A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

When my son was a curly-haired boy of seven, he loved burgers and pizza, giggled when someone farted, and loved to play catch. He strived to beat me at video games, but was sad when he did because victory shattered the myth of the invincible dad. He sought comfort in my lap when his belly ached, and ran to me from his dark room at the cough of a heat pipe because dads are supposed to be the safest place on Earth. However, in my family, dads often pummeled their sons like wrecking balls. Now Aedan is a six-foot-one high school football player awaiting another growth spurt. Although his athleticism allows for more calories, he has refused burgers and pizza during recent visits, blemishing lunches turned priceless by the distance of divorce.


During a recent visit to a café, Aedan refrained from ordering, claiming he ate a bagel prior to his visit. We talked football while I ate kale salad, and he glanced at the menu, steadfast to refuse every offer of food. When he went home, I concocted excuses as to why he restricted himself, even though on a deeper level, I knew why. My admission resurrected memories of a voice critical of what, and how much, I ate. The next day I reached out to Aedan’s mom for insight.

“He feels like you judge him when he eats in front of you.”

Her response confirmed my fear. I had often food-shamed my son much like my dad had shamed me. Although we are supposed to strive for generational evolution, I had failed, and now my son had lost his trust in me. When he was a child, I scrutinized his calories, withheld second slices of pizza, and pushed diet beverages. I was not born a dietary dictator, but was instead groomed to be one. Had I any foresight, I would have let him enjoy his food, even if he ate more pasta than broccoli. My harsh superego created visions of Aedan clutching his grumbling stomach all the way home where he could eat without fear as my eyes crawled all over his body.      

The text from Aedan’s mom excavated memories of my dad’s obsession with my weight. His criticism (disguised as concern) was relentless, as I learned on my wedding day when he pointed out, “You gained some weight.” His admonition weighed on me throughout the night, and I wondered if he surveilled in disapproval what I sampled from the cocktail hour, or watched to see if I cleaned my dinner plate. I believed I had overcome the pattern and would never allow such scrutiny to hinder my relationship with Aedan, but unbeknownst to me, I paid those judgements forward onto my unsuspecting son.

Awash with panic, I believed Aedan and I would never again share a meal, or he would avoid spending days with me for fear he would starve. I launched into damage control and vowed to tell my son that I’d made a mistake, that I was sorry, and that I hoped for his forgiveness. I wanted him to know dads make mistakes, but I also wanted him to understand we can own our errors. If Aedan was going to model one of my behaviors as a father, I wanted it to be an act of humility. More so, I hoped to establish a new parenting pattern.

At dusk, I video called him so our eyes could meet as we spoke. My apology wouldn’t only be conveyed in words or tone of voice. He took my call in his bedroom, and was sweaty from the basketball he’d just finished playing on his front lawn. After we recapped his day’s events, I mentioned my curiosity about the previous day, but Aedan looked at me as if he had no idea of what I spoke. I pressed a little, and used a tone that conveyed curiosity above accusation.

“I noticed you weren’t eating anything yesterday, and we were together a long time. Did you feel okay”?

When he responded, I noted the drop in his tone.

“Yeah, I wasn’t really that hungry.”

Because I’d promised his mom I wouldn’t mention her divulgence, I instead took a leap I hoped would heal the parts of Aedan wounded by my preoccupation.

“But I noticed the last few times we were together, you seemed to not be hungry, and I think I might know why.”

Aedan fell silent, so I continued.

“Dads make mistakes, and I made big ones during our weekends together. I remember how I tried to dictate what you ate, and how often you ate, and how I focused on your body instead of your happiness. Do you remember that too?”

He nodded.

“I was wrong for that, son, and I’m sorry for all the times I made you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes I worry about things I shouldn’t be worried about, and I let it get in the way of us having a good time. I hope you can forgive me.”

Aedan denied my mistakes factored into his choices, perhaps out of discomfort about the exchange, or maybe to preserve my feelings, but I knew the reality and what needed to be done. At the end of our conversation I told him I loved him, that he was free to be himself with me, and then wished him goodnight.

When I thought back on the conversation, I felt a mix of shame and pride, but because I knew my apology was more for my son’s benefit than to spare my conscience, I allowed pride to win the day. Since then I’ve put the past in its place while keeping one eye on the present, and the other on the future. When I went to bed that night, I reflected not on the stigma with which I’d once blemished Aedan, but instead on the freedom I bestowed upon him to acknowledge mistakes and, if need be, say those words to his own child one day.   

     

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

Subscribe to get inspiration and super helpful ideas to rock your #momlife. Motherhood looks amazing on you.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

Dear Jeff Bezos and all who have anything to do with Amazon Prime Day,

I just want to start by saying—I know you are trying to be helpful. I love you all for that. I honestly do. But, you are kind of making me feel a lot of pressure today. Like, in a good way, but also, in an anxious way.

Let me explain…

On any given day, as a mother to three children, I have a certain level of anxiety. While it's not constant, I do have my anxious moments. Why? Because there are various versions of the following: Me asking my two older daughters to get their shoes on what feels like 500 times as I am changing my 9-month-old's very, very, very messy diaper while I am trying to figure out what I can throw on to wear in about five seconds while I am repeating brush your teeth, brush your teeth in my head so I, in fact, don't forget to brush my teeth.

Not even to mention the mental load that weighs on my mind every single day. Remember to flip the laundry, fill out the school forms, cancel that appointment, reschedule this appointment, order more diapers, figure out what we're having for dinner, squeeze in a shower, lock the basement door so the baby can't get down the stairs, find better eczema cream for my middle daughter, get more sunscreen...the list goes on and on and on.

But then you Amazon Prime Day me and I'm having a lot of feelings about that.

Because you're reminding me of things I need to order, to think about, to be on top of more.

The little potty that's on sale reminds me that I need to step up my potty training game for my 2-year-old. That super cute dollhouse reminds me that I need to think about my daughter's first birthday in two months (WHAT!). That face mask reminds me that I need to remember to wash my face before bed because I forget waaaay more than I remember which is terrible.

But then I realize, these deals are going to save my mental load by fixing my life. Right?

Like, I never knew I needed an Instant Pot until you told me it was only $58. Now I am scouring Pinterest for meals I want to prep in my own. THIS POT IS THE TICKET TO GETTING MY LIFE IN ORDER.

Do we need more plates and cups for the kids? I mean really they only probably need about two plates and two cups each but YES. Yes I do need more cute kids kitchenware. THESE PLATES ARE THE TICKET TO BEING A GOOD MOM.

What would I do if I had five Echo Dots? I don't know, but let's find out because they're only $29! THESE DOTS ARE THE TICKET TO EFFICIENCY.

If I order a Vitamix at 30% off, I know I'll lose the baby weight. Think of all the smoothies I'll mix up! I mean, I just lost a pound even thinking about the smoothies that thing can whip up. THIS VITAMIX IS THE TICKET TO A SEXY BOD.

Buying this trendy, floral dress will step up my mom style significantly. THIS DRESS IS THE TICKET TO KEEPING MY COOL.

Okay, then after I add all the fixers to my cart, I realize… I have 99 things, but necessity ain't one.

I mean, I have everything from waterproof band-aids to bras to dresses for myself and my kids to an alarm clock and books. I basically feel like Oprah—You get an Audible subscription! You get an Audible subscription!—but instead of these products magically being paid for by Queen O herself, the money is coming from my bank account, which is a lot less fun of a game, TBH.

And if I am being honest, I don't need much help with my order-things-from-Amazon-and-pretend-it's-being-paid-for-with-Monopoly-money game as I am quite often coming home to an Amazon package wondering what it could be, opening it with the enthusiasm of a kid on Christmas morning—even though I am the exact person who ordered whatever is inside of that Amazon box.

But today, on Amazon Prime Day, you tempt me with all the deals. And yes, my anxiety, blood pressure and adrenaline rise. And yes, my bank account might temporarily decrease—BUT if we are being fair, with the savings I'm getting on things I would buy anyway, I am basically making our account increase overall. Right?

And while these things aren't going to make me skinnier, or cooler, or more put together—I'm okay with that. I am doing a pretty good job on my own. But some of them will actually help my life in a few different ways at a reasonable price, and I am grateful for that—for real.

Now, Bezos, please end this 404 error nonsense and let me purchase all the things!

Thank you for all the savings and excitement,

Mamas everywhere

You might also like:

Usually when celebrities post swimsuit photos on Instagram they don't exactly look like your average beach-going mom, but former Bachelorette (and mom of two) Ali Fedotowsky posted a series of bikini photos on Monday that are both beautiful and relatable.

"This might be my most vulnerable post on Instagram ever," she wrote in the caption for the photos which show a postpartum belly that looks like a real postpartum belly.

"At the end of the day, I know it's important to be open and honest about my postpartum body in hopes that it helps even one person out there who is struggling with their own body image," Fedotowsky (who just gave birth to her second child in May) wrote.

In the first photo of the series she's wearing a sarong around her stomach, but in the second and third photos Fedotowsky reveals the kind of stomach many mamas sport: It's not perfectly taut, she's not showing off any abs, but it is definity beautiful.

"If you swipe to see the second photo in this post, you see that my body has changed. My skin around my stomach is very loose and stretched out, I'm 15lbs heavier than I used to be, and my cup size has grown quite significantly," Fedotowsky writes.

The photos are a sponsored post for Lilly and Lime Swimwear (a line made for women with larger busts) but that doesn't mean it wasn't brave. In fact, the fact that it's an ad makes it even more amazing because research shows that when advertising only shows us bodies that don't look like our own, women become "generally more dissatisfied with their body and appearance".

Ali Fedotowsky

On her blog Fedotowsky notes that a lot of comments on her previous Instagram posts have been followers remarking how slim she looks, or how much they wish they looked like she does postpartum. By dropping that sarong and showing her tummy Fedotowsky is showing other mothers that there is nothing wrong with their own.

"While I appreciate the positive comments, you guys are always so good to me, I keep trying to explain that I'm just good at picking out clothes that flatter my body and hide my tummy," she wrote on her blog.

"I bounced back pretty quickly after I gave birth to Molly. But things are different this time and I'm OK with that. I'm learning to love my body and embrace how it's changed. I hope I get back to my pre-pregnancy shape one day, but that may never happen. And if it doesn't, that's OK."

Ali Fedotowsky

It is okay, because our bodies are more than our swimsuit selfies. They the vessels that carry us through life and carry our children and provide a safe, warm place for those children feel love.

Loose skin is a beautiful thing.


Thanks for keeping it real, Ali.

You might also like:

  • Tia Mowry's honest post about her post-baby body is what every new mama needs to see 👏
  • Hilary Duff shares how pregnancy changed her body–and her confidence
  • J. Crew's new line with Universal Standard is size-inclusive—and we're here for it 🙌

Amazon shoppers were anxiously awaiting the countdown to Amazon Prime Day, but when the clock struck one, er three, the website went down.

On Monday afternoon shoppers were trying to get their hands on the much-hyped Prime Day deals but instead of low prices, many users just saw 404 errors, continuously refreshing pages, or had issues keeping or adding items to their shopping carts.

CNBC reports shares of Amazon were down during the shopping glitch, and many shoppers took to Twitter and Instagram to discuss how all they could see on Amazon were the dogs who decorate the site's 404 pages.

As cute as the dogs are, shoppers are getting tired of seeing them, so hopefully Amazon gets things back up and running soon. Analysts had projected Amazon would rake in $3 billion dollars this Prime Day. Time will tell how much of that was lost during the great dog picture debacle of 2018.

You might also like:

"Say you're sorry!"

"Go apologize and mean it."

"You don't sound like you're sorry to me."

"She won't want to be your friend anymore if you don't apologize right now."

Sound familiar? This is a hot topic for many parents. We want our kids to have good manners, to truly feel and show compassion for another, to want to apologize from a heartfelt and authentic place—yet when we tell them to say they're sorry, what are we really communicating?

I think:

  • I need you to apologize so I can feel better about what just happened...
  • This is how we fix problems...
  • I need you to do what I say ...
  • You need me to tell you how to feel and behave...
  • I'm in control...(bigger and stronger wins)
  • Integrity is secondary to apologies—what you do doesn't have to be aligned with how you feel or think... just do it anyway.

Whew. Maybe not the message we really want to give.

Yes, manners are important and apologies are necessary. But, encouraging the growth of this from within—a genuine desire to (re)connect and show compassion, being in our integrity—is essential for healthy relationships.

Think about it. How might you feel if, after being hurt deeply by a friend they brushed you off with a cursory, "I'm sorry" or after a tearful yelling match with your teen that left you feeling raw, your spouse said, "How could you lose it like that?! You need to go apologize to him!"

I'd venture to say you might feel more hurt, maybe misunderstood and alone, or even mad.

Often, situations our children are in that we catch ourselves telling them to apologize are defined by just the same kinds of feelings. Hurt whether they are the one doing the hurting or being hurt; frustrated and mad that their favorite toy was grabbed, a cool idea rejected, some other injustice experienced; misunderstood because their feelings and thoughts weren't respected, because the adult missed all that led up to the conflict, because they weren't listened to; alone because they are misunderstood, not listened to, hurt on the inside, feeling rejected; MAD because they really didn't like what their buddy did and their feelings overflowed.

Having your child say "I'm sorry" is going to do very little for a child to grow an understanding of how they feel, why they feel, what they can do with all these feelings—all precursors to compassion.

The words I'm sorry" are more often about our need, not our child's. So what can you do to grow the genuine, integrity based, heartfelt ability to apologize?

1. Role model, always

Be genuine with your own apologies. Voice compassion for your child, others, and their situation.

2. Name and affirm feelings of all parties involved.

Just think, if your spouse, following the tearful yelling match with your teen, had said, "Honey that was really tough. Let me hold you for a minute while you pull yourself together," how might you now feel? How might that change the next step you took? I bet you'd feel connected, understood, cared for, and in a better position to now re-connect with your son and apologize for losing it. And it would have come from a genuine place within you.

3. Give choices or ideas.

"What can you do to help him feel better?"

"When you are ready to let her know you feel sorry, she'll appreciate it."

"Can you use your words or would you like to show her you feel sorry?"

Words, smiles, pats, sharing a toy, playing next to—these are all authentic ways kids can show they are sorry.

4. Notice what your child chooses or does on their own to express their apology and their feelings and name it.

"Thank you for offering your special stuffed guy to your friend. You wanted to help him feel better. What a nice thing to do to let him know you felt sorry."

And now you are helping your child learn a bit more about what healthy, caring relationships look like. Genuine apologies are on their way. It takes time to grow a child who can tap into their inner selves and respond with compassion and honesty in a difficult situation. Time, patience, and gentle guidance... trust this. "I'm sorry" will follow... and be truly meant.

Relationship building all around.

Originally published on Denali Parent Coaching.

You might also like:

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.