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If You Should Do It For Your Kid, You Should Do It For Yourself

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I recently dealt with an extremely difficult phase of separation anxiety with my three and a half-year-old. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without her running behind me and pounding her fists against the door, while in tears.


There were a lot of changes in our home all at once, so some type of reaction was to be expected. But, this was far beyond anything I had ever imagined. I had no idea what to do and felt incredibly overwhelmed from the moment I woke up each day to the moment I retired my exhausted mind and body back to bed.

I tried being more present by spending additional quality time with her while our new nanny watched my infant. I thought that perhaps the strain was coming from the presence of her new sibling, and the time that the baby was taking away from my interactions with her. That didn’t help… One day I foolishly listened to the advice of a friend who allows her child to scream through every situation, and swiftly exited her camp room after drop off. That definitely didn’t help.

The teachers called me back within 15 minutes and suggested I sit down on the floor with the rest of the class until she calmed down. (Side note here: If you don’t agree with the way someone else parents their children, don’t take their advice. Every child is different and only YOU know what is best for your child.)

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Then I tried working from home while the nanny was there, but all my daughter did was cry and tell me over and over again that she wanted ‘Her’ to ‘go home now.’ It was a complete disaster.

I eventually found the right balance and saw my daughter turning a corner. She was playing with our new nanny, she was looking forward to seeing her friends at camp, and she was letting me use the toilet without screaming on the other side of the door or bracing my leg while I tried to have a bowel movement. Things were looking brighter, and I could tell that we were getting over a huge hump. But, were WE really getting over it?

Why was I still feeling tightness in my chest in spite of her achievements?

This is what I was working towards for weeks! Why was I still feeling sad and heavy now that I was finally able to take a step back from constantly having to work through every step of the day with her?

Well, one morning while rushing through another mediocre shower it hit me. It was because I had forgotten about doing things for myself.

I am not just talking about forgetting things like showers, getting dressed properly or throwing some makeup on. I am talking about forgetting to nurture myself on a much greater and deeper level. The way I had been nurturing my daughters. I didn’t need a new pair or jeans or a piece of jewelry. I didn’t need a manicure that would chip within two days or an expensive pair of shoes. I needed some reassurance and love.

Don’t get my wrong, I never underestimate the power of a nice manicure or massage, but we parents need to realize that true self-nurturing doesn’t come in the form of material things. It comes from giving ourselves the same type of love and reassurance that we give to our children each day.

So, one morning I stopped and looked at myself in the mirror. I leaned in with my hands on the counter and gazed into my own, tired eyes. I saw a ‘girl’ who had been neglected. I saw a lonely, and sad girl who was giving all of herself to everyone around her just to make others happy. The same girl I see in my daughter’s eyes when she has done every dance possible to get my attention, and sings every song she can think of when the baby’s demands are taking me away from her. I almost cried.

If I wouldn’t allow my daughter to suffer this way, then why was I allowing it to happen to myself?

Of course, I needed to be their caretaker. But, It was without question that I was fulfilling that role. I was also being the best wife possible with whatever energy I had left at the end of each day. But, there was another lonely person in the house, one who needed love and attention, or just needed to hear that she was important and that person was me.

In that moment I made the decision to find a way to nurture my own soul and give myself some needed and deserved attention. I praised myself. I acknowledged all of my strengths. I allowed myself to feel proud and take the credit I deserved for taking such good care of my family.

I also unapologetically allowed myself to feel great about the way my body had recovered after having two children. I told myself that I deserved complete showers and the time to shave my legs, even if that meant leaving my daughter with the television for an extra 15 minutes (they were always safe). I scheduled some plans with friends who I enjoyed being around, instead of just making obligated play dates with other parents I hardly knew.

Most importantly, I embraced that moment of praising myself and I didn’t feel guilty for any of it.

I made a pact with myself to give my own spirit the TLC it deserved, and realized that if I found these things to be essential for my daughters each day, then I should value them the same for myself. I would take the time to ‘check in.’ I would tell myself that I was doing a great job, and that it was completely normal to feel overwhelmed.

I would recognize that there is no such thing as a perfect parent, but that I was doing a fantastic job as a mother of two young children. I would take showers and brush my teeth without feeling guilty for it, and I would love my body. The same body that now has some stretch marks and cellulite. The very same body that carried my two beautiful children inside of it for 40 weeks each and then brought them into this world, and the same body that finds the daily strength, in spite of aches and pains, to nurse, carry, cuddle, hug and hold my children when they need it. I worship that body.

To all of the parents out there and, mainly to all of the moms: If you feel you should do it for your children, you should do it for yourself. You deserve to feel good each day. You deserve some praise for the things you do, even if they seem small in comparison to other things. We praise our kids for taking poops, don’t we? You owe it to yourself to love yourself, and you should never feel guilty for this. Especially if you are doing the best you can for your children.

Happiness won’t come in the form of a new purse or a fancy manicure, just like it doesn’t truly come in the form of a new toy. Those things will make anyone feel good in the moment, but at the end of the day, when the bag or the ‘Barbie’ is away in the closet, you will still be with yourself and the emptiness, afraid of the dark…. You must go deep.

You must nurture your soul.

Go for walks, exercise or stretch, take a shower, love your body, love yourself, and don’t feel guilty for saving a little bit of time and energy each day to do so. Just like children need to get out and go to the park with friends, adults need to escape from home and burn off steam too.

I know that free time comes few and far between when you are a parent, so I do not suggest that you will have hours at a time to do these things right away, but start with a minute here and there just to check in with yourself and say ‘Hey beautiful, I am proud of you. You are doing a really great job.’

The same way you always manage to find the time to say something like that to your kids.

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As mamas, we naturally become the magic-makers for our families. We sing the songs that make the waits seem shorter, dispense the kisses that help boo-boos hurt less, carry the seemingly bottomless bags of treasures, and find ways to turn even the most hum-drum days into something memorable.

Sometimes it's on a family vacation or when exploring a new locale, but often it's in our own backyards or living rooms. Here are 12 ways to create magical moments with kids no matter where your adventures take you.


1. Keep it simple

Mary Poppins may be practically perfect in every way, but―trust us―your most magical memories don't require perfection. Spend the morning building blanket forts or break out the cookie cutters to serve their sandwich in a fun shape and you'll quickly learn that, for kids, the most magical moments are often the simplest.

2. Get on their level

Sometimes creating a memorable moment can be as easy as getting down on the floor and playing with your children. So don't be afraid to get on your hands and knees, to swing from the monkey bars, or turn watching your favorite movie into an ultimate snuggle sesh.

3. Reimagine the ordinary

As Mary says, "the cover is not the book." Teach your child to see the world beyond initial impressions by encouraging them to imagine a whole new world as you play―a world where the laundry basket can be a pirate ship or a pile of blankets can be a castle.

4. Get a little messy

Stomp in muddy puddles. Break out the finger paint. Bake a cake and don't worry about frosting drips on the counter. The messes will wait, mama. For now, let your children―and yourself―live in these moments that will all too soon become favorite memories.

5. Throw out the plan

The best-laid plans...are rarely the most exciting. And often the most magical moments happen by accident. So let go of the plan, embrace the unexpected, and remember that your child doesn't care if the day goes according to the schedule.

6. Take it outside

There's never a wrong time of year to make magic outside. Take a stroll through a spring rainstorm, catch the first winter snowflakes on your tongue, or camp out under a meteor shower this summer. Mother Nature is a natural at creating experiences you'll both remember forever.

7. Share your childhood memories

Chances are if you found it magical as a child, then your kids will too. Introduce your favorite books and movies (pro tip: Plan a double feature with an original like Mary Poppins followed with the sequel, Mary Poppins Returns!) or book a trip to your favorite family vacation spot from the past. You could even try to recreate photos from your old childhood with your kids so you can hang on to the memory forever.

8. Just add music

Even when you're doing something as humdrum as prepping dinner or tidying up the living room, a little music has a way of upping the fun factor. Tell Alexa to cue up your favorite station for a spontaneous family dance party or use your child's favorite movie soundtrack for a quick game of "Clean and Freeze" to pick up toys at the end of the day.

9. Say "yes"

Sometimes it can feel like you're constantly telling your child "no." While it's not possible to grant every request (sorry, kiddo, still can't let you drive the car!), plan a "yes" day for a little extra magic. That means every (reasonable) request gets an affirmative response for 24 hours. Trust us―they'll never forget it.

10. Let them take the lead

A day planned by your kid―can you imagine that? Instead of trying to plan what you think will lead to the best memories, put your kid in the driver's seat by letting them make the itinerary. If you have more than one child, break up the planning so one gets to pick the activity while the other chooses your lunch menu. You just might end up with a day you never expected.

11. Ask more questions

Odds are, your child might not remember every activity you plan―but they will remember the moments you made them feel special. By focusing the conversation on your little one―their likes, dislikes, goals, or even just craziest dreams―you teach them that their perspective matters and that you are their biggest fan.

12. Turn a bad day around

Not every magical moment will start from something good. But the days where things don't go to plan can often turn out to be the greatest memories, especially when you find a way to turn even a negative experience into a positive memory. So don't get discouraged if you wake up to rain clouds on your beach day or drop the eggs on the floor before breakfast―take a cue from Mary Poppins and find a way to turn the whole day a little "turtle."

Mary Poppins Returns available now on Digital & out on Blue-ray March 19! Let the magic begin in your house with a night where everything is possible—even the impossible ✨

After a pregnancy that is best described as uncomfortable, Jessica Simpson is finally done "Jess-tating" and is now a mama of three.

Baby Birdie Mae Johnson joined siblings Ace and Maxwell on Tuesday, March 19, Simpson announced via Instagram.

Simpson's third child weighed in at 10 pounds, 13 ounces.

Birdie's name is no surprise to Jessica's Instagram followers, who saw numerous references to the name in her baby shower photos and IG stories in the last few weeks.

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 experts.

"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."

At this moment in time, Simpson and her husband, former NFL player Eric Johnson, are probably busy counting little fingers and toes , which is great news because it means Simpson's toes can finally deflate. She's had a terrible time with swollen feet during this pregnancy, and was also hospitalized multiple times due to bronchitis in her final trimester.

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We're so glad to see Simpson's little Birdie has finally arrived!

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Spring is officially here and if you're looking for a way to celebrate the change in the season, why not treat the kids to some ice cream, mama?

DQ locations across the country (but not the ones in malls) are giving away free small vanilla cones today, March 20! So pack up the kids and get to a DQ near you.

And if you can't make it today, from March 21 through March 31, DQ's got a deal where small cones will be just 50 cents (but you have to download the DQ mobile app to claim that one).

Another chain, Pennsylvania-based Rita's Italian Ice is also dishing up freebies today, so if DQ's not your thing you can grab a free cup of Italian ice instead.

We're so excited that ice cream season is here and snowsuit season is behind us. Just a few short weeks and the kids will be jumping through the sprinklers.

Welcome back, spring. We've missed you!

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The woman who basically single-handedly taught the world to embrace vulnerability and imperfection is coming to Netflix and we cannot wait to binge whatever Brené Brown's special will serve up because we'll probably be better people after watching it.

It drops on April 19 and is called Brené Brown: The Call to Courage. If it has even a fraction of the impact of her books or the viral Ted talk that made her a household name, it's going to be life and culture changing.

Announcing the special on Instagram Brown says she "cannot believe" she's about to be "breaking some boundaries over at Netflix" with the 77-minute special.

Netflix describes the special as a discussion of "what it takes to choose courage over comfort in a culture defined by scarcity, fear and uncertainty" and it sounds exactly like what we need right now.

April 19 is still pretty far away though, so if you need some of Brown's wisdom now, check out her books on Amazon or watch (or rewatch) the 2010 Ted Talk that put her—and our culture's relationship with vulnerability and shame—in the national spotlight.

The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown

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If Marie Kondo's Netflix show got people tidying up, Brown's Netflix special is sure to be the catalyst for some courageous choices this spring.

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My husband and I recently had a date night that included being away from our son overnight for the first time since he was born three years ago (but don't let your heads run away with a fantasy—we literally slept because we were exhausted #thisiswhatwecallfunnow). It was a combination of a late night work event, a feeling that we had to do something just for the two of us, and simple convenience. It would have taken hours to get home from the end of a very long day when we could just check into a hotel overnight and get home early the next day.

But before that night, I fretted about what to do. How would childcare work? No one besides me or my husband has put our son to bed, and we have never not been there when he wakes up in the morning.

Enter: Grandma.

I knew if there was any chance of this being successful, the only person that could pull it off is one of my son's favorite people—his grandmother. Grammy cakes. Gramma. We rely so much on these extended support systems to give us comfort and confidence as parents and put our kids at ease. Technically, we could parent without their support, but I'm so glad we don't have to.

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So as we walked out the door, leaving Grandma with my son for one night, I realized how lucky we are that she gets it...

She gets it because she always comes bearing delicious snacks. And usually a small toy or crayons in her bag for just the right moment when it's needed.

She gets it because she comes with all of the warmth and love of his parents but none of the baggage. None of the first time parent jitters and all of the understanding that most kids just have simple needs: to eat, play and sleep.

She gets it because she understands what I need too. The reassurance that my baby will be safe. And cared for.

She gets it because she's been in my shoes before. Decades ago, she was a nervous new mama too and felt the same worries. She's been exactly where we are.

She gets it because she shoos us away as we nervously say goodbye, calling out cheerfully, "Have fun, I've got this." And I know that she does.

She gets it because she will get down on the floor with him to play Legos—even though sometimes it's a little difficult to get back up.

She gets it because she will fumble around with our AppleTV—so different from her remote at home—to find him just the right video on Youtube that he's looking for.

She gets it because she diligently takes notes when we go through the multi-step bedtime routine that we've elaborately concocted, passing no judgment, and promising that she'll follow along as best as she can.

She gets it because she'll break the routine and lay next to him in bed when my son gets upset, singing softly in his ear until she sees his eyelids droop heavy and finally fall asleep.

She gets it because she'll text us to let us know when he's fallen asleep because she knows we'll be wondering.

She gets it because just like our son trusts us as his mom and dad, Grandma is his safe space. My son feels at ease with her—and that relaxes me, too.

She gets it because when we come home from our "big night out" the house will be clean. Our toddler's play table that always has some sort of sticky jelly residue on it will be spotless. The dishwasher empty. (Side note: She is my hero.)

She gets it because she shows up whenever we ask. Even when it means having to rearrange her schedule. Even when it means she has to sleep in our home instead of her own.

She gets it because even though she has her own life, she makes sure to be as involved in ours as she can. But that doesn't mean she gives unsolicited advice. It means that she's there. She comes to us or lets us come to her. Whenever we need her.

She gets it because she takes care of us, too. She's there to chat with at the end of a long day. To commiserate on how hard motherhood and working and life can be, but to also gently remind me, "These are the best days."

After every time Grandma comes over, she always leaves a family that feels so content. Fulfilled by her presence. The caretaking and nourishment (mental and food-wise) and warmth that accompanies her.

We know this is a privilege. We know we're beyond lucky that she is present and wants to be involved and gets it. We know that sometimes life doesn't work out like this and sometimes Grandma lives far away or is no longer here, or just doesn't get it. So we hold on. And appreciate every moment.

As Grandma leaves, I hug her tight and tell her, "I can't thank you enough. We couldn't have done this without you." Because we can't. And we wouldn't want to.

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