A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

Lady Bird Johnson once said that “children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.” Since then, solid evidence has suggested that parental beliefs and attitudes largely influence children’s outcomes.


A number of studies have found that when parents set “great” expectations, their children are more likely to meet those expectations. In other words, the expectations we hold of our children are critical in determining their academic and social outcomes.

In one study, researchers sought to determine whether there was a difference in “hands-off” and “hands-on” families during the teenage years. “Hands-off” families were described as those in which parents were passive and had few expectations. “Hands-on” families were those in which parents monitored teen’s activities and expected the whole family to participate in dinners together.

After analyzing 1,000 teens, the study found that teens raised in “hands-off” families were more likely to turn to drug use and had poorer relationships with their parents.

 

 

A second study found that holding children to high expectations has a positive impact on their actual academic performance. These children are also less likely to drop out of school. The study found that parents’ expectations exerted the strongest influence on academic outcomes.

A third study observed the impact of teacher and mother expectations on 522 low-income urban youth aged between nine and 16. Although the results revealed that the best academic outcomes were observed in students when both teachers and their mothers held high expectations, the study found that mothers’ expectations could have a buffering effect on the occasions when teacher expectations were low.

In other words, even when teachers had little faith in a child’s abilities, the child could still experience positive academic outcomes if his or her mother held high expectations.

All these studies point to the importance of “expecting great things” of our children. A few things should be kept in mind when setting expectations for your child:

Don’t aim too high

A recent study sought to identify the impact of parental over-aspiration on student outcomes by analyzing a large sample from Germany and the United States. The study found that unreasonable expectations – expectations set too high, for example – can be detrimental to children’s performance.

The key in setting realistic goals lies in knowing your child, so steer away from unnecessary and harmful comparisons. There’s a difference between what she’s expected to know or do, and what she actually knows or can do. Being present and keeping track of her abilities can help you determine how best to help your child progress.

Don’t aim too low

In a recently conducted survey in Britain, Save The Children found that parents risked condemning their children to a life of underachievement as they often underestimated how much their children were actually supposed to know.

This study focused on children’s early learning and involved parents with children aged between two and 10 years old. Of those interviewed, 47 percent believed that at age two-and-a-half, a child’s vocabulary would be 100 words or fewer. In reality, it’s closer to six times that size.

Just as having expectations that are too high can be detrimental to your child’s social and academic performance, expectations set too low can also prevent your child from achieving his full potential.

Raise your expectations gradually

A child gains confidence when he successfully completes a task, so give your children tasks within their abilities. Evidence suggests that completing difficult rather than easy tasks leads to greater self-satisfaction.

However, when your child has mastered specific tasks and as he grows older, it is important to raise your expectations. Make tasks more difficult, but not too difficult, because failure can be detrimental. As Martin Seligman argues, too much failure can lead to learned helplessness.

Be intentional

You don’t lose weight by saying “I want to lose weight.” You lose weight by having a specific goal – “I want to lose 10kgs” – and then adopting specific habits, e.g. “No more cheese and chocolate except on special occasions.” In other words, you get to your objective by focusing on the means: “How will I lose 10kgs?”

The same can be said about setting expectations. You don’t get your child to read fluently by saying, “I expect you to read fluently.” You help her develop small daily habits, like reading every day for 20 minutes by herself, establishing family read-aloud traditions, etc.

As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think they can, or you think they can’t, you’re right.”

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.