A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood
Print Friendly and PDF

All of our children hit bumps in the road at some point or another.


Some of the challenges kids face are intrinsic. These might include heightened emotional sensitivity, attention/hyperactivity problems, or learning struggles. Other challenges are shorter term – but can still be profoundly disruptive. These can include peer rejection, moving to a new school, failing in a sport, or not liking a teacher. Other problems like defiance or substance abuse can grow over time.

Whether your child’s struggle is temporary or longer lasting, the truth is that struggle is a part of life. It’s how we all grow and mature.

But let’s face it, these struggles don’t just affect our kids. They also affect us. Many parents feel emotional pain when their children face discomfort or emotional pain. Parents instinctively want shield their children from emotional pain, because they’re also trying to shield themselves.

If parents approach children’s struggles mindfully, rather than reactively, they may notice that their children grow as a result of hardship rather than looking to for an emotional rescue.

This is an understandable process, yet it can interfere with children’s ability to be adaptable in the face of discomfort and challenge. Parent’s hovering can actually prevents kid’s emotional maturation. I believe the most important factor in how kids handle life’s vicissitudes is how we respond to and frame struggle for our kids.

FEATURED VIDEO

If parents approach children’s struggles mindfully, rather than reactively, they may notice that their children grow as a result of hardship rather than looking to for an emotional rescue.

To do this, keep in mind these 5 things:

1 | Stay present with your child instead of fixing, changing, or rescuing

The most common response from parents today is to come to the rescue when their kids are struggling, facing a challenge or simply upset. Parent become their children’s problem-solvers, managers, and advice-givers. Parents feel that it’s their job to run interference on their child’s life, so he or she has a smooth path ahead.

What if I told you that this is actually disrupting your child’s ability to develop his or her own coping skills? That the only way kids learn to problem-solve, face discomfort, and manage their emotions is to face life’s obstacles.

Instead of fixing, parents can be present, stay supportive, but not to take the problem on their own lap. Our children need to face their own problems of childhood so they are equipped to face bigger challenges in adulthood.

2) Allow your child to feel

The best way for kids to be emotionally resilient is for them to feel all their emotions. So if your child is happy, sad, worried, bored, frustrated – allow your child to be with and feel their emotion fully. You can say things that are validating and normalizing – so kids don’t resist their emotions, and instead learn to accept them. For example: “That is sad.” “I imagine that is frustrating.” “Bored is ok, it is a normal feeling we all have.” “I get worried about that too.”

When parents validate and allow kids to feel, there is no need to fix or change their emotions. Instead you are creating space for feelings. All emotions are ok and all emotions are transient. So there is no need to react or resist what we feel. The most naturally way to process emotions is to allow ourselves to feel all our feelings until they pass. We can teach this to our children.

3) Value and embrace struggle

Kids are constantly reading our signals and cues of how to respond to things. It is amazing how much my daughters mimic my responses and reactions to life (good and bad!). If we value struggle and see struggle as necessary and important, kids will more likely see challenges this way as well.

All growth, learning and emotional development comes from struggle. No one matures from a place of comfort. So we can set an intention to embrace struggle and challenge in our lives and in our children’s lives.

4) Normalize set backs, failures, discomfort as part of life

In our culture today we think we should be happy all the time and if we are not something is wrong. Unfortunately many kids then direct this wrong at their own self – “something is wrong with me.” But in reality life is in a constant state of flux. It is normal for emotions to be continually coming and going – not for us to feel happy at all times. When we normalize this pattern then there is no sense of something being “wrong” when we face a challenge or setback or discomfort.

When we frame struggle and setbacks as normal, we are teaching a lot of resilience to our kids. What better lesson is there?

5) Rather than fixing, encourage your child to problem-solve

Problem-solving is not just something for math class. In fact I believe problem-solving is like a muscle which only becomes stronger through repetition. In addition to normalizing struggle and allowing your child to feel, you can also put the problem back on your child, “You’re really good at problem-solving, how do you want to problem-solve this situation?” “What is the best thing to do?” I notice when I say this to my daughter, she looks and me sideways and then smiles and goes off to solve the problem. Kids want to be empowered and feel that they are capable.

For many problems, like peer rejection, there is no simple solution but staying present and available and encouraging your child to solve it, is a great way for your child to build these muscles. Of course we can give advice, but I would really suggest you wait until your child asks, “Mommy what would you do.” So often we rush in with advice when our kids are upset and when they never asked for help or advice.

Reframing Struggle

Although struggle can bring up emotional pain, we still have an intellect and can remember that struggle is the only way we learn. The good thing about emotional struggle is that if we can calm ourselves down enough – our rational minds can see that life is a series of lessons disguised as obstacles. We will not get to where we want to go unless we face all these various obstacles.

When we know that struggle is the only way to learn then instead of resisting obstacles we can move towards them and embrace them and know that there is some essential learning that will happen.

We don’t become wise from life always going our way. We become wise from living in the current of life which involves both big rapids and calm water. We can teach this to our kids.

 

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.

As mamas, we naturally become the magic-makers for our families. We sing the songs that make the waits seem shorter, dispense the kisses that help boo-boos hurt less, carry the seemingly bottomless bags of treasures, and find ways to turn even the most hum-drum days into something memorable.

Sometimes it's on a family vacation or when exploring a new locale, but often it's in our own backyards or living rooms. Here are 12 ways to create magical moments with kids no matter where your adventures take you.


1. Keep it simple

Mary Poppins may be practically perfect in every way, but―trust us―your most magical memories don't require perfection. Spend the morning building blanket forts or break out the cookie cutters to serve their sandwich in a fun shape and you'll quickly learn that, for kids, the most magical moments are often the simplest.

2. Get on their level

Sometimes creating a memorable moment can be as easy as getting down on the floor and playing with your children. So don't be afraid to get on your hands and knees, to swing from the monkey bars, or turn watching your favorite movie into an ultimate snuggle sesh.

3. Reimagine the ordinary

As Mary says, "the cover is not the book." Teach your child to see the world beyond initial impressions by encouraging them to imagine a whole new world as you play―a world where the laundry basket can be a pirate ship or a pile of blankets can be a castle.

4. Get a little messy

Stomp in muddy puddles. Break out the finger paint. Bake a cake and don't worry about frosting drips on the counter. The messes will wait, mama. For now, let your children―and yourself―live in these moments that will all too soon become favorite memories.

5. Throw out the plan

The best-laid plans...are rarely the most exciting. And often the most magical moments happen by accident. So let go of the plan, embrace the unexpected, and remember that your child doesn't care if the day goes according to the schedule.

6. Take it outside

There's never a wrong time of year to make magic outside. Take a stroll through a spring rainstorm, catch the first winter snowflakes on your tongue, or camp out under a meteor shower this summer. Mother Nature is a natural at creating experiences you'll both remember forever.

7. Share your childhood memories

Chances are if you found it magical as a child, then your kids will too. Introduce your favorite books and movies (pro tip: Plan a double feature with an original like Mary Poppins followed with the sequel, Mary Poppins Returns!) or book a trip to your favorite family vacation spot from the past. You could even try to recreate photos from your old childhood with your kids so you can hang on to the memory forever.

8. Just add music

Even when you're doing something as humdrum as prepping dinner or tidying up the living room, a little music has a way of upping the fun factor. Tell Alexa to cue up your favorite station for a spontaneous family dance party or use your child's favorite movie soundtrack for a quick game of "Clean and Freeze" to pick up toys at the end of the day.

9. Say "yes"

Sometimes it can feel like you're constantly telling your child "no." While it's not possible to grant every request (sorry, kiddo, still can't let you drive the car!), plan a "yes" day for a little extra magic. That means every (reasonable) request gets an affirmative response for 24 hours. Trust us―they'll never forget it.

10. Let them take the lead

A day planned by your kid―can you imagine that? Instead of trying to plan what you think will lead to the best memories, put your kid in the driver's seat by letting them make the itinerary. If you have more than one child, break up the planning so one gets to pick the activity while the other chooses your lunch menu. You just might end up with a day you never expected.

11. Ask more questions

Odds are, your child might not remember every activity you plan―but they will remember the moments you made them feel special. By focusing the conversation on your little one―their likes, dislikes, goals, or even just craziest dreams―you teach them that their perspective matters and that you are their biggest fan.

12. Turn a bad day around

Not every magical moment will start from something good. But the days where things don't go to plan can often turn out to be the greatest memories, especially when you find a way to turn even a negative experience into a positive memory. So don't get discouraged if you wake up to rain clouds on your beach day or drop the eggs on the floor before breakfast―take a cue from Mary Poppins and find a way to turn the whole day a little "turtle."

Mary Poppins Returns available now on Digital & out on Blue-ray March 19! Let the magic begin in your house with a night where everything is possible—even the impossible ✨

After a pregnancy that is best described as uncomfortable, Jessica Simpson is finally done "Jess-tating" and is now a mama of three.

Baby Birdie Mae Johnson joined siblings Ace and Maxwell on Tuesday, March 19, Simpson announced via Instagram.

Simpson's third child weighed in at 10 pounds, 13 ounces.

Birdie's name is no surprise to Jessica's Instagram followers, who saw numerous references to the name in her baby shower photos and IG stories in the last few weeks.

The name Birdie isn't in the top 1000 baby names according to the Social Security Administration, but It has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, according to experts.

"Birdie feels like a sassy but sweet, down-to-earth yet unusual name," Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry told Town and Country back in 2017. "It's also just old enough to be right on time."

At this moment in time, Simpson and her husband, former NFL player Eric Johnson, are probably busy counting little fingers and toes , which is great news because it means Simpson's toes can finally deflate. She's had a terrible time with swollen feet during this pregnancy, and was also hospitalized multiple times due to bronchitis in her final trimester.

FEATURED VIDEO

We're so glad to see Simpson's little Birdie has finally arrived!

You might also like:

Spring is officially here and if you're looking for a way to celebrate the change in the season, why not treat the kids to some ice cream, mama?

DQ locations across the country (but not the ones in malls) are giving away free small vanilla cones today, March 20! So pack up the kids and get to a DQ near you.

And if you can't make it today, from March 21 through March 31, DQ's got a deal where small cones will be just 50 cents (but you have to download the DQ mobile app to claim that one).

Another chain, Pennsylvania-based Rita's Italian Ice is also dishing up freebies today, so if DQ's not your thing you can grab a free cup of Italian ice instead.

We're so excited that ice cream season is here and snowsuit season is behind us. Just a few short weeks and the kids will be jumping through the sprinklers.

Welcome back, spring. We've missed you!

You might also like:

The woman who basically single-handedly taught the world to embrace vulnerability and imperfection is coming to Netflix and we cannot wait to binge whatever Brené Brown's special will serve up because we'll probably be better people after watching it.

It drops on April 19 and is called Brené Brown: The Call to Courage. If it has even a fraction of the impact of her books or the viral Ted talk that made her a household name, it's going to be life and culture changing.

Announcing the special on Instagram Brown says she "cannot believe" she's about to be "breaking some boundaries over at Netflix" with the 77-minute special.

Netflix describes the special as a discussion of "what it takes to choose courage over comfort in a culture defined by scarcity, fear and uncertainty" and it sounds exactly like what we need right now.

April 19 is still pretty far away though, so if you need some of Brown's wisdom now, check out her books on Amazon or watch (or rewatch) the 2010 Ted Talk that put her—and our culture's relationship with vulnerability and shame—in the national spotlight.

The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown

FEATURED VIDEO

If Marie Kondo's Netflix show got people tidying up, Brown's Netflix special is sure to be the catalyst for some courageous choices this spring.

You might also like:

My husband and I recently had a date night that included being away from our son overnight for the first time since he was born three years ago (but don't let your heads run away with a fantasy—we literally slept because we were exhausted #thisiswhatwecallfunnow). It was a combination of a late night work event, a feeling that we had to do something just for the two of us, and simple convenience. It would have taken hours to get home from the end of a very long day when we could just check into a hotel overnight and get home early the next day.

But before that night, I fretted about what to do. How would childcare work? No one besides me or my husband has put our son to bed, and we have never not been there when he wakes up in the morning.

Enter: Grandma.

I knew if there was any chance of this being successful, the only person that could pull it off is one of my son's favorite people—his grandmother. Grammy cakes. Gramma. We rely so much on these extended support systems to give us comfort and confidence as parents and put our kids at ease. Technically, we could parent without their support, but I'm so glad we don't have to.

FEATURED VIDEO

So as we walked out the door, leaving Grandma with my son for one night, I realized how lucky we are that she gets it...

She gets it because she always comes bearing delicious snacks. And usually a small toy or crayons in her bag for just the right moment when it's needed.

She gets it because she comes with all of the warmth and love of his parents but none of the baggage. None of the first time parent jitters and all of the understanding that most kids just have simple needs: to eat, play and sleep.

She gets it because she understands what I need too. The reassurance that my baby will be safe. And cared for.

She gets it because she's been in my shoes before. Decades ago, she was a nervous new mama too and felt the same worries. She's been exactly where we are.

She gets it because she shoos us away as we nervously say goodbye, calling out cheerfully, "Have fun, I've got this." And I know that she does.

She gets it because she will get down on the floor with him to play Legos—even though sometimes it's a little difficult to get back up.

She gets it because she will fumble around with our AppleTV—so different from her remote at home—to find him just the right video on Youtube that he's looking for.

She gets it because she diligently takes notes when we go through the multi-step bedtime routine that we've elaborately concocted, passing no judgment, and promising that she'll follow along as best as she can.

She gets it because she'll break the routine and lay next to him in bed when my son gets upset, singing softly in his ear until she sees his eyelids droop heavy and finally fall asleep.

She gets it because she'll text us to let us know when he's fallen asleep because she knows we'll be wondering.

She gets it because just like our son trusts us as his mom and dad, Grandma is his safe space. My son feels at ease with her—and that relaxes me, too.

She gets it because when we come home from our "big night out" the house will be clean. Our toddler's play table that always has some sort of sticky jelly residue on it will be spotless. The dishwasher empty. (Side note: She is my hero.)

She gets it because she shows up whenever we ask. Even when it means having to rearrange her schedule. Even when it means she has to sleep in our home instead of her own.

She gets it because even though she has her own life, she makes sure to be as involved in ours as she can. But that doesn't mean she gives unsolicited advice. It means that she's there. She comes to us or lets us come to her. Whenever we need her.

She gets it because she takes care of us, too. She's there to chat with at the end of a long day. To commiserate on how hard motherhood and working and life can be, but to also gently remind me, "These are the best days."

After every time Grandma comes over, she always leaves a family that feels so content. Fulfilled by her presence. The caretaking and nourishment (mental and food-wise) and warmth that accompanies her.

We know this is a privilege. We know we're beyond lucky that she is present and wants to be involved and gets it. We know that sometimes life doesn't work out like this and sometimes Grandma lives far away or is no longer here, or just doesn't get it. So we hold on. And appreciate every moment.

As Grandma leaves, I hug her tight and tell her, "I can't thank you enough. We couldn't have done this without you." Because we can't. And we wouldn't want to.

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.