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You may be at work, at home, or in a waiting room when the mental video clip starts rolling – the one highlighting the slights behind that grudge you hold tight. Painful memories cycle before your mind’s eye, reminding you of just how justified your grudge is – from the time the relationship-assailant started flinging barbs your way to the final affront that became the proverbial last straw in your association with him or her.


The more your thoughts stir up old wounds, the more you grow from annoyed to seething. The clip ends with you declaring that you are “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore,” or some other line-in-the-sand-drawing proclamation. Pulse racing and teeth clenched, you steel yourself to strike back hard if someone dares to utter the overly simplistic suggestion to “just let it go.”

Why should you “let it go” when you’ve been wronged and, potentially, wronged for a long time by a relative, friend, or co-worker?

Well, you may just want to let go of your grudges, not for the sake of letting the offenders off the hook, but to stop the damage that grudges can cause to your emotional and physical well-being. Moreover, reclaiming your sense of wellness helps to ensure that of your children’s, who are watching the way you handle adversity and taking cues from you on how to manage their own conflicts.

Holding onto grudges hurts you, emotionally and physically

On the surface, nursing a grudge can feel like the right thing to do. After all, grudges signal that someone has crossed a line with us, that our dignity matters, and that we had the strength to stick up for ourselves, either by distancing ourselves from the offender or being guarded and combative whenever the offender is near.

However, once we shed the armor of our indignation, we find that holding a grudge doesn’t heal the underlying injury. In fact, stewing over past slights causes us to remain stuck in feelings of anger, resentment, and vengefulness. These feelings of unforgiveness then compound the emotional harm by leading to anxiety, depression, or stress which, in turn, can cause us to approach new relationships with defensiveness and distrust.

Moreover, the negative feelings sustained by our long-held grudges can take an enormous toll on our physical health. Research has found that people who maintain long-term grudges experienced higher rates of a host of ailments, namely: heart disease, cardiac arrest, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, arthritis, back problems, headaches, and chronic pain.

Given this profound mind-body connection, holding onto a grudge (no matter how seemingly justified) is not worth the damage to our relationship with others, our emotional well-being, or our physical health. If that isn’t reason enough to let go of our rancor toward a transgressor, consider that the harmful effects of long-standing grudges also hurt those we most want to protect: our children.

Our grudges negatively affect our children, too

Choosing to nurse a grudge can induce such stress and depression that it can negatively affect the way we parent our children. “Make no mistake, parental stress has an impact on kids,” advises Katie Hurley, a child and adolescent psychotherapist who notes how often her young patients tell her how stressed-out their parents are.

In particular, stressed parents exhibit less patience with their children and are quicker to yell at them. Stressed parents are also quicker to yell at each other, at times within earshot of the children. As a result of this heightened tension in the home, children experience their own stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions.

If your grudge is also causing you to be depressed, consider that studies have shown that depression negatively affects our parenting, as well. Depressed parents are less emotionally engaged with their children and less likely to adequately socialize children. This, in turn, puts the children at a disadvantage in achieving normal emotional development.

Even if a parent isn’t stressed or depressed by a grudge, the time that a parent spends dwelling on a grudge means less time spent on fostering an emotionally positive home for a child. According to Dr. Gail Gross, a family and child development expert, emotionally engaged parents who create a home that is “deliberately filled with warmth” enhance a child’s emotional well-being, temperament, and ability to cope with stress.

Aside from being impacted by a parent’s disposition, children are also significantly influenced by the way their parents interact with others. Children watch how their parents react to difficult people, and often imitate parental behavior when they find themselves in similar situations. This is a sobering thought for any parent bent on maintaining grudges.

Considering the influence we have as parents in shaping our children’s emotional well-being and behavior, it is incumbent upon us to serve as better examples by adopting an attitude of forgiveness.

What forgiveness is and what it isn’t

Whether you decide to forgive your transgressors for your children’s sake, your own sake, or because of your spiritual beliefs, forgiveness does not mean excusing the harm done to you. Forgiveness also does not require associating with the person who harmed you.

Instead, forgiveness means consciously choosing to let go of hostility towards an offender, whether or not the person apologized, for the sake of moving on from the offense. Importantly, as you shift your thinking away from anger and toward forgiveness, you will stop viewing your past through the lens of how you’ve been victimized.

Adopting a forgiving attitude brings with it significant benefits. Among them:

  • Reduced anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved hearth health
  • A stronger immune system
  • Reduced hostility toward others
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Healthier relationships
  • A greater sense of peace, hope, and joy
  • More restful sleep

How to adopt an attitude of forgiveness

No matter your age, you can choose to reap the benefits of a forgiving attitude at any time. The following tips can help you start incorporating forgiveness into your thoughts and actions:

1 | Reflect on the totality of the circumstances surrounding the grudge

Have a final “sit down” with everything the offender did that upset you, reflect on why it hurt you so much, and examine how you’ve reacted to the wrongdoing since. The goal here is not to re-traumatize yourself, but to understand your reaction to the offense and give yourself the compassion your offender did not.

2 | Consider that the offender might actually deserve your empathy

Is the offender herself a victim of abuse or mistreatment? If so, the offender’s behavior toward you may have been less about hurting you and more about the offender’s misunderstanding of what constitutes acceptable behavior.

3 | Accept that the offender may never own up to the pain he caused you

If the offender is aware of how deeply he upset you and still has not sought amends, let go of the expectation that he will – or can – take responsibility for his behavior. Letting go of this expectation frees you from being disappointed each day that your much-owed apology doesn’t materialize.

4 | Choose to genuinely forgive

When you forgive someone to please your spouse or to keep others from feeling uncomfortable, true forgiveness cannot take root. Instead, forgive because you are determined to move on from past hurts – whether or not you choose to reconcile with the offender – and because you want to stop any emotional or physical damage the grudge may be causing.

5 | Commemorate the forgiveness

Forgiving someone who caused you pain is a big step forward that deserves commemorating. If contacting the person who wronged you is unwise or impossible, commemorate your decision to forgive by confiding in someone else whose guidance you trust, or by writing down your reasons for choosing to forgive.

6 | Forgive yourself for holding a grudge

Whether you’ve recoiled from a hurtful situation for several weeks or several years, forgive yourself for taking as long as you took to consider forgiveness as a way of dealing with the offense at issue.

7 | Seek help if the grudge you want to let go of won’t let go of you

If you are unable to release a grudge after sincere effort, consider seeking guidance from a spiritual leader, a confidante, or a mental health provider.

Releasing your hostility toward someone who hurt you can help you see that transgressor as human and flawed, potentially leading you to regain affection for that person, says Karen Swartz, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at The John Hopkins Hospital. In some instances, this may pave the way for a reconciliation.

In other cases, reconciliation may be impossible because the offender has passed away, or undesirable because the offender is still abusive or refuses to admit the wrongdoing occurred. Even if reconciliation is not the goal, however, adopting an attitude of forgiveness is a worthy pursuit for its bounty of benefits.

Manage your triggers: Grudge-avoidance through slight-avoidance

An ounce of (grudge) prevention is worth a pound of (forgiveness) cure. To prevent foreseeable slights from accumulating into the basis for a new grudge, take proactive steps to avoid situations you know will end up making your blood boil.

For example, if you have a friend who is consistently and unapologetically late, avoid planning time-sensitive activities with her. If a relative habitually makes comments at your expense, avoid being alone with him, call him less, or put him on speaker when he calls if you think doing so will discourage him from making insulting remarks. If a co-worker has a reputation for stealing credit from others in the office, document all of your hard work and loop your boss into your progress as often as possible to claim all credit due to you.

People will do things we find offensive or downright infuriating all of the time, whether those people mean to upset us or not. It’s easy to make these slights larger than life by replaying them in our thoughts, over and over, until our sense of indignation practically screams that a grudge is justified.

However, you can choose to stop the reel, take steps toward forgiveness, and consider how to better manage your triggers going forward. Think of the health benefits that forgiveness brings to you. If that doesn’t stop the tape, think of the health benefits that forgiveness brings to your children.

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Many parents begin looking into Montessori when their children reach preschool age, but there is so much you can do at home even with the youngest babies. Montessori is much more than a method of education or academic system. It is a philosophy and a certain way of approaching children, whether at school or in the home.

Here are five simple (and free!) ways you can begin using Montessori with your child from birth. And if your child is older, don't worry—all of these principles apply to older children as well.

1. Provide freedom of movement

From birth, we can give children the opportunity to move freely in their environment.

For a newborn, this simply means providing plenty of time when they are not being held or constrained in a carrier, stroller or other device.

You might spend time siting next to your child while they lay on a soft blanket, either inside or outdoors. They're clearly not able to move around the environment on their own at this point, but can practice moving their arms and legs and supporting their head, without their movements being limited.

For an older baby, freedom of movement might include letting them pull up on objects and edge their way around the room at their own pace, rather than putting them in a jumper or holding their hands while they walk.

Freedom of movement is excellent for gross motor development, but it is also a great confidence builder. It sends a clear message to your child that you believe they are capable of developing their muscles and abilities in their own timeframe.

Another aspect of freedom of movement is comfortable clothing that supports a baby's growing ability to move. Dressing your baby in a onesie or loose fitting pants and shirt maximizes their ability to move. Providing young babies plenty of time unswaddled and without mittens or shoes also helps them learn to use their muscles.

2. Use respectful communication

Respectful communication is a hallmark of Montessori for children at all ages, and this can certainly begin at birth. It may feel silly at first, but try telling your infant each time you're going to pick them up. Let them know when it's time to eat or time for a diaper. It will begin to feel more natural each time you do it.

You might try asking permission, such as, "May I pick you up for a diaper change now?"

While they, of course, won't be able to answer you in words yet, they will understand your tone and if you ask regularly, they might start to respond in other ways, such as reaching for you or smiling.

We can also show respect through our communication by always using real, precise language. For example, rather than telling a baby a picture is a "doggie," try telling them it's a "dog," or maybe even the type or name of the dog if you know.

This type of communication lays a wonderful foundation for a relationship of mutual respect, and also exposes your child to a rich vocabulary from the beginning.

3. See caregiving as bonding

Caregiving tasks, such as feeding and changing diapers, can seem endless and can be truly exhausting, especially in the first few months. In Montessori, we try to view these activities as a time for bonding and connecting, a time to give a child our undivided attention.

In a classroom with multiple babies, or a home with older siblings around, this can be an especially important time to take a few moments and be present with the baby you are caring for. It can be so tempting to scroll through social media while breastfeeding or rush through diaper changes to get to the more fun stuff, but these are truly opportunities to slow down, make eye contact with your child, and simply be with them.

Montessori also views these activities as collaborative. We always try to do things "with" children, rather than "to" them.

For the youngest infants, collaboration might just be talking them through what you're doing, or following their lead for when they need to eat and sleep.

For older babies, you can include them more through asking them to crawl to the diaper changing area or bring you a diaper, or offering them two shirts or two foods to choose from.

Reframing these caregiving activities not only makes them more enjoyable for us parents, it ensures that we have regular check-ins where we're fully present with our babies. It makes them feel cared for, and never like a burden.

4. Allow time for independence

How can a baby be independent? They rely on us for so much—warmth, nourishment, safety, love—but we can actually help infants develop independence from the very beginning.

We can look for times when our baby is calm and alert and let them "play," or lay on a blanket, without being held. We can give them time to look around the room and visually explore their new world without interacting with or distracting them.

We can respond to mild fussing first by talking to them, by gently touching them or holding their hand, rather than immediately swooping them up into our arms. Sometimes all they need is a little reassurance that we're there.

Every baby is different and every baby's tolerance for these moments is unique. Some babies might be content to lay on their own for quite a while, while others seem to want to be held constantly. Follow your own child's lead, but look for little opportunities to help them stretch their independence from the start.

5. Practice observation

Observation is one of the most important principles of Montessori for all ages.

Each child is on their own developmental path and the only way we can really know what they need, what challenges they're ready for, is through careful observation.

Naturally, you spend tons of time watching your new baby. Observation is just a slightly different mindset, watching with intention, to see what new skills your baby might be working on, what parts of the room they stare at with captivated interest.

This type of observation will help you know what toys to offer your baby better than any developmental timeline. It will also help you get to know them in a deeper way.

Montessori can seem a bit mysterious or even intimidating, but so much of it is really so simple. It is much more about how we view and interact with children than about academic achievement or beautiful materials.

No matter what type of school you plan to send your children to, incorporating these principles at home from the beginning can add so much to your parenting journey.

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There are so many firsts we get to experience with our baby in those precious 24 hours after birth, but experts suggest that a first bath should not be one of them as waiting could help mama and baby with breastfeeding.

This week a study published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing links delaying newborn baths with increased in-hospital exclusive breastfeeding rates.

The study's lead author, Heather Condo DiCioccio, is a nursing professional development specialist for the Mother/Baby Unit at Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. She told TODAY her research was promoted by patients, who have increasingly been asking staff to hold off that first bath in recent years.

Part of this is likely due to the World Health Organization's stance on newborn bathing. The WHO recommends babies should not get a bath for 24 hours, but the recommendations don't really explain why the organization suggests this.

DiCioccio's study involved almost 1000 mama-baby pairs. Around half of the babies were bathed within 2 hours of birth, as per the hospital's previous policy. The rest saw the first bath delayed for at least 12 hours. The researchers found a link between delaying a bath and exclusive breastfeeding, but they could not precisely answer why. DiCioccio thinks it might have something to do with baby's sense of smell.

"They've been swimming in the amniotic fluid for 38, 39, 40 weeks of their life and the mother's breast puts out a similar smell as that amniotic fluid," she told TODAY. "So the thought is maybe the two smells help that baby actually latch. It makes it easier for the baby to find something comfortable and normal and that they like."

For DiCioccio, anything that can help mamas with breastfeeding is a welcome intervention, but the nursing link is not the only benefit to delayed bathing. She notes that keeping the vernix (that white stuff) on the baby for longer allows the baby to benefit from its antimicrobial properties and can help with lung development.

However, sometimes babies do need a bath soon after birth. When mothers are dealing with health issues that can see babies exposed to blood-borne pathogens (like HIV, active herpes lesions or hepatitis B or C), a bath sooner after birth is still best, DiCioccio explained to TODAY.

Even when blood-borne pathogens are not a concern, cultural preferences might be. Not every parent wants to delay baby's first bath, and that's okay—during DiCioccio's study the wishes of parents who wanted their baby bathed shortly after birth were respected—but it's good to have all the knowledge we can get when it comes to postnatal best practices.

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Ayesha Curry has three kids, a husband with a super busy career and a super busy career herself. It would be so easy for her priority list to be: 1) kids, 2) career, then 3) Steph—but the TV host, chef, Honest Company ambassador and entrepreneurial #bossbabe says her partner still has the number one spot, even after all these years.

Speaking to HelloGiggles, Curry explains that she and her Golden State Warrior husband have seen how partners prioritizing each other can benefit a family as a whole. That's why she and Stef don't prioritize the kids above each other.

"Both of our parents are still married and have been married for 30-plus years, and the one thing that they both shared with us—some through learning it the hard way, some through just making sure that they do it—is just making sure that we put each other first, even before the kids, as tough as that sounds," she tells HelloGiggles.

For the Currys, that means making time in those very busy schedules for date nights where they don't have to be mom and dad, they can just connect as partners. Curry admits that it's not always easy to break her brain out of mama-mode and prioritize something other than time with her kids, but she recognizes that when she and Stef put each other first, the kids benefit.

"That's been very important, as hard as it is. Because when you become a parent, you want to put your kids first, and we do, but we do it second to our relationship. Because ultimately, when our relationship is good, the kids are happy and they're thriving and our family life is good. We have to put that into perspective and realize that it's not us being selfish, it's making sure we set a strong foundation."



Experts back Curry up

Family therapist Raffi Bilek, director of the Baltimore Therapy Center, tells Fatherly that while putting each other first may seem counterintuitive to parents, it's important. "I think that the question of when to prioritize your partner over your kid is best answered with 'always,'" Bilek says.

David Code is a therapist and the author of To Raise Happy Kids, Put Your Marriage First. He wants parents to lean on each other more because when we don't our kids can end up shouldering some of our emotional needs, and that's not fair. It's also not fair for parents to put their relationship and themselves last every time. He believes the "greatest gift you can give your children is to have a fulfilling marriage yourself."

According to Code, "families centered on children create anxious, exhausted parents and demanding, entitled children. We parents today are too quick to sacrifice our lives and our marriages for our kids. Most of us have created child-centered families, where our children hold priority over our time, energy and attention."

Therapists like Code and Bilek are calling on parents to put their partners first, and stop buying into the myth that we don't have time for our spouses.

If the Currys can find time for each other in their crazy schedules, so too can the rest of us.

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This morning I left my 4-year-old sobbing in the arms of her Pre-K teacher. As I turned to leave, the sight of her little face crumbling, trying to be brave but not quite managing, tore right to my core. I walked away feeling like I was wading through treacle, my chest aching and my arms heavy and useless where my child should have been. It felt so very unnatural to leave when she was crying out my name.

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