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I anxiously awaited the premier of the movie “Bad Moms” all summer long. I heard fellow moms talking about it for months, rallying packs of moms to see it together, and I was excited to find out why this movie was resonating with so many women in a way that no movie had done in years.


When I finally got to see it, the film really hit home for me, as a therapist who has helped thousands of moms struggle with feelings of guilt and inadequacy, and as a mom of three kids. It also hits home with millions of moms out there who struggle with the feeling that they have no idea what they’re doing, and that they’re not doing a good enough job.

Motherhood has become an all encompassing identity. Moms feel that it’s their fundamental role in life to be the “ideal mom”: To do it all, know it all, BE it all, and make sure your kids turn out the way you want them to. This pressure has only been exacerbated by social media, which leads moms to feel even more inadequate about the mother they are, as it certainly appears that all of their friends have the “perfect” family on Facebook.

It’s no wonder that today’s moms feel overstressed and overworked, and trapped in a culture of motherhood in which no matter what they’re doing as moms, they’re not measuring up. All of this is enough to make moms feel like they’re going crazy, and then they beat themselves up for feeling crazy, which makes them feel even crazier!

So, why are we all so friggin’ crazy? Why is it that we can all relate to Kristin Bell’s character, Kiki, who fantasizes about being in a car accident that’s just bad enough to put her in the hospital so she can sleep and binge watch TV? It’s because we are ALL overly identified with the voice of our inner critic – the voice in our mind who is constantly evaluating, judging, comparing, and telling us where we don’t measure up, what we have to fix, change, or perfect, and how we could do things better. The more we listen to her, the crazier we feel.

Our inner critic has us convinced that no matter what we’ve achieved as mothers, no matter how much we’ve done for our kids, we are still not good enough. As Kiki says in the movie, “In today’s day and age, it’s impossible to be a good mom!” REALLY??!!

The PTA president, Gwendolyn, is the personification of our Inner Critic. Her character represents everything that we think we should be. She’s doing it “right.” She is the ideal woman. The epitome of perfection. And, if we keep listening to her, our inner critic’s advice about how we need to change, fix, or perfect ourselves, we can finally get to the point where we feel like we’re doing it right.

Except, no matter what we do and how hard we try as moms, we never, ever reach that arrival point. It’s like we’re all hamsters on the hamster wheel. Running and running and running, and still, we feel the same.

It’s time to STOP THE INSANITY! Does that mean you just let everything go, drink yourself into oblivion, slack off, and throw wild PTA parties like the “Bad Moms” did? NO! It’s about recognizing that you are listening to a crazy person in your mind, thinking that it’s YOU. It’s about learning the difference between YOU and your crazy, delusional, perfectionistic, inner critic. She’s the one who’s responsible for so much of the suffering in your life, especially when it comes to motherhood.

The truth is that the feelings of inner peace, joy, and contentment that all moms crave come from learning how to separate yourself from your inner critic. It’s about acquiring the tools to stop giving energy and attention to her attempts to improve, perfect, fix, or change either you or your children.

Here are 5 tools to separate you from your “Bad Mom” inner critic:

What is the story your inner critic has been telling you about the mom that you are?

Pay attention to the areas where you’re struggling or suffering the most in being a mom. What are the beliefs that your inner critic is convincing you are “Truths?” Even though this may feel like the truth, you’re identifying with the expectations of your inner critic, who expects you and your life to fit a perfectionistic picture. When life doesn’t fit this picture (which is often the case), your inner critic will convince you that there’s something wrong, and it is up to you to make it right.

Try catching your inner critic in the act of hustling you into believing her story. See her story as just that: A STORY! You’ll know when she’s trying to hustle you by watching your suffering, and all the feelings that come along with it.

See your inner critic’s story as repetitive mind chatter.

For example, if you are angry about forgetting about a birthday party your child was invited to, how is your inner critic making you feel about yourself? Can you identify this feeling at different times throughout your life, even before you became a mother?

The story of the inner critic is repetitive and unchanging. The inner critic will just keep looking for more evidence to support the story. That is how a simple mistake (that most parents make) can make you feel like the worst mother in the world. The feelings your inner critic creates today are the same feelings she created when you were eight, 17, and 30!

How is your inner critic trying to control your children?

Your inner critic needs your children to fit her perfectionistic idea of who they should be. If they fall short of her expectations, she will convince you it’s YOUR fault. She will make you feel small, inadequate, and incompetent. To make sure that you don’t feel that emotional pain, she will try to control and fix your kids.

When your inner critic tries to fix and control your kids, that control and criticism often causes your kids to behave in ways that are the polar opposite of her expectations. When you can get your inner critic out of your parenting, and let your kids be themselves, they end up being more of the kids that you desire them to be in the first place: loving, connected, happy kids.

Give your inner critic a name that fits her personality.

(Gwendolyn, perhaps?!) Notice how and when she speaks to you. Notice the body sensations she evokes in you (shoulders tense, knots in your stomach). Notice what mood she puts you in. Notice if you want to eat when you’re not hungry, sleep when you’re not tired, binge watch TV, or worse. Is she in the driver’s seat of your life again? Get her out! Stop giving her the power to tell you where you’re not enough or how you should live your life!

What unrealistic expectations do you need to let go of in order to take your power back from your inner critic?

When my 15-year-old son leaves a trail of dirty laundry and wet towels from the bathroom to his room yet again, my inner critic will chime in that he is being lazy, selfish, and disrespectful. If I listened to her, I would blast my son from here to the moon with criticism and anger. If I can let go of my inner critic, I can remember that my son is acting like a typical teenage boy.

Of course, I will make him accountable for cleaning up his mess. But instead of asking him through my inner critic’s criticism and anger, I can ask him from my calm and centered self. And I assure you, when I am parenting him instead of my inner critic, my son is a completely different human being.

The bottom line is this: The only thing that makes you feel like a bad mom, and then try to do more and be more to feel like a good mom, is your automatic habit of listening to your inner critic and thinking that it’s YOU. The more you practice separating yourself from the grip of your inner critic, the less crazy you will feel, and maybe you can recognize the mother that you REALLY are .

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We spend a lot of time prepping for the arrival of a baby. But when it comes to the arrival of our breast milk (and all the massive adjustments that come with it), it's easy to be caught off guard. Stocking up on a few breastfeeding essentials can make the transition to breastfeeding a lot less stressful, which means more time and energy focusing on what's most important: Your recovery and your brand new baby.

Here are the essential breastfeeding tools you'll need, mama:

1. For covering up: A cute nursing cover

First and foremost, please know that all 50 states in the United States have laws that allow women to breastfeed in public. You do not have to cover yourself if you don't want to—and many mamas choose not to—and we are all for it.

That said, if you do anticipate wanting to take a more modest approach to breastfeeding, a nursing cover is a must. You will find an array of styles to choose from, but we love an infinity scarf, like the LK Baby Infinity Nursing Scarf Nursing Cover. You'll be able to wear the nursing cover instead of stuffing it in your already brimming diaper bag—and it's nice to have it right there when the baby is ready to eat.

Also, in the inevitable event that your baby spits-up on you or you leak some milk through your shirt, having a quick and stylish way to cover up is a total #momwin.

2. For getting comfortable: A cozy glider

Having a comfy spot to nurse can make a huge difference. Bonus points if that comfy place totally brings a room together, like the Delta Children Paris Upholstered Glider!

Get your cozy space ready to go, and when your baby is here, you can retreat from the world and just nurse, bond, and love.

3. For unmatched support: A wire-free nursing bra

It may take trying on several brands to find the perfect match, but finding a nursing bra that you love is 100% worth the effort. Your breasts will be changing and working in ways that are hard to imagine. An excellent supportive bra will make this so much more comfortable.

It is crucial to choose a wireless bra for the first weeks of nursing since underwire can increase the risk of clogged ducts (ouch).The Playtex Maternity Shaping Foam Wirefree Nursing Bra is an awesome pick for this reason, and because it is designed to flex and fit your breasts as they go through all those changes.

4. For maximum hydration: A large reusable water bottle

Nothing can prepare you for the intense thirst that hits when breastfeeding. Quench that thirst (and help keep your milk supply up in the process) by always having a water bottle with a straw nearby, like this Exquis Large Outdoor Water Bottle.

5. For feeding convenience: A supportive nursing tank

Experts recommend that during the first weeks of your baby's life, you breastfeed on-demand, meaning that any time your tiny boss demands milk, you feed them. This will help establish your milk supply and get everything off to a good start.

What does this mean for your life? You will be breastfeeding A LOT. Nursing tanks, like the Loving Moments by Leading Lady, make this so much easier. They have built-in support to keep you comfy, and you can totally wear them around the house, or even out and about. When your baby wants to eat, you'll be able to quickly "pop out" a breast and feed them.

6. For pain prevention: A quality nipple ointment

Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but the truth is those first days can be uncomfortable. Your nipples will likely feel raw as they adjust to their new job. This will get better! But until it does, nipple ointment is amazing.

My favorite is the Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. We love that it's organic, and it is oh-so-soothing on your hard-at-work nipples.

Psst: If it actually hurts when your baby latches on, something may be up, so call your provider or a lactation consultant for help.

7. For uncomfortable moments: A dual breast therapy pack

As your breasts adjust to their new role, you may experience a few discomforts—applying warmth or cold can help make them feel so much better. The Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack is awesome because you can microwave the pads or put them in the freezer, giving you a lot of options when your breasts need some TLC.

Again, if you have any concerns about something being wrong (pain, a bump that may be red or hot, fever, or anything else), call a professional right away.

8. For inevitable leaks: An absorbing breast pad

In today's episode of, "Oh come on, really?" you are going to leak breastmilk. Now, this is entirely natural and you are certainly not required to do anything about this. Still, many moms choose to wear breast pads in their bras to avoid leaking through to their shirts.

You can go the convenient and disposable route with Lansinoh Disposable Stay Dry Nursing Pads, or for a more environmentally friendly option, you can choose washable pads, like these Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads.

9. For flexibility: A breast pump

Many women find that a breast pump becomes one of their most essential mom-tools. The ability to provide breast milk when you are away from your baby (and relieve uncomfortable engorged breasts) will add so much flexibility into your new-mom life.

For quick trips out and super-easy in-your-bag transport, opt for a manual pump like the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump .

If you will be away from your baby for longer periods of time (traveling or working outside the home, for example) an electric pump is your most efficient bet. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is a classic go-to that will absolutely get the job done, and then some.

10. For quality storage: Breast milk bags

Once you pump your liquid gold, aka breast milk, you'll need a place to store it. The Kiinde Twist Pouches allow you to pump directly into the bags which means one less step (and way less to clean).

11. For keeping cool: A freezer bag

Transport your pumped milk back home to your baby safely in a cooler like the Mommy Knows Best Breast Milk Baby Bottle Cooler Bag. Remember to put the milk in a fridge or freezer as soon as you can to optimize how long it stays usable for.

12. For continued nourishment: Bottles

Nothing beats the peace of mind you get when you know that your baby is being well-taken of care—and well fed—until you can be together again. The Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Newborn Starter Gift Set is a fan favorite (mama and baby fans alike).

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

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Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.

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A viral video about car seat safety has parents everywhere cracking up and humming Sir-Mix-A-Lot.

"I like safe kids and I cannot lie," raps Norman Regional Health System pediatric hospitalist Dr. Kate Cook (after prefacing her music video with an apology to her children."I'm a doctor tryin' warn you that recs have changed," she continues.

Dr. Cook's rap video is all about the importance of keeping babies facing backward. It's aptly called "Babies Face Back," and uses humor and parody to drive home car seat recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"Switching from rear-facing to forward-facing is a milestone many parents can't wait to reach," Dr. Cook said in a news release about her hilarious video. "But this is one area where you want to delay the transition as long as possible because each one actually reduces the protection to the child."

Last summer the AAP updated its official stance on car seat safety to be more in line with what so many parents were already doing and recommended that kids stay rear-facing for as long as possible. But with so many things to keep track of in life, it is understandable that some parents still don't know about the change. Dr. Cook wants to change that with some cringe-worthy rapping.

The AAP recommends:

  • Babies and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat.
  • Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible. Many seats are good up to 65 pounds.
  • When children outgrow their car seat they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly, between 8 and 12 years old.

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[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

Suicide rates for girls and women in the United States have increased 50% since 2000, according to the CDC and new research indicates a growing number of pregnant and postpartum women are dying by suicide and overdose. Suicide rates for boys and men are up, too.

It's clear there is a mental health crisis in America and it is robbing children of their mothers and mothers of their children.

Medical professionals urge people to get help early, but sometimes getting help is not so simple. For many Americans, the life preserver that is mental health care is out of reach when they are drowning.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg just released a plan he hopes could change that and says the neglect of mental health in the United States must end. "Our plan breaks down the barriers around mental health and builds up a sense of belonging that will help millions of suffering Americans heal," says Buttigieg.

He thinks he can "prevent 1 million deaths of despair by 2028" by giving Americans more access to mental health and addictions services.

In a country where giving birth can put a mother in debt, it's not surprising that while as many as 1 in 5 new moms suffers from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, more than half of new moms who need mental health treatment don't get it. Stigma, childcare and of course costs are factors in why women aren't seeking help when they are struggling.

Buttigieg's plan is interesting because it could remove some of these barriers. He wants to make mental health care more affordable by ensuring everyone has comprehensive coverage for mental health care and by ensuring that everyone can access a free yearly mental health check-up.

That could make getting help more affordable for some moms, and by increasing reimbursement rates for mental health care delivered through telehealth, this plan could help moms get face time with a medical professional without having to deal with finding childcare first.

Estimates from new research suggest that in some parts of America as many as 14% or 30% of maternal deaths are caused by addiction or suicide. Buttigieg's plan aims to reduce those estimates by fighting the addiction and opioid crisis and increasing access to mental health services in underserved communities and for people of color. He also wants to reduce the stigma and increase support for the next generation by requiring "every school across the country to teach Mental Health First Aid courses."

These are lofty goals with a lofty price tag. It would cost about $300 billion to do what Buttigieg sets out in his plan and the specifics of how the plan would be funded aren't yet known. Neither is how voters will react to this 18-page plan and whether it will help Buttigieg stand out in a crowded field of Democratic candidates.

What we do know is that right now, America is talking about mental health and whether or not that benefits Buttigieg's campaign it will certainly benefit America.

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[Editor's Note: Welcome to It's Science, a Motherly column focusing on evidence-based explanations for the important moments, milestones, and phenomena of motherhood. Because it's not just you—#itsscience.]

If you breastfeed, you know just how magical (and trying) it is, but it has numerous benefits for mama and baby. It is known to reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, and cuts the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by half.

If this wasn't powerful enough, scientists have discovered that babies who are fed breast milk have a stomach pH that promotes the formation of HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells). HAMLET was discovered by chance when researchers were studying the antibacterial properties of breast milk. This is a combination of proteins and lipids found in breast milk that can work together to kill cancer cells, causing them to pull away from healthy cells, shrink and die, leaving the healthy cells unaffected.

According to researchers at Lund University in Sweden, this mechanism may contribute to the protective effect breast milk has against pediatric tumors and leukemia, which accounts for about 30% of all childhood cancer. Other researchers analyzed 18 different studies, finding that "14% to 19% of all childhood leukemia cases may be prevented by breastfeeding for six months or more."

And recently, doctors in Sweden collaborated with scientists in Prague to find yet another amazing benefit to breast milk. Their research demonstrated that a certain milk sugar called Alpha1H, found only in breast milk, helps in the production of lactose and can transform into a different form that helps break up tumors into microscopic fragments in the body.

Patients who were given a drug based on this milk sugar, rather than a placebo, passed whole tumor fragments in their urine. And there is more laboratory evidence to support that the drug can kill more than 40 different types of cancer cells in animal trials, including brain tumors and colon cancer. These results are inspiring scientists to continue to explore HAMLET as a novel approach to tumor therapy and make Alpha1H available to cancer patients.

Bottom line: If you choose to breastfeed, the breast milk your baby gets from your hard work can be worth every drop of effort.

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