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You Don’t Need to Clean the Family Room Tonight – Promise!

Okay, listen. I know what it looks like over there…

The puzzle pieces snaking ominously under the couch; the two dozen stickers clustered in random patches on the hardwood floor; the throw blankets flung like felled opossums across the rug, smothering entire villages of Legos and tiny plastic things that go with other tiny plastic things but you can’t remember which goes with which and there aren’t containers anymore, if there ever were, so the floor has become the container.

You need to sit down and look away. I understand. You know what? Lie down! Don’t sit. Sitting is for people who might want to stand up later. That’s not you!

You don’t need to stand up again for a good while. You’ve had a day. I don’t know what kind of day, but I know you’ve had one, because your family room has been desecrated by however many beloved children you’ve birthed, and either you were home to witness it, or at work managing other messes.

Either way, you’re, what…12 hours in and your children aren’t asleep yet. You do not need to clean your family room tonight. You do not need to straighten up someone else’s mess right now.

Of course you’ll need to at some point. That’s what parenting is. Probably 40 to 60 percent of parenting on any given day is this – cleaning up after people to whom such work cannot be trusted. That’s parenting, and also adulthood, it turns out, when there are “children” in charge.

But you don’t have to think about that tonight! You can take tonight off precisely because you can’t take tomorrow off, or the next day, or the day after that, or probably any day for the rest of your life. But don’t worry about it right now.

You might not know this, but if you don’t clean up your family room tonight, guess what? Nothing will happen. Nothing bad will happen, and nothing good either. The room will just REMAIN MESSY. That’s all! There is no punishment for not cleaning your family room tonight. You can just go to a different room and avoid it. Or you can wade through it blindly and pretend it isn’t there.

Yes. You. Can. And you should.

While you’re at it, have an ice cream pop, the kind with chocolate and almonds on the outside. Fill up one of your living room bins (the contents of which is strewn across the floor) with hot water and put your feet into it. Sing “Cranes in the Sky” softly and earnestly to no one.

Sweep everything off the coffee table using only your calves. Stare up at your ceiling fan with the kind of wonder you normally reserve for your children being adorable or for the guy at the bagel store when he tells you they have NOT run out of pumpernickel everything bagels and you may have one, or even two, if you want!

Float past the detritus – clearly evidence of how freely and joyfully your progeny plays (or of your inability to rein the monsters in, but don’t think about that…not tonight!) – until you have arrived at your bed. There might be chocolate on your face, perhaps a Colorform on the sole of one foot, possibly the tiny wheel of a tiny broken car has gotten wedged between two toes, but, I ask you:

Don’t you feel lighter? Has shrugging off one small yet not insignificant responsibility eased your load tonight? Has it sent you toward sleep restored, renewed, refreshed by the burden you refused to bear?

Oh, no? You’re just thinking about how you have to pick it all up in the morning? And that’s stressing you out now, so you’re actually going to go back to the family room and just deal with it because, whatever, it’ll take five minutes, 10 tops, right? Maybe you’ll listen to a podcast while you do it?

Okay. That’s actually not a bad idea. Be there in a minute.

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When you become a parent for the first time, there is an undeniably steep learning curve. Add to that the struggle of sorting through fact and fiction when it comes to advice and—whew—it's enough to make you more tired than you already are with that newborn in the house.

Just like those childhood games of telephone when one statement would get twisted by the time it was told a dozen times, there are many parenting misconceptions that still tend to get traction. This is especially true with myths about bottle-feeding—something that the majority of parents will do during their baby's infancy, either exclusively or occasionally.

Here's what you really need to know about bottle-feeding facts versus fiction.

1. Myth: Babies are fine taking any bottle

Not all bottles are created equally. Many parents experience anxiety when it seems their infant rejects all bottles, which is especially nerve wracking if a breastfeeding mom is preparing to return to work. However, it's often a matter of giving the baby some time to warm up to the new feeding method, says Katie Ferraro, a registered dietician, infant feeding specialist and associate professor of nutrition at the University of California San Francisco graduate School of Nursing.

"For mothers returning to work, if you're breastfeeding but trying to transition to bottle[s], try to give yourself a two- to four-week trial window to experiment with bottle feeding," says Ferraro.

2. Myth: You either use breast milk or formula

So often, the question of whether a parent is using formula or breastfeeding is presented exclusively as one or the other. In reality, many babies are combo-fed—meaning they have formula sometimes, breast milk other times.

The advantage with mixed feeding is the babies still get the benefits of breast milk while parents can ensure the overall nutritional and caloric needs are met through formula, says Ferraro.

3. Myth: Cleaning bottles is a lot of work

For parents looking for simplification in their lives (meaning, all of us), cleaning bottles day after day can sound daunting. But, really, it doesn't require much more effort than you are already used to doing with the dishes each night: With bottles that are safe for the top rack of the dishwasher, cleaning them is as easy as letting the machine work for you.

For added confidence in the sanitization, Dr. Brown's offers an incredibly helpful microwavable steam sterilizer that effectively kills all household bacteria on up to four bottles at a time. (Not to mention it can also be used on pacifiers, sippy cups and more.)

4. Myth: Bottle-feeding causes colic

One of the leading theories on what causes colic is indigestion, which can be caused by baby getting air bubbles while bottle feeding. However, Dr. Brown's bottles are the only bottles in the market that are actually clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to an ingenious internal vent system that eliminates negative pressure and air bubbles.

5. Myth: Bottles are all you can use for the first year

By the time your baby is six months old (way to go!), they may be ready to begin using a sippy cup. Explains Ferraro, "Even though they don't need water or additional liquids at this point, it is a feeding milestone that helps promote independent eating and even speech development."

With a complete line of products to see you from newborn feeding to solo sippy cups, Dr. Brown's does its part to make these new transitions less daunting. And, for new parents, that truly is priceless.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Jessica Simpson celebrated her baby shower this weekend (after getting a cupping treatment for her very swollen pregnancy feet) and her theme and IG captions have fans thinking this was not just a shower, but a baby name announcement as well.

Simpson (who is expecting her third child with former NFL player Eric Johnson) captioned two photos of her shower as "💚 Birdie's Nest 💚". The photographs show Simpson and her family standing under a neon sign spelling out the same thing.

While Simpson didn't explicitly state that she was naming her child Birdie, the numerous references to the name in her shower photos and IG stories have the internet convinced that she's picking the same name Busy Philips chose for her now 10-year-old daughter.

The name Birdie isn't in the top 1000 baby names according to the Social Security Administration, but It has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, according to name nerds and trend watchers.

"Birdie feels like a sassy but sweet, down-to-earth yet unusual name," Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry told Town and Country back in 2017. "It's also just old enough to be right on time."

Simpson's older kids are called Maxwell and Ace, which both have a vintage feel, so if Birdie really is her choice, the three old-school names make a nice sibling set.

Whether Birdie is the official name or just a cute nickname Simpson is playing around with, we get the appeal and bet she can't wait for her little one to arrive (and her feet to go back to normal!)

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Mamas, if you hire a cleaning service to tackle the toddler fingerprints on your windows, or shop at the neighborhood grocery store even when the deals are better across town, don't feel guilty. A new study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School shows money buys happiness if it's used to give you more time. And that, in turn could be better for the whole family.

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As if we needed another reason to shop at Target, our favorite store is offering some great deals for mamas who need products for baby. Mom life can be expensive and we love any chance at saving a few bucks. If you need to stock up on baby care items, like diapers and wipes, now is the time.

Right now, if you spend $100 on select diapers, wipes, formula, you'll get a $20 gift card with pickup or Target Restock. Other purchases will get you $5 gift cards during this promotion:

  • $20 gift card when you spend $100 or more on select diapers, wipes, formula, and food items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select beauty care items
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select household essentials items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select Iams, Pedigree, Crave & Nutro dog and cat food or Fresh Step cat litter items using in store Order Pickup
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select feminine care items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock

All of these promotions will only run through 11:59 pm PT on Saturday, January 19, 2019 so make sure to stock up before they're gone!

Because the deals only apply to select products and certain colors, just be sure to read the fine print before checking out.

Target's website notes the "offer is valid using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock when available".

The gift cards will be delivered after you have picked up your order or your Target Restock order has shipped.

We won't tell anyone if you use those gift cards exclusively for yourself. 😉 So, get to shopping, mama!

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