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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's book “Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions" offers a guide for raising our girls to be feminists. It's a slim but powerful read, and I gained insight from the book and will likely read it many times throughout my life.


While Adichie's advice can work to help moms raise their daughters and sons as feminist, it's equally important for dads to be partners in raising feminist sons. Setting an example is powerful, and I've seen that since my husband is invested in teaching our son that men should be feminists. The six most powerful moves he's made to help steer our son that direction are simple but have a major impact on a boy's view of women.

1 | Don't accept praise for “women's work"

My husband stood carrying one of our identical twins in a Moby wrap, patting her bottom and bouncing her to sleep. The people around us swooned, showering him with praise for his hands-on parenting and his willingness to get out of his seat and comfort his child.

I stood less than five feet from him carrying our other twin in a Moby, except I was discreetly breastfeeding at the same time. Not one word of praise found me.

Apparently that's because I'm the mom, and our boys live in a world where moms are expected to cook meals, change diapers, and calm babies. Dads are bona fide heroes if they join in to help.

My husband could have basked in these kind words and acknowledged all the work he was doing to be super dad. He didn't. He never does, and he is quick to explain to our son that dads shouldn't receive praise for doing what moms do every day.

Dads need to explain to boys, and the adults offering these accolades for a man doing “women's work", that parenting is parenting. Cooking is cooking. Cleaning is cleaning. None of it is gender specific, and men should not expect or receive special rewards for doing it.

2 | Expose boys to female super heroes

DC hero Wonder Woman, “The Force Awakens'" heroine Rey, and resistance fighter Jyn Urso from “Rogue One" are leading the pack when it comes to strong females on screen. While these characters are beloved examples of empowered women, some male fans complained via social media when writers and directors chose to continue to make movies with female leads, implying that they couldn't be as rich or engaging as males. Product vendors were even told not to focus on Rey toys because boys wouldn't want a girl action figure.

To counterattack these hugely ignorant, damaging beliefs, dads should put girl action figures in boys' hands. Teach them when they are partaking in imaginative play that it is fine for a boy to play a girl's part. We don't panic when our girls pretend to be Luke Skywalker or Han Solo, good guys with admirable skills. Why should we panic when our boys express a desire to use a light saber like Rey or lead the resistance like Jyn?

Grab autobiographies of women and share them with boys. Read through A Mighty Girl with them and teach them about girls and women who are making a difference in the world.

3 | Don't differentiate between hobbies

Letting the aisles at a store dictate a child's interest is a mistake. Manufacturers seem to believe boys can't play with dolls and girls never want to build anything but their wardrobes.

Dads need to present all options to boys when it comes to hobbies, and not let the default response be that girls' hobbies are different and therefore lesser. Boys can be in ballet. Boys can design clothes. Boys can collect cars and play with blocks. So can girls.

4 | Don't blame a female for a man's thoughts or actions

The conversation about how women should dress and act has been around for years. Preventing men from sexually harassing or ogling a woman's body is often cited as the major reason women should embrace modesty. Though obviously unfair, both men and women parrot this belief, passing on to boys that a woman can be blamed for a man's thoughts or actions.

Teach boys to deal with their own feelings and actions, and never use a woman's attire to justify their thoughts or behavior. Teach them to scrutinize their own impulse to treat a woman like an object, rather than assume she wants to be stared at or subjected to cat calls just because she is wearing a pair of shorts or a bikini. Why are they looking for an excuse to view her as less than a person? Why are they demoting her to eye candy?

5 | Encourage coed friendships

It's great for kids to have friends who are the same gender, but it's equally important for them to have friends who are the opposite sex. Boys learn from friendships with girls that females aren't the weaker sex and have great ideas of their own. They may also be less likely to tolerate other males labeling girls as dreaded, different, or cootie carriers.

Dads should also talk about their female friends, female bosses, and important females in their lives. Boys need to understand that reaching out beyond the boys' club is much better than drawing boundaries and keeping women out.

6 | Teach boys that feminism is not male bashing

People who fear feminism often don't fully understand the term. They believe it is women desiring a world without men, and using their voices only to tear down males. Not one male or female feminist I know actually feels this way.

Feminism is just the belief that a woman is equal to a man and that she deserves the same rights. It's simple. In our house full of feminists, we don't male bash. When my oldest daughter was gifted a shirt that read “girls rule, boys drool" it immediately found its way to the trash. Boys don't have to drool for girls to rule, or vice versa. We can coexist, equally empowered.

Dads need to teach boys that men and women should be on the same side, and men should be vocal advocates for women to have the same privileges they do. Feminism is not a threat to men, but boys who are scared of empowered women are a threat to us all.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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Parents in New Jersey will soon get more money and more time for parental leave after welcoming a baby.

This week New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed off on legislation that extends New Jersey's paid family leave from six weeks to 12.

It also increases the benefit cap from 53% of the average weekly wage to 70%, meaning the maximum benefit for a parent on family leave will be $860 a week, up from $650.

It might not seem like a huge difference, but by raising the benefit from two-thirds of a parent's pay to 85%, lawmakers in New Jersey are hoping to encourage more parents to actually take leave, which is good for the parents, their baby and their family. "Especially for that new mom and dad, we know that more time spent bonding with a child can lead to a better long-term outcome for that child," Murphy said at a press conference this week.

The law will also make it easier for people to take time off when a family member is sick.

Because NJ's paid leave is funded through payroll deductions, workers could see an increase in those deductions, but Murphy is betting that workers and businesses will see the benefits in increasing paid leave benefits. "Morale goes up, productivity goes up, and more money goes into the system," Murphy said. "And increasingly, companies big and small realize that a happy workforce and a secure workforce is a key ingredient to their success."

The new benefits will go into effect in July 2020 (making next Halloween a good time to get pregnant in the Garden State).

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Whether you just need to stock up on diapers or you've had your eye on a specific piece of baby gear, you might want to swing by your local Walmart this Saturday, February 23rd.

Walmart's big "Baby Savings Day" is happening from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at participating Walmarts (but more deals can be found online at Walmart.com already and the website deals are happening for the rest of the month).

About 3,000 of the 3,570 Supercenter locations are participating in the sale (check here to see if your local Walmart is).

The deals vary, but in general you can expect up to 30% off on items like cribs, strollers, car seats, wipes, diapers and formula.

Some items, like this Graco Modes 3 Lite Travel System have been marked down by more than $100. Other hot items include this Lille Baby Complete Carrier (It's usually $119, going for $99 during the sale) and the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat (for as low as $199).

So if you're in need of baby gear, you should check out this sale. Travel gear isn't the only category that's been marked down, there are some steep discounts on breast pumps, too.

Many of the Walmart locations will also be offering samples and expert demos of certain products on Saturday so it's worth checking out!

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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Any Schumer has not had an easy pregnancy. She intended to keep working, but if you follow her on social media you know she's been very sick through each trimester.

And now in her final trimester she's had to cancel her tour due to hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as HG. It's a rare but very serious form of extreme morning sickness, and on Friday evening Schumer announced she is canceling the rest of her tour because of it.

“I vomit every time [I] ride in a car even for 5 minutes," Schumer explained in an Instagram post.

Due to the constant vomiting she's not cleared to fly and just can't continue to the tour.

This is not the first time Schumer has had to make an announcement about HG. Back in November, just weeks after announcing her pregnancy, she had to cancel shows and again broke the news via Instagram.

She posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed with her little dog Tati, and spelled out the details of her health issues in the caption. "I have hyperemesis and it blows," Schumer wrote.

Poor Amy. Hyperemesis gravidarum is really tough.

Kate Middleton, Ayesha Curry and Motherly co-founder Elizabeth Tenety are among those who, like Schumer, have suffered from this form of severe morning sickness that can be totally debilitating.

As she previously wrote for Motherly, Tenety remembers becoming desperately ill, being confined to her apartment (mostly her bed) and never being far from a trash can, "I lost 10% of my body weight. I became severely dehydrated. I couldn't work. I couldn't even get out of bed. I could barely talk on the phone to tell my doctor how sick I was—begging them to please give me something, anything—to help."

Thankfully, she found relief through a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea drug.


Schumer probably knows all about that drug. It looks she is getting the medical help she obviously needs, and she was totally right to cancel the tour in order to stay as healthy as possible.

We're glad to see Schumer is getting help, and totally understand why she would have to cancel her shows. Any mama who has been through HG will tell you, that wouldn't be a show you'd want front row seats for anyway.

Get well soon, Amy!

[A version of this post was published November 15, 2018. It has been updated.]

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As a military spouse, Cydney Cooper is used to doing things alone. But when she delivered her twin daughters early after complications due to Influenza A, she was missing her husband Skylar more than ever.

Recovering from the flu and an emergency C-section, and trying to parent the couple's two older boys and be with her new infant daughters in the NICU, Cydney was exhausted and scared and just wanted her husband who was deployed in Kuwait with the Army and wasn't expected home for weeks.

Alone in the NICU 12 days after giving birth, Cydney was texting an update on the twins to her husband when he walked through the door to shoulder some of the massive burden this mama was carrying.

"I was typing up their summary as best I could and trying to remember every detail to tell him when I looked up and saw him standing there. Shock, relief, and the feeling that everything was just alright hit me at once. I just finally let go," she explains in a statement to Motherly.

The moment was captured on video thanks to a family member who was in on Skylar's surprise and the reunion has now gone viral, having been viewed millions of times. It's an incredible moment for the couple who hadn't seen each other since Skylar had a three-day pass in seven months earlier.

Cydney had been caring for the couple's two boys and progressing in her pregnancy when, just over a week before the viral video was taken, she tested positive for Influenza A and went into preterm labor. "My husband was gone, my babies were early, I had the flu, and I was terrified," she tells Motherly.

"Over the next 48 hours they were able to stop my labor and I was discharged from the hospital. It only lasted two days and I went right back up and was in full on labor that was too far to stop."

Cydney needed an emergency C-section due to the babies' positioning, and her medical team could not allow anyone who had previously been around her into the operating room because anyone close to Cydney had been exposed to the flu.

"So I went in alone. The nurses and doctors were wonderful and held my hand through the entire thing but at the same time, I felt very very alone and scared. [Skylar] had been present for our first two and he was my rock and I didn't have him when I wanted him the most. But I did it! He was messaging me the second they wheeled me to recovery. Little did I know he was already working on being on his way."

When he found out his baby girls were coming early Skylar did everything he could to get home, and seeing him walk into the NICU is a moment Cydney will hold in her heart and her memory forever. "I had been having to hop back and forth from our sons to our daughters and felt guilty constantly because I couldn't be with all of them especially with their dad gone. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life and I won't be forgetting it."

It's so hard for a military spouse to do everything alone after a baby comes, and the military does recognize this. Just last month the Army doubled the amount of leave qualifying secondary caregivers (most often dads) can take after a birth or adoption, from 10 days to 21 so that moms like Cydney don't have to do it all alone.

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