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I found the bracelet buried in my seven year-old granddaughter Kylie’s toy chest. It was a blue rope bracelet with a metal silver rectangle in the middle that said, “something wonderful is about to happen.”


I put it on just so I wouldn’t forget to give it back to my granddaughter, thankful that it stretched to fit my adult wrist. Then I went back to sorting Legos, and finding the pieces to missing puzzles, and the clothes to dress her naked Barbie dolls.

After I finished I sat down and looked at the bracelet – letting my fingers linger over the etching of those words. That day – a day dark with clouds looming overhead not just because of the unending rain outside, but because of family stuff and writing stuff and missing my parents who are no longer with me, and because of an ache in my spirit I couldn’t quite recognize – I needed something wonderful to happen. A miracle on 34th Street in my abode, many miles away.

So, like a child I held on to the allure of that object around my wrist and those words and I waited, expected, believed that something wonderful would happen for me that day.

And as I waited, slowly the sun began to peek through the clouds. And a friend I hadn’t talked to in a while called to share memories of my parents. And a family member who’d frustrated me sent a text that told me he understood what I was trying to say. And a story I was working on, and had been at an impasse, began to flow effortlessly.

Children I know would call what happened to me that day “magic.” Adults might call it “having faith” – trying to make sense out of miracles and wonder. But sometimes it’s that childlike word – magic – that describe what’s happening much more aptly.

We all need magic in our life. We need it as individuals to realize our dreams, to combat those humbug days we all have. We need it in our marriages to reignite a spark, and when parenting when times are tough. We need it, especially now, during this election year when our world is so divided, and people forget that our children can hear the hateful rhetoric and that they are feeling fearful, instead of fearless.

As parents, we have to be the magic-keepers for our children. I regret that, at times, when my children were younger, I forgot how to do this.

When my son – the middle child – was starting kindergarten and wanted to wear a superman cape he’d gotten for his birthday to school, I refused to let him in spite of his pleas. My excuse was, “The other children won’t be wearing capes and the teacher won’t allow it.”

In my haste to get he and his brother off to school and to get home before their baby sister started fussing in her stroller, I didn’t stop to look into his eyes and see how important it was for him to wear it. I didn’t think about the cape’s magical powers that transformed him from a shy, quiet five year old to a superhero who could walk into a room courageously and accomplish great feats – academic, or physical, like climbing the highest part of the jungle gym during recess.

We’d just moved to the neighborhood six months prior. That superman cape that my son zoomed through the house wearing made him made him feel brave, and self-assurance bubbled inside of him.

This was the first time he’d be away from me for an extended part of the day with people he didn’t know. He didn’t jump head-first into things like his older brother – who’s more like my husband. So his year started off bumpy and it took some time for him to find his way. 

In hindsight, I know I should have let him wear his cape that day. I could have pulled his teacher aside and maybe she would’ve understood and smiled and said it was fine. Maybe after one day of wearing his cape, the magic of its super powers would have instead radiated from the top of his head down to his toes and he’d only have to conjure thoughts of it tied around his neck to feel them.

That superhero cape for our sons or daughters, that bracelet with the inspirational words, that shiny stone they found outside, those fairy wings (my granddaughter’s favorite thing), all of these things can channel positive forces for our children, forces that help them believe in their superpowers.

Wearing or holding on to something palpable can give our kids the confidence they need to step out into the world believing they can transform themselves into whomever they choose to be. Believing that if they put on a cape, or rub a shiny stone, or wear purple fairy wings, they’ll experience all things magical and the world will be much more enchanting, and a lot less scary. The witches and warlocks – which, in real life might be a bully or a move away from family and friends – will not harm them.   

I found my magic in a bracelet. There are still days when dark clouds taunt me, and when they do, I rub my bracelet and say the words out loud, sending them magically on their way.

Thankfully my granddaughter hasn’t asked for her bracelet back. She toys with it on my arm when she sits on my lap and says, “It looks nice on you.” then asks me to help her put on her purple fairy wings.

One day, I’ll eventually tuck the bracelet away for when she’s older, and I’ll probably tuck the fairy wings away too when she outgrows them. But when, years later, she reaches for them again, I know it’ll be because she needed something to help her believe in magic.

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Going back to work after having a baby is hard. Regaining your footing in a world where working mothers are so often penalized is tough, and (just like most things during the postpartum period) it takes time.

The challenges we face as working women returning from a maternity leave can be so different from those we faced before, it can feel like we're starting over from scratch. But mothers will not be deterred, even if our return to the working world doesn't go exactly as planned.

We are resilient, as Serena Williams proved at Wimbledon this weekend.

She lost to Angelique Kerber in the final, just 10 months after welcoming daughter Alexis Olympia and recovering from a physically and emotionally traumatic birth experience.

Williams didn't get her eighth Wimbledon title this weekend, but when we consider all the challenges she (and all new moms) faced in resuming her career, her presence was still a huge achievement.

"It was such an amazing tournament for me, I was really happy to get this far!" Williams explained in an emotional post-match interview.

"For all the moms out there, I was playing for you today. And I tried. I look forward to continuing to be back out here and doing what I do best."

The loss at Wimbledon isn't what she wanted, of course, but Williams says it does not mean there won't be wins in her near future.

"These two weeks have showed me I can really compete and be a contender to win grand slams. This is literally just the beginning. I took a giant step at Wimbledon but my journey has just began."

When asked what she hopes other new moms take away from her journey, Williams noted her postpartum recovery was really difficult, and hopes that other moms who face challenges early in motherhood know that they don't have to give up on whatever dreams they have for themselves, whether it involves working or not.

"Honestly, I feel like if I can do it, they can do it. I'm just that person, that vessel that's saying, 'You can be whatever you want to be.' If you want to go back to workand to me, after becoming a mom, I feel like there's no pressure to do that because having a child is a completely full-time job," she said.

"But to those that do want to go back, you can do it, you can really do it."

Thank you, Serena. You may not have won, but this was still a victory.

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Since baby Crew became the newest member of Chip and Joanna Gaines' family three weeks ago, his proud parents have been keeping the world updated, sharing sweet snaps of their youngest and even giving us a glimpse into his nursery.

Now, Chip Gaines is showing off a pic that proves there is nothing cuter than a floppy, sleepy baby.

"My heart is full..." the proud father of five captioned the photo he posted on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Earlier this week Crew's mama shared how she gets him so sleepy in the first place, posting an Instagram Story showing how she walks around the family's gardens on their Waco, Texas farm to lull her newborn boy to sleep.



The couple are clearly enjoying every single moment of Crew's babyhood. As recently as 7 days ago Chip was still sporting his hospital bracelet. Joanna says with each child he's worn his maternity ward ID until it finally wears off. We can't blame Chip for wanting to make the newborn phase last as long as possible.

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It was a changing table must-have a generation ago, but these days, many parents are forgoing baby powder, and now, the leading manufacturer of the sweet smelling powder was dealt a big financial blow.

Johnson & Johnson was just ordered to pay almost $4.7 billion to 22 women who sued, alleging baby powder caused their ovarian cancer.

A St. Louis jury says the women are right, but what does The American Academy of Pediatrics say about baby powder?

It was classified "a hazard" before many of today's parents were even born

The organization has actually been recommending against baby powder for years, but not due to cancer risks, but inhalation risks.

Way back in 1981 the AAP declared baby powder "a hazard," issuing a report pointing out the frequency of babies aspirating the powder, which can be dangerous and even fatal in the most severe cases.

That warning didn't stop all parents from using the powder though, as its continued presence on store shelves to this day indicates.

In 1998 Dr. Hugh MacDonald, then the director of neonatology at Santa Monica Hospital and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Fetus and Newborn, told the Los Angeles Times "Most pediatricians recommend that it not be used," adding that the consensus at the time was that "anybody using talcum powder be aware that it could cause inhalation of the talc, resulting in a pneumonic reaction."

Recent updates

A 2015 update to the AAP's Healthy Children website suggests the organization was even very recently still more concerned about the risk of aspiration than cancer risks like those alleged in the lawsuit. It suggests that parents who choose to use baby powder "pour it out carefully and keep the powder away from baby's face [as] published reports indicate that talc or cornstarch in baby powder can injure a baby's lungs."

In a 2017 interview with USA Today, Dr. David Soma, a pediatrician with the Mayo Clinic Children's Hospital, explained that baby powder use had decreased a lot over the previous five to eight years, but he didn't believe it was going to disappear from baby shower gift baskets any time soon.

"There are a lot of things that are used out of a matter of tradition, or the fact it seems to work for specific children," he said. "I'm not sure if it will get phased out or not, until we know more about the details of other powders and creams and what works best for skin conditions—I think it will stick around for a while."

Talc-based baby powder is the kind alleged to have caused ovarian cancer in the lawsuit (which Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal), but corn starch varieties of baby powder are also available and not linked to increased cancer risks as alleged in the case.


Bottom line: If you are going to use baby powder on your baby's bottom, make sure they're not getting a cloud of baby powder in their face, and if you're concerned, talk to your health care provider about alternative methods and products to use on your baby's delicate skin.

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In the days since a The New York Times report revealed a resolution meant to encourage breastfeeding was blocked by U.S. delegates at the World Health Assembly, breastfeeding advocates, political pundits, parents, doctors—and just about everyone else—have been talking about breastfeeding, and whether or not America and other countries are doing enough to support it.

The presidents of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians say the controversy at the World Health Assembly reveals that mothers need more support when it comes to breastfeeding, while others, including The Council on Foreign Relations, suggest the national conversation needs more nuance, and less focus on the "breast is best" rhetoric.

The one thing everyone agrees on is that parents need more support when it comes to infant feeding, and in that respect, the controversy over the World Health Assembly resolution may be a good thing.

In their joint letter to the editor published in the New York Times this week, the presidents of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians, Dr. Colleen Kraft and Dr. Lisa Hollier urge "the United States and every country to protect, promote and support breast-feeding for the health of all women, children and families."

The doctors go on to describe how breastfeeding "provides protection against newborn, infant and child infections, allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and sudden infant death syndrome," and note the health benefits to mothers, including reduced risks for "breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

"Helping mothers to breastfeed takes a multifaceted approach, including advancing public policies like paid family leave, access to quality child care, break time and a location other than a bathroom for expressing milk," say Kraft and Hollier.

Certainly such policies would support breastfeeding mothers (and all mothers) in America, but some critics say framing the discussion around domestic policy is a mistake, because the World Health Assembly resolution is a global matter and women and babies in other parts of the world face very different feeding challenges than we do here at home.

In an op-ed published by CNN, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations suggests the laudable goal of breastfeeding promotion can backfire when mothers in conflict-riddled areas can't access formula due to well-meaning policy. Lemmon points to a 2017 statement by Doctors Without Borders calling for fewer barriers to formula distribution in war-torn areas.

"International organizations like UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) promote breastfeeding ... and provide infant formula, but only by prescription. We believe that distributing infant formula in a conflict situation like Iraq is the only way to avoid children having to be hospitalized for malnutrition," Manuel Lannaud, the head of Doctors Without Borders Iraq mission wrote.

The various viewpoints presented this week prove that infant feeding is not a black and white issue, and policy debates should not be framed as formula versus breast milk—there is more nuance than that.

A recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics found opting to supplement with formula after first breastfeeding improves outcomes for infants and results in higher rates of breastfeeding afterward, and while the benefits of breastfeeding are numerous, they are sometimes overstated. Another recent study published in the journal PLOS Medicine found breastfeeding has no impact on a child's overall neurocognitive function by the time they are 16. Basically, parents should not be shamed for supplementing or choosing to use formula.

This, according to Department of Health and Human Services says national spokesperson Caitlin Oakley is why the HHS opposed the original draft of the breastfeeding resolution at the World Health Assembly (although critics and the initial NYT report suggest the United States delegation were acting in the interests of infant formula manufacturers).

"Many women are not able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons, these women should not be stigmatized; they should be equally supported with information and access to alternatives for the health of themselves and their babies," Oakley said in a statement.

That's true, but so is everything the presidents of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians presented in their op-ed, and that's why the U.S. should support breastfeeding policy.

Here's another truth: This is an issue with many perspectives and many voices. And we need to hear them all, because all parents need support in feeding their babies, whether it's with a breast, a bottle or both—and we're not getting it yet.

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