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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).

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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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Did you hear that? That was the sound of Nordstrom and Maisonette making all your kid's summer wardrobe dreams come true.

Nordstrom partnered with Maisonette to create the perfect in-store pop-up shop from May 24th-June 23rd, featuring some of our favorite baby and kids brands, like Pehr, Zestt Organics, Lali and more. (Trust us, these items are going to take your Instagram feed to the next level of cuteness. 😍) Items range from $15 to $200, so there's something for every budget.

Pop-In@Nordstrom x Maisonette

Maisonette has long been a go-to for some of the best children's products from around the world, whether it's tastefully designed outfits, adorable accessories, or handmade toys we actually don't mind seeing sprawled across the living room rug. Now their whimsical, colorful aesthetic will be available at Nordstrom.

The pop-in shops will be featured in nine Nordstrom locations: Costa Mesa, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Chicago, IL; Austin, TX; Dallas, TX; Bellevue, WA; Seattle, WA; Toronto, ON; and Vancouver, BC.

Don't live nearby? Don't stress! Mamas all across the U.S. and Canada will be able to access the pop-in merchandise online at nordstrom.com/pop

But don't delay―these heirloom-quality pieces will only be available at Nordstrom during the pop-in's run, and then they'll be over faster than your spring break vacation. Happy shopping! 🛍

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

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Ayesha Curry has a beautiful family. Her girls, 6-year-old Riley and 3-year-old Ryan, are so smart and adorable and youngest, 10-month-old Canon, is a beautiful, growing baby boy.

He's so cute it practically hurts to look at his sweet little face. So Curry was understandably shocked when an Instagram commenter suggested that Canon (again, he is 10 months old) should go on a diet.

Seriously.

The whole thing started when Curry posted a photo taken after her husband, NBA star Steph Curry, won the Western Conference finals with the Golden State Warriors. The group shot shows Curry holding Canon surrounded by friends and family. The problematic comments began when someone asked the mom of three if she was pregnant again.

That question is not cool. It's not okay to comment on a woman's body like that, even if she is in the public eye. Curry recently told Working Mother that she's had times since becoming a mom when she's been depressed about her body, and struggled with her reflection as she's gone from being an NBA player's wife to a successful woman who is landing magazine covers for her own work.

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"I'm not thin; I'm 170 pounds on a good day. It's been a journey for me, and that's why I want my girls to understand who they are—and to love it."

Despite this, Curry took the pregnancy speculation in stride, replying with "LOL" and stating she is absolutely not pregnant.

"My 30-lb. son is just breaking my back in every photo," she wrote.

That's when the comments about Canon came.

"30 at 10 months?? Sheesh," wrote one user.

"30?!?!? He's bigger than my 19-month-old nephew," another commented.

"Maybe portion control his food a little bit," replied another Instagram user in a comment that got Curry's attention.

While she had responded to the inappropriate speculation about her own body with grace, she was not about to take baby body shaming and unsolicited parenting advice from an internet stranger.

"Excuse you? No. Just no," she wrote.

👏👏👏

No is right. It is never okay to presume a woman is pregnant and it is never okay to comment on a baby's weight. Plus, Canon is adorable just the way he is!

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, every baby grows at their own rate, but usually by their first birthday, the average child triples their birth weight. What's important isn't measuring your child against any chart, but that they continue to grow at the same pace they set in the first eight months of their life, the AAP notes.

Many moms can relate to Curry's situation here. People (sometimes well-meaning) seem to think it's okay to comment on baby's weight, but it absolutely isn't. Every baby is different and growing at their own speed, and no one knows what is best for their baby like their mom and dad do so strangers on the internet or even relatives at a family dinner need to keep those comments to themselves.

No one should be judging Canon's weight or Curry's parenting. Canon is 30 pounds of cuteness and his mother knows exactly how and what to feed him.

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When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I attended a party where I ate the better portion of a wheel of Brie cheese. If you've ever had a baby, are thinking of having a baby, or know someone who's had a baby, then you might know that soft cheeses are strictly forbidden when you're expecting—according to most Western doctors, at least. (It's a pasteurization thing. Raw milk ups your chance of ingesting harmful bacteria.)

But what can I tell you? The notion that cheese can be dangerous just seemed ridiculous to me, especially given that when my mom was pregnant with me, they expected I'd be born with a brandy in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

I ate the Brie.

An hour or so later, though, when my stomach started to hurt, I became hysterical: Oh, no. Something is wrong with my baby! What have I done?

I called my doctor, a lovely, sane man who would go on to deliver all four of my children. He listened and then very patiently explained to me that my baby and I were fine. What I had, he told me, was a case of mother's guilt.

"Let me tell you," he said, "it starts the minute you conceive that baby and it will not stop until the day you die."

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Truer words have never been spoken.

As aden + anais, our then-fledgling baby-goods company, continued to grow by leaps and bounds, so too did the size of my family. And though I'd always been a working mom, even before I started my company, the struggle to manage work and family life did not get any easier.

Once while I was out of town on business, my husband decided to take the girls out for ice cream. He stepped up to the counter, flanked by four little girls, giggling and chattering and ogling the display case. The cashier looked down at them, looked back at my husband, and in a small voice asked, "Do they have a mother?"

My husband took it in stride: "Of course, mate. She's just traveling for business."

But when he recounted the story to me later, instead of scoffing at this person's ridiculous question, it was like someone reached into my chest and ripped out my still-beating heart.

Once again, I wasn't there. Once again, I had been away from my girls because of the business. It should go without saying the obvious and insidious double-standard at work here: I have never once been asked, on the days when I'm out and about alone with the girls if they have a father.

Women share a common anguish over juggling their responsibilities. No amount of starry-eyed optimism over the things that women can accomplish in the business world will soothe the guilt of the mom who feels she should be in two places at once: at home, with her children, and at work, doing what earns her a paycheck and what she (hopefully) finds meaningful.

Each of these—children and work—can feel like a calling, we can feel devoted to both. But which one takes precedence moment to moment? What is the cost to our children when we give our career priority in a given moment? These are questions all parents grapple with on a daily basis, even if unconsciously.

Mommy guilt shows up in different ways for different women. It can show up at the grocery store when our kid starts screaming in aisle seven and we think we should have it all under control.

It shows up when we work nights or weekends to finish that project—the one we worked so hard to land—which takes precious time away from them.

It shows up when we don't know how to make the changes they need or we lack the emotional energy to do so.

It's there when the "perfect birthday party" doesn't go as planned and ends in tears and tantrums.

It shows up when we don't have the space to be emotionally available to them, because, well, stuff happens.

For many of us, it starts at pregnancy with pressure to give birth vaginally like some heroic warrior goddess, surrounded by candles and people chanting.

It starts with the phrase "breast is best," which brings with it a heavy load of guilt for those who physically can't produce milk (I couldn't, despite trying for months), or have to return to a workplace with no lactation rooms, or simply prefer not to breastfeed.

It's there when we crave time to ourselves but feel as though we should be giving time to our families because to do otherwise is considered selfish.

Instead of seeing the conundrum for what it is—a Chinese finger trap which keeps us struggling instead of accepting our reality—we strive to do it all. We think we can be a superhero mom and superhero career woman all the time, every day. Not surprisingly, this leads to an incredible amount of burnout.

What I struggled with most, especially trying to juggle a full-time job, growing a side business, and raising an expanding family, is the societal belief that working moms are somehow failing because we choose work, rather than to be with our kids day in and day out.

Women are up against commonly held beliefs that we don't want to work, that we value our careers less than men do, and that huge swaths of us will ultimately leave our jobs to care for our homes and children. (I would guess that every mother reading this was asked at least once during her pregnancy whether she would be returning to work after she gave birth.) The fact that we've had children is often given as the reason that so few women have snagged boardroom or C-suite spots.

The judgment about women's career choices probably won't stop anytime soon. Most of us would say our choice to work is not, in fact, a choice. Most of us either need to work to support ourselves and our families, or we need to work to feel fulfilled.

Was it a choice to work, or to start my business? Not so much. Working was not only financially important to my family, but it was important to me. When I moved from Australia to New York and initially couldn't work for lack of an appropriate visa, I learned that I could not be idle for long without suffering the consequences of lethargy, depression and a total lack of interest in life.

My career is fulfilling, and I'm convinced I would be a terrible mother if I were a full-time stay-at-home mom. Even though I once had to use my whole salary to pay for quality childcare, investing in my career has always been worth it.

Excerpted from What It Takes: How I Built a $100 Million Business Against the Odds by Raegan Moya-Jones with permission of Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Raegan Moya-Jones, 2019.

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In recent months there has been a growing awareness about the tragedy of maternal health care in America, specifically how much more dangerous it is for black women to become mothers. Black women are 3 to 4 times more likely than white women to die during or right after pregnancy than white mothers and racism and the implicit bias of health care providers allows this to happen.

This week, Sen. Kamala Harris reintroduced the Maternal Care Access and Reducing Emergencies (CARE) Act to address this issue."The health status and the well-being of Black mothers should concern everyone," she wrote on Twitter. "I re-introduced my Maternal CARE Act to ensure women are listened to in our health care system."

Implicit bias is basically the ways in which we stereotype people, even unconsciously, and how these stereotypes impact our actions. When it comes to maternal health care, the implicit bias of providers can mean black mothers' concerns go unheard, even when they're paying for the best medical care money can buy.

This is happening to moms at all income levels and is something that Serena Williams has been very open about, and even Beyonce felt the effects of.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, "implicit bias may affect the way obstetrician–gynecologists counsel patients about treatment options such as contraception, vaginal birth after cesarean delivery, and the management of fibroids."

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Harris's Maternal Care Access and Reducing Emergencies (CARE) Act would create grants to ensure black mothers have access to maternal care and that healthcare providers are trained to avoid the kind of bias that results in black moms losing their lives, and babies losing their mothers.

Harris has seen this in her own state, where black women make up 5% of the pregnant population, but 21% of the pregnancy-related deaths. California's Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act is seeking to change that on the state level, and Harris is hoping to do the same on a national level by passing her federal act (and winning the Democratic primary).

Her future in the Presidential race remains to be seen, but with Maternal Care Access and Reducing Emergencies (CARE) Act she's trying to ensure that black mothers are seen and no longer overlooked in America's healthcare system.

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We've said it here at Motherly many times: The majority of moms just don't feel like society supports them. Our 2019 State of Motherhood survey found a whopping 85% of mothers feel this way, up from 74% last year.

We've wondered if anyone is listening, but the race for the Democratic primary proves many politicians are.

This week Kirsten Gillibrand, a mom of two herself, announced her new economic policy platform known as the Family Bill of Rights.

In a Medium post published Wednesday, Gillibrand explained that she believes Americans have the right to a safe and healthy pregnancy, the right to give birth or adopt a child, the right to personally care for those children in their infancy and access health care for them, the right to a safe and affordable nursery, and the right to affordable child care and early education before kindergarten.

She's proposing a lot here. Like Senator Elizabeth Warren before her, Gillibrand points out that the "U.S. has the highest rate of pregnancy-related deaths in the industrialized world, and black women are 3–4 times more likely to die during or after childbirth than white women."

Like Warren, she plans to make America a safer place to give birth. She also plans to "require insurance companies to cover treatments like IVF" to make sure that reproductive medicine isn't out of reach for families. She wants to make sure all families, regardless of sexual orientation, race or income level can welcome a child.

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That's why one of her promises is to ensure taxpayer-funded adoption agencies can't discriminate against potential parents, and why she plans to "provide a tax credit to ensure that a family's ability to adopt and provide a stable home for a child isn't dependent on their wealth."

That tax credit would help parents who are adopting older children, and Gillibrand's plan for safe and affordable nurseries would help parents who are coming home with newborns. She plans to provide baby boxes that contain a small mattress and can be used as a safe sleep surface but will also be packed with "diapers, swaddle blankets, and onesies."

And of course, like so many politicians in America right now, she's got a plan for paid family leave, but she's also tackling children's health care in the same breath. "It's past time we create a national paid family and medical leave insurance program, so that everyone can take the time they need to be with their loved ones without having to worry about how they'll pay the bills. And I would ensure that every child has the right to health care, by making the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) universal," she explains.

From there, Gillibrand is committing to universal pre-K and an expansion of the Child and Dependent Care tax credit to help families with the cost of childcare.

With more than 20 competitors running against her and a poll numbers suggesting she's nowhere near the lead, many may not take Gillibrand's announcement seriously. There are a lot of promises in her Family Bill of Rights, but that fact alone reminds us just how much American families are missing right now.

Time will tell how far Gillibrand will get on this platform, but we hope other politicians (in both parties) are listening. Because she was listening to us. And she's got our attention.

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