A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood
Print Friendly and PDF
“Is it today?” Wren, my six-year-old asks for the third time that morning.

“Yes,” I say in a tone meant to convey cautious excitement.
“It’s today, Sammy!  We’re going today!” she yells across the breakfast table to her four-year-old brother.

“It’s going to be fun. I know you love this group of friends,” I say as the excitement becomes infectious.

“And it’s been forever since we’ve seen them,” Wren says in an exasperated tone.

Forever in the world of a child is a meaningless measurement that could signify an hour or three years. But in this case, it signifies months. Stretched to its full possibility, it could mean over a year, because our entrance to the world outside our doors has been sporadic since the birth of the twins.

The 20-month-old identical girls, Asher and Eowyn, toddle around the house speaking in a language only they know, and I reflect on all the reasons we’ve been missing from our own social lives: planning around two nap times, nursing, tantrums, and the overwhelmed feeling that crawls into my veins at the idea of taking everyone out in public, only to have it fall apart in a matter of minutes. The familiar creeping starts to rise as I open my mouth to speak. 

FEATURED VIDEO

“Look, we’re going to do the best we can. I mean, I’ve already been trying. I can’t predict everyone’s moods, and when we have to leave, we have to leave. Don’t fall apart when we have to leave,” I say, my eyes finding Wren’s since my son’s introverted personality makes him less prone to fits when it’s time to go home.

“Okay,” she responds, but her eyes are still glowing, and that makes me more nervous than it does happy.

***

We arrive at the house an hour later after rounding up sippy cups and packing a diaper bag, grabbing enough snacks to feed five full grown men for days, and agreeing on car music to please the masses. Wren and Sammy bolt for their friend’s door, and I balance two anxiety-prone daughters, one on each hip. They don’t like new people; sometimes they don’t like people they already know.

This is a homeschool playdate where the older kids will work on their math skills and the younger will spend time playing with sensory items. Wren makes her way to the math table, Sammy moves to a table with kinetic sand, and the younger two stay close to me.

“Hi!  We haven’t seen you in so long. Will you tell me your name again?” I hear from several smiling mom faces.

“We’re just now trying to make it out again. It’s hard with little ones,” I say. “But it’s great!  They’re a lot of fun,” I add, not wanting to seem ungrateful for my youngest two, whose in-utero activity was monitored constantly and who, in the beginning, were not predicted to live through the pregnancy.

“I can’t imagine!” a mom says, a familiar reaction. “At least they’re all social!” she says, and I look down to see I no longer have humans wrapped around my knees holding on for dear life.  The twins have found the Play-Doh table, and they bounce between it and the one their brother is using.

“Um, I guess they’re trying that today,” I say, reluctant to move from the place my feet are anchored, afraid the slightest breath will break the spell.

A few minutes go by, and all of the kids are still occupied. I make my way to the kitchen island where a group of mothers is congregating. I keep an eye on all four of them, and when I look at Wren, she gives me a mischievous half-smile then turns her head quickly back to her work. The next time I look her way, she is motioning to another mom, asking her to lean over so she can whisper in her ear.

I try to predict when I should give the ten minute warning. We’ve made it for an hour; that’s an accomplishment in this stage of life. When my eyes finally make their way back to Wren, I notice she is coming towards me. All the mothers who were at the art table are smiling our way in anticipation.

“Mom,” she says, “Come here.” 

She motions for me to lean down. When I do, she places a necklace made of pink yarn and multi colored beads around my neck. “I made it for you! I had to ask for help tying the yarn, and I measured it on some of the other mommies’ necks.”

My fingers instinctively go to the homemade wooden beads, and as I look up I see the other mothers smiling, hear the words “how sweet” making their way across the room. I wrap Wren in my free arm, and think that what I should feel is happiness that I somehow birthed this considerate child who feels I’m worthy of a gift. 

I give the 10-minute warning just as the twins start fighting over Play-Doh cutters. I’m still fingering the beads with my right hand, and I try to feel grateful; but all I feel is shame and exhaustion.

***

We make our way to the car after finding shoes, saying several rounds of goodbyes, and promising that this time we won’t be out of commission for so long.

“This went so well. They did great!” one mom exclaims as we head out the door.

“I think we’re getting the hang of it,” I say, trying to look enthused.

“Your kids are great. That oldest one was so excited to make you a gift. It was precious,” she adds.

“It was a sweet gesture,” I say, feeling the beads click against my chest as I lean over to grab one of the twins.

After putting on my seatbelt, I check the rearview mirror to assess the emotional situation in the backseat. Sammy and Wren are both looking out the window longingly, trying to figure out if everyone is about to leave like I told them as I rounded them into the van.

“Mom, when will we see them again?”  Wren asks.

“Soon, baby. I know you had fun. The twins are about to need food and nap, though. And I’m pretty sure everyone else is about to go home,” I lie.

“It doesn’t look like anyone else is leaving.”

I inhale slowly. Upon exhaling, the words I’ve been trying not to say all morning finally escape.  “You could say thank you. For the fact that we’re trying. That I’m trying,” I say, more forcefully than I mean to. The beads around my neck hit each other as I turn to look in her face and continue my lecture. The sound of them stops me short. “And I want to say thank you. For the necklace. It’s beautiful, and I don’t deserve it.”

Wren’s face lights up. “I wanted to make you something! You brought us on this great playdate.  Do you really like it?” she asks expectantly. 

“I’ll wear it all the time,” I offer.

“Can I wear it, too?”

“Well, I do share my necklaces, right?”

We pull away from the curb and the longing the kids have for the companionship we just left rises in me, a place to hide from the solitary sinking. But lunch and naps are pending, and we made it out without a major catastrophe. We have the necklace, a token of our time out in the world, evidence we survived. 

The disappointed faces still stare at me from the rearview mirror when I check it again as we park in the garage. 

“Thanks, mom. For everything,” Wren says.

“Yeah, it was fun,” Sammy chimes in, trying for a smile.

“You don’t have to thank me,” I say, contradicting the demands I made less than 20 minutes ago. “I’m your mom. This is what moms do.” 

Wren gets out of her seat and comes to face me, her fingers gripping the yarn still around my neck. 

“And what Wrens do is make necklaces for their mom!”

I smile and try to hide the sinking feeling of failure taking over. “You did good, little bird.”

***

It’s a year before I find the necklace shoved in the back of the junk drawer, forgotten. It is tangled with the hairpiece I wore at my wedding, a multi-pronged silver comb that I would gladly rip to shreds if I thought I could release the necklace without ripping the yarn. I work for many frantic minutes trying to untangle the two with no success.

Defeated, I take the unintentional hybrid creation back to my jewelry box instead of leaving it in the junk drawer. Racking my brain, I try to remember how it even got there in the first place, but the tangled web of days between then and now offer no clues. 

Things got busy. I got careless and forgot. I forgot my promise. I forgot how hard is to be a kid and to have to wait. I forgot that my life was not the only one in transition. I forgot my previous statements and contradicted them with my next words. 

I’m not sure how any of us even made it down the road a year to where we are now, the now when we can make the library, the park, and the grocery store in one morning, where we have standing playdates at least three days a week, where getting out of the house is the first priority after teeth are brushed. We made it, but in a very haphazard, sloppy way that condensed building a family into surviving the basic tasks, no frills.

***

The beads, yarn, and hairpiece remain a tangled mess. My daughter hasn’t found them yet, and I’m not sure what to expect when she does. Anger at the careless way I let all the pieces tangle, the sharp points of the beads now making the necklace unwearable? Or relief that I kept them at all since I primed her to expect disappointment, and cancelled plans, and generally all-consuming chaos whenever I was concerned?

I keep them because she made them, and because the feeling I get when the hard, wooden beads touch my fingertips is so strong it leaves a weight sitting heavy in my chest. It’s not the pure, unadulterated joy I want to feel. The feeling is rich and multilayered, and like the yarn tangled in the comb, I can’t pull the emotions out strand by strand, put them in their proper places, focus only on the good. There’s regret and shame, pride and sadness, and joy, yes, it’s there somewhere under all the reasons I feel I didn’t deserve a gift during this season of my life. 

When I pick the necklace up every week to make another attempt at releasing the yarn from its captor, the beads bump into each other, making a gentle melody of hollow sound. I may never be able to wear it again, but I hope one day to explain to my daughter that this fact in no way diminishes what she gave me. If anything, the complicated position the necklace is now stuck in represents the me I was when I first held it in my hands more than a year ago: tangled and weak, stretched too far with no way out. 

The necklace reminds me of how far we’ve come and how much I’ve been given, that the emotions connected to life are not tidy and precise but knots of happiness tied into strings of anxiety, chords of laughter sewn into a tune of melancholy. When I hear the beads beat out their rhythmic sound as they try to escape their current predicament, I hear a song from my little bird, the song of absolution and undeserved grace.

The very best of Motherly — delivered when you need it most.

Subscribe for inspiration, empowering articles and expert tips to rock your best #momlife.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

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

walmart-best-baby-carseat

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)

SHOP

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

walmart-best-baby-carseat

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)

SHOP

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

walmart-best-baby-carseat

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)

SHOP

Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

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)

SHOP

Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

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)

SHOP

Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

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)

SHOP

Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

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)

SHOP

Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

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)

SHOP

Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

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)

SHOP

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

Our Partners

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
SHOP

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.

You might also like:

Life

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.'"

FEATURED VIDEO

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.

You might also like:

News

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.

FEATURED VIDEO

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.

You might also like:

Life

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."

FEATURED VIDEO

👏👏👏

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.

You might also like:

News
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.