A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

Last weekend I saw the film “Everest” to fuel my fascination with the fact that a handful of humans – mostly male – want to scale the tallest mountain in the world. A mere 4,000 people have reached the top since Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first scaled Everest in 1953.


I have often fantasized about following in their footsteps. You know, spend six weeks getting to base camp and getting acclimatized. Then another two weeks, slowly but surely, making my way to Camp 2, Camp 3, and then Camp 4. Eventually entering the “Death Zone en route to 29,000 feet – heights at which the human body cannot acclimatize. That final grueling, half-mile journey taking eight to 12 hours.

Check out this cool graphic about ascending Everest in the Washington Post.

If I survived the experience, I’d join the ranks of the super elite. You don’t need a badge or medal for your accomplishment because regular folks can sense when someone in their midst has climbed Mount Everest. There’s a telltale swagger when you’ve breathed rarified air – especially among those who summited without the aid of oxygen tanks.

If I died, my frozen body probably would remain at the top of the world for time immemorial. Helicopters can’t fly that high; other climbers are preoccupied with getting their own selves down. The face of Everest would be a pretty impressive final resting spot, although it is a horrendous way to go.

Smithsonian Magazine tells how some 200 corpses on Everest also serve as important landmarks and memorials for those navigating the mountain.

When Mountaineer George Mallory was asked why he’d set his sights on Everest, he notoriously answered, “Because it’s there.” Mallory died during his third attempt to summit in 1924. Yet we’ve been quoting him ever since to explain the inexplicable desire to do really daring things.

Do I want to climb as high as the cruising altitude of many airline flights simply because Everest is there? Many people attempt remarkable things run the New York City marathon, walk the Appalachian trail – in honor of their 50th year around the sun and my landmark birthday is on the horizon.

But after seeing “Everest,” the movie – based on catastrophic events on the mountain in 1996 I’ve decided to sit this one out.

The bottom line is that I’m scaling back on fear-conquering events. I’m not even sure how I’ve survived a whole half-century considering some the rocky choices of my twenties. Among them, a wild weekend in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania with a Turkish mobster who looked like George Michael. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in those days, without running water or electricity. Maybe that’s good enough to earn some swagger.

Besides, there are practical issues standing between the summit and me. Starting with acrophobia. Yeas ago, I visited a climbing wall where I lost my mojo as well as my footing. I swung off the wall mid-ascent safe thanks to my ropes and for a brief moment felt as if I were dangling off the face of Everest. My friend down below laughed out loud at my screams before composing herself long enough to say, “Nancy, just step down, you are 6 inches off the floor.”

Then, there’s my predisposition to altitude sickness, which I discovered while walking in the foothills outside Kathmandu, Nepal back in 1989. That afternoon, I took a rickshaw to the doctor and told him that I was dying. He laughed and gave me a pill. I was better by happy hour the next day. But those wretched, retching 24 hours were akin to morning sickness on steroids.

Even if I could overcome my physical limitations, the actual costs associated with scaling Everest are insurmountable. When my son was born 11 years ago, I started putting $25 a month into a college fund. At this point, I have enough saved to either send him to an Ivy League school for a semester, or cough up the Nepalese permit fees for stepping foot on Everest. 

Climbing the tallest mountain in the world has turned into rich man’s sport with total costs in the $100,000 range. Paying an adventure company to go the distance is the new mid-life crisis sports car. But I’m happy just putzing around chilly Burlington, Vermont in my 2012 Mazda 5 – a mini-minivan. I am so done with trying to be cool.

Maybe that’s the crux of the issue for me. Being a parent means scaling emotional peaks and valleys for an entire lifetime. And being a woman means that you have the capacity to grow a person inside your bodies for 9 months. Read what Everest climbers carry in this National Geographic article.

Raising a human being tests the limits of your capabilities beyond what the tallest mountain in the world can offer. You can’t top that.

 

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.

Parents in New Jersey will soon get more money and more time for parental leave after welcoming a baby.

This week New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed off on legislation that extends New Jersey's paid family leave from six weeks to 12.

It also increases the benefit cap from 53% of the average weekly wage to 70%, meaning the maximum benefit for a parent on family leave will be $860 a week, up from $650.

It might not seem like a huge difference, but by raising the benefit from two-thirds of a parent's pay to 85%, lawmakers in New Jersey are hoping to encourage more parents to actually take leave, which is good for the parents, their baby and their family. "Especially for that new mom and dad, we know that more time spent bonding with a child can lead to a better long-term outcome for that child," Murphy said at a press conference this week.

The law will also make it easier for people to take time off when a family member is sick.

Because NJ's paid leave is funded through payroll deductions, workers could see an increase in those deductions, but Murphy is betting that workers and businesses will see the benefits in increasing paid leave benefits. "Morale goes up, productivity goes up, and more money goes into the system," Murphy said. "And increasingly, companies big and small realize that a happy workforce and a secure workforce is a key ingredient to their success."

The new benefits will go into effect in July 2020 (making next Halloween a good time to get pregnant in the Garden State).

You might also like:

Whether you just need to stock up on diapers or you've had your eye on a specific piece of baby gear, you might want to swing by your local Walmart this Saturday, February 23rd.

Walmart's big "Baby Savings Day" is happening from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at participating Walmarts (but more deals can be found online at Walmart.com already and the website deals are happening for the rest of the month).

About 3,000 of the 3,570 Supercenter locations are participating in the sale (check here to see if your local Walmart is).

The deals vary, but in general you can expect up to 30% off on items like cribs, strollers, car seats, wipes, diapers and formula.

Some items, like this Graco Modes 3 Lite Travel System have been marked down by more than $100. Other hot items include this Lille Baby Complete Carrier (It's usually $119, going for $99 during the sale) and the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat (for as low as $199).

So if you're in need of baby gear, you should check out this sale. Travel gear isn't the only category that's been marked down, there are some steep discounts on breast pumps, too.

Many of the Walmart locations will also be offering samples and expert demos of certain products on Saturday so it's worth checking out!

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:

Any Schumer has not had an easy pregnancy. She intended to keep working, but if you follow her on social media you know she's been very sick through each trimester.

And now in her final trimester she's had to cancel her tour due to hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as HG. It's a rare but very serious form of extreme morning sickness, and on Friday evening Schumer announced she is canceling the rest of her tour because of it.

“I vomit every time [I] ride in a car even for 5 minutes," Schumer explained in an Instagram post.

Due to the constant vomiting she's not cleared to fly and just can't continue to the tour.

This is not the first time Schumer has had to make an announcement about HG. Back in November, just weeks after announcing her pregnancy, she had to cancel shows and again broke the news via Instagram.

She posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed with her little dog Tati, and spelled out the details of her health issues in the caption. "I have hyperemesis and it blows," Schumer wrote.

Poor Amy. Hyperemesis gravidarum is really tough.

Kate Middleton, Ayesha Curry and Motherly co-founder Elizabeth Tenety are among those who, like Schumer, have suffered from this form of severe morning sickness that can be totally debilitating.

As she previously wrote for Motherly, Tenety remembers becoming desperately ill, being confined to her apartment (mostly her bed) and never being far from a trash can, "I lost 10% of my body weight. I became severely dehydrated. I couldn't work. I couldn't even get out of bed. I could barely talk on the phone to tell my doctor how sick I was—begging them to please give me something, anything—to help."

Thankfully, she found relief through a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea drug.


Schumer probably knows all about that drug. It looks she is getting the medical help she obviously needs, and she was totally right to cancel the tour in order to stay as healthy as possible.

We're glad to see Schumer is getting help, and totally understand why she would have to cancel her shows. Any mama who has been through HG will tell you, that wouldn't be a show you'd want front row seats for anyway.

Get well soon, Amy!

[A version of this post was published November 15, 2018. It has been updated.]

You might also like:

As a military spouse, Cydney Cooper is used to doing things alone. But when she delivered her twin daughters early after complications due to Influenza A, she was missing her husband Skylar more than ever.

Recovering from the flu and an emergency C-section, and trying to parent the couple's two older boys and be with her new infant daughters in the NICU, Cydney was exhausted and scared and just wanted her husband who was deployed in Kuwait with the Army and wasn't expected home for weeks.

Alone in the NICU 12 days after giving birth, Cydney was texting an update on the twins to her husband when he walked through the door to shoulder some of the massive burden this mama was carrying.

"I was typing up their summary as best I could and trying to remember every detail to tell him when I looked up and saw him standing there. Shock, relief, and the feeling that everything was just alright hit me at once. I just finally let go," she explains in a statement to Motherly.

The moment was captured on video thanks to a family member who was in on Skylar's surprise and the reunion has now gone viral, having been viewed millions of times. It's an incredible moment for the couple who hadn't seen each other since Skylar had a three-day pass in seven months earlier.

Cydney had been caring for the couple's two boys and progressing in her pregnancy when, just over a week before the viral video was taken, she tested positive for Influenza A and went into preterm labor. "My husband was gone, my babies were early, I had the flu, and I was terrified," she tells Motherly.

"Over the next 48 hours they were able to stop my labor and I was discharged from the hospital. It only lasted two days and I went right back up and was in full on labor that was too far to stop."

Cydney needed an emergency C-section due to the babies' positioning, and her medical team could not allow anyone who had previously been around her into the operating room because anyone close to Cydney had been exposed to the flu.

"So I went in alone. The nurses and doctors were wonderful and held my hand through the entire thing but at the same time, I felt very very alone and scared. [Skylar] had been present for our first two and he was my rock and I didn't have him when I wanted him the most. But I did it! He was messaging me the second they wheeled me to recovery. Little did I know he was already working on being on his way."

When he found out his baby girls were coming early Skylar did everything he could to get home, and seeing him walk into the NICU is a moment Cydney will hold in her heart and her memory forever. "I had been having to hop back and forth from our sons to our daughters and felt guilty constantly because I couldn't be with all of them especially with their dad gone. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life and I won't be forgetting it."

It's so hard for a military spouse to do everything alone after a baby comes, and the military does recognize this. Just last month the Army doubled the amount of leave qualifying secondary caregivers (most often dads) can take after a birth or adoption, from 10 days to 21 so that moms like Cydney don't have to do it all alone.

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.