the carnage.

It all started because our daughter wanted to learn jazz.  She had been playing piano for almost a decade but only classical music. Yes, she’s 12. The short version of the story is her three-year-old self wanted to be like her big brother but what started as sibling rivalry, turned into a love affair with music.

So, we found her a jazz piano teacher and let’s just say it wasn’t a great fit.

After listening to my husband complain for the umpteenth time about this new teacher, I replied, “If you don’t like it, you fix it. I don’t have the bandwidth right now.”

So he did.

He did his research online and found a music school instead of a music teacher. He looked at all the prerequisites. Yup. Looked at the calendar. Yup. Looked at the price and location. Yup. Yup.

He even did a quick check-in with me. He explained what he found, and I replied, “Sounds great!”

At the first drop-off, they only started to get a whiff that something was amiss when they strolled past the bar near the front entrance.

He had failed to notice that he signed her up for an adult class.

My 12-year-old, 4’7” daughter was asked to take a seat next to the 6’8” Chinese grad student eating a footlong sub. They exchanged smiles – his full of food; her’s strained. On her other side was a studious Latino male undergraduate rushing to finish a homework assignment.

To my daughter’s credit, or maybe because she was a shined deer in the headlights, she sat down at her keyboard and waved goodbye to her papa.

When my husband picked her up he tried to make jokes, and told me later that “it sorta worked,” but when she walked in and saw me, she burst into tears.

“I can’t do this! I don’t belong there.”

But she did belong there. She understood the teacher’s material. Even at 12 years old, she had all the credentials. The teacher welcomed her warmly and had no problem with the age discrepancy. He even approached her and told her that he had started taking jazz at age 12, too.  “Well done,” he had said.

All of this went out the window because she was different. She was uncomfortable. She was completely intimidated. She had the most raging case of impostor complex I’d ever seen. 

This wasn’t surprising since feeling very different (race, gender, education, age) often triggers this complicated emotion. I was surprised, however, that it wasn’t reserved for us adults.

Amy Cuddy, author of the book “Presence: Bringing your Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges,” says, “It’s not simple stage fright or performance anxiety; rather, it’s the deep and sometimes paralyzing belief that we have been given something we didn’t earn and don’t deserve and that at some point we’ll be exposed.”

I wasn’t ready to let her quit. There’s a difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough. I’m okay with quitting, but we don’t give up just because things are hard. 

I needed to help her puff out her chest and strut into that class every week. Well, okay – maybe that wouldn’t happen, but I did want to help her look past her physical differences and embrace her talent. 

Dr. Pauline Rose Clance, the researcher who coined the phrase “impostor complex,” said, “If I could do it all over again, I would call it the impostor experience, because it’s not a syndrome or a complex or a mental illness. It’s something almost everyone experiences.”

I’ve been there. You’ve been there. Famous people have been there:

Maya Angelou: “I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘Uh-oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.'”

Kate Winslet:  “[I would] wake up in the morning before going off to a shoot, and think, I can’t do this; I’m a fraud.”

We needed to be careful how we boosted her confidence. We did not want to sound insincere like SNL’s Stuart Smalley and dole out empty praise, “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you.”

The key, according to a 2011 research review, is to address the specific worry areas such as “…worries about whether they’re respected, whether their teachers think they’re dumb, whether they belong – and precisely, briefly, without stigmatizing them or singling them out, give them messages that can remove those barriers,” Dr. David Scott Yeager says, who co-authored the study with Gregory Walton.

Their work with middle and high school students has been extremely successful in increasing grades, lowering drop-out rates, and improving mental well-being for as long as three years.

So our family talked about this a lot. We talked too much, according to my daughter. However, we don’t regret it, and I secretly doubt she does either.

We reiterated that she deserved to be in this class. She had the same base as everyone else – nobody else in the class knew jazz, either. And when she put in extra practice work until she was sure she wouldn’t “embarrass herself,” we reminded her of her work ethic and ability to go toe-to-toe with those “grown-ups.”

But in the end, never doubt the importance of a teacher, boss, or leader. My daughter said, “I still have self doubt, but the teacher helped me the most.”

Joyce Roché, the author of Empress Has No Clothes, says, “Leaders need to understand important triggers of impostor feelings – race, class, gender, education, sexual orientation are some big ones. If you are not creating a culture that values the authentic self, you are not going to get it.”

Indeed. Now when she walks into the classroom, instead of only seeing tall, intimidating grown-ups, she sees one warm and welcoming teacher.

And that is what has made all the difference.

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When you become a parent for the first time, there is an undeniably steep learning curve. Add to that the struggle of sorting through fact and fiction when it comes to advice and—whew—it's enough to make you more tired than you already are with that newborn in the house.

Just like those childhood games of telephone when one statement would get twisted by the time it was told a dozen times, there are many parenting misconceptions that still tend to get traction. This is especially true with myths about bottle-feeding—something that the majority of parents will do during their baby's infancy, either exclusively or occasionally.

Here's what you really need to know about bottle-feeding facts versus fiction.

1. Myth: Babies are fine taking any bottle

Not all bottles are created equally. Many parents experience anxiety when it seems their infant rejects all bottles, which is especially nerve wracking if a breastfeeding mom is preparing to return to work. However, it's often a matter of giving the baby some time to warm up to the new feeding method, says Katie Ferraro, a registered dietician, infant feeding specialist and associate professor of nutrition at the University of California San Francisco graduate School of Nursing.

"For mothers returning to work, if you're breastfeeding but trying to transition to bottle[s], try to give yourself a two- to four-week trial window to experiment with bottle feeding," says Ferraro.

2. Myth: You either use breast milk or formula

So often, the question of whether a parent is using formula or breastfeeding is presented exclusively as one or the other. In reality, many babies are combo-fed—meaning they have formula sometimes, breast milk other times.

The advantage with mixed feeding is the babies still get the benefits of breast milk while parents can ensure the overall nutritional and caloric needs are met through formula, says Ferraro.

3. Myth: Cleaning bottles is a lot of work

For parents looking for simplification in their lives (meaning, all of us), cleaning bottles day after day can sound daunting. But, really, it doesn't require much more effort than you are already used to doing with the dishes each night: With bottles that are safe for the top rack of the dishwasher, cleaning them is as easy as letting the machine work for you.

For added confidence in the sanitization, Dr. Brown's offers an incredibly helpful microwavable steam sterilizer that effectively kills all household bacteria on up to four bottles at a time. (Not to mention it can also be used on pacifiers, sippy cups and more.)

4. Myth: Bottle-feeding causes colic

One of the leading theories on what causes colic is indigestion, which can be caused by baby getting air bubbles while bottle feeding. However, Dr. Brown's bottles are the only bottles in the market that are actually clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to an ingenious internal vent system that eliminates negative pressure and air bubbles.

5. Myth: Bottles are all you can use for the first year

By the time your baby is six months old (way to go!), they may be ready to begin using a sippy cup. Explains Ferraro, "Even though they don't need water or additional liquids at this point, it is a feeding milestone that helps promote independent eating and even speech development."

With a complete line of products to see you from newborn feeding to solo sippy cups, Dr. Brown's does its part to make these new transitions less daunting. And, for new parents, that truly is priceless.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Jessica Simpson celebrated her baby shower this weekend (after getting a cupping treatment for her very swollen pregnancy feet) and her theme and IG captions have fans thinking this was not just a shower, but a baby name announcement as well.

Simpson (who is expecting her third child with former NFL player Eric Johnson) captioned two photos of her shower as "💚 Birdie's Nest 💚". The photographs show Simpson and her family standing under a neon sign spelling out the same thing.

While Simpson didn't explicitly state that she was naming her child Birdie, the numerous references to the name in her shower photos and IG stories have the internet convinced that she's picking the same name Busy Philips chose for her now 10-year-old daughter.

The name Birdie isn't in the top 1000 baby names according to the Social Security Administration, but It has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, according to name nerds and trend watchers.

"Birdie feels like a sassy but sweet, down-to-earth yet unusual name," Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry told Town and Country back in 2017. "It's also just old enough to be right on time."

Simpson's older kids are called Maxwell and Ace, which both have a vintage feel, so if Birdie really is her choice, the three old-school names make a nice sibling set.

Whether Birdie is the official name or just a cute nickname Simpson is playing around with, we get the appeal and bet she can't wait for her little one to arrive (and her feet to go back to normal!)

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Mamas, if you hire a cleaning service to tackle the toddler fingerprints on your windows, or shop at the neighborhood grocery store even when the deals are better across town, don't feel guilty. A new study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School shows money buys happiness if it's used to give you more time. And that, in turn could be better for the whole family.

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As if we needed another reason to shop at Target, our favorite store is offering some great deals for mamas who need products for baby. Mom life can be expensive and we love any chance at saving a few bucks. If you need to stock up on baby care items, like diapers and wipes, now is the time.

Right now, if you spend $100 on select diapers, wipes, formula, you'll get a $20 gift card with pickup or Target Restock. Other purchases will get you $5 gift cards during this promotion:

  • $20 gift card when you spend $100 or more on select diapers, wipes, formula, and food items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select beauty care items
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select household essentials items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select Iams, Pedigree, Crave & Nutro dog and cat food or Fresh Step cat litter items using in store Order Pickup
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select feminine care items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock

All of these promotions will only run through 11:59 pm PT on Saturday, January 19, 2019 so make sure to stock up before they're gone!

Because the deals only apply to select products and certain colors, just be sure to read the fine print before checking out.

Target's website notes the "offer is valid using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock when available".

The gift cards will be delivered after you have picked up your order or your Target Restock order has shipped.

We won't tell anyone if you use those gift cards exclusively for yourself. 😉 So, get to shopping, mama!

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