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I’m sitting in the break room at my office using my ten minutes to catch up on some imperative text messages.


I text a friend about how one of the pediatricians on “Grey’s Anatomy” reminds me of her (which is true), and I wait patiently for her to respond with something equally as significant to both of our lives.

My phone vibrates in response with a “Heart-eye emoji, heart-eye emoji, Yeah, I love that show. We need to hang out soon.”

The blood drains from my face. I nearly choke on my cashews and am immobilized. I feel the full weight of those words as a swinging door that goes unrealized until it’s too late. “We need to hang out soon.” “Hey, we need to hang out soon.” “We need to hang out soon.”

The phrase plays over and over again in my mind as I slowly realize what the sentiment actually means. I begin to grasp that it will be approximately 6-8 weeks before I see my friend again. That estimate, by the way, is generous. So I start to cry.

A few years ago, I would have responded to such a text with something like, “Yeah, you’re right. We do need to hang out soon. It’s sweet of you to notice/point that out.”

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But now that I know people, I know that this is one of the assorted pleasantries they pass around when they, like most of our generation, are horrible at making friendship commitments (or, as we will now refer to them, “friend-mitments”).

Now, I love this friend.

She’s fantastically sweet, insightful, and athletic (the big three for me, because I am none of them, and I feel they balance me out).

So I’m sure you can understand how pained I was to find that she no longer wanted to have anything to do with me. It was a rough break period for me, to be sure. I wanted to respond by asking why she had suddenly come to despise me so, but I figured that that would only give her the opportunity to tack on a few more cringe-worthy remarks, such as “No, we’re cool,” and “I’m just super busy.”

These phrases reveal an enormous lack of friend-mitment.

They are tossed about like trash cans in a windstorm amongst people my age, and up until recently, I was probably the leading offender. I would constantly tell people how soon we needed to hang out, only to, upon being met with agreement, do things like not call them for months at a time.

My understanding of friend-mitments was shockingly low. I have seen this in many of my other friends as well, and have grown to wonder why my generation is so lacking in this area.

I’ll tell you why: because the Internet.

Why are we so incapable of communicating in meaningful ways with people we like? Why do we keep telling each other how much we like each other and doing absolutely nothing about it? I’ll tell you why: because the Internet.

Often times you will hear people say that they like social media because it helps them keep in touch with people who are important to them. But here’s the thing: social media also helps users keep in touch with people who mean nothing to them. And unfortunately, I think the latter use trumps the former much of the time.

Sure, plenty of people use Facebook to message old friends from college and find out what in the heck they are up to now. That happens. But most twenty-somethings go on Facebook to scan their newsfeeds for things that appear funny, interesting, or just generally amusing to them.

Instead of keeping in touch with old friends, my fellow Millennials and I just “like” random photos that people from high school post of themselves at important sporting events and hope that they don’t think it’s super weird that we did that. Heaven forbid we were also at that sporting event, though, because we definitely wouldn’t have said anything to that person when we saw them.

A girl I haven’t spoken to since third grade commented on a photo of my son the other day to tell me how cute she thought he was (which, I mean, I can’t blame her) and I had actually to go to her page to figure out how I knew her. I think we may also have “needed to hang out soon,” but I can’t be sure.

Millennials are so technologically advanced that we can now talk to people we don’t really know casually and without having to feel weird about it. We can then make what might be called friendships with others without doing any work whatsoever.

Thanks, Al Gore.

The “We need to hang out soon” sentiment rears its ugly head, but so do much less specific phrases, like, “I miss you,” “Where have you been?” and my preferred mode of expressing vague nothingness, “Get in my life.”

Social media might allow us to be lazy with our acquaintances, but its primary target is people with whom we would like to have a real connection. Indeed, one of our generation’s all-time favorite things about social media is that it allows us to stay in touch with people who we like without having to do literally any work.

The “We need to hang out soon” sentiment rears its ugly head, but so do much less specific phrases, like, “I miss you,” “Where have you been?” and my preferred mode of expressing vague nothingness, “Get in my life.”

We see these phrases being thrown around between friends all the time on the internet, and they seem to be overall kind things to say. But in reality, they are the biggest red flags of horrible friend-mitments there ever were.

The phrase, “I miss you” normally speaks of an emotional attachment that one person has for another and a longing to strengthen that emotional attachment by oh, I don’t know, spending time with that person in real life.

But 98% of the time it appears on the Internet, it says, “Hey, I appreciate your Internet presence and you as a person, but I refuse to take this conversation to a more intimate medium. So please just acknowledge that you know this and understand that I will be there for you at least 2% of the time that you need me.”

“Where have you been?” is a more nonchalant offender, which, when spoken in real life seems to portray a desire to catch up with a person and know more about their life. On the Internet, it reads, “You are doing stuff with your life that makes me feel like I am out of the loop (which, by the way, is mostly my fault). You should probably comment on something of mine to confirm that I’m not. And hey, maybe just let me know when you are free and I’ll let you know that I’m not.”

“Get in my life” is the cream of the crop when it comes to sucking at friend-mitments because it’s just a weird thing to say in all instances. When you say it to someone in real life they think, “I didn’t know I wasn’t, or that maybe you weren’t in mine…? Which one of us is the protagonist here?” When you put it on someone’s Facebook timeline it says, “The ball’s in your court on us having any sort of relationship whatsoever,” which is just a really sweet thing to say to someone.

This destruction of all friend-mitments means we can go around commenting on each others’ posts and staying in touch with the occurrences in each others’ lives without even having to pick up the phone or send an email. As time goes by, we get further and further away from having to make any effort at all in order to have friends.

I’m sure I’m exaggerating a bit here. Maybe plenty of people my age manage to make specific and well-established plans with one another over the Internet.

But I think that much of the time, even when we do complete the painstaking task of actually making plans with others, they are the worst-laid plans ever. Whether we want to “meet up sometime this weekend” or “see each other at x event,” we always seem to cap off our commitment to spending time with our friends at about 60%.

One of my biggest friend-mitment offenses as far as planning goes is the ever-useful phrase, “Just text me.” It’s the best because it makes it seem like you are chill and reachable when really you are terrified that they actually will text you about hanging out and you will have to come up with something to do and some time in which to do it.

I think we fall into these awkward situations because we just care about too many people at once. It’s a good problem to have. We just need to approach our friendships differently.

And it’s not that these tendencies come from any animosity or lack of love. In fact, I think we fall into these awkward situations because we just care about too many people at once. It’s a good problem to have. We just need to approach our friendships differently.

As I’ve mentioned several times now, I am the master at sabotaging friend-mitments. I’ve done it all, from tweeting “Hey” to people when they are in the same room as me, to responding to someone’s phone call with a text that reads, “What’s up?” instead of picking up the phone and just CALLING THEM BACK. But I have found that becoming a parent has made the issue of dwindling friendships an, even more, significant one.

Before I had a child, I always heard people talk about how you sort of drop off of the face of the Earth when you get married and have kids.

And in a lot of ways, it’s true: parenting takes up time you never thought you had. But in many ways the reason parents stop seeing as much of their friends is because this popular lackadaisical approach to friendships is a terrible foundation on which to place the family lifestyle.

When I get texts from friends about how we “need to catch up” I no longer simply see them as vague and disappointing. I also realize that my life just doesn’t really allow for phrases like that one.

Unless my friends are willing to make plans more than four days in advance, there’s pretty much no way they will actually occur. And for the most part, they don’t.

Parenting requires things like schedules, meaningful interactions, and, you guessed it… commitments. It’s not because parents have become lame or distracted or less amiable; it’s because parents are now held accountable in a dramatically different way than ever before.

I am wagering that normal friendships require proper friend-mitments, and friendships with parents require even more firm ones. But of course, as with all beneficial relationships, both parties need to put in the work.

Without waiting for our friends to grow out of their bad friendship habits, what can we do to make better friend-mitments?

It may just be simple things like calling each other on the phone when we want to talk instead of just tagging each other in photos they need to see on Instagram.

Whatever the solution may be for you, it’s important to make a commitment to your friend knowing how much work it is going to be to follow through with that commitment. We parents need to work harder at a lot of things, and friendship is, unfortunately one of those. But who other than our dear, wonderful friends deserve that effort from us?

No one, that’s who.

I hope that one day we will all live in a world where we don’t get texts (text messages, things that you often don’t even realize were received, much less check the second they come in) from each other asking us to meet up in an hour. Because that’s just an outrageous thing to ask of someone else, especially someone we consider a friend.

Lately, when people ask me if I can meet up with them in an hour, I actually laugh audibly.

“Lol, you’re joking. It’s quite possible that in an hour I will still be trying to get my son into one of his coat sleeves.”

One sleeve.

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Did you hear that? That was the sound of Nordstrom and Maisonette making all your kid's summer wardrobe dreams come true.

Nordstrom partnered with Maisonette to create the perfect in-store pop-up shop from May 24th-June 23rd, featuring some of our favorite baby and kids brands, like Pehr, Zestt Organics, Lali and more. (Trust us, these items are going to take your Instagram feed to the next level of cuteness. 😍) Items range from $15 to $200, so there's something for every budget.

Pop-In@Nordstrom x Maisonette

Maisonette has long been a go-to for some of the best children's products from around the world, whether it's tastefully designed outfits, adorable accessories, or handmade toys we actually don't mind seeing sprawled across the living room rug. Now their whimsical, colorful aesthetic will be available at Nordstrom.

The pop-in shops will be featured in nine Nordstrom locations: Costa Mesa, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Chicago, IL; Austin, TX; Dallas, TX; Bellevue, WA; Seattle, WA; Toronto, ON; and Vancouver, BC.

Don't live nearby? Don't stress! Mamas all across the U.S. and Canada will be able to access the pop-in merchandise online at nordstrom.com/pop

But don't delay―these heirloom-quality pieces will only be available at Nordstrom during the pop-in's run, and then they'll be over faster than your spring break vacation. Happy shopping! 🛍

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

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For decades, doctors have prescribed progesterone, one of the key hormones your body needs during pregnancy, to prevent a miscarriage. The hormone, produced by the ovaries, is necessary to prepare the body for implantation. As the pregnancy progresses, the placenta produces progesterone, which suppresses uterine contractions and early labor.

But a new study out of the UK finds that administering progesterone to women experiencing bleeding in their first trimester does not result in dramatically more successful births than a placebo. Yet, for a small group of mothers-to-be who had experienced "previous recurrent miscarriages," the numbers showed promise.

The study, conducted at Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research at the University of Birmingham in the UK, is the largest of its kind, involving 4,153 pregnant women who were experiencing bleeding in those risky (and nerve-wracking) early weeks. The women were randomly split into two groups, with one group receiving 400 milligrams of progesterone via a vaginal suppository, and the other receiving a placebo of the same amount. Both groups were given the suppositories through their 16th week of pregnancy.

Of the group given progesterone, 75% went on to have a successful, full-term birth, compared to 72% for the placebo.

As the study notes, for most women, the administration of progesterone "did not result in a significantly higher incidence of live births than placebo." But for women who had experienced one or two previous miscarriages, the result was a 4% increase in the number of successful births. And for women who had experienced three or more recurrent miscarriages, the number jumped to a 15% increase.

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Dr. Arri Coomarasamy, Professor of Gynecology at the University of Birmingham and Director of Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research, said the implications for that group are "huge." "Our finding that women who are at risk of a miscarriage because of current pregnancy bleeding and a history of a previous miscarriage could benefit from progesterone treatment has huge implications for practice," he said.

It's estimated that 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in miscarriage. And while even a spot of blood no doubt increases the fear in every expectant mother's mind, bleeding is actually a very common occurrence during pregnancy, Coomarasamy said. Still, first trimester bleeding is particularly risky, with a third of women who experience it going on to miscarry.

So for women who have been through it multiple times, Coomarasamy's findings are an important avenue to explore. "This treatment could save thousands of babies who may have otherwise been lost to a miscarriage," he added.

The study is among a number of recent groundbreaking discoveries made by doctors looking to further understand what causes miscarriages and what can be done to prevent them. While about 70% of miscarriages are attributed to chromosomal abnormalities, doctors recently learned that certain genetic abnormalities, which exist in a small group of parents-to-be, could be discovered by testing the mother and father, as well as the embryo.

Doctors have also discovered that even knowing the sex of your baby could predict the complications a mother may face, thus helping medical professionals to assist in keeping the pregnancy viable.

But while there is no sweeping solution to stop miscarriages, for some couples, the use of progesterone does offer a glimmer of hope. "The results from this study are important for parents who have experienced miscarriage," Jane Brewin, chief executive of Tommy's said. "They now have a robust and effective treatment option which will save many lives and prevent much heartache."

Brewin added that studies like this one are imperative to our understanding of how the creation of life, which remains both a miracle and a mystery, truly works. "It gives us confidence to believe that further research will yield more treatments and ultimately make many more miscarriages preventable," she said.

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It's never easy to give up a career and launch a whole new one, but when I decided to end my time as an opera singer and move into the field of sales, I knew I could do it. After all, I had the perfect role model: my mom.

When I was growing up, she worked as a dental hygienist, but when I started college, she took some courses in sales. She was single with two kids in college, which was a driving force to make more money. But above that, she truly had a passion for sales. In no time, she got jobs and excelled at them, ultimately earning her the title of Vendor Representative of the Year at her electronics company.

When I entered the field of sales, an unusual and unexpected twist followed. Several years into my career, I was hired by a different electronics company. My mom and I ended up selling similar products to some of the same businesses. (Neither of our companies realized this, and we have different last names.)

But rather than feeling uncomfortable, I saw this as a great opportunity. She and I were both committed to doing our best. More often than not, she beat me when we went after the same piece of business. But in the process, I learned so much from her. I was able to see how her work ethic, commitment and style drove her success. I had even more to emulate.

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Here are some of the biggest business lessons I learned from my working mom:

1. Use your existing skill set to differentiate yourself.

As a dental hygienist, my mom knew how to talk to people and make them feel comfortable. She had also served as a youth leader at three different churches where my dad preached. In each town, she found at-risk kids, brought them together and developed programs for them. She had learned how to help people improve themselves and make their lives better.

In sales, she did the same thing, focusing on how the products or services she was selling could genuinely make a difference in the lives of her customers. Those skills translated seamlessly into her new career.

2. Start strong from day one—don't wait for permission to launch your full potential.

From day one at a job, my mom showed up with energy and vigor to get going. She didn't take time to be tentative. Instead, she leaned into her tasks—the equivalent of blasting out of the gate in a race. Having seen how well this worked for her, I strive to do the same.

3. Have empathy, it's essential.

Many women have been falsely accused of being "too emotional" in business. However, empathy is a necessity and drives better results. As a businesswoman, my mom set herself apart by demonstrating genuine empathy for her clients and her colleagues. She loves getting to know people's stories. That understanding is a key component in her finalizing deals and helping her company reach higher levels of success.

4. Learn often—you're never done building your skill set.

My mom is the reason I spend at least three months out of each year getting a new certification or learning a new skill. She's always working to improve, harness new technologies or develop new competencies—and she's passed on that eagerness to learn to me. She knows that to stay on top, you have to keep learning.

5. Bring on the charm.

By nature, I'm analytical. I like to present the numbers to clients, showing the data to help sway their decisions. And that has its place, but charm is universal. Being someone people want to do business with makes a huge difference. If I had a nickel for every time a prospect told me, "I love your mother," I could retire now! Business, especially sales, is about the connections you make as much as the value you bring.

Our paths have taken our careers in different directions, but along the way, I've done my best to incorporate all these skills. Thank you, mom, for teaching me all this, and much more.

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Every mom has her own list of character traits each of she hopes to instill in her children, but there is one that stands out as a big priority for the majority of millennial mothers.

Motherly's 2019 State of Motherhood survey revealed that kindness is incredibly important to today's moms. It is the number one trait we want to cultivate in our children, and according to stats from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, this emphasis on kindness couldn't come at a better time.

In recent years kids and parents have been straying from kindness, but these Ivy League experts have some great ideas about how today's moms can get the next generation back on track so they can become the caring adults of tomorrow.

Between 2013 and 2014, as part of Harvard's Making Caring Common project, researchers surveyed 10,000 middle and high school students across the nation. They found that no matter what race, class or culture the kids identified with, the majority of the students surveyed valued their own personal success and happiness way more than that of others.

Why do kids value their own success so much more than things like caring and fairness? Well, apparently, mom and dad told them to.

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Eighty percent of the 10,000 students said their parents taught them that their own happiness and high achievement were more important than caring for others. (So much for sharing is caring.)

The folks at Harvard say that valuing your own ambition is obviously a good thing (in moderation) in today's competitive world, but prioritizing it so much more than ethical values like kindness, caring and fairness makes kids more likely to be cruel, disrespectful and dishonest.

So how do we fix this? Here's Harvard's four-step plan for raising kinder kids.

1. Help them practice being nice

Giving kids daily opportunities to practice caring and kind acts helps make ethical behavior second nature. They could help you with chores, help a friend with homework or work on a project to help homelessness.

All those tasks would help a child flex their empathy muscles. The key is to increase the challenges over time so your child can develop a stronger capacity for caregiving as they grow.

2. Help them see multiple perspectives

The researchers want kids to “zoom in" and listen closely to the people around them, but also see the bigger picture. “By zooming out and taking multiple perspectives, including the perspectives of those who are too often invisible (such as the new kid in class, someone who doesn't speak their language, or the school custodian), young people expand their circle of concern and become able to consider the justice of their communities and society," the study's authors' wrote.

3. Model kindness

Our kids are watching, so if we want them to be kinder, it's something we should try to cultivate in ourselves. The Harvard team suggests parents make an effort to widen our circles of concern and deepen our understanding of issues of fairness and justice.

4. Teach kids to cope with destructive feelings

According to the researchers, the ability to care about others can be overwhelmed by a kid's feelings of anger, shame, envy, or other negative feelings. They suggest we teach our kids teach that while all feelings are okay to feel, some ways of dealing with them are not helpful, or kind (for example, “Hitting your classmate might make you happy, but it won't make them happy and isn't very kind. Counting to 10 and talking about why you're mad is more productive than hitting.")

While the folks at Harvard are concerned that so many kids are being taught to value their own happiness above all, they were also encouraged by the students who do prioritize caring and kindness. One of the students surveyed wrote, “People should always put others before themselves and focus on contributing something to the world that will improve life for future generations."

If we follow the advice of Harvard researchers, the world will see more kids that think like that, and that's what future generations need.

[A version of this post was originally published November 8, 2017. It has been updated.]

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These days more women are having babies into their 40s, but the idea that women are facing down the biological clock is pretty pervasive—once you're over 35, you automatically receive that "advanced maternal age" classification, while your male partner's age may never even be mentioned. The pressure on older moms is unfair, because according to new research from Rutgers University, men may face age-related fertility decline too and America's dads are getting older.

It's a new idea, but this finding actually takes 40 years worth of research into account—which, coincidentally, is around the age male fertility may start to decline. According to Rutgers researchers, the medical community hasn't quite pinpointed the onset of advanced age, but it hovers somewhere between ages 35 and 45.

The study which appears in the journal Maturitas, finds that a father's age may not just affect his fertility, but also the health of his partner and offspring.

Based on previously conducted research, the team behind this study found evidence that men over 45 could put their partners at greater risk for pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Babies born to older fathers also have an increased likelihood of premature birth, late stillbirth, low Apgar scores, low birthweight, newborn seizures and more. The risks appear to exist later in life, too: Research suggests children of older fathers have greater risk of childhood cancers, cognitive issues and autism.

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There's been plenty of studies surrounding advanced maternal age, but research on advanced paternal age is pretty slim—scientists don't quite understand how age correlates to these factors at this point. But researchers from Rutgers believe that age-related decline in testosterone and sperm quality degradation may be to blame. "Just as people lose muscle strength, flexibility and endurance with age, in men, sperm also tend to lose 'fitness' over the life cycle," Gloria Bachmann, director of the Women's Health Institute at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, explains in a release for this news.

As we've previously reported, more and more men are waiting until later in life to have children. According to a 2017 Stanford study, children born to fathers over 40 represent 9% of U.S. births, and the average age of first-time fathers has climbed by three-and-a-half years over the past four decades —so this research matters now more than ever, and it may represent the first step towards setting certain standards in place for men who choose to delay parenthood.

The biggest thing to come out of this research may be the need for more awareness surrounding advanced paternal age. This particular study's authors believe doctors should be starting to have conversations with their male patients, possibly even encouraging them to consider banking sperm if they're considering parenthood later in life.

Women certainly tend to be aware of the age-related risks to their fertility, and many regularly hear that they should freeze their eggs if they're not ready for motherhood. And while it's still too early to say whether we'll ever examine paternal age this closely, this research may set a whole new conversation in motion.

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