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“Mom, can I sell lemonade today?”
Sigh…I mean, “Yes. What a wonderful idea!”

I’ve been working on saying yes before no. No comes too easily when I’m tired or simply unmotivated. So when my animated son came bounding into the room with wild crazy eyes and begged for a lemonade stand, an exuberant, half-hearted “okay” fell out of my mouth.

Let it be known that we have been in our new home for nine days. We are completely unpacked. I am ambitious and obviously slightly neurotic. We have also made an impressive five moves over the past two years spanning two countries and two states. I’m a pro at packing and purging so I know that I have absolutely nothing in the way of childhood lemonade accoutrements.

Hi ho, hi ho, It’s off to Target we go. I’m half excited now, because we’re going to Target and even my son knows that Mom gets a little thrill when we walk in to the home of the red and white bullseye. “Mom, let’s stay focused! We’re here for lemonade stuff!”

“I know, I know,” I say as I meander through aisles that clearly don’t lead to citrus bliss. I can’t help myself. We just moved! I throw in a few guest hand towels and one or two wants, not needs.

I find disposable cups. I opt for paper vs. plastic, the lesser of two evils – I have the environment to keep in mind. My son picks up some cookies along the way, which he claims he wants to sell along with the lemonade. He knows Target is my weakness. I know sugar is his. He also knows I’m a sucker. The cookies end up in the cart.

We make our way to the “lemonade” aisle, i.e. artificially flavored lemonesque granules. Here my conscience steps in. I won’t serve this swill to my son, so how can I possibly serve it to other little sentient beings. I opt for a raspberry lemonade powder sweetened with coconut sugar and stevia. The ingredient “stevia” should have stopped me in my tracks, but I figured it had to be better than its refined counterpart. I pop it in the cart and head towards the folding tables. A portable padded rectangular number would do the job.

Somewhere between the table and check out lane, we are derailed by the dreaded toy section. Displayed on a end-cap with birthday plates and cups is a cap gun, someone’s tortuous idea of a party favor. It catches my son’s eye. Weeks earlier, we spoke of my 70s old-school Wild West-style cap gun, complete with rolled paper caps. I reminisced about how I’d hammer the powdered bumps until just the right “smack” released the sweet smell of sulfur. You know how this escapade ends. My little blue-eyed gibbon is now the proud recipient of a party favor for a party that he didn’t even attend.

We head to the check out lanes. I spend a small fortune and my son quips, “Mom, let’s do the lemonade stand tomorrow. I want to play with my new cap gun.” I am secretly thrilled.   

The $5 party favor is now broken and the dawn of a new day brings with it discussions of the lemonade stand. No more stalling; I can’t escape. I mix and blend what I am certain is the worst lemonade I have ever tasted. I can only hope that our consumers aren’t as discerning as I am.

My son runs out the door to scope out a spot, leaving me to haul a load that reasonable people would make in four separate trips. We set up. We wait. We see one car after the other avoid eye contact and move on. I try to keep up my son’s spirits and make excuses about our unfortunate decision to sell on a Monday in the middle of the day on a lousy street corner. He suggests we move to the other side of the street. I oblige and we observe the same egregious behavior. I think to myself, “I will never NOT buy a cup of lemonade from a kid again.”

We move AGAIN, now to a spot directly under a sign that says, “No stopping any time.” Yes, I selected this ridiculous location. We move back to our original spot – fourth move in less than 15 minutes. Patience and real estate clearly aren’t our strong suits.

The lemonade is now dilute; my son has consumed half a dozen cookies and my earlobes are sweating. I am finally able to convince my son that we need to move to the park down the street. We/I pack up the car and hightail it over to the park. Within two minutes of setting up, the first minivan stops at our stand.

My son beams as two beautiful human beings present him with cold hard cash in exchange for a pinkish liquid that brings smiles to their faces. Moments later, another woman arrives and asks me if I can make change for a $20. Seriously? She obviously has a great deal of faith in our budding business. I never have cash on me, but on this day the gods are with me. I am able to scrounge up $18 and she and her daughter walk away with lemonade and cookies. Never mind that I overhear her say that it tastes like cough syrup to her daughter. It does. And yet the sales continue.

Within 10 minutes, we are dried up.

My son made a whopping $7. I lost $28. Never mind. We both shared priceless life lessons. “Yes” allowed my son to move through frustration and taste success at the ripe age of seven. He learned that a positive attitude, persistence, and tenacity pay off, eventually. 

“Yes” imprinted a comical and beautiful mother and son memory. Perhaps it even planted an entrepreneurial seed in my son; a seed that might one day grow into a beanstalk leading to a world full of freshly squeezed lemonade.

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Ah, back to school time. The excitement of a new year for our kids and the impossibly busy schedule for their mamas. Anyone else get to the end of the day and think, "What did I even DOOO today, and why am I so exhausted?" 🙋

Luckily, finding a system to help you plan out your days can help reduce stress and improve your overall quality of life—which we are all for.

Here are eight planners we love that'll quickly take you from "What is happening?!" to "Look what I did!"

1. Day Designer

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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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A new school year is looming and while a lot of parents are looking forward to seeing their kids take the next steps in their education, many of us are not looking forward to getting everyone back into a weekday morning routine.

Mornings can be tough for kids and their mamas. One of our favorite celebrity mamas, Kristen Bell, does not deny that mornings with her daughters, 5-year-old Lincoln and 3-year-old Delta, aren't easy at all.

"It's miserable," Bell recently told POPSUGAR. "It's awful no matter who's doing what. And I'll tell you right now, the 3- and 5-year-old aren't doing jack."

Anyone who has ever tried to wrangle a preschooler out of their pajamas, to the breakfast table, then into their school clothes and backpack at seven o'clock in the morning knows exactly what Bell is talking about. She says some days are better than others, but it's hard to know what level of kid-induced chaos you're gonna wake up to on a weekday.

"It depends on their emotional stability, it depends on their attitude toward each other, toward life," Bell told POPSUGAR. "It depends on their developmental stage."

Luckily, Bell has got some backup. She's been open about how she and her husband, Dax Shepard, practice a tag team approach to parenting, and sometimes, Bell gets a chance to tap out of the morning routine. Unfortunately, Shepherd's later schedule means it doesn't happen as often as she would necessarily like.

"I don't want to say that I do more mornings than he does, but if you were to check the records, that's probably what you'd find," she told POPSUGAR.

If, like Bell, you're really not feeling mornings with the kids, there are a few things you can try to make things a little easier on yourself, mama.

1. Change the conversation

Instead of saying "hurry up" or "get in the car, right now,"try to mix up your vocabulary a bit.

If there's a need for speed, remind the kids that it's time for "fast feet" or that you're racing to the car.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, you might consider sharing that with your kids. Let them know that mama's got a lot to do this morning and that it would be a huge help if they could make sure their water bottle is in their backpack.

2. Make breakfast ahead of time

If cereal isn't your jam or your kids need something hotter, and more substantial in the morning, cooking up breakfast can be a major hurdle on hectic mornings.

Check out these Pinterest perfect make-ahead morning meals, like breakfast enchiladas or egg muffins, and make mornings a bit easier on yourself, mama.

3. Bring some Montessori into your mornings

Help your kids take control of their AM destiny by bringing some limited choices (like clothing) into the morning routine and allowing for natural consequences (like having to settle for an apple in the van because they missed breakfast) but also allowing for fun with mom.

"Try doing something simple, with clear boundaries, such as reading two books before it's time to start the morning routine. If they're ready early, you can spend more time together, which is also a great natural incentive," writes Montessori expert Christina Clemer.

Here's to a less stressful AM routine for Kristen Bell and the rest of us mamas. Just because it feels miserable today doesn't mean it will be tomorrow. There is hope, Kristen!

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It was a year ago when I was pregnant, parenting a highly-spirited preschooler and also working a full-time job while trying to maintain a part-time side business when I got to the point of I have had enough.

I can't remember exactly what the trigger was, but like most times, it wasn't just one thing but a build-up over time that culminates in a massive meltdown.

You see, I was not getting much appreciation or validation for all of my contributions. This was a time when my partner, too, was working full-time and in graduate school two evenings a week. It was stressful for everyone, but, as the wife and mother, I carried the family through it by tending to the little details: the pick-up and drop-offs, the shopping, the cooking, all the minutiae of everyday life.

So, after perseverating on my laundry list of seen and unseen responsibilities, I decided to sit down with pen and paper and make a "day in the life" list from wake-up to bedtime that showed my partner exactly what my day entailed—a day that supported two other people in the house and one in the oven.

Even I was surprised to see all of the things listed out in 15-minute increments. On paper, it actually looked even worse than it felt. I thought to myself about how much physical, mental and emotional energy I expend in this hectic season of our lives. And I didn't regret it for a minute.

However, back to my original complaint…I still wanted to be validated for it. I needed to be seen for both the implicit and explicit tasks and expectations in my day-to-day.

So I handed my list over to my husband, expecting him to be awakened to the fact I was indeed working in overdrive and for him to be grateful for all the ways that I take so many burdens off of him so that he can be successful in school and his career.

Instead of that, his response almost put me into a state of shock. He read over the list and then said, "I know. You are Superwoman."

His words, like kryptonite, left me speechless. Part of me knew that his intent was for this to be a compliment, but it felt so invalidating. It completely missed the mark, and instead of leaving me feeling appreciated, I felt less understood.

Superheroes have innate superpowers that I imagine they use with ease. In fact, they are expected to use their powers and perhaps that is their sole purpose. No one ever looks to a superhero and asks, "Do you need a break?" And as a feminist, I sure as heck believe women are strong and powerful. But the idea of being labeled a "superwoman" did not feel empowering.

I already know I am efficient, capable, strong and fierce. But, I am also fatigued, sometimes overworked and underappreciated, and worst of all expected to be the one that keeps it together for everyone else.

What I learned about through my research of who Superwoman really is was this: her powers always wear off by the end of the story. Turns out these so-called "superpowers" really are temporary. That I can relate to.

I am only human and there are days and weeks where I feel on top of the world, days where I can manage it all with ease. I can be up all night nursing a baby, take both kids to school, and show up on time for a 9:00 am meeting with a French pastry I baked from scratch. I can push through the exhaustion and demands every day…until I can't.

And it's not just my spouse who uses this label. I have well-meaning girlfriends who have also tossed the term out there as if it was meant to be a feather in my cap.

When things get tough, I appreciate the texts of support my girlfriends send me. Even when they are far away, it's nice to know someone cares when everyone in your house has the stomach flu while your partner is out of the country. It's comforting to be able to share the ups and downs of trying to balance a career with a growing family.

But when the text comes in and says something like, "I don't know how you do all that. You are a supermom!" I feel like there should be an auto-reply that says, "Connection lost."

The thing is, I don't want to be elevated to superhero status for living my life. It is not heroic and it's probably not too far off from what every other devoted partner and mother provides their family. But, this is what I think we need, what we are starving for. We need someone to say, "How are you doing?" or, "What have you done lately to care for yourself?" or, "Thank you for all that you do and who you are."

Those are the kinds of words that let me know I am seen and make me feel validated when I am working the hardest. They let me know that the people I love the most see me, and not a cape.

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