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Many parents realize that when kids become teens, they will at some point be faced with pressure to try alcohol. What many probably don’t realize is that first-time alcohol use among teens follows a pattern and doubles in the months of June and December.


For many, the winter holidays are a time to indulge. Alcohol sales are higher than average, possibly due to the popularity of alcohol as a gift and the tendency to upgrade to a pricier version of many liquors to serve at holiday gatherings.

December is the most popular month to purchase specialty cordials. (One store in Montana reports sales of Baileys triple in December.) These sweeter, sipping beverages are frequently the alcohol of choice for first-time drinkers.

The holiday season also typically brings an increase in social commitments, making parents too busy and distracted to monitor their teens the same way they do at other times of the year.

We know that teens are curious, and many are determined to experiment. Although alcohol is a somewhat controlled substance (limited to those age 21 and over), we live in a society that encourages the use and sometimes the abuse of alcohol. Most social activities include or even revolve around drinking. Many forget that alcohol is a chemical substance. The effects can be very much like those of drugs.

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Some parents make the decision to allow their kids to try alcohol, thinking it better to experience its effects in a somewhat controlled environment. This may not be a good idea.

As reported in Science Daily, “In a study of 428 Dutch families, researchers found that the more teenagers were allowed to drink at home, the more they drank outside of home as well.” Not surprisingly, teens who drank often had a higher incidence of problem drinking two years later. “The findings, according to van der Vorst, suggest that teen drinking begets more drinking – and, in some cases, alcohol problems – regardless of where and with whom they drink.”

Though many look to European alcohol regulation (or lack thereof) as a model, a survey of 15- and 16-year-olds in Europe indicate there is more teen drunkenness in Europe than in the US.

Alcohol researcher Caitlin Abar from Pennsylvania State University says, “It really calls into question the strategy that parents are adopting of the European drinking model. The most protective strategy for parents is to make it really clear to their teens that they completely disapprove of underage alcohol use.” Abar states that parents with a zero tolerance policy will not necessarily prevent their kids from drinking, but that these teens tend to drink less.

This is backed up by research

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than 80 percent of young people report parents have the greatest influence over whether they drink. SAMHSA’s program, Talk, They Hear You, encourages parents to start talking to their kids as early as age nine about alcohol and the associated dangers.

Noting that when teens drink, they do so excessively, William D. Crano at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA, focused on conditions in adolescence to see whether these conditions could predict teenage alcohol abuse. He found that paying attention to what teens are doing and providing a supportive family environment can go a long way to prevent binge drinking.

Your habits make a difference

Parents’ behavior sends a message to their kids about what is acceptable. While acknowledging that kids will form their own ideas about alcohol, Crano believes that parents should talk about drinking, saying, “You want to be the person to help them.

A study done by Christine Jackson at RTI International in Durham, NC, goes further and suggests that allowing children to taste alcohol at home “simply teaches them that parents don’t mind if they have alcohol.” She adds, “allowing children to have alcohol increases their odds of underage drinking during adolescence.

Instead Jackson advocates a home-based parenting program that promotes an alcohol-free childhood. In a study evaluating such a program, those participating were significantly less likely to drink four years later.

Binge drinking is a real problem

In 1994, Harvard’s Alcohol Study established what is still the definition of a drinking binge: five or more drinks in a row for a man, and four or more for a woman. Binge drinkers of today often have 10 or more drinks in a night. Though the numbers indicate that fewer students are binge drinking, many of these are now doing so to the extreme.

A study published in 2011 in the American Journal of Health Education found that 77 percent of college freshmen “drink to get drunk.” What today’s college student calls being drunk is oftentimes what an expert would define as being in a blackout.

Some scary stats

More than a third of teens have a drink before age 15; almost two thirds have tried it by the time they are 18.

Studies show that those who drink before age 15 are six times more likely to become addicted.

Eleven percent of alcohol consumed in the US is consumed by 12- to 20-year-olds.

Those who engaged in underage binge drinking had higher arrest rates 8 to 14 years later.

According to SAMHSA, those who regularly engage in underage drinking are at a higher risk of using other drugs, engaging in risky behavior (including unprotected sex), doing poorly in school, and having serious health issues such as depression and anxiety.

A UVA study showed that about half of alcohol related deaths among American college students at four-year institutions were caused by drunk driving.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that up to 70 percent of water recreation deaths are also related to alcohol use.

Each year, according to the NIH…

• an estimated 599,000 students are unintentionally injured while under the influence

• an estimated 696,000 students are assaulted by another student who has been drinking

• an estimated 97,000 students are victims of alcohol related sexual assault or date rape

College students who drink regularly are more likely to miss classes, earn poor grades, or even drop out altogether.

Walking the line between intrusive and aware

If you are the parent of a teenager, you know these conversations can be difficult. Rather than starting with a lecture, ask your teen if he or she has witnessed underage drinking and ask his or her thoughts on the subject. Explain your concerns and make suggestions on how to avoid the pressure to drink.

Pay attention to the messages you give about alcohol. How do you talk about drinking? Do you say you “need a drink” after a hard day at work? Do you drive after having a drink? It is possible, even likely, that your child will ask you why you drink. If you have a complicated relationship with alcohol, this can be a difficult question to answer.

If you are hosting a party, do not serve teens. If both adults and teens will be guests, make sure adult beverages and soft drinks are located in separate areas. If the party is just teens, make your presence known. You can do this without being obvious by regularly walking by with more food. Confiscate any alcohol brought by a teenager.

Know what your kids are doing. Know where they are and who they are spending time with. Help them find productive ways to spend their time. A study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse indicates that a bored teen is 50 percent more likely to drink, smoke, or use illegal drugs.

If your teen is going to a party, ask if there will be alcohol. Don’t assume that the laws will be followed. Fact check if you have doubts. Look for evidence when you drop your child off.

Let your teen know that he or she can call you for a ride. Save the lecture for another day.

Talk to your teens about drinking

Be honest about your past. If you drank as a teen, point out why it was a bad idea. This came up recently in our home. I told my children that much was different then. At the time, the legal drinking age was 18 where I lived. Brain science had not yet discovered that our brains are still maturing into our 20s or how much alcohol could affect a growing brain.

You might want to share some stories (about yourself or people you know) and point out some of the bad, even potentially dangerous, decisions that were made while under the influence.

Like other difficult parent-child conversations, it is ideal to start to talk often and early. Don’t just say “Don’t drink.” Offer realistic limits, or ways to “fake,” such as nursing a drink or drinking lookalikes (plain soda out of red Solo cup does the trick). Suggest some possible excuses, like “I’ll get in trouble with my coach,” etc.

It’s also important to set hard and fast rules: no drinking and driving, no binge drinking, and calling for help if things get out of control.

Most importantly, be available. Your kids need to know they can come to you if they or one of their friends has made poor choices and needs help. That said, they may be embarrassed or feel they have disappointed you, and not come to you as a result. Let them know about other trusted people who can help, such as doctors, school counselors, or clergy.

Teens are not small adults, alcohol affects them differently

Brain science has come a long way in the past few decades. We have learned that the human brain develops well into one’s 20s. It has been a long-accepted fact that alcohol can have damaging effects on brain cells, but we are just learning that the damage to teens and young adults can be even greater.

Alcohol limits what teens can do, thwarting chances to learn and subsequently not meeting their potential. Alcohol reduces inhibitions, causing riskier behavior at an age already predisposed to such behavior.

In addition, teens are susceptible to addiction due to the plasticity of younger brains. Since there is also a potential genetic component, teens with a family history of alcoholism or mental health issues have to be more aware.

Parents need to understand all this and, as with other grown-up issues, give independence gradually. Teens don’t simply wake up one morning as adults ready to make responsible decisions. They need education and guidance.

They also need to recognize that not everyone is affected by alcohol in the same way. The popular weight chart, indicating how many drinks one can have before becoming intoxicated, can be useful, but not relied on. If one is drinking on an empty stomach, for example, alcohol has a different effect. People of the same weight don’t always metabolize alcohol at the same rate. Each person is different.

Taking cold or other medicine can cause one to become intoxicated quicker and can also have potentially dangerous effects, especially to the liver.

Watch for signs of a problem

Know the risk factors that increase the likelihood your teen may have or develop a problem: depression, a family history of alcoholism, or issues with peer relationships. Teens with a family history of alcoholism are four times more likely to have a drinking problem of their own.

Unfortunately, many signs that your teen may be abusing alcohol (moodiness, resisting family rules, a change of interests and/or friends, problems in school) can also be caused by other factors. It may even be normal teen behavior. Jumping to conclusions and making accusations can backfire, so you might want to investigate quietly.

Trending in the right direction

Though it’s wise to be vigilant, don’t let the statistics worry you too much. Teenage alcohol use as a whole is on the decline. According to a CDC survey, the number of teens who had tried alcohol dropped from 81.6 percent to 63.2 percent between 1991 and 2015. Those who reported having five or more drinks in one night went from 31.3 to 17.7. Today a third of teens drink, down from 50 percent 25 years ago.

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Sometimes it can feel like toys are a mama's frenemy. While we love the idea of entertaining our children and want to give them items that make them happy, toys can end up taking the joy out of our own motherhood experience. For every child begging for another plastic figurine, there's a mama who spends her post-bedtime hours digging toys out from under the couch, dining room table and probably her own bed.

Like so many other moms, I've often found myself between this rock and hard place in parenting. I want to encourage toys that help with developmental milestones, but struggle to control the mess. Is there a middle ground between clutter and creative play?

Enter: Lovevery.

lovevery toys

Lovevery Play Kits are like the care packages you wish your child's grandparent would send every month. Expertly curated by child development specialists, each kit is crafted to encourage your child's current developmental milestones with beautiful toys and insightful activity ideas for parents. A flip book of how-tos and recommendations accompanies each box, giving parents not only tips for making the most of each developmental stage, but also explaining how the games and activities benefit those growing brains.

Even better, the toys are legitimately beautiful. Made from eco-friendly, sustainable materials materials and artfully designed, I even find myself less bothered when my toddler leaves hers strewn across the living room floor.

What I really love, though, is that the kits are about so much more than toys. Each box is like a springboard of imaginative, open-ended play that starts with the included playthings and expands into daily activities we can do during breakfast or while driving to and from lessons. For the first time, I feel like a company isn't just trying to sell me more toys―they're providing expert guidance on how to engage in educational play with my child. And with baby kits that range from age 0 to 12 months and toddler kits for ages 13 to 24 months, the kits are there for me during every major step of development I'll encounter as a new mama.

So maybe I'll never love toys―but I will always love spending time with my children. And with Lovevery's unique products, mixing those worlds has become child's play.


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

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We teach our children to wash their hands to prevent the spread of germs, brush their teeth to prevent cavities, and we take care to make sure they get they get the sleep that is critical for healthy child development. But we also know that not every child in America can wash their hands, brush their teeth, or sleep without bright lights shining down on them. The children inside Border Patrol detention facilities don't have access to things like hygiene supplies or beds, and it is keeping many American mothers up at night.

As the Washington Post reports, lawyers for the U.S. government argue that it should not be required to provide detained migrant children with toothbrushes, soap, showers or conditions conducive to sleep. This is concerning many Americans, especially after a report from The Associated Press painted a bleak picture of unsanitary conditions for children detained at Border Patrol facilities, some with no parent to care for them.

For many, this isn't about politics, but about compassion. Last week Judge A. Wallace Tashima stated that it is "within everybody's common understanding that if you don't have a toothbrush, you don't have soap, you don't have a blanket, those are not safe and sanitary [conditions]," and many parents around the country agree.

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The children who are reportedly getting sick from unsanitary conditions need voices like Tashima's, but you don't have to be a judge to speak for them.

Here are 5 powerful ways to help these kids:

1. Call your representatives

You can follow Tashima's lead and let your reps know that your definition of "safe and sanitary" includes access to hygiene items and sleep.

If you don't know what number to call, you can either call the US Capitol switchboard or punch your info into callmycongress.com and get the direct phone numbers.

Just tell the congressional staffer who picks up the phone that you want to see soap, toothbrushes and beds for detained children right now.

Consider saving those direct numbers in your phone so that you can follow up with more calls in the future.

2. Use digital tools and data

You're probably reading this on your phone right now, so obviously calling your rep isn't the only way to get their attention. We all have powerful computers in our palms these days, and you can slide into your reps DMs or amplify this issue by tagging them in a tweet or Facebook post.

The internet hasn't just given us the ability to connect with our politicians, it has given us unprecedented access to information and science, and in this case, the science is pretty simple: Handwashing is "a win for everyone", according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Study after study after study backs the CDC up. Handwashing can keep kids alive by preventing everything from diarrhea to the flu.

The scientists at the CDC say that "washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them.

So it is vital for these kids to have access to hygiene and sanitation as influenza is common in the detention centers.

The same challenges that make it hard to control communicable disease transmission and outbreaks in jails and prisons—high turnover rates of staff and the detained, a population vulnerable to illness—put these children at risk, and while the New York Times reports some guards at the detention facilities have taken to wearing paper masks to keep them from catching what the kids have, it is totally possible that someone who works around these detained kids will get sick, and that could put a population outside of the facility at risk.

Giving detained people access to sanitation should be a public health priority.

3. Keep talking about this + encourage others to make their own calls

This conversation comes nearly a year after ProPublica released audio reportedly recorded inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility and mothers across America cried listening to the sounds of those children crying.

Now, the conversation has shifted to sanitation, but it's important to remember that soap, toothbrushes and showers aren't all these kids are missing—they're missing their families, too. Children continue to be separated from their families, something that will impact them for the rest of their lives, whether those lives happen in America or elsewhere.

There are a lot of debates going on about how to solve this crisis, but one thing that many groups, from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to the American Academy of Pediatrics, agree on is that these facilities were not designed to house kids.

Something's got to change, and the more people that are calling their reps, the better.

Tell your friends that you're talking to your representatives about this and ask them to call, too. A lot of people have never called a politician's office before, so let those in your circle know about how the ACLU will route their call and pass on the short script for those who get flustered on the phone.

4. Donate to organizations that will help migrant families


There are many organizations working to get and keep children out of detention centers so that they will not have to live in the kinds of conditions being reported. All of the following organizations are trying to help children caught up in this crisis.

American Immigration Council: This organization gets on the ground at detention centers helping families, documenting conditions of detention and bringing lawsuits to challenge them.

Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project: Provides "emergency legal aid to refugee families".

Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services: Provides "free and low cost immigration services".

Families Belong Together: Is a group effort that "includes nearly 250 organizations representing Americans from all backgrounds who have joined together to fight family separation and promote dignity, unity, and compassion for all children and families.

Justice for Our Neighbors: Provides low-income families with "affordable, high quality immigration legal services".

Kids In Need of Defense: According to its website, KIND "partners with major law firms, corporations, law schools, and bar associations to create a nationwide pro bono network to represent unaccompanied children through their immigration proceedings."

Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center: States it is "dedicated to serving the legal needs of low-income immigrants, including refugees, victims of crime, and families seeking reunification."

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service: The faith-based organization "works with refugees, children, and migrants to ensure they are protected and welcomed into local communities throughout the United States."

South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR): A joint project of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, ProBAR "is a national effort to provide pro bono legal services to asylum seekers detained in South Texas by the United States government. "

Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES): A non-profit that aims to reunite families and help kids feel safe, this Texas-based nonprofit aims to "directly fund the bond necessary to get parents out of detention and reunited with their children while awaiting court proceedings" and "ensure legal representation for EVERY child in Texas' immigration courts."

The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights: Provides independent Child Advocates to stand up for unaccompanied immigrant children and "champion the child's best interests".

5. Teach our children kindness and compassion 

Our generation couldn't stop this from happening to these children, but perhaps our children will be able to protect the children that come after them.

By instilling empathy, compassion and kindness in the next generation we are planting the seeds for a kinder world, and those seeds desperately need to be planted.

Caring for these children is not a partisan issue, it's an issue many parents all over the political spectrum are grappling with. Many have differing opinions about how to resolve the issues at the root of this problem, but many parents can agree that if their child was in this position they would want them to be shown some kindness.

As much as many parents would love to scoop these children up, draw them a bubble bath and find them a safe, warm place to sleep, we can't. But we can do those things for our own children, and in doing so we will teach them about love and kindness.

And hopefully, future generations will not be having the conversations.

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News

[Editor's Note: This is the beginning of a new weekly series where we'll round up our favorite "Good News" stories that went viral. Enjoy!]

It's Friday, mama! We made it! There has been a ton of heavy news to digest this week, but there have also been some amazingly good news stories to come out of the last seven days.

If you need a little positivity to carry you into the weekend, check out the headlines that made us smile this week.

This mama got her rainbow baby after 13 pregnancy losses 🌈

British mama Laura Worsley is living her dream with her baby daughter Ivy after losing a heartbreaking 13 pregnancies, People reports. She had her first miscarriage in 2008, and sadly, many more followed. "Eleven of Laura Worsley's pregnancies ended in the first trimester but she also lost two boys at 17 and 20 weeks," BBC News reports.

Eventually, Laura learned she was suffering from Antiphospholipid syndrome, a condition that was making it impossible for her to carry a baby. She also had Chronic Histiocytic Intervillositis happening in her placenta, which makes was causing her placenta to die in places, according to Worsley.

Finally, doctors got her on a medication to improve the lining of her uterus, and Worsley and her husband conceived baby Ivy. "I thought if there's that one bit of hope, I had to try again," Laura told BBC News. "I spoke to Dave about it and he felt the same. I told myself, 'this is the last time I'm doing this.'"

On their 14th attempt (with the help of steroids and medications to suppress Worsley's immune system and allow the pregnancy to progress) Ivy came into the world.

"Even now, nine months on, I can't believe she's actually mine," Worsley told BBC News.

That adorable dad + baby from the viral video booked a Denny's commercial 

Remember that dad and the adorable babbling baby in the viral video we featured on our Facebook page earlier this month? Well, now they've book a Denny's commercial! (Talk about a quick turn around!)

That original viral video surpassed 2 million views within 48 hours of being posted, so it's no wonder the marketing team at Denny's thought, We've gotta get this guy!

The cuteness is too much and the new commercial shows the dad, comedian DJ Pryor, and his 19-month-old (ADORABLE) son Kingston having a chat in a booth at Denny's over breakfast food.

We love it and we love that it is part of a wider trend of companies showing dads in caring roles in advertising.

One woman's color-coded grandkids are going viral 

This is too cute! Mom Chrissy Roussel posted this photo of her kids and their cousins a couple of years ago (there's been a couple of additions since!) to show all the grandkids her parents have.

"The photo was my sister's idea," Chrissy, who has three brothers and two sisters, told POPSUGAR. "Having a big family means lots of noise, laughter, and, most importantly, love. Between the 17 cousins, there's always someone to play with and have fun with. They have a ball together. I loved having a big family growing up, and I'm so happy that my kids have the same experience."

In a recent Facebook update this week, Rossel reacted to the continued vitality of her colorful photo.

"I have to say we had NO IDEA this picture would be shared so much and resonate with so many people. We just thought it would be a fun pic to take of all the cousins while we were at the beach. My sister Maryellen suggested the shirts, and my amazingly talented SIL Katie (Annabelle Rose Photography) took the pics," Roussel wrote in on her Facebook page.

Parents are loving these potentially life-saving seat-belt straps! 

Australian mom Natalie Bell is going super viral for her seat belt steps for special needs kids. She runs Personalised By Nat, a company where she creates personalized stuff and came up with the idea to make seat belt straps that can inform first responders of a child's issues in the event of an accident.

"I always wonder what would happen if I was in a car accident with my daughter in the car and I was unable to let the doctors know that my daughter could not have a MRI due to having a cochlear implant, now I don't need to worry about that with these seat belt covers," she wrote.

"These can be made for any special needs that the medical team will need to know if you are unable to tell them."

As Yahoo News reports, overnight the post went viral and parents were talking about what a great idea it is.

"My husband is part of Fire and Rescue and said that this is a brilliant idea," one comment wrote.

"Such a valuable piece that provides a lot of information clearly so that [responders] involved can approach situations with knowledge and care," said another.

The Rock can't build a doll house 😂

We love The Rock's dad moments. He consistently cracks us up, and this week he had an epic dad problem. His little daughter, Jazzy, (seriously, look at this kiddo, she's too cute) got a dollhouse which is "assembly required" and The Rock does not have the toy assembling skills to meet that requirement.

"My 'On my way out the door to get my morning workout in before work and my 3yr old Jazzy says Daddy can you put together this Barbie house please' look," The Rock captioned the above photo.

We totally get you, Dwayne. All those little plastic parts can be a challenge, even for someone who swings from skyscrapers. 😂

Apparently, Jazzy's mom, Lauren Hashian, is the chief dollhouse builder in that household.

Young boys are wearing Women’s National Team jerseys, proving that hero athletes can be any gender 💪

Okay, so the Women's National Soccer team is killin' it, but as the Washington Post reports, the women's team is still not paid equal to the mens' team (even though they are winning more and attracting more fans).

But, as Chicago Tribune columnist Heidi Stevens writes, young male soccer fans clearly understand how awesome the women's team is because boys are starting to rock women's team jerseys in schools!

While young girls often walk around in jerseys with male athletes names on the back, it's new to see boys wearing the names of women athletes on such a large scale.

This is a big deal for girls and boys, and it's awesome.

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News

It's a big fear for many people when they're pregnant: Will my non-mom friends still want to hang when I become a parent? Will we have anything in common anymore? Will they still call, text or visit me?

Clearly, Amy Schumer is navigating those concerns right now while adjusting to her new #momlife, because her friend Jennifer Lawrence (who doesn't have kids) is struggling with the transition, too.

Schumer shared the evidence in her Instagram Stories, proving JLaw has a sense of humor about the whole thing 

It looks like Lawrence got confused about what was happening on The Handmaid's Tale and needed Schumer's help ASAP, as apparently not understanding a TV plot constitutes "an emergency" in their friendship. (We totally understand).

"Amy!!! What did she do on season 1 to deserve being in the gallows on season 2? I can't remember where I left off. Are you asleep bc of the baby??? Are you asleep before 11? Is this bc of the baby? Don't make me resent the baby."

When Schumer didn't text back instantly, Lawrence took it to a whole other level.

She continues: "Wow, Ur really asleep before 11. I'll be damned."

"Everybody keeping their cool about me having a baby," Schumer captioned a screenshot of the text exchange.

The thing is, people do freak out a big when someone close to them has a baby. It happens, but it doesn't have to ruin a friendship (although maybe chill on the late night texts).

People do change, but relationships can evolve, too.

When people have babies pretty much everything in their life shifts. Priorities, free time, and even what you like to do for fun changes (as Schumer noted on Instagram she actually has a hard time watching The Handmaid's Tale now that she's a mom due to the heavy content—and that happens to a lot of parents as Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety mentions in the latest episode of The Motherly Podcast, Sponsored by Prudential).

But that doesn't mean that someone who doesn't have a baby and someone who does don't have anything in common anymore.

Parents are still people, and we are still the people we were before we had kids. Friendships can endure, and it is beautiful when they do.

According to therapist Rachel Bowers, some moms feel most connected to their pre-mom selves then hang with friends who aren't parents. It's good for us!

Friendships can survive and thrive after motherhood 

Bowers says many moms preemptively assume their friends without kids won't want to chill anymore but that isn't always true. "They may be worried about inviting you places and making you feel disappointed when you can't come or even not wanting to 'bother' you since you have a new baby," says Bowers, but as mom of three Colleen Temple wrote for Motherly, moms often crave those invites from child-free friends and having to say no is better than not getting the invite at all.

It's a complicated situation, but Bowers suggests open communication can make a huge difference. If you're the Amy Schumer, tell your JLaw that you appreciate the text, and if you're not getting them, tell her that her friendship is still important to you even though you have a baby now. And if it doesn't work out, know that that doesn't mean you're not worthy of friendship/

"It's important to remember that some friendships just won't make the transition, and that is okay," says Bowers.

Sometimes parenthood makes us drift apart from some people, but if you prioritize relationships that are important to you it totally doesn't have to. Having some girls time away from the baby is good for mamas, so Schumer should go have a movie night with JLaw (but maybe watch something that hurts a mama heart less than The Handmaid's Tale?.)

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News

She's goop's Chief Content Officer and co-hosts the goop podcast with Gwenyth Paltrow. Elise Loehnen has been a driving force in changing the cultural conversation about women's health and wellness through a female-founded company that is 80% women.

She's also a mother of two, and in the second episode of the second season of The Motherly Podcast, Sponsored by Prudential, Loehnen tells Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety that even though paid family leave is desperately needed in America, it isn't a silver bullet to fix the problems parents are facing today. To Loehnen, the solution to helping women balance work, motherhood and their health isn't taking them out of the workforce for extended periods of time, but rather creating a culture that allows people to be employees and parents at the same time.

"I just want ongoing flexibility and the ability to manage my own time and work autonomously and know that I'm gonna be able to deliver as best as I can against all of the various demands. But I can only really do that when I feel like I have power and autonomy in my own life," she explains.

Changing the way the workplace sees mothers 

As Loehnen tells it, part of the culture at goop is to model a way that women can be mothers and leaders. She is doing that by admitting that the balance shifts daily in a parent's life, and sometimes it's not perfect.

"You're never gonna show up for work every day, because there are gonna be times when you're gonna need to be home with your sick child. And likewise, you're not gonna be at every school event."

For many parents, priorities shift on a daily basis. No one can be in two places at once, but Loehnen suggests that if employers want to hire people who know how to multitask and maximize their efficiency, moms make for good hires. "The amount that I can accomplish in 20 minutes stuns me," she tells Tenety.

Changing the way medical professionals see mothers 

Loehnen is changing the way mothers are seen at work, but she wants those who work with mothers to change the way they see us, too.

"I think we need to do a much better job of supporting women physically after childbirth," she says, explaining that "other countries leave us in the dust in terms of other women rebuilding their pelvic floor health [and] making sure their nutrients are back in order."

We know that many new moms in America are putting their own health last, and often feel invisible, even at the doctor's office. This leads to stress, burnout and all kinds of poor outcomes for moms, babies and families.

"You have to go in and complain and complain and complain and mothers don't have time to do that, so I think we need a reclaim and rebuild of health for women after having babies," Loehnen explains.

Loehnen is changing the way this country sees mothers and how we see ourselves, and she's proving that taking a holistic view and seeing us as people, not reducing us to our job titles or single body parts is vital. It's time to look at mothers as a whole because we have so much to contribute.

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To hear more about Reshma Saujani and being brave but not perfect, listen to The Motherly Podcast, sponsored by Prudential, for the full interview.

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