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You didn’t sleep well last night. You tossed and turned and lay in bed until the rays of sun peeked through the window then got up. You came straight to my side, waking me up. I grumbled, growled, and barked an order to get back in bed; it was too early to be up.


Your shoulders slumped in defeat as you retreated to your room.

Silently I shuffled across the carpet to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. While rubbing the sleep from my eyes you bounded in and squeezed me with all your strength, giving me an undeserved hug. Instead of hugging you back I fussed for you to be careful – you nearly knocked my hot coffee on you.

You let go and looked at the floor, saddened that I did not hug you back.

I made breakfast and halfway listened to you and your sister play at the table. She began to fuss and whine and I told you to be nicer, let her have her way so I wouldn’t have to hear her cries. You began to defend yourself and explain you did nothing wrong but I didn’t want to hear it. I interrupted you and told you to do what I said.

You swallowed your anger and complied, no longer excited and having fun.

You dressed yourself in what we picked out last night at my first request. You put your shoes on without being told and ran to my room filled with pride that you did what I would want. As you rounded the corner you fell over the dog. I did not notice your shoes, instead I sternly reminded you not to run in the house.

Your pride dissolved as your cheeks became flushed with embarrassment.

I commented the dog needed to go out and you jumped up and yelled you would do it. You brought her to the door and turned with a grin because you just knew you wouldn’t get in trouble for this. Daddy saw the door still open and bellowed for you to shut it before bugs came in.

You shoved it closed and blinked hard to hold back your tears.

I picked you up early from school to take you to the dentist. You did not want to go but you hid your anxiety to show your sister there is nothing to be afraid of. You went first and never grumbled or complained. I came back when you were finished and you were thrilled to see me and let me hear how well you did. The dentist told me you had a cavity and that you needed to brush more. She complimented you on how well you did during the visit, how kind and caring you were to your sister.

You forced a fake smile and hid your disappointment that you were the one to have a cavity.

You thanked them for the coin that would get you a prize from the machine. You helped your sister get hers first then used yours. Nothing came out. You told the woman working there you needed a new one; that it didn’t work and she gave you another. You tried again and still you got nothing. I told you we needed to leave, that we were late and you would get something later.

You did as I said, glancing back at the machine holding the toy you felt you deserved.

We got to school and you pleaded not to go back. You begged me to stay with you, to call in sick to work just for that day. Only once.

I told you I could not and I walked you to your class.

The lights were off and the room was empty. You realized you were missing recess and you wouldn’t be able to play. You began to cry but wiped your tears on your sleeve and fought the urge. I had you come with me as I walked your sister to class, she missed lunch but not recess – hers is at the end of the day. As we started to head toward the playground your classmates came down the hall, red and sweaty from playing so hard.

You broke down.

You slid down the wall in defeat, the tears you fought so hard all morning to contain finally spilling over, running hot down your cheeks and landing on your shirt. You crossed your arms in anger and stomped your feet in protest, wanting to scream, to yell how unfair it all was, but instead you hissed so only I could hear.

I knelt down and you fell into me shaking, sobbing – all the disappointment, fear, anger, and despair flowing out with your tears. You clung to me, begging me to stay, no longer caring if others heard your pleas.

I scooped you up and away from the crowd, from the traffic and the noise. I sat down with you; and I listened.

I did not talk until you finished.

I did not correct you or tell you to stop exaggerating.

I did not remind you of any rules or expectations.

I did not fuss at you or tell you to get over it.

I waited for you to finish and finally said what you what you so badly needed to hear. What you hoped I would say all morning long.

I love you. I’m proud of you. I’m sorry I was so crabby this morning. You are smart, and kind, and amazing. I wish I could spend the entire day with you, too. Yes, today really has sucked. So far you had a really super craptastic kind of day. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.

You had a bad morning, and that’s okay. Bad days happen. But it’s up to you whether or not you are going to wallow in the depths of misery or suck it up and find the silver lining.

I needed to go back to work but at that moment you needed me more. Your smile grew with every minute I sat next to you in the lunchroom. You introduced me to your new friends and showed me things in your new school I hadn’t yet seen. You finished eating and I gave you a big hug and kiss before I left.

You were the first to let go. 

I hated to leave you this morning. I wanted more than anything to grab your hand and to run out of there, ignoring all our responsibilities; to be free for the day from all the stresses of life. I wanted to give you an entire day of laughter and uninterrupted joy. I wanted to be able to prove to you that your sister and you are always my number one priority, something I don’t get to show you in during the limited time we have together.

I walked away, shoulders slumped in disappointment and blinked back tears of guilt for having to leave you yet again; for the way I treated you this morning. I looked back once more to see if you were okay and I saw you laughing, your smile brightening the room like rays of sunlight. You weren’t thinking about your bad morning, about how mean I was and how unfair it all seemed. You chose to change your day and to find your silver lining.     

And in that instant my day got better, too. Because I found my silver lining in you.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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Whether you're filling out your own registry or shopping for a soon-to-be-mama in your life, it can be hard to narrow down what exactly new moms need (versus what will just end up cluttering the nursery). That's why we paired up with the baby gear experts at Pottery Barn Kids to create a registry guide featuring everything from the gear you'll use over and over to the perfect gifts under $50.

Check out the picks below, and happy shopping (and registering)!

MUST-HAVE BABY GEAR

These five gift ideas are designed to make #momlife easier while solving some of the most common parenting dilemmas.

1. Doona All-In-One Infant Car Seat/Stroller

One of the first things you learn when you become a mom? Those infant car seats are heavy. Which is what makes the Doona All-In-One Infant Car Seat/Stroller so genius. It's the world's first completely integrated mobility solution, quickly transforming from safe car seat to functional stroller without any extra parts. Simply pop out the wheels, pull up the handle bar, and you're ready to roll.

Doona All-in-one Infant Car Seat / Stroller, $499

BUY


GIFTS THAT CAN BE PERSONALIZED

Even the most utilitarian gift feels a little more special with some personalization. Here are some of our favorite options that can be customized with baby's name or monogram.

1. Nursery Blankets

You'll never forget the blanket you bring your newborn home in. And with Pottery Barn Kids' assortment of blankets, there's a wrap to suit every new mama's style. Choose from fuzzy neutral patterns or stylish printed options, and add baby's name for an extra personal touch.

Nursery Blankets, Starting at $39.50

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GIFTS THAT GROW WITH THEM

Save money and space by gifting items that will last long after baby's first year. These clever gift items will have mama saying "thank you!" for years to come.

1. west elm x pbk Mid-Century Convertible Crib

A convertible crib is an investment in years of sweet dreams. We love this mid-century-style option made from sustainably sourced wood with child-safe, water-based finishes. When your baby outgrows their crib (sniff!), it easily converts into a toddler bed with the matching conversion kit.

west elm x pbk Mid-Century Convertible Crib, $399

BUY


GIFTS UNDER $50

Sometimes the littlest gifts mean the most. Here are our favorite gifts under $50 they'll be sure to cherish.

1. west elm x pbk Dot Muslin Swaddle Set

When you're raising a newborn, you can never have too many swaddles. Perfect for naptime, burp cloths, stroller covers, and spontaneous play mats, a muslin swaddle will always come in handy. And we especially love this neutral patterned collection in platinum, nightshade, and peacock.

west elm x pbk Dot Muslin Swaddle Set, $45.50

BUY

Learn more and explore all Pottery Barn Kids' registry must-haves here.

In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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They say there's no use in crying over it, but for pumping mamas, spilled milk is a major upset.

When you're working so hard to make sure your baby has breast milk, you don't want to lose a drop, and Chrissy Teigen knows this all too well.

The mom of two posted a video to social media Wednesday showing her efforts to rescue breastmilk from a tabletop. She used various utensils and a syringe to try to get the milk back in the bottle.

"I spilled my breastmilk and this is how important it is in this house," she says while suctioning up milk with what appears to be a baster.

In a follow-up video Teigen continues to try to rescue the spilled milk.

"We're trying," she says as she suctions up a drop or two. "I got some."

Teigen is currently breastfeeding baby Miles, her son with husband John Legend, and has been very public about the fact that she pumps a lot as a working mom.

She's also been open about the fact that milk supply has always been an issue for her, not just with Miles but with Luna, too.

"I actually loved [pumping] because I'm a collector of things, and so when I found out I could pump I [did it] so much because I knew the more you pumped, the more milk you'd make," she told POPSUGAR back in March. "So I loved collecting my breast milk and seeing how much I could get, even if it was very, very little."

Like a lot of moms, Teigen did struggle emotionally when a pump session wouldn't get her the ounces she wanted.

"I wasn't producing a lot of milk, and it was frustrating. When you're frustrated, [it can also make you] not produce that much."

Research backs her up. Stress has been linked to lower milk production. Because of that, she's trying to stay positive this time around, but captioned her video post "EVERY DROP COUNTS IN THIS HOUSE" because, well, they do.


So many mothers can relate. Have you ever tried to save your breastmilk?

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What is it about networking that's just kind of...awful? Typically inconvenient and often awkward, formal networking events rarely yield the results most women (and especially mamas) are looking for.

Whether you're reentering the workforce post-baby leave or simply looking to make a complicated career switch as a busy mom (or just struggling to juggle play dates and professional meetings), making the right connections is often a hurdle that's difficult to surmount. And more and more often, networking comes up short in providing what moms really need.

When time is truly at a premium—a session swapping business cards can be hard to prioritize. Shapr wants to change all that.

Designed with busy people in mind, Shapr is an app with an algorithm that uses tagged interests, location, and professional experience to match you with 10-15 inspiring professional connections a day. You swipe to indicate interest in networking with any of them, and if the interest is mutual, you're connected. (But don't worry, that's where the similarities to that dating app end.)

It makes it easier to connect with the right people.

From there, you can chat, video conference, and even meet in person with potential mentors, partners, and investors while growing your real-life network. No more wasting hours trying to pick someone's brain only to discover they don't have the right experience you need. And no more awkward, stilted small talk—even suggests a few preset icebreakers to help get the conversation rolling more quickly.

The best part? You could do virtually all your connecting from your couch post-bedtime.

It simplifies switching careers or industries.

Sysamone Phaphone is a real mom who was fed up with traditional networking options. When she quit her full-time job in healthcare to pursue founding a startup, she quickly realized that in-person networking events weren't only failing to connect her to the right people, they were also difficult for a single mom of two to even attend. "I was complaining to a friend that I was so tired and didn't know how I was going to keep doing it this way when she recommended the Shapr app," Phaphone says. "I tried it right there at dinner and started swiping. [Later], in my pajamas, I got my first connection."

From there, Phaphone was hooked. Her network suddenly exploded with developers, potential partners she could work with, and even people to hire for the roles she needed. She was also able to connect with and empower other women in tech. Now, checking in with Shapr connections is just part of her routine. "I look for connections after drop-off at school and on my commute into the city," she says. "Then after bedtime is done, I go on to check if there is anyone I've connected with."

It helps you find a mentor—no matter where they live.

Another common roadblock Shapr removes? Location. While you probably wouldn't fly to LA from New York for a networking event, the Shapr app lets you connect and chat with the person who best meets your needs—regardless of where they're based. Even better for parents, the "mom penalty" many women contend with when trying to get back into the workforce doesn't exist on Shapr—if you have the right experience, the connections will still come.

To connect, simply create your account, enter up to ten hashtags you want to follow (either industry related like #film or #tech or by person you're seeking, such as #developer or #uxui), preset what you're looking for (investors, collaborators, etc.), and indicate how you prefer to meet. To connect with more people at once, Shapr also has community groups within the app around interest topics that you can join. And even though the connection begins in the digital space, it often results in the in-person experiences mamas crave.

"I wish I could encourage more moms and dads to use it because it has been a lifesaver for me," Phaphone says. "It empowered my career and career choices, and it provides so much convenience. I can put my kids to bed and not go to an event, but still meet 20 people in a night."

For women looking to grow their business, position, or simply achieve a little self-growth, Shapr is changing the way we connect. This powerful new app could change everything, mama. Download it today to get started.

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