To the mom who is spread way too thin—it's time to start saying ‘no’

You—and your kids—will be happier for it.

To the mom who is spread way too thin—it's time to start saying ‘no’

A couple of months ago, my husband left for a week long work trip and simply put—it broke me. It wasn't the first time he had to go away for work, and there wasn't anything extraordinary about the week's events really. In all honesty, I can't even tell you the exact moment that I felt I lost it. It just happened. Somewhere in between juggling my three young children—their daycare and school schedules, plus my full-time job—something inside me snapped.

I'll spare you the details but I will tell you this—in my six plus years as a mom, it was definitely one of my lowest moments.


I've always wanted to be a mother. Ask my 10-year-old self how many kids I wanted when I grew up, and you would have heard me say at least six. Having and raising babies has always been something that I knew I would love. And I do. More than anything else in this world. My children are, by far, the very best thing I've ever done.

But at one point during that difficult week while my husband was away, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror—in the midst of screaming at my oldest son—and I didn't even recognize myself.

Was this the same little girl who dreamed of having six babies? The same mama who knew that there was no greater privilege in this world than raising children? What brought me to this breaking point?

I'm a big believer in being authentic, and that includes sometimes losing my cool in front of my kids. I think that one of the most important things I can do for my children is be real with them. They need to see me tread through difficult times and to hear me speak my truths—even the ugly ones. I have to teach them that it's okay to have bad days and big emotions.

But you know what? I'm learning that there's a difference. A difference between losing my temper every once in awhile and taking my own issues out on my children.

My kids need for me to be real, but they don't need for me to be a bully. And that's exactly what I saw that day, a few months ago, when I caught a glimpse of the ugliness in the mirror: I was being a bully. And it scared me to death.

After a lot of self-reflection and countless sleepless nights, I came to the conclusion that I was stuck. Stuck in a paralyzing space where there was simply not enough time in the day and not enough of me to go around. I was being pulled in so many different directions and was so focused on trying to appease the outsiders: my co-workers, other parents, friends—that I simply had nothing left to give at the end of the day.

I was giving everyone else the best version of myself and my children got whatever remained.

The thing is, mothers are the ultimate multitaskers. It's part of the job. In a single day, we can accomplish what others can only dream of. We run on little sleep. We remember the small stuff. We can simultaneously soothe a crying baby, wipe a toddler's snotty nose and stir the spaghetti sauce. We are the glue that holds our families together. We manage the impossible.

Now my problem wasn't that I couldn't multitask, it was that I couldn't stop multitasking. I just couldn't seem to refrain from the temptation of saying "yes". I'm a people-pleaser, an overachiever—I always have been.

You know, the ones who can balance an unbelievably full plate without letting anything drop? Well, after having children, I just assumed I could continue with that lifestyle. Juggling was just what I did. It was part of my core identity. Needless to say, after I popped out my three babies, I went back to work and quickly became the queen of overcommitment. I said "yes" to work trips, countless volunteer positions, half marathon training—you name it.

My friends and co-workers always commented on how "together" I was. Like the outsiders, I convinced myself I was managing just fine, too. Until that one evening when I broke. When my reflection in the mirror proved otherwise.

So here's the thing. There is a line. A definite point in which you max out and spread yourself too thin. And that's when things start to unravel. If you're anything like me, then you know how it plays out… hey tell you to jump and you ask, "how high?" You over-commit. You pick up the slack. You give and give and give—until there is nothing left.

But what if we didn't allow ourselves to get to that point?

What if instead of saying "yes," we set boundaries and said "no"?

What if we stopped expending energy on the people that don't really matter?

What if we stopped caring what others think of us?

What if we chose to use our time more wisely?

What if we only gave our time to those who filled our tank, rather than those who depleted it?

What if we re-prioritized our life and cared more about how our family experienced us, instead of how "together" the rest of the world thinks we are?

I've started to take inventory of my time. Then I started walking away from things— from my volunteer positions and from the toxic people and things that drained my energy. I set boundaries. I said "no."

And I started making time for things that I love—running, coffee dates with friends, writing, and time with my babies. I've started to finally believe that it's okay to say "no" to others, so that I can say "yes" to my family. It's okay to shift my priorities and focus on motherhood. Because raising my kids is important. And how they experience me matters.

If there is one universal experience that I have encountered during my short time as a mother, it's that we are never alone. There are always other mamas walking alongside you in the trenches.

So to the mama who is spread too thin—I feel you.

To the mama who is up until midnight with guilt because of the interactions of the day—you are not alone.

To the mama who is trying SO HARD to be better—I am, too.

Keep your chin up. Just keep doing your best and try to remember that kids have an amazing ability to sense your honest effort, and they are also quick to forgive.

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These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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

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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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We're only a few months into the new year and there are already some new celebrity arrivals making headlines while making their new parents proud.

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