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Bobby Hackney is lead singer and bassist of the legendary punk band Death (profiled in the documentary A Band Called Death), a father of five, and a grandfather of three. He recently sat down at Parent.co to talk about the intersection of family, faith, and passing on a musical legacy. More from our Father’s Day series about Dads Who Rock.


The Reggae Fest you put together, back in the 80’s, I remember it was huge. 

Oh god, this time of year would be … It’s funny, I still feel it, even running the festival for those five years when it was in Burlington, that was the craziest time. Always this time of the year it was just so crazy and so intense. We had so much support from the local community and even from City Hall.

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Sara: Bernie Sanders.

Yeah, we had Bernie Sanders, Peter Clavelle. We had so much support. It was like this time of year, I be out almost like a politician myself going from business to business, “Man, we’re looking forward to Reggae Fest, yeah! We want to spot you this year!” It was just really great.

Those were some really great times. It was just incredible in Burlington. I’ll never forget the meeting I had with Bernie Sanders in 1990, because the year before we had 25,000 and they knew that the next year was going to be huge. We had had Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers booked, but they decided to do their tour at a different time, and so we had Steel Pulse.

That’s awesome.

Great years man. It’s just interesting that I have all this musical history being here. It’s just amazing. I was just living it. I never thought until, it was really the documentary that made me look at my whole life in retrospect and the story.

Ed: Yeah, the A Band Called Death documentary. When we were talking to Bobby Junior, we were talking about how crazy it was that he was playing punk music on his own with his brothers and then found out that he had this other side of the family legacy and didn’t even know about it.

Well you see, that was it because we never really told the kids. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to tell them it’s just that within the Death story if you know about it, we went through so much rejection.

There was so much pain because what my brother David was going through and it wasn’t like I never intended not to tell them. I would hint to Bobby because he was turning me onto all these wild bands he was listening to when he was doing skateboarding thing. I used to tell him, “We used to do some rock and roll. Me and your uncles you know.”

He kind of gave me the old, “Yeah dad.” The great thing about it was is that, that never bothered me at all because he always saw me as this great reggae musician who knew all these reggae acts, who put all these international shows, all these national shows and, “My dad is a big Reggae star. He knows Ziggy Marley. He knows … ”

They were satisfied with that and they were really proud of me. They still are. I was like, “Hey, leave it at that.” You know what I mean? I wasn’t going to tell them about this painful story of when I tried to be a rock and roll star and the world rejected me. I didn’t want to pass that rejection onto them.

I just wanted them to be proud of me and be proud of their family. Little did I know that the real part that really made them proud of us I didn’t tune into so it just worked out that way but it worked out really good. I am super proud of my kids.

Me and Tammy always have said, with all of our children, with Bobby, you can go out and get all the accolades and do all the great things in the world, have all the awards, and plaques but what really matters to us is your character, how you treat people along the way.

In the highway of life and when you meet people and how you treat them and what they say about you. We’ve always tried to instill that the character that you exemplify is more important than anything that you can get. Those things are important too but the character is the way you treat people and the way they treat you.

You can see that in all of your kids. Did your parents play music at all?

You know what, my dad, he was the one that really appreciated music. He always wanted to be a musician. He actually wanted to play harmonica but we were told that our granddad, David Hackney the first, that he was a guitar player. My mom even had pictures of him with his guitar.

I think that was also kind of a little influence on us but we never … I mean nobody else in our family was a musician. My mom and dad, even though my dad was a baptist minister, he was a baptist minister right around the time that Chess record labels was really kicking so he had Muddy Waters records and Willy Dixon. I remember Etta James, a lot of Etta James would be playing in the house and Chuck Berry. Who else? Little Walter, I mean a lot of Blues and BB King of course.

My dad, he really liked the blues. My mom, her taste varied. She liked everything from Dion Warwick to Patsy Cline. She had Sammy Davis, Jr. records and Johnny Mathis records. Johnny Mathis is a big hearth throb at the time.

It’s funny because Bobby Jr. was talking about how in your family getting out the record player is something you guys like to do as a family almost like watching a movie or something.

It was your mom that took you to shows, right?

I was young. I was too young at the time but it was Dannis and David because what had happened was my dad he died in ’68 and my mom had a boyfriend named Jesse Dixon and Jesse … That was really the intro into our rock and roll education because it so happens that Jesse was a security guard and he was the head of his crew so they did all the events in Detroit.

We would get into all these shows free because he was the security guard. We would see James Brown. I saw Stevie Wonder open up for the Rolling Stones.

Wow, that’s amazing.

He was one of the few acts that could open up for the Rolling Stones. Legend has it that they even threw stuff at Prince when he tried to open up for the Rolling Stones so Stevie was one of the few.

We saw Santana, The Who, Alice Cooper. It was Dannis who actually saw Alice Cooper because at the time we were just playing funk music but we were still digging all these concerts because we can get in free.

How did you actually learn to play instruments though?

We kind of just self taught each other. We did have a mentor, a guy named Dion. Dion was kind of a professional musician in Detroit but he had done some tours, had filled in some when the Temptations was doing some shows around Detroit, he had filled in as a bass player and some other things.

He kind of had a wealth of knowledge of clubs and on the Motown scene and he kind of took … The great thing about it was he was a multi-talented musician. He played bass, drums, and guitar. He was able to mentor us on a lot of different things, on each one of our instruments. David was already prolific before me and Dannis got really serious about it.

David was almost already there so he was just a mentor to us and showing us the ropes and that was the one thing that really helped us and that was right around maybe 70′,71′ and that’s what really helped us really get on the track about being a full fledged band.

For the most part, we just kind of self-taught and jammed out with each other and figured it out.

It’s amazing you even wanted to do it though, too. So many people don’t even care it’s like they like music but they are not going to learn how to play it.

Right. That was a big influence too when we were young my dad used to put us in front of his church to sing. If you are a Baptist minister’s son, you got to sing. You got to do something in the church.

It was called PK’s, pastor’s kids. We would get in front of the church and sing. I remember my oldest brother, Earl, he got thrown out because he really couldn’t hold a tune. He was the only one that really couldn’t sing.

You started playing funk and then Alice Cooper came around so that influence happened. How quickly did your music take on a more rock driven aggressive element?

That was right around 72′, because that was when Dannis tried to convince us after he saw that Alice Cooper concert he came back and he was just like … He had never seen nothing like that up close and personal. He was really most impressed by the musicians. He told me and David, he said, “This is the kind of music we ought to pursue.” We were like, “Yeah. You called us up to the room for this?” It took about maybe a year and a half after that really. That was about 72′ so maybe about a year after that because what had happened is we were still dipping and dabbing in rock and roll and all that great music was still coming out so we were tuning into it.

What really got David’s attention was The Who. We got a chance to see The Who come to town and that was the Quadrophenia tour when Pete Townshend rigged up the whole arena with speakers in front and back. Remember the quad sound, everybody thought that was like what they call surround sound now. We thought it was so futuristic, remember? All it really was, was two speakers in the front and two in the back.

Any car today.

The quad sound, man. When you sit in your car, you got … How many in the front and the back? Thank our generation for the quad sound.

You started performing as Death. What gave that sound such an aggressive, charging sound? That’s powerful music.

A lot of it has to do with the rejection but a lot of it has to do with I think our passion for what we play, rock and roll.

It’s awesome. What I think everybody loves about that is the intensity.

Thank you. We appreciate that. Especially David would appreciate that, but we were just really just trying to be like some of the bands from our days like the MC5, Iggy and the Stooges, Grand Funk Railroad, Bob Seger, Ted Nugent. Ted Nugent had a great band called, Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes. This was before he went Tarzan.

Crazy.

I mean he was just a cool rocker with a cool band. We were listening to all this wild stuff that was coming out of Detroit.

It’s all local. That’s what’s crazy about it.

On top of that Alice Cooper moved to Detroit and The Who decided to take on Detroit as their sister city. They took a residence in Detroit which was crazy.  Yeah, so it was just rock music all throughout Michigan. You could just breathe it. Then, on top of the fact that we were always getting told, “You shouldn’t be playing no rock and roll. Play me some James Brown.” That made us even a little more aggressive. It was probably had something to do with the music being a little faster. We wanted to kill them with Rock and roll.

I can completely understand. It’s crazy because those people who are basically assholes whether they meant to be or not helped you create something that’s like a timeless legacy which is really pretty cool.

It’s totally amazing. Me and Dannis sometimes, we get together and we still just trying to wrap our minds around this whole thing. We never thought that the music would be heard.

When David passed away, I mean even Dannis looked at me at his funeral and said, “I guess the whole Death thing is going to go down with David and nobody is really going to know about it except our family and people we interacted with in Detroit and the people at Groovesville United sounds.” We never thought that this would come to pass. It’s still mind blowing in a way.  I mean, Politicians in my Eyes has been on Entourage. Freaking Out has been on How I Met your Mother.

We never thought that this would come to pass. It’s still mind blowing in a way.  I mean, Politicians in my Eyes has been on Entourage. Freaking Out has been on How I Met your Mother.

There was also that documentary about the baseball player on LSD…

Bobby Sr.: Yes, about Doc Ellis. Friday night Lights. We have had our music on Friday Night Lights. It’s just amazing.

Are there any offers that you have turned down morally, saying, we don’t align with what this project stands for?

Not really. But we have always made jokes about how it sickens us to see great Beatles songs that we used to love as kids and a bag of potato chips comes dancing over the hill.

After your brother died, how long did you stay in Detroit?

We were here when David passed. As a matter of fact we came here in 1977 and it was David’s doing. We came here in 1977. I did not want to come because I was involved in a hot romance with my wife, Tammy and I did not want to leave her. I did not want to leave Detroit. Believe me they brought me up here kicking and screaming. I think I was bound and gagged too. I mean that was David’s idea but he was the one that went back to Detroit in 82′, end of 81′ but he wanted me and Dannis to go back with him.

We had just began to really raise families and really kind of get established here so we were like, “No, we don’t want to go and start all over again in Detroit.” Which happened actually to be a wise move because considering what Detroit went through in those years, I can’t imagine raising my family right in the middle of Detroit. I couldn’t imagine that. It was kind of a two year standoff.

We thought that David was going to come back here. We were sure he was going to come back. He wouldn’t break up the band. He wouldn’t … We need each other and he was feeling the same way about us in Detroit. In the meantime, we kept practicing the Death stuff and the Fourth Movement stuff just like we normally did when David was here. This went on for about two years and of course me and Dennis had almost gotten used to the sound of just us being base and drum. Working up at the University of Vermont in the day and then taking evening courses at night, I became a WRUV disc jockey because I was in the communications department.

This went on for about two years and of course me and Dennis had almost gotten used to the sound of just us being base and drum. Working up at the University of Vermont in the day and then taking evening courses at night, I became a WRUV disc jockey because I was in the communications department.

You had Bobby here in Vermont and a then few years later … What’s the gap between the kids actually?

We had Bobby in ’78. Then we had another child D’Juan who we lost in ’84..

I forgot about that. I hope you don’t mind I brought that up.

No, that’s okay man. It’s part of our family. We absorb the pain. We still absorb the pain. It’s a progression of life. I just like to think of him being in that cheering section just like Dave, my mom, and all the people who have passed on. That’s a real … It can be real painful for me and Tammy but … Then there was Alesha, then Julian. After Julian there was Urian.

Then Jehric.

That’s right. I forgot Jehric. Hey I think he is my last one. He is our last one. He is 14 now. That’s crazy.

That 23 year span.

Yeah, but you know that I have been blessed that they all love each other and they love their mom and dad.

You have a tight family.

Yeah, we are tight. We definitely are and I am grateful for that. That’s why I am so glad that this thing happened in my older age and not in my younger years because now I have nothing else to do but hang out with the family.

There are tons of things that being part of this family has brought to me but I think seeing how close everyone is especially Bobby and Alesha, they have this great relationship and I often think of our two kids who are the same split, 6 years between them. I love hearing the stories like, “Remember the time you told me you could jump over me and you didn’t and you kicked me?”

That’s hilarious.

Tons of stories.

Just pinning her down and farting on her head so when I see these things between my own to kids I am like, “Oh my God they are going to grow up and never speak to one another again.” No, this is actually the foundation of a very pleasant relationship.

Yes it is. I mean we are pretty much a rich family in memories, and laughter, and love and that’s really what it’s all about. I always try to maintain that with our kids and I am glad that they maintain it with their relationships with each other.

It’s remarkable because you can tell when a family is kind of faking it. They love each other but they aren’t that interested in each other. They don’t have that warmth. From what I have seen your family really seems to have that.

Bobby, he really keeps it going and for all that we have been through and for all that we have faced, it is a real blessing and he has a beautiful family now. I love my grandkids, Kiernan and Josephine and little Michael. They are awesome. I like spending time with them just as much as I do with the older people, probably a little more.

That’s funny. What do you attribute that to? 

I don’t know. I just think we have always had a strong faith and I think that for the most part even Bobby seeing us go through what we went through when we lost D’Juan and bringing our family back… When a tragedy happens to a family and it doesn’t have to even be a loss of a child, it could be a divorce, it could be any number of things. When a tragedy happens to a family what it does is it puts everybody out there in the middle of the ocean. You feel like you are out in the middle of the ocean in a boat without any oars and the whole key is how do you get back to that shore of life and living and laughing and joy and love.

Me and Tammy could have took the choice to be depressed, to be down about it but looking in our children’s eyes that gave us the strength to keep going and I think that that was a big effect on them. Like, “Mom and Dad has been through the worst that any parent could ever go through and look at our family. We are still together, we are still here, we still love each other, we can still laugh, we can still cry, and we can still do all those things.” That doesn’t define us.

This bad thing happened to me and I just can’t get over it and I just can’t move on. What defines us is the love that we have for each other and I just think the lesson that me and Tammy have learned is you just got to live life to the fullest as best you can. Live each day and just be thankful for everything that you have and for the people that you have around you. That’s what’s most important to us. I think that’s the glue that really holds us together is our faith.

Beautiful. It’s kind of interesting because some people would say you are a musical family but actually you are a family and you have music. It’s pretty cool it’s not the other way around. What’s it like for you now to go and see your sons play as Rough Francis? 

Oh, man. The first time.. That just blew my mind. If you ask me what are the top ten mind blowing moments in your life, that will definitely make the top ten because I walked in there and they started playing Death’s Keep on Knocking. Then they played Freaking Out. I am like, “Oh my God. I can’t believe this.” It just gives me a feeling like I have always been proud but at that moment I didn’t even know what words I could put. I didn’t know what words to say.

It must have been so surreal.

It was. It really was. I don’t even know if there is a different word that you can go beyond proud that a parent can be but whatever that word is, that’s what I was.

Seriously. I always think the best thing a parent can ever experience is realizing your kids they actually can take care of yourself, they don’t need you. Even beyond that it’s just so cool.

I have always encouraged them to just go out and enjoy life. I am proud of all my kids.

 

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When it comes to holiday gifts, we know what you really want, mama. A full night's sleep. Privacy in the bathroom. The opportunity to eat your dinner while it's still hot. Time to wash—and dry!—your hair. A complete wardrobe refresh.


While we can't help with everything on your list (we're still trying to figure out how to get some extra zzz's ourselves), here are 14 gift ideas that'll make you look, if not feel, like a whole new woman. Even when you're sleep deprived.

Gap Cable-Knit Turtleneck Sweater

When winter hits, one of our go-to outfits will be this tunic-length sweater and a pair of leggings. Warm and everyday-friendly, we can get behind that.

$69.95

Gap Cigarette Jeans

These high-waisted straight-leg jeans have secret smoothing panels to hide any lumps and bumps (because really, we've all got 'em).

$79.95

Tiny Tags Gold Skinny Bar Necklace

Whether engraved with a child's name or date of birth, this personalized necklace will become your go-to piece of everyday jewelry.

$135.00

Gap Brushed Pointelle Crew

This wear-with-anything soft pink sweater with delicate eyelet details can be dressed up for work or dressed down for weekend time with the family. Versatility for the win!

$79.95

Gap Flannel Pajama Set

For mamas who sleep warm, this PJ set offers the best of both worlds: cozy flannel and comfy shorts. Plus, it comes with a coordinating eye mask for a blissed-out slumber.

$69.95

Spafinder Gift Card

You can't give the gift of relaxation, per say, but you can give a gift certificate for a massage or spa service, and that's close enough!

$50.00

Gap Stripe Long Sleeve Crewneck

This featherweight long-sleeve tee is the perfect layering piece under hoodies, cardigans, and blazers.

$29.95

Gap Chenille Smartphone Gloves

Gone are the days of removing toasty gloves before accessing our touchscreen devices—thank goodness!

$9.95

Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug

Make multiple trips to the microwave a thing of the past with a app-controlled smart mug that'll keep your coffee or tea at the exact temperature you prefer for up to an hour.

$79.95

Gap Flannel Shirt

Our new favorite flannel boasts an easy-to-wear drapey fit and a flattering curved shirttail hem.

$59.95

Gap Sherpa-Lined Denim Jacket

Stay warm while looking cool in this iconic jean jacket, featuring teddy bear-soft fleece lining and a trendy oversized fit.

$98.00

Gap Crazy Stripe Scarf

Practical and stylish, this cozy scarf adds a pop of color—well, colors—to any winter ensemble.

$39.95

Nixplay Seed Frame

This digital picture frame is perfect for mamas who stay up late scrolling through their phone's photo album to glimpse their kiddos being adorable. By sending them to this smart frame to view throughout the day, you can get a few extra minutes of sleep at night!

$165.00

Gap Crewneck Sweater

Busy mamas will appreciate that this supersoft, super versatile Merino wool sweater is machine washable.

$59.95

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

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I'll admit it: I'm an earbud snob. There I said it. For me, there's nothing like clear, noise-canceling earbuds that allow me to fully immerse myself into music while doing household chores or mindless tasks. I love it. And if they're integrated with a voice assistant so I can be hands-free, it's a complete win-win.

When I was pregnant with my kids, I didn't want to purchase pregnancy headphones. Most are super bulky, overpriced and have horrible sound quality. Instead of buying them, I sang to my babies and hoped they would develop a love for music just like their mama. Turns out, I was onto something. "Even in the womb, little ones respond to the vibrations and later to the beats and melodies that you play for them," says Diana Spalding, author of The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama: Redefining the Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Journey. "Research also shows that music can help build the foundation for your baby's language acquisition, so you can think of taking a moment to jam out to your favorite songs as educational."

Recently, model Ashley Graham posted on Instagram a photo of her using pregnancy earbuds and I had to do some research. How was she building her baby's language skills using earbuds?

"Baby boy is the size of a coconut this week and already getting some advice from @gayleking on my podcast @prettybigdealpod 💙 Gayle you are wild and I LOVE IT. We fast forwarded your story about the stripper pole 🤣" she captioned.

In the photo, Graham is using mbrio, a patented earbud adapter that turns your earbuds into pregnancy headphones so you can use your favorite earbuds while enjoying music with your baby. Pretty smart, right?

mbrio Clip-On Pregnancy Earbud Adapters

mbrio Clip-On Pregnancy Earbud Adapters

mbrio's patented earbud adapters turn your earbuds into pregnancy headphones. Just pop in any set of compatible earbuds, clip them to your waistband and go. It also uses a thin layer of silicone to reduce sound levels by up to 30 decibels (depending frequency and volume) so it's safe for mama and baby.

$29.95

It eliminates the need for splitters, sticky pads, volume control switches and iPhone plug adapters too so you can just carry one device while you're on the go. It's also been independently tested by a Nationally Registered Testing Laboratory, so it meets the safe audio guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Best of all, the ergonomic design adapts to mama's growing belly throughout the pregnancy. Just pop in any set of compatible earbuds, clip them to your waistband and go!

I'm still not a believer in headphones and still plan to use earbuds wherever I go, but if I ever get pregnant again, or need a cool baby shower gift, I know what to purchase.
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When Anastacia Gencarelli shared the story of how her 2-year-old daughter ended up being hospitalized for milk anemia she was not trying to scare anyone—she just wanted other parents to know that "milk anemia is a thing"because she didn't.

But when her Facebook post went viral and the headlines were super scary that didn't quite tell the whole story.

"Toddler who was nearly killed by COW'S MILK," the Daily Mail's headline reads.

Yes, Gencarelli's 2-year-old daughter Mia was hospitalized after drinking too much milk, but it is more complicated than that, we have learned.

Here is what you need to know about this viral story + milk anemia.

As Gencarelli explained in her original Facebook post, she shared her story to spread awareness of the existence of milk anemia. While it is well documented that overconsumption of milk can have a negative effect on a toddler's iron levels, it's not something all parents know.

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Basically, cow's milk is not a high iron food and what iron it does contain is not well absorbed. So if a child stops consuming breastmilk and/or iron-fortified formula or cereal and starts drinking a lot of cow's milk without adding other sources of iron, they're at risk for anemia.

Anemia can be treated or prevented with supplements, but the preferred method of prevention is through iron-rich foods. "Ideally, we would prevent iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia with a diet consisting of foods that are naturally rich in iron," Dr. Robert Baker, co-author of an American Academy of Pediatrics report on the prevention of iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia has previously explained.

"Feeding older infants and toddlers foods like meat, shellfish, legumes and iron-rich fruits and vegetables, as well as iron-fortified cereals and fruits rich in vitamin C, which help iron absorption, can help prevent iron deficiency," he said.

Gencarelli tells Motherly her daughter was drinking 4 to 6 bottles of cow's milk a day and that while she's not a particularly picky eater she is not a huge fan of meat.

Doctors recommend toddlers consume 2.5 servings of dairy per day, and a study in the journal Pediatrics found 2 cups a day is the best amount of milk for toddlers.

"We saw that two cups of cow's milk per day was enough to maintain adequate vitamin D levels for most children, while also maintaining iron stores. With additional cow's milk, there was a further reduction in iron stores without greater benefit from vitamin D," Dr. Jonathon Maguire, a pediatrician at St. Michael's Hospital and the lead author of the study has previous explained.

As reported by CBC, drinking from a bottle rather than a cup is linked to a more dramatic decrease in toddler's iron stores. It's possible that serving milk in a bottle contributes to parental underreporting of milk consumption. Parents might not even realize that milk is keeping their child full, which makes it hard to get iron rich foods into them.

So what can parents do to prevent milk anemia?

If you are concerned your child may be anemic talk to your doctor right away and consider offering more iron-rich foods at home.

Kacie Barnes, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), tells Motherly that while extreme cases like the one described by Gencarelli are not common, mild iron deficiency is common. That's why she recommends serving meat, as it contains the best absorbed type of iron.

"Even babies can eat ground or soft cooked, tender meats. Think crockpot, stewed, or braised," says Barnes, who recommends chili as a family-friendly iron-rich meal (just keep the salt and the spicy stuff out of your little one's serving).

She continues: "Beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas contain iron, so I encourage parents of babies and toddlers to serve those often, especially if their little one doesn't eat much (or any) meat. Vitamin C boosts iron absorption, so it's helpful to serve iron rich foods alongside fruit or veggies like citrus, strawberries, or broccoli. Another helpful trick: Cook with a cast iron pan. Small amounts of iron do absorb into food when you cook with it—and this is a good thing!"

The bottom line:

It's important to remember that Gencarelli's story is the story of her individual child, who is currently undergoing further medial care to deal not just with the anemia, but other issues that presented afterward. When her daughter is discharged from the hospital Gencarelli will be continuing to serve iron supplements and says her medical team has provided her with some iron-rich recipes.

Her post went viral not because she was trying to scare anyone away from milk, but because she was trying to save other mamas from being as scared as she was when her little girl got sick. You only know what you know, and now that she knows her daughter was consuming too much milk she plans to serve fewer servings.

We hope that Mia has a quick recovery and we're thankful that Gencarelli shared her story online. Her family is in a lot of pain right now (something made worse by the many mean comments she's received about her daughter's milk consumption) and she just wants to prevent other families from feeling that pain, too.

News

When I was very pregnant everyone was determined to make sure I knew how terrible it would be to have a new baby. Forget swollen feet and heartburn that made me vomit, they all swore I didn't know how bad it was going to be until I had a newborn around to ruin my life. As if it were a secret, they told me I would never truly sleep again, would age overnight and lose my identity, my body would sag, I would hate my husband, my marriage would transform into drudgery and red wine, with everything covered in poop.

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The relentless low-grade negativity sent me running to the internet to search "best things about parenting a newborn." The discouraging results warned me of Top Things You'll do Wrong as a New Parent, How to Survive Having a Newborn, and Biggest Mistakes New Parents Make. Not a single one was positive, and I really needed some reassurance around then.

So here I am, safely on the other side of the first eight weeks of newborn parenting and I can proclaim that a lot of it is simply wonderful. Here's why:

Your baby is real!

However it happened, you've successfully had a child. For so long you've been living around the idea that you might one day have a baby. It was so hard for me to feel like my baby was real before she was born. I knew every kick and roll, and I knew that she had hiccups pretty much every day, but she still felt more like a concept.

Now I don't have to wonder what she is like. She changes every day. She still has the hiccups. She also stretches and raises her eyebrows and nods her head as she finishes eating as if to say yum yum yum. Someday she will look at pizza that way.

You are the best at everything.

The reality is that until you do it, you don't know for sure that you can. Because babies need about six things on repeat, you get really good at everything. Within hours if not days, you will have it down. The diapers, the feeding, the tiny clothes. Most of it isn't that hard.

The first time I got my baby to latch in the middle of the night without turning the light on, I felt like I was a superstar. When you are able to transform a primal ragged scream of hunger or discomfort into pure silence, and then your baby gives a little sigh and falls asleep on your chest, you will be the champion of parenting.

You can watch all the TV and read all the books.

You have a legitimate reason to spend hours and hours motionless on the sofa and demand that someone refills your water and brings you a snack because obviously the baby wants you to have another cookie.

Watching your partner become a parent is full of unexpectedly sweet moments.

I have so loved watching my husband become a dad. I don't have to tell you it broke me when I came home from picking up take-out to find him tunelessly singing '70s rock ballads while she gazed up at him adoringly. I love seeing my parents as doting grandparents who want nothing more to cuddle her and buy her things she doesn't need. My husband said that parenting isn't like a new chapter of a book, but like you turn the page and end up in another dimension. And I get to watch that happen.

Newborn poop doesn't smell bad and is water-soluble.

Truly, it smells like cereal and washes out of things. Most of the time, it is contained. Parents don't help future parents by describing that one time they got smeared with poop just before a wedding. They forget to mention the literally hundreds of times they deftly changed a diaper and walked away spotless.

Your body is yours again.

Forget all of that business about getting your "body back" in a cosmetic Instagram way, and enjoy that instead of having to lug the baby all over town inside your enormous belly. You can hand them over to someone else to carry! No one is physically pressing on your bladder, stomach, or other organs. Your body may have changed, but it is yours. What a relief.

Rest assured, babies are even cute and a little bit hilarious when they are screaming. Maybe the others weren't all wrong when they told you how hard it would sometimes be, but they probably also spent hours making faces at their baby to see what would coax out the sweetest smile in the world. They just forgot to tell you that part, and that it will all be worth it.

Life

Temperatures are dropping, Christmas decorations are flooding the shelves, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. But take a break from prepping for the holidays, mama, and check out the headlines that made waves this week.

Here at Motherly we know mamas are busy, so we make sure to keep track of everything you may have missed on the Internet this week.

There are the viral stories making Team Motherly smile right now:

This judge went viral for supporting a new mom + new lawyer in the most wonderful way

Juliana Lamar just accomplished something major: She graduated law school and was sworn into the Tennessee bar...and she did it all while raising her 1-year-old son. Doing all of this at the same had to have been incredibly difficult, but oh so rewarding. She celebrated her incredible achievements as a working mother in the most special way, thanks to a wonderful judge.

Judge Richard Jinkins encouraged the mama to bring her son along when she was sworn into the state bar, and he even held on the little boy while his mother recited her oath. Not surprisingly, the incredibly sweet video of the judge carrying the 1-year-old as he watched his mother officially become a lawyer has gone viral.

"On the day of my swearing-in, right before we began, Judge said he wanted Beckham to take part in the moment," Lamar, who counts the judge as a major inspiration and supporter, tells Buzzfeed. "And I am so glad he did because to have my son take part in one of the greatest moments of my life was truly a blessing."

Lamar's colleague shared footage of the incredibly sweet incident. "Y'all. Judge Dinkins of the Tennessee Court of Appeals swore in my law school colleague with her baby on his hip, and I've honestly never loved him more," a tweet from the colleague reads. "She's one of four women in our class who became moms while in law school. Women are amazing."

Why this refreshingly honest birth plan from Reddit is going viral

Pregnant people talk a lot about birth plans. You might even type out a few different versions before settling on the one you want to show your medical team. But the thing is, even if you spend months planning out the perfect birth plan, things can change so quickly.

That's why the internet is loving this birth plan that was uploaded to Reddit. The person who typed this up is so realistic, so honest and so authentically advocating for herself.

"I don't have a plan," reads the first bullet point.

"I've never done this before," she notes in the second.

"I have no idea what I am doing," she explains in the third bullet.

So many first time mamas can relate to this feeling, and also to a passage that is highlighted.

It reads: "I am not trying to be a hero! Please assume that I want every option available to me for pain management and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know in real and update time if any of the pain management options are nearing the point where they are no longer available to me as I progress through labor."

This is a mama who knows herself and also knows that birth plans can change so quickly.

Mom's photo of laundry Christmas tree goes viral on Instagram 

sincerelymumsy

Australian mom and Instagrammer Jessi Roberts (aka @sincerelymumsy) is going viral this week thanks to her hilarious Christmas tree hack.

Instead of dealing with her laundry, this genius mama made it into festive decor.

It actually happened last year, when Roberts family was about to go on a trip. "Last years Christmas tree 🤣 We where going away for 2 weeks and I couldn't and didn't have time to do the washing... so Like any creative person... I improvise 💁🏼♀️ I left it up for 2 weeks... @thebaysidedentist [Roberts' partner] wasn't impressed," she writes on Instagram.

Roberts' original caption back in 2018 was equally hilarious: "The best way to avoid doing the washing - turn it into a Christmas tree," she wrote. "It's free. I'll wash this after Christmas or maybe the 'elf on the shelf' can help me."

This is a Christmas decor hack we can totally see catching on.

A FB moms group help this baby get a liver—and went viral for it 

Moms groups on the internet sometimes get an unfair reputation. You say "Facebook moms group" and people often imagine an online space where mom shaming is common, and while that may be true in some instances, these communities are more often sources of support, not shame.

No story highlights this better than Robin Bliven's. When she posted about how her private group ended up connecting mamas and getting a liver for a baby boy who needed one, the story made national headlines and proved how supportive these groups can be. Internet communities are real communities, and some are amazing places to be.

"You can talk smack about mom groups on Facebook all you want... but don't talk smack about mine, because we crowd sourced a freaking organ," Bliven wrote on Facebook.

When one member of the Facebook group, Beth Rescsanski, learned her baby, Cal, needed a liver transplant over 100 moms in the group were screened to see if they were potential donors. That's 100 fellow parents who were willing to have surgery for someone else's baby. That's the definition of a supportive community!

In the end, single mom Andrea Alberto was a match and donated part of her own liver to baby Cal. The mom of two says it wasn't hard choice.

"I knew organ donation was something I would be willing to do, so when I found out Cal was being listed for transplant, it was a very easy decision," Alberto told TODAY Parents."If there is someone in need and there is something you can reasonably do to help them, why wouldn't you do it? I like to think that if it was one of my kids in need, someone from my extended network would step in to help."

American Girl celebrates diversity by including model with Down syndrome

The American Girl dolls taught a generation about history and showed children reflections of themselves in an era where diverse dolls were hard to come by. Now, in 2019, the company continues to highlight diversity and give children the representation they crave. This can be seen in the new holiday catalog where 4-year-old Ivy Kimble is among the young models.

"There's not a lot of print or media with a lot of kids with Down syndrome," her mom Kristin Kimble told WLS-TV.

Kimble told Today she's so proud of Ivy, and so happy that American Girl is celebrating all girls. "I'm so proud of Ivy," Kimble says. "She's showing the world, 'Look at me, I'm here. I'm doing it. I'm an American Girl.'"

Gal Gadot perfectly captures our feelings about motherhood in this viral Instagram post 

You never really understand the meaning of the phrase "time flies" until you become a parent. Another thing you don't quite understand until you welcome your children? How deep your capacity to love really is. Actress Gal Gadot just nailed both of those ideas in a single social media post.

The famous mama shared a note to her daughter, Alma, on her eighth birthday. "I'm so lucky to be your mother. Thank you for teaching me so much about life without even knowing you are and for giving me the most precious title I could ever ask for. I promise I'll do anything for you, love and protect you forever," she wrote in the Instagram post.

The mama continued: "Just please, don't grow up so fast," she writes. "Take your time. I can't believe you're 8 already . Love you to the moon through all galaxies double the number of grain of sand in the universe."

ALL. THE. FEELS. Hasn't she just perfectly captured what it feels like to watch your children grow?

News
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