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When I went to see Kurt Vile & the Violators in June of 2014, it was on the recommendation of a friend – a fellow new dad who was treating himself to a rare escape from the immersive world of pureed pears and kids music.

All I knew about Kurt was what my friend had told me – he was a Philadelphia native and had been writing and recording songs since he was in in his early teens. Kurt was young, and he was prolific and had left “The War on Drugs,” a band he cofounded, to follow his own creative muse.

Walking into the show, I’d listened to “Wakin on a Pretty Daze,” the album he was touring behind, probably three or four times, but he was delivering the songs at ten times the volume I’d expected. Admittedly, I was put off at first. But once my sensitive ears adjusted, the experience settled into the best live show I’d seen in years (intensely loud at times, interspersed with a few emotional solo pieces), and over the months that followed, a slight Kurt Vile obsession ensued.

When I found out he was my contemporary (only six months apart in age), with two little girls nearly exactly the same ages as my own, Kurt’s music began to mean even more. I heard the nuance in his lyrics and melodies as reflections of my experience (I’d also grown up in southern Pennsylvania in the 90’s).


Kurt’s latest album, “b’lieve i’m goin down,” (out September 25) provided the perfect excuse to have a chat with this indie rock dad and guitar hero. Like his music, Kurt is driven yet humble, rambling but eloquent, with an occasional dash of levity and self-deprecating humor. His new album reflects all of those elements, with a refreshing realness that defies concise description.

You need to take a listen to Pitchfork’s “best new music” to understand.

When I reached him in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Kurt was with his family, practicing with his band, while awaiting the release of the new album and getting his head right for his upcoming North American and European tour.

Congrats on the new album, Kurt. The reason I wanted to interview you is because I saw you in Burlington, Vermont last year. I said, “who is this young kid on the stage – this total rocker?” I loved your music and the show so much that I looked you up and found out that you’re a dad.

I’m not as young as you thought, huh? You have kids?

I do. Almost three, and just about five months. How about you? How old are yours these days?

Five and almost three.

So you’ve been exactly where I am, and you made it through. That’s good! I wanted to ask – do

they like the movie “Frozen?” Or have you somehow avoided its addictive clutches.

Of course! We were just watching it the other day. You know there are those certain movies, especially the new ones that kids go crazy for, and they’ll make it so you can’t stream it, and you have to buy it? You ever notice this? You can’t stream it on Amazon, or it doesn’t exist on Netflix?

They’ve seen “Frozen” just enough times, but not like over and over again. But I feel like we never let them watch a certain movie over and over again. After a while, it gets annoying. In general, the music in the new movies and the way they talk like in some of the “tween” stuff, has definitely gotten way more annoying. But having said that, that movie “Brave” is actually really good. Have you seen that one? That slays.

I have. It’s good. As a songwriter, how do you feel about Disney or Pixar’s ability to make a song so catchy that it can stay in your head for months?

I appreciate that. It’s funny too, because I like Randy Newman, who is underappreciated in certain circles. But if I mention his name among a certain demographic, they’re like “Oh, you mean the guy who does all the Pixar soundtracks?” I guess he does all the Toy Story soundtracks. That’s not what I’m talking about at all, but even so, I’m glad he does that.

By the way, did you see the newest Pixar movie, “Inside Out?” I’m always pretty low serotonin after any trip, and I did a European press tour that was just a little over two weeks, and the number of interviews I did was nuts. But anyway, somebody recommended that I see that movie to see if my kids would like it or whatever, and I was flying home and watched it on the plane. And yeah, I was tearing up for like no reason basically (laughs).

That’s awesome. Yeah, those movies’ll get you. I wanted to also ask you about your songwriting process, which sounds a little different from the cartoons. The recent Grantland piece painted you as this stay-up-all-night, tequila-swilling guy. That’s how you created a lot of the songs on your upcoming album, at least. What would you say are the keys to your creative process?

Yeah, it’s funny about that feature and the whole alcohol thing, cause there’s numerous concoctions or zero concoctions at any time. It’s not just alcohol or about abusing yourself or not abusing yourself or staying up. But it reached a peak for whatever reason [with this record] where I was staying up really late.

There’s something you can capture when you keep staying up and make your band stay up, you know? There’s a certain type of music that comes out after a while.

I feel like I’m sort of getting out of it now. I like the idea of doing stuff during the day, or maybe not taking a drop of anything. It just depends. A lot of it has to do with, by the time we get together [in the studio], they’re all waiting on me, and by the time I actually getting around to delivering anything, time goes by really fast, so before you know it, it’s really late. But we gotta get something, so we’re like “let’s keep going!”

How do you balance those late nights with being a dad?

I think it’s just because of my unique, I guess you’d call it my job, which is pretty much to be creative and write music and get it down. It would be different if I was always in the studio that late for the better part of a year, but I had a new record in the pipeline, so I was going for it. And then all of a sudden you go on tour. Yeah, I think that, ultimately, the nightlife, with all of its fuels and tools, that all helps you out for a while. You get a lot of stuff done, but then you have to clean up and get straight.

I’ve been waking up really early lately, actually. It’s really convenient, cause I came from Europe, so I am waking up at 7 a.m., but it’s really like 1 o’clock in Europe, so I just decided to stay on a more normal thing and get up with my family and stuff. I brought them up to New York, and now I’m practicing with the band, and in the morning, we’ll get up and do stuff together, and then I’ll go and jam with the band again in the early evening.

So you wrote most of the new songs in the studio, as opposed to at home on the couch alone? Is that normal for you?

If I have deadlines pending or sessions coming, I will stay up. I’ll definitely stay up at home writing, or preparing, at certain times. Once I’m out of the studio, my family’s not around anyway, cause I’m usually elsewhere. But even if I’m in Philly, they understand. Once I’m working, I get really into it. I feel like I’m always going to stay up relatively late if I’m creating or recording, but I like the idea of entertaining the more morning creativity. Either way, I think I just reached an extreme with it on this record.

You can’t really set up any rules, cause you’ll figure out the methods – what works and what’s working. It’s all a pretty maddening but really fun art form and career that way, I guess.

You let the creativity flow and let it do what it wants to do. How does that manifest when you’re with your family?

I’ll just zone out. I mean, I’ll write stuff throughout the day all the time. I’ll go to the piano or the guitar or the banjo – I’ve been doing it a lot lately, that’s why I’m thinking of it. I’ll just be messing around with a few bars and just zone out. I feel like I bounce around a lot more than I used to, at least during the day. I’ll just be writing a few different things throughout the day most days if I’m in a good headspace.

With my family, it’s almost like all of a sudden I’m just playing music. There’s lots of music in the house. They don’t object or anything. I think we’re all kind of space cadets in our own way, so it’s like, if I space out in my own world for a second, I think that people understand that or whatever.

In what ways is your wife involved with managing your tour and career?

She doesn’t really manage me. She sort of helps – I mean she helps with a million things. After a certain point, I just said she needs to sorta watch – I mean, if she’s interested in what sort of money I’m making, then she needs to look, cause I’m really bad at that. I can’t do what I’m doing and also count the money and understand where it’s coming from and how much there is. It’s like the opposite of my brain. To try to tally everything up on top of writing music and performing and recording is crazy. I like the idea of it, but when it gets really specific, someone else has to figure it out.

You’ve been successful for a while now, but you’ve clearly put in your time. How does it feel to know you’re able to make enough money from music and enjoy some degree of security?

It does feel good. I guess at the same time, we’re by no means rich. I make a funny joke about that. Like, if all of a sudden, you have a song in a commercial or a big movie, or out of nowhere your record sold like crazy and you got like a freak situation where you got a lot of money and basically became rich overnight, right?

I like the idea – it’s sort of a joke – say you have a ranch or something like Neil Young. Like I don’t know anything about cars, but I buy a car and ask my friends like, “Hey, you like my new car?” and they say, “Yeah, what kind is it?” and I say “Um, it’s a sports car.” (laughs) “Yeah, but what brand is that?” “Uh, it’s a sports car.” With my style of music, it’s a little bit different, but I’m still having a good time.

How is touring for you? Is it hard being away from your family?

I mean, I’m working nights. It’s not like anything ever gets so out of hand, you know? I mean, we’re all adults here. I work a different schedule. When the family’s away, I’m away. I guess if it was a Guns ‘N Roses scenario, that would be different, but it’s all pretty civilized. It’s pretty normal.

When I go away, I always miss my family, but it goes by faster for me now. And I am grateful that I have both really, because I love to play music. It’s not like I’m waiting for the tour to be over, per se, when I’m in the thick of it. I worked up to this situation, and it’s my chance to try to own it with every record. You can’t take that stuff for granted really. Sometimes you get used to it, and you could for a second. But how many times really are you gonna have yourself poised to, like, make a statement or something?

I feel like I’ll be able to put out a lot of records, but still, the process seems to be a little bit more exhausting all the time. I’m going to still do it, and I assume they’re always going to be a little better, but at the same time, how do I know that for sure? This is the time where I’m supposed to really go for it. My record’s about to come out, so I really gotta go out and make a splash, you know?

Okay. Last question. Parent.co recently had a popular story about alternative ways to ask your kid how their day was other than, “How was your day?” So you can ask your kid, “Who picked their nose today? Who would you most want to blow up with a laser? Who would you like to see teach the class instead of the teacher?” just random stuff to get kids talking. When you’re on tour, what question would get you talking, rather than “How was your day?”

Who didn’t vomit this morning? Hopefully everyone will raise their hand, including me. (laughs)

What about for your kids? What’s a creative way you get them to talk if they aren’t in the mood?

Just honestly incorporate anything about Greek mythology for my oldest. She’s obsessed. Then, I don’t know. The other one you could just … If you think of anything goofy, she’ll break out.

Awesome. Thanks, Kurt. Huge congratulations on your new record. Enjoy the tour and good luck.

Thanks a lot.

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Sometimes it can feel like toys are a mama's frenemy. While we love the idea of entertaining our children and want to give them items that make them happy, toys can end up taking the joy out of our own motherhood experience. For every child begging for another plastic figurine, there's a mama who spends her post-bedtime hours digging toys out from under the couch, dining room table and probably her own bed.

Like so many other moms, I've often found myself between this rock and hard place in parenting. I want to encourage toys that help with developmental milestones, but struggle to control the mess. Is there a middle ground between clutter and creative play?

Enter: Lovevery.

lovevery toys

Lovevery Play Kits are like the care packages you wish your child's grandparent would send every month. Expertly curated by child development specialists, each kit is crafted to encourage your child's current developmental milestones with beautiful toys and insightful activity ideas for parents. A flip book of how-tos and recommendations accompanies each box, giving parents not only tips for making the most of each developmental stage, but also explaining how the games and activities benefit those growing brains.

Even better, the toys are legitimately beautiful. Made from eco-friendly, sustainable materials materials and artfully designed, I even find myself less bothered when my toddler leaves hers strewn across the living room floor.

What I really love, though, is that the kits are about so much more than toys. Each box is like a springboard of imaginative, open-ended play that starts with the included playthings and expands into daily activities we can do during breakfast or while driving to and from lessons. For the first time, I feel like a company isn't just trying to sell me more toys―they're providing expert guidance on how to engage in educational play with my child. And with baby kits that range from age 0 to 12 months and toddler kits for ages 13 to 24 months, the kits are there for me during every major step of development I'll encounter as a new mama.

So maybe I'll never love toys―but I will always love spending time with my children. And with Lovevery's unique products, mixing those worlds has become child's play.

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

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Summertime is here, mamas! And while we couldn't be more thrilled about beach outings and pool days, both of those activities require one major thing—getting into a bathing suit. No easy feat when you're not pregnant (FYI: we tested many and these are our favorite five), but it's even tougher when you are prego and your body is changing daily.

To help, we've rounded up 15 super-cute maternity bathing suit options for you. From sweet one-pieces (like Old Navy's watermelon-pattered cutie that has matching options for dads, toddlers and girls!) to color-blocked bikinis that will ensure your bump gets nice and tan, we've got something to fit every mama's personal style and body. Because we want you to love your pregnant body and celebrate it—you know the saying: Suns out… bumps out!

The best part? They start at just $22! Happy shopping, mamas.

Motherhood Maternity ruffle front one-shoulder swimsuit with UPF 50+

Motherhood Maternity One-Shoulder Swim

Super flattering with a ruffle and in navy polka dots, this suit will be your go-to all summer long.

Price: $39.98


Hatch Antigua maillot

Hatch Antigua

Did we mention we love ruffles? This beauty from Hatch is sweet as can be, and while it's on the pricier side, the quality is there and it will last you multiple pregnancies.

Price: $218


ASOS Design maternity recycled glam high-neck swimsuit

Asos maternity high neck swim

Who says you need to be in a boring black bathing suit all summer? Let's embrace color (and some sexy drama!) with this high-neck suit that will have everyone asking where on Earth you found such a fun maternity look.

Price: Sale $33.50 (Regularly $48.00)


Motherhood Maternity 'Beach Bump' maternity one-piece swimsuit with UPF 50+

Beach Bump Swim

This suit is anything but plain with it's adorable "beach bump" sign.

Price: $39.98


H&M Mama swimsuit

H&M Mama Swim

Spice up your pool days with this super fun pattern that is also super flattering—after all, it's hard to spot flaws with all that leopard going on. The wrapped top, low-cut back and ruched siding all add to why we love this one so much.

Price: $29.99


Hatch color-block bikini frutto

Hatch Colorblock Bikini

Show off the bump in this color-blocked bikini that looks like something straight out of the 1950s.

Price: $208.00


H&M Mama swimsuit with ruffles

H&M Mama Swim

Bohemian perfection, this suit is perfectly on-trend for the season.

Price: Sale $24.99 (Regularly $34.99)


A Pea in a Pod rib knit striped maternity one-piece swimsuit

A Pea in a Pod Striped Swim

Preppy but also a little bit sexy thanks to the cleavage-baring peephole, this suit screams "summer" in the best way possible.

Price: $98.00


Summersalt Maternity ribbed voyager bikini top + bottom

Summersalt Maternity Ribbed Voyager Bikini

Summersalt is one of our favorite swimwear brands and they just released maternity options! Giving their ubiquitous high-waisted bikini bottoms the prego treatment, this is one suit that will grow with you from first to third trimester.

Bikini top price: $50.00


Bikini bottom price: $45.00


Pez D’or stripe one-piece maternity swimsuit for Nordstrom

Pez D'or Stripe Swim

Love you some stripes? Then you can't go wrong with this halter-neck option that is flattering and cute all at once.

Price: $98.00


Old Navy Maternity halter v-neck swimsuit with UPF 40

Old Navy Maternity Halter V-Neck Swimsuit

We're obsessed with this suite for two reasons: One, that crazy cute watermelon pattern! Two, the halter cut with tiny peephole is perfection and there's lots of support thanks to an extra strap at mid-back.

Price: Sale $22.50 (Regularly $44.99)


Gap Maternity tie-back print one-piece suit

Gap Maternity Tie-Back Print One-Piece Suit

This one-piece is as pretty as can be with it's tiny floral print! We love that the straps criss-cross in the back and that the sweetheart neckline drawcord is adjustable.

Price: Sale $58.99 (Regularly $69.99)


Pink Blush ruffle trim ruched one-piece maternity swimsuit

Pink Blush Light Blue Ruffle Trim Ruched One-Piece Maternity Swimsuit

Oversized ruffle? Check. Removable straps? Check. Ruched siding? Check. Adorable baby blue hue? Check.

Price: $46.00


Jojo Maman Bebe flamingo halterneck maternity tankini

Jojo Maman Bebe Flamingo Halterneck Maternity Tankini

Tankinis for the win! Perfect for pulling up when you want the bump to get some sun, but tugging down when you don't want to show some skin.

Price: $59.00


PregO Maternity Wear roll waist dot bikini set

PregO Maternity Wear Women's Maternity Roll Waist Dot Bikini Set

We love how sporty chic this suit is and that you can wear it after pregnancy, too.

Price: $68.00-$72.00


Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Babies love it when their mamas sing to them, and Carrie Underwood's son is no exception. But does he love his dad's singing? Not so much.

If your mom has a voice like Carrie Underwood's, chances are your lullaby standards are a bit higher than most. And, if a recent video from the singer is any indication, even Dad's singing may not quite make the grade.

The country singer shared a cute video clip of her son, Jacob, reacting as her husband, Mike Fisher, sings him a song. Let's just say the little guy isn't having it: Jacob cries throughout his father's mini-performance...That is until Mama steps in to sing the same song.

The clip shows little Jacob calm immediately when he hears his mom's voice (relatable, right?). Mike takes that opportunity to step back in and resume his vocals...but Jacob begins to cry again. "Everyone's a critic," Carrie captions the adorable video.

But don't take this to mean you have to be a recording artist in order to sing to your children! Even the most tone-deaf among us can (and should!) sing to our babies—not just because it's fun, but also because singing to your babe comes with some pretty awesome benefits. The act may even improve your baby's attention span and increase positive their reactions towards you, as we've previously reported.


While Carrie and Mike opt to belt out the song "I Still Believe" by singer Vince Gill, you don't have to get too fancy. Singing a good old-fashioned lullaby to your kids is a great idea (they work for a pretty good reason). We are fairly certain that most babies out there love the sound of their mama's voice more than just about any sound (with the possible exception of the "Baby Shark" video), so keep up the family singing sessions even if you don't have a hit song on the charts.

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I am generally not considered a sentimental person, and I do not keep a lot of junk. When I moved to college, everything that wasn't part of my closet fit into a single trunk. By the time I got married, I had shrunk those keepsakes down to a single box. When I got pregnant, the box had shrunk down to a tiny container I shoved under my bed.

Then we had kids.

The sheer amount of stuff we received from well-wishers was overwhelming. I figured that we needed most of it—babies are high maintenance, right?—and took comfort in the fact that when our child got bigger, we could ditch the bassinet and the bottles and shrink down our lives again.

I could not have been more wrong. The stuff continued to pour in, and it became impossible to throw anything out. Some of it was useful and consumable, like diapers, and some of it was thoughtful and small, like a special stuffed animal, but most of it was simply too much…like the 1,398 toys that began a procession through our lives over the next three years.

It was nobody's fault. My children have four grandparents, two great-grandparents, and five aunts and uncles within a 20-mile radius. Many of them express their love through purchases. Constant purchases. For Christmas, birthdays, Easter, St. Patrick's Day, your regular Saturday. There was bound to be a build-up.


The problem was that my children received so many presents the gift-giving itself began to lose meaning. Every time a family member came by the house, my 3-year-old expected a treat.

The amount of stuff piling up in our house started to grate on me, but I didn't know what to do. My oldest child has the memory of an elephant: the other day he cried because he couldn't find a specific drawing that he made in preschool 12 months ago. And my family was constantly checking up on their gifts: "Where's the special bear I gave you, little guy? Do you play with it a lot?" I didn't want to offend anyone.

Then I had an evening that changed my life as a mom. We went to a friend's house for dinner; they had young kids too, about a year or so ahead of us. We walked in and I was shocked at how completely their house had been taken over by their kids' belongings. You couldn't see the living room floor because there were toys everywhere—not in use but stacked up to the ceiling. They apologized for the mess, and it didn't seem to bother them, but I was panicking on the inside.

Was this what was in store for me as a parent? Were my children going to accumulate so much that I wouldn't be able to find my own life under all the mess?

We went home that night and put the kids to bed. And I ransacked. Three years of accumulated playthings, old "special" clothes, and my concerns and ideas about disappointing our relatives, were all ruthlessly sorted through.

If I was going to be a good mom, it would have to be on my terms, and my terms included the right to dispose of accumulation. It included the right to gently but firmly inform relatives that we may not have room for the stuffed bear as big as a house as a Christmas present this year, could there be a special place at their house to keep it? It included the right to shape my family's values, even when they clash a little with those closest to us.

I love our extended family very much, and I am glad they shower my children with affection, including gifts. But every mom has her own way of keeping her sanity, right? And for me, the key to a happy household now includes the occasional purge, when the kids are looking away, and knowing inside that your family will love you anyway.

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If you buy Parent's Choice baby formula at Walmart you need to check to see if your product is being recalled.

The manufacturer of Walmart's Parent's Choice Advantage Infant Formula Milk-Based Powder with Iron, Perrigo Company, is recalling the product because it may be contained with metal. There are no reports of babies experiencing adverse effects, but the company says it is proceeding with the recall out of an "abundance of caution stemming from a consumer report."

If you buy this formula look on the bottom of the tub to check the lot code and use by date. If it is lot Code C26EVFV with a "use by" date of February 26, 2021, it is part of the recall. Don't use it and take it back to Walmart for a refund.

These tubs retail for just under $20.

The FDA suggests "consumers with any health-related questions should contact their healthcare provider", and you can also call Perrigo Consumer Affairs at 866-629-6181.

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