A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

A communication book can be a device for separated parents to keep communication between them short and to the point. Parents can choose to use a communication book or a court may order them to use it, particularly if the parents seem unable to communicate with each other.


Being a separated parent is not easy and it can be downright impossible if you and your ex are still feuding. Harsh words and criticism can continue long after parties have separated, with the kids stuck in the middle. Acrimonious separations come with low levels of trust and high levels of criticism and abuse. No one likes to be criticized and so communication from both sides usually involves mud slinging. What should be a civil exchange of information about the children from one parent to the other can become an accusation of poor parenting or a criticism about the other parent’s life, from what they watch on television to the types of friends they have.

Communication is not only about actual words said, it includes body language, tone of voice, and facial expression. An exchange like this can lead to a barrage of verbal abuse:

Parent one: “The kids were really tired last time I picked them up. Make sure they go to bed on time.”

Parent two: “Why should I listen to you when you don’t send them to bed on time at your house. What’s more, Sophie tells me you let Josh watch M-rated movies, he’s only eight for crying out loud.”

Looking at this dispute from an emotionally detached position, it is clear that parent one might not have meant to convey anything other than that the kids were tired and might need to go to bed a bit earlier. The emotionally-attached parent, however, reads veiled criticism into the comment.

Using a communication book reduces the need for face-to-face communication. (If used inappropriately, it can lead to more problems.) Remember when using a communication book, less is best.

Stick to the following five rules to avoid the communication book failing in its purpose.

Keep it Short and Simple

It’s a communication book to communicate important things about the children. It is not an invitation to express your opinion about the other parent or their parenting practice.

For example, enter the date (and time if appropriate): Vicki vomited after lunch. Kept an eye on her for the rest of the afternoon but she seemed fine. Not taken to the doctor.

Keep it short and simple, don’t veer off track.

Avoid a Lecture

If Emma and Oscar are with you for the weekend and you notice they have nits, don’t use the communication book to lecture your ex about hygiene.

Or if George has come for his weekend stay and doesn’t have his sneakers, don’t go on a tirade in the communication book. It will serve no purpose to start your entry (if you actually make a note of it in the book) with “once again you have failed to pack George’s bag properly. This is not acceptable.”

Stop and think. Perhaps you could take the opportunity to buy George a second-hand pair of sneakers, which you might keep at your house.

Nothing but the Facts

Making an entry about giving Isabella some panadol/neurofen (or another type of pain medication) because of a headache should be written like this: Date – at about three o’clock today I gave Isabella some panadol as she complained of a severe headache. About an hour later she felt much better.

This is a precise account of what transpired.

While it may be tempting, the entry should not follow along these lines:

Date – at about 3 this afternoon I gave Isabella some panadol. She complained of a severe headache, probably brought on by the fact you fill her up with sugar before sending her to spend time with me and when it wears off she suffers withdrawal symptoms in the form of a headache. How many times do I have to tell you to feed her properly?

This entry serves no purpose. At best you will experience short-lived satisfaction at having vented. Then you too will feel worse, anger spreading through your body like a cancer as you recall all the other things your ex does that annoy you.

Accept that your child has a headache, treat it, and move on.

Keep it About the Children

Let’s face it, your ex does not want to open the communication book and read what you got up to during the week, or what you think of him/her having gone to the movies and left Granny in charge of Eva. Remember, the two of you have separated and there is no need for you to comment, abuse, or harass your ex about any personal or parenting matter. The communication book is purely there for important issues relating to the children.

It may be that on some visits there is no need to make any entries into the book. It is not a diary for each parent to describe in minute detail what they did with the child (or children) when in their care.

Offer No Opinion

If you stick to the facts, you will not fall into the trap of offering an opinion. If you find nits in your child’s hair, treat them, tell the facts, and don’t tell the other parent how they should treat nits. Nits are one of those creatures kids will bring home from school no matter how clean a child is or what preventative strategies are taken, hence there’s no point in you making things worse by offering your opinion.

Or, if you have to treat Sophie for a cold, tell the facts of how you treated her before sending her back home but don’t tell the other parent why you think Sophie keeps getting colds. It will fall on deaf ears. Everyone tries to be the best parent they can be and some things are out of a parent’s control, like how many colds a child catches.

Before pulling the communication book out of your child’s bag to make an entry, stop, think, and wait. Does the other parent really need to know what you are about to write in the book? If, after some thought, you think they do, make your entry with the above points in mind.

A general rule of thumb is an entry should only be a few lines in length, not several pages. You are making an entry about some aspect relating to your child, not writing a novel.

Do you have suggestions on how to better communicate with a co-parent? If so, please leave them in the comments section below.

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.