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It was January when my third-grade son, Jack, came home in a funk.

“What’s the matter?” I asked, full of concern. He was a sensitive boy, so full of feelings.

“Our class is doing Annie in front of the whole school at the end of the year. Mr. Ellon had us sing and stuff. He said I’m going to be Daddy Warbucks.”

Alarm bells.

“Wow!” I exclaimed, shrieky with terror. “That’s amazing!”

Red Flags.

“I don’t want to,” he said glumly. “I want to be in charge of the lights.”

Of course. Behind the scenes.

I went for the short pep talk. “Well, if Mr. Ellon thinks you would be the best Daddy Warbucks, I’m sure he’s right. Maybe give it a shot? It’s months till June. Don’t worry about it now.”


I followed it up with a reassuring mom look and an offer of a cookie, a tactic widely known as  ‘changing the subject.’ “Come on,” I led him to the kitchen. “Let’s get started on your homework.”

“I don’t have any homework,” he said.

It wasn’t all that unusual. One of the many reasons the kids loved Mr. Ellon – besides an ice cream party at the end of every week and playing class kickball outside at the beginning and end of class each day – was the lack of homework. “Mr. Ellon said our homework from now till the end of the year was to practice for the play.”

Oh my God – for multiple reasons.

“Well, then, how ’bout we call a friend to come over?”

He nodded, slowly moving past his unhappiness, at least for the moment.

Jack did not have a great track record with public appearances. Throughout nursery ‘productions,’ he was the child crying on stage, or hiding behind the other kids, and that was if he was up there at all.

At kindergarten graduation, he was the only one out of 100 children who refused to get up on stage to sing. He knew every song backwards and forwards, but no matter how much I encouraged, he wouldn’t budge. In the end, he sat on my lap in the audience, both of us singing the songs with tears streaming down our faces as we watched his classmates up on stage.

In first and second grades, we experienced the same building anxiety and uncertainty about whether he would actually stand with his class for the end-of-year ceremony, but he managed. We were definitely taking baby steps.

But a lead in a play in front of the whole school? That’s not a baby step. That’s a giant leap of faith. It wasn’t just standing with a group mouthing words – it was the spotlight. It was so not going to happen. Oh my God!!

Yet somehow, we managed to push it to the side. Jack did his rehearsals at school, and I read lines with him occasionally until he knew his part by heart. Repeatedly, he voiced his opposition to performing, but they were low murmurs, coming out on random late nights. So we kept moving forward, both of us struggling, until it seemed too late to turn back.

By April, his fears consumed me, and I went to see Mr. Ellon. He was an affable man who, like Columbo, tended to ramble and seemed easily distracted. The kids loved him.

“So,” I began, as always a little disarmed by his spacey, wide-eyed stare. “I’m a little worried about Jack playing Daddy Warbucks. He says he really doesn’t want to.”

“What?” He seemed amazed, like I had just told him the Red Sox could take the Yankees. “Don’t worry, he’s going to be fine.”

I reiterated Jack’s poor track record and building anxiety.

Mr. Ellon looked away, seeming to take in my words. Finally he said, “Hey, Jack’s really a great athlete, huh?”

Okay. Maybe not.

“Uh, yeah. But I’m thinking maybe you should have an understudy. You know, just in case?”

He waved me off, “Nah. He’s fine. Kid can really catch a ball, huh.”

Right. I really hoped, like Columbo, that Mr. Ellon knew what he was doing.

April turned into May, and May became June. The play was nearing, and each night was now an exercise in anxiety control.

“I don’t want to do it,” Jack would cry. “I mean, I want to, but I don’t want to!”

I used every tactic known to man to try and calm him. I told him about the Gregg Brady method, where you pretend everyone in the audience is in their underwear. I reminded him that he knew his part inside and out. He knew everyone’s parts by heart.

I told him it wasn’t that serious, just to relax. I told him it was okay to mess up. That everyone messed up. I lied through my teeth and told him that, no matter what happened, it would be okay.

I told him that the only thing he couldn’t do was fall off the stage, because that wouldn’t be okay. We laughed. We breathed, we hugged, we cried. We kept going, day by day.

But of course, it wouldn’t be okay if he didn’t go through with it. It would always be there, hanging over him – his fear, holding him back. And everyone would know it. He was a huge part of the show. The show couldn’t go on without him. He would beat himself up for years.

This was a nightmare.

Closer and closer it came.

Every night, I sat with my husband, stressing out.

“I don’t think he’s going to do it!”

“We should have pulled the plug in the beginning! How did I allow this to happen?”

“He can barely make a phone call to ask a friend to come over. He doesn’t even speak to adults!”

“I say it’s 50/50,” my husband concluded. “But there’s no turning back now.”

I was completely on edge. Jack’s stress mostly seeped out at night, but I worried all day long. I worried what would happen if he broke down and didn’t do it. I worried for the rest of the class who had worked so hard, and how that would affect him. I worried that he was worrying every day.

Controlling and conquering his fear and getting up there and doing it would be incredible. Was this pressure good or bad? I was losing my mind.

Finally, it was D-day, or more accurately, P-Day. I dressed Jack in his Daddy Warbucks suit and sent him to school with a hug and a hopefully encouraging smile. Before he got on the bus, I told him, “It’ll be okay, no matter what happens. You’re great, you know it, and everyone messes up.”

“I know,” he smiled. “Just don’t fall of the stage.”

“Right.” I hugged him hard, already emotionally leaky.

Opening curtain time was 10 a.m. 

We arrived at the packed auditorium and found our seats. It was a full house. I couldn’t speak to anyone. I was so agitated I thought I might throw up. I heard through the elementary school whispers that Jack was having a breakdown back stage.

I couldn’t do anything but wait and pray. And freak out. A lot.

The lights dimmed. The show was starting. I thought I might combust with nerves.

There were three seemingly never-ending scenes until Jack’s big entrance in the fourth act. I couldn’t appreciate anything the other kids were doing. I barely saw them. I watched and waited, hardly breathing, my heart threatening cardiac arrest. Would he do it? I couldn’t take it.

And then the moment came. I held my breath, my eyes welled, prepared for whatever may come. 

He strode on the stage, the picture of confidence. He delivered his first line. Perfectly. Tears of sheer joy, pride, and happiness flowed from an unending well of emotion. He did it. He controlled all his anxiety and stress, he took that stage, and he was beautiful.

His scene ended with a solo performance of him singing “NYC”. If I wasn’t already a basket case just seeing him appear and deliver his lines, when Jack sang that song, alone and as sweetly as an angel who had just gotten his voice, I literally sobbed. It was too much. He was too perfect. Puh puh.

The sun wasn’t coming out tomorrow, it was here and now.

Because that’s what it is to be a mother. Their fears, their accomplishments…somehow, they’re your own, only even more exquisitely wonderful or disastrous. 

Jack’s amazing accomplishment will forever be one of the proudest moments of my life. My son nailed it – the play, and his fears.

And he didn’t fall off the stage.

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Pop quiz, mama! How many different types of car seats are there? If you guessed three, you're partially correct. The three main types are rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. But then there are a variety of styles as well: infant car seats, convertible seats, all-in-one seats, high-back booster seats, and backless boosters. If you're not totally overwhelmed yet, keep reading, we promise there's good stuff ahead.

There's no arguing that, in the scheme of your baby and child gear buying lifetime, purchasing a car seat is a big deal! Luckily, Walmart.com has everything you need to travel safely with your most precious cargo in the backseat. And right now, you can save big on top-rated car seats and boosters during Best of Baby Month, happening now through September 30 at Walmart.com.

As if that wasn't enough, Walmart will even take the carseat your kiddos have outgrown off your hands for you (and hook you up with a sweet perk, too). Between September 16 and 21, Walmart is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle used car seats. When you bring in an expired car seat or one your child no longer fits into to a participating Walmart store during the trade-in event, you'll receive a $30 gift card to spend on your little one in person or online. Put the money towards a brand new car seat or booster or other baby essentials on your list. To find a participating store check here: www.walmart.com/aboutbestofbabymonth

Ready to shop, mama? Here are the 9 best car seat deals happening this month.

Safety 1st Grow and Go Spring 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat


From rear-facing car seat to belt-positioning booster, Grow and Go Sprint's got you covered through childhood. Whether you choose the grey Silver Lake, Seafarer or pink Camelia color palette, you'll love how this model grows with your little one — not to mention how easy it is to clean. The machine-washable seat pad can be removed without fussing with the harness, and the dual cup holders for snacks and drinks can go straight into the dishwasher.

Price: $134 (regularly $149)


Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Bermuda


When your toddler is ready to face forward, this versatile car seat can be used as a five-point harness booster, a high-back booster, and a backless booster. Padded armrests, harness straps, and seat cushions provide a comfy ride, and the neutral gray seat pads reverse to turquoise for a stylish new look.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)


Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia


Looking for something snazzy, mama? This black and hot pink car seat features a playful heart print on its reversible seat pad and soft harness straps. Best of all, with its 100-pound weight limit and three booster configurations, your big kid will get years of use out of this fashionable design.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)


Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat


This rear- and forward-facing car seat keeps kids safer, longer with an adjustable five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. To tighten the harness, simply twist the conveniently placed side knobs; the Infinite Slide Harness ensures an accurate fit every time. As for style, we're big fans of the cozy quilted design, which comes in two colorways: grey and magenta or grey and turquoise.

Price: $116 (regularly $149.99)


Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat


Outfitted with an adorable pink-and-white polka dot Minnie Mouse infant insert, even the tiniest of travelers — as small as four pounds! — can journey comfortably and safely. This rear-facing design is lightweight, too; weighing less than 15 lbs, you can easily carry it in the crook of your arm when your hands are full (because chances are they will be).

Price: $67.49 (regularly $89.99)


Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat


We know it's hard to imagine your tiny newborn will ever hit 100 lbs, but one day it'll happen. And when it does, you'll appreciate not having to buy a new car seat if you start with this 4-in-1 design! Designed to fit kids up to 120 lbs, it transforms four ways, from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster. With a 6-position recline and a one-hand adjust system for the harness and headrest, you can easily find the perfect fit for your growing child.

Price: $199.99 (regularly $269.99)


Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat


With its unique space-saving design, this 3-in-1 car seat provides 10% more back seat space simply by rotating the dual cup holders. The InRight LATCH system makes installation quick and easy, and whether you're using it as a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, or a belt-positioning booster, you can feel confident that your child's safe and comfortable thanks to Graco's Simply Safe Adjust Harness System.

Price: $149.99 (regularly $229.99)


Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat


Making sure your infant car seat is secure can be tricky, but Graco makes it easy with its one-second LATCH attachment and hassle-free three-step installation using SnugLock technology. In addition to its safety features, what we really love about this rear-facing seat are all of the conveniences, including the ability to create a complete travel system with Click Connect Strollers and a Silent Shade Canopy that expands without waking up your sleeping passenger.

Price: $169.99 (regularly $249.99)


Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat


With just one click, you can know whether this rear-facing car seat has been installed properly. Then adjust the base four different ways and use the bubble level indicator to find the proper position. When you're out and about, the rotating canopy with window panel will keep baby protected from the sun while allowing you to keep your eye on him.

Price: $129.99 (regularly $219.99)


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

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If I ever want to look alive before dropping my son off to school, there are two things I must put on before leaving the house: eyeliner and mascara. When using eyeliner, I typically use black liner on my top lid, a slightly lighter brown for my bottom lid, and then a nude liner for my water line. It works every time.

My mascara routine is a bit different. Because my natural lashes are thin and not the longest, I always opt for the darkest black I can find, and one that's lengthening and volumizing. For this reason, I was immediately drawn to It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara. The new mascara is developed in partnership with Drybar (the blow dry bar that specializes in just blowouts) and promises to deliver bold and voluminous lashes all day long. I was sold.

Could this really be the blowout my lashes have been waiting for? It turns out, it was much better than most volumizing formulas I've tried.

For starters, the wand is a great size—it's not too big or small, and it's easy to grip—just like my favorite Drybar round brush. As for the formula, it's super light and infused with biotin which helps lashes look stronger and healthier. I also love that it's buildable, and I didn't notice any clumps or flakes between coats.

The real test is that my lashes still looked great at dinnertime. I didn't have smudges or the dreaded raccoon eyes I always get after a long day at work. Surprisingly, the mascara actually stayed in place. To be fair, I haven't compared them with lash-extensions (which are my new go-to since having baby number two), but I'm sure it will hold up nicely.

Overall, I was very impressed with the level of length and fullness this mascara delivered. Indeed, this is the eyelash blowout my lashes have been waiting for. While it won't give you a few extra hours in bed, you'll at least look a little more awake, mama.

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

Here's how I apply IT Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara:

  1. Starting as close to lash line as possible (and looking down), align the brush against your top lashes. Gradually turn upwards, then wiggle the wand back and forth up and down your eyelashes.
  2. Repeat, if needed. Tip: Be sure to allow the mascara to dry between each coat.
  3. Using the same technique, apply mascara to your bottom lashes, brushing the wand down your eyelashes.
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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Having children isn't always as easy as it looks on Instagram. There's so much more to motherhood than serene baby snuggles and matching outfits. But there's a reason we've fallen so deeply in love with motherhood: It's the most beautiful, chaotic ride.

Every single day, we sit back and wonder how something so hard can feel so rewarding. And Eva Mendes just managed to nail the reality of that with one quote.

Eva, who is a mama to daughters Esmerelda and Amada with Ryan Gosling, got real about the messy magic of motherhood in a recent interview.

"It's so fun and beautiful and maddening," the actress tells Access Daily. "It's so hard, of course. But it's like that feeling of…you end your day, you put them to bed and Ryan and I kind of look at each other like, 'We did it, we did it. We came out relatively unscathed.'"


Eva Mendes Admits Parenting Two Girls With Ryan Gosling Is 'Fun, Beautiful And Maddening' www.youtube.com

And just like that, moms all over the world feel seen. We've all been there: Struggling to get through the day (which, for the record is often every bit as fun as it is challenging), only to put those babies to sleep and collapse on the couch in sheer exhaustion. But, after you've caught your breath, you realize just how strong and capable you really are.

One thing Eva learned the hard way? That sleep regressions are very, very real...and they don't just come to an end after your baby's first few months. "I guess they go through a sleep regression, which nobody told me about until I looked it up," she says "I was like, 'Why isn't my 3-year-old sleeping?'"

But, at the end of the day, Eva loves her life as a mom—and the fact that she took a break from her Hollywood career to devote her days to raising her girls. "I'm so thankful I have the opportunity to be home with them," she says.

Thank you for keeping it real, Eva! Momming isn't easy, but it sure is worth it.

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My labor and delivery was short and sweet. I started feeling contractions on Monday morning and by Tuesday night at 8:56 pm my handsome baby boy was born. Only 30 minutes of pushing. Afterward, I was still out of it, to be honest. I held him and did some skin to skin and handed him off to my husband, my mother held him next.

When he was in my mother's arms, I knew he was safe. I started to drift off, the epidural had me feeling drowsy and I had used up all my strength to push this 7 lb baby out. My son's eyes were open and then I guess he went to sleep too. My mother swayed him back and forth. The nurses were in and out, cleaning me up and checking in on us.


When yet another nurse came in, my mom said to her, "He wasn't latching because he wanted to sleep."

The nurse yelled, "He's not sleeping!"

The next 25 minutes happened in slow motion for me.

After the nurse said these words, she flung my son onto the little baby bed. I looked over and he looked a little blue. Then I heard the loud words of CODE PINK. In matters of seconds about 30 nursing staff descended into my room and crowded around my baby.

I couldn't even see what was happening. I tried to get out the bed but they wouldn't let me and after a couple of failed attempts one of the nurses look at me and said, "He's fine, he's breathing now."

Breathing now? He wasn't breathing before? Again, I tried to push my way to my baby, but once again I was told to not move. They had just performed CPR on my 30-minute old newborn and I couldn't understand what was happening even after a pediatrician tried to explain it to me.

I just started crying. He was fine in my stomach for 39 weeks and 6 days and now I bring him into this world and his heart nearly stops?

I was told he needed to go to the neonatal intensive care unit. I was confused, as I thought the NICU was only for preemies and my son was full term.

After what felt like an eternity we were finally allowed to see our son. My husband wheeled me there and we saw him in the corner alone. I saw the incubator and the wires, he's all bundled up.

The nurse explained all the beeping and showed me the heart rate monitor. He's doing fine. We go over the feeding schedule. I'm exhausted still. I stay with him until about 1 or 2 am. They all suggest I get some sleep. There's no bed in the NICU, so I head back to my room.

The next day was better, he doesn't have to be in the incubator anymore, but the wires remain. By that night or early the next morning, the wires in his nose come out and I try feeding him. I try pumping. It was painful.

He gets his first bath and he loves it. The nurse shampoos his hair (he had a lot!) and he seems so soothed. The nurse explains that because he's full term he doesn't need the same type of support in the NICU. She tells me my baby's strong and he'll be fine.

I look around. I see the other babies, the other moms. They could be there for weeks. And unlike me, the moms have to go home—without their baby.

Friday comes and by now he's done all his tests, blood work came back normal, all tubes have been removed and I get it. I get my going-home package. Finally. I get my instructions on doctor follow-ups and we finally get to go home.

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There have been a lot of iconic entertainment magazine covers featuring pregnant women over the years. Who can forget Demi Moore's bare baby bump on Vanity Fair or Britney Spears' similar nude pose on Harper's Bazaar?

Pregnant women on a magazine covers is nothing new, but a visibly pregnant CEO on the cover of a business magazine, that's a first and it happened this week.

Inc. just put The Wing's CEO Audrey Gelman on the cover and this is a historic moment in publishing and business.

As Gelman told Today this week, "You can't be what you can't see, so I think it's so important for women to see that it's possible to run a fast-growing business and also to start a family."



She continued: "It's so important to sort of burst that bubble and to have new images of women who are thriving and working professionally while balancing motherhood … My hope is that women see this and again feel the confidence to take greater professional risks while also not shelving their dreams of becoming a mother and starting a family."

The Wing started in 2016 as a co-working space for women and has grown rapidly. As Inc. reports, The Wing has eight locations in the U.S. with plans for more American and international locations by 2020.

Putting Gelman on the cover was an important move by Inc. and Gelman's honesty about her early pregnancy panic ("I can't be pregnant. I have so much to do." she recalls thinking after her pregnancy test) should be applauded.

Gelman says pregnancy made her slow down physically, and that it was actually good for her company: "I had this realization: The way to make my team and my employees feel proud to work for me and for the company was actually not to pretend to be superhuman or totally unaffected by pregnancy."

We need this. We need CEOs to admit that they are human so that corporate leadership can see employees as humans, too. Humans need things like family leave and flexibility, especially when they start raising little humans.

There are a lot of iconic covers featuring pregnant women, but this one is different. She's wearing clothes and she's changing work culture.

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