A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

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 .

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

Subscribe to get inspiration and super helpful ideas to rock your #momlife. Motherhood looks amazing on you.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

Whether you're filling out your own registry or shopping for a soon-to-be-mama in your life, it can be hard to narrow down what exactly new moms need (versus what will just end up cluttering the nursery). That's why we paired up with the baby gear experts at Pottery Barn Kids to create a registry guide featuring everything from the gear you'll use over and over to the perfect gifts under $50.

Check out the picks below, and happy shopping (and registering)!

MUST-HAVE BABY GEAR

These five gift ideas are designed to make #momlife easier while solving some of the most common parenting dilemmas.

1. Doona All-In-One Infant Car Seat/Stroller

One of the first things you learn when you become a mom? Those infant car seats are heavy. Which is what makes the Doona All-In-One Infant Car Seat/Stroller so genius. It's the world's first completely integrated mobility solution, quickly transforming from safe car seat to functional stroller without any extra parts. Simply pop out the wheels, pull up the handle bar, and you're ready to roll.

Doona All-in-one Infant Car Seat / Stroller, $499

BUY


GIFTS THAT CAN BE PERSONALIZED

Even the most utilitarian gift feels a little more special with some personalization. Here are some of our favorite options that can be customized with baby's name or monogram.

1. Nursery Blankets

You'll never forget the blanket you bring your newborn home in. And with Pottery Barn Kids' assortment of blankets, there's a wrap to suit every new mama's style. Choose from fuzzy neutral patterns or stylish printed options, and add baby's name for an extra personal touch.

Nursery Blankets, Starting at $39.50

BUY


GIFTS THAT GROW WITH THEM

Save money and space by gifting items that will last long after baby's first year. These clever gift items will have mama saying "thank you!" for years to come.

1. west elm x pbk Mid-Century Convertible Crib

A convertible crib is an investment in years of sweet dreams. We love this mid-century-style option made from sustainably sourced wood with child-safe, water-based finishes. When your baby outgrows their crib (sniff!), it easily converts into a toddler bed with the matching conversion kit.

west elm x pbk Mid-Century Convertible Crib, $399

BUY


GIFTS UNDER $50

Sometimes the littlest gifts mean the most. Here are our favorite gifts under $50 they'll be sure to cherish.

1. west elm x pbk Dot Muslin Swaddle Set

When you're raising a newborn, you can never have too many swaddles. Perfect for naptime, burp cloths, stroller covers, and spontaneous play mats, a muslin swaddle will always come in handy. And we especially love this neutral patterned collection in platinum, nightshade, and peacock.

west elm x pbk Dot Muslin Swaddle Set, $45.50

BUY

Learn more and explore all Pottery Barn Kids' registry must-haves here.

In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

You might also like:

They say there's no use in crying over it, but for pumping mamas, spilled milk is a major upset.

When you're working so hard to make sure your baby has breast milk, you don't want to lose a drop, and Chrissy Teigen knows this all too well.

The mom of two posted a video to social media Wednesday showing her efforts to rescue breastmilk from a tabletop. She used various utensils and a syringe to try to get the milk back in the bottle.

"I spilled my breastmilk and this is how important it is in this house," she says while suctioning up milk with what appears to be a baster.

In a follow-up video Teigen continues to try to rescue the spilled milk.

"We're trying," she says as she suctions up a drop or two. "I got some."

Teigen is currently breastfeeding baby Miles, her son with husband John Legend, and has been very public about the fact that she pumps a lot as a working mom.

She's also been open about the fact that milk supply has always been an issue for her, not just with Miles but with Luna, too.

"I actually loved [pumping] because I'm a collector of things, and so when I found out I could pump I [did it] so much because I knew the more you pumped, the more milk you'd make," she told POPSUGAR back in March. "So I loved collecting my breast milk and seeing how much I could get, even if it was very, very little."

Like a lot of moms, Teigen did struggle emotionally when a pump session wouldn't get her the ounces she wanted.

"I wasn't producing a lot of milk, and it was frustrating. When you're frustrated, [it can also make you] not produce that much."

Research backs her up. Stress has been linked to lower milk production. Because of that, she's trying to stay positive this time around, but captioned her video post "EVERY DROP COUNTS IN THIS HOUSE" because, well, they do.


So many mothers can relate. Have you ever tried to save your breastmilk?

You might also like:

What is it about networking that's just kind of...awful? Typically inconvenient and often awkward, formal networking events rarely yield the results most women (and especially mamas) are looking for.

Whether you're reentering the workforce post-baby leave or simply looking to make a complicated career switch as a busy mom (or just struggling to juggle play dates and professional meetings), making the right connections is often a hurdle that's difficult to surmount. And more and more often, networking comes up short in providing what moms really need.

When time is truly at a premium—a session swapping business cards can be hard to prioritize. Shapr wants to change all that.

Designed with busy people in mind, Shapr is an app with an algorithm that uses tagged interests, location, and professional experience to match you with 10-15 inspiring professional connections a day. You swipe to indicate interest in networking with any of them, and if the interest is mutual, you're connected. (But don't worry, that's where the similarities to that dating app end.)

It makes it easier to connect with the right people.

From there, you can chat, video conference, and even meet in person with potential mentors, partners, and investors while growing your real-life network. No more wasting hours trying to pick someone's brain only to discover they don't have the right experience you need. And no more awkward, stilted small talk—even suggests a few preset icebreakers to help get the conversation rolling more quickly.

The best part? You could do virtually all your connecting from your couch post-bedtime.

It simplifies switching careers or industries.

Sysamone Phaphone is a real mom who was fed up with traditional networking options. When she quit her full-time job in healthcare to pursue founding a startup, she quickly realized that in-person networking events weren't only failing to connect her to the right people, they were also difficult for a single mom of two to even attend. "I was complaining to a friend that I was so tired and didn't know how I was going to keep doing it this way when she recommended the Shapr app," Phaphone says. "I tried it right there at dinner and started swiping. [Later], in my pajamas, I got my first connection."

From there, Phaphone was hooked. Her network suddenly exploded with developers, potential partners she could work with, and even people to hire for the roles she needed. She was also able to connect with and empower other women in tech. Now, checking in with Shapr connections is just part of her routine. "I look for connections after drop-off at school and on my commute into the city," she says. "Then after bedtime is done, I go on to check if there is anyone I've connected with."

It helps you find a mentor—no matter where they live.

Another common roadblock Shapr removes? Location. While you probably wouldn't fly to LA from New York for a networking event, the Shapr app lets you connect and chat with the person who best meets your needs—regardless of where they're based. Even better for parents, the "mom penalty" many women contend with when trying to get back into the workforce doesn't exist on Shapr—if you have the right experience, the connections will still come.

To connect, simply create your account, enter up to ten hashtags you want to follow (either industry related like #film or #tech or by person you're seeking, such as #developer or #uxui), preset what you're looking for (investors, collaborators, etc.), and indicate how you prefer to meet. To connect with more people at once, Shapr also has community groups within the app around interest topics that you can join. And even though the connection begins in the digital space, it often results in the in-person experiences mamas crave.

"I wish I could encourage more moms and dads to use it because it has been a lifesaver for me," Phaphone says. "It empowered my career and career choices, and it provides so much convenience. I can put my kids to bed and not go to an event, but still meet 20 people in a night."

For women looking to grow their business, position, or simply achieve a little self-growth, Shapr is changing the way we connect. This powerful new app could change everything, mama. Download it today to get started.

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.