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Brandon Stanton’s incredibly popular ‘Humans of New York’ photography project has been inspiring and entertaining readers for years, with its intimate look at the lives of all the people that pass through the city. Through on-the-street interviews with New Yorkers, Stanton has captured an incredible cross-section of human existence all within New York City, allowing his audience to share heartache and celebrate the joy of his subjects and their lives. Over the years, the power and strength of mothers has come up time and time again, so we’ve collected a few of our favorites to share.


1. This girl. Future OB?

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“What do you want to be when you grow up?””A doctor and a mommy.”
Posted by Humans of New York on Saturday, May 30, 2015

2. This mom who knew when to play hooky.

“I hope to be as selfless as my mother. My father died when I was seven months old. She had to raise five kids on her...
Posted by Humans of New York on Wednesday, May 6, 2015

3. This foster mom, who knows love is what makes a family

“After my mother died, the four of us bounced around in foster care. Luckily we were all able to stay together. After...
Posted by Humans of New York on Wednesday, April 29, 2015

4. This mama who knew just what she was doing

“My mother used to make all my clothes. I never wore pants as a child. My mom would make me poodle skirts in all my...
Posted by Humans of New York on Monday, April 6, 2015

5. This mother who loved so fiercely

“Our mother was American and our dad was from Ivory Coast. From the ages of two to five, we went to live with my father...
Posted by Humans of New York on Saturday, May 9, 2015

6. This remarkable single mother

“Who has influenced you the most in your life?”“My mother. She had me when she was 18 years old, and my father left...
Posted by Humans of New York on Friday, February 6, 2015

7. This rockstar of a mother

“My nickname is Mother Rockstar.””Why’s that?””Well I never knew my mother growing up, so I was always afraid that I wouldn’t be a good mother myself. But my son always told me that I was a rockstar.”
Posted by Humans of New York on Saturday, August 3, 2013

8. This mid-life crisis gone right

“My mom’s a single mother. She adopted me when she was 40. She always tells me that she had a mid-life crisis, and she...
Posted by Humans of New York on Monday, April 13, 2015

9. This gorgeous mother

“My father’s back in the Dominican Republic, so my mother’s had to raise my brother and me on her own. She works as a...
Posted by Humans of New York on Friday, December 19, 2014

10. This mother who knows life’s little sweetness

“What’s your favorite thing about your mother?””She loves life more than anyone I’ve ever known. I hope she doesn’t...
Posted by Humans of New York on Saturday, June 28, 2014

11. This strength of this mama—and the son she raised

“My happiest moments are whenever I see my mother happy.”“What’s the happiest you’ve ever seen her?”“When I was a...
Posted by Humans of New York on Thursday, August 7, 2014

12. This hard-working mother

“They make it tough for working mothers. I don’t know why they have to schedule all of this stuff during the day. My...
Posted by Humans of New York on Friday, May 8, 2015

13. This mama’s love story

“My father came from Nicaragua and got a job as a construction worker. My mother immigrated from Puerto Rico and got a...
Posted by Humans of New York on Friday, November 7, 2014

14. This mama who “always flew straight”

“What was the saddest moment of your life?””When my mother died.””What was your mother’s best quality?””How do you...
Posted by Humans of New York on Saturday, September 28, 2013

15. This mom who knows the key to life’s little joys

“My mom found this key on the street. It opens a special lock in the Universe that holds extra superpowers.”
Posted by Humans of New York on Monday, April 20, 2015

16. This wise mother and her smart kids

“What’s your favorite thing about your mom?””She’s smart.”
Posted by Humans of New York on Wednesday, May 21, 2014

17. This mama who knew that dressing little humans is one of life’s great joys

“My mom started dressing me in suits when I was a baby.”
Posted by Humans of New York on Wednesday, April 29, 2015

18. This mom, who showed that “moms can be fathers too, when they need to be.”

“I never knew my father. But my mom bought me my first muscle car when I was 14.”
Posted by Humans of New York on Saturday, March 22, 2014

19. This GREAT mother

“My mom grew up in a poor village in Nigeria. Her parents sent her to live with her aunt, who basically treated her...
Posted by Humans of New York on Friday, April 10, 2015

20. The depths of this mama’s love

“When I told my mom that I was going to rehab, she was about to catch a flight to her 40th High School Reunion. I told...
Posted by Humans of New York on Saturday, June 21, 2014

21. This stunning mama

“What’s your favorite thing about your mom?””She’s beautiful.”
Posted by Humans of New York on Friday, January 3, 2014

22. This amazing mother, who’s already accomplished so much

“She had me when she was a teenager. So this is her accomplishment as much as mine.”
Posted by Humans of New York on Thursday, May 28, 2015

23. This selfless mother

“I constantly worry if I’m doing OK with my boys. I spent the entire weekend with headphones on, working on a paper for...
Posted by Humans of New York on Monday, December 8, 2014

24. This great mom

“There are days when I can be great at my job and there are days when I can be a great mom. I’m trying to have as many...
Posted by Humans of New York on Saturday, May 23, 2015

25. This mother, who gets that the laundry. Struggle. Is. REAL.

“I thought having kids would magically transform me into a mother, who had no problem doing laundry, or cooking, or keeping house. But I ended up still being me, just with children now.”
Posted by Humans of New York on Sunday, February 8, 2015

26. This mother, who knows who she is

“I’m trying to raise three children and not lose who I am. I used to be a fashion buyer, and I got a lot of...
Posted by Humans of New York on Sunday, May 17, 2015

27. This glowing mama-to-be

“Today’s the due date. I gained more weight during the pregnancy than she did. Seriously, I gained 40 pounds.”
Posted by Humans of New York on Tuesday, December 30, 2014

28. This miraculous mama

“I’d had five operations on my uterus, and after the last one, the doctor sat me down and told me that I would never...
Posted by Humans of New York on Saturday, September 27, 2014

29. This mother, who’s going to get her dream wedding

“I got pregnant when I was 19.””Is the dad still in the picture?””Yes. He’s actually so in the picture that he’s...
Posted by Humans of New York on Sunday, November 17, 2013

30. This inspiring —COLLEGE-EDUCATED— mother

“I had a child when I was sixteen. I got kicked out of high school because of all the absences. My family and...
Posted by Humans of New York on Monday, June 30, 2014

31. This mama, who did it her way

“He was a home birth. I worked at an Ivorian refugee camp in Liberia, and witnessed a lot of women give birth in tents. I thought: ‘If they can do it in a tent, then I can certainly do it in my home.’”
Posted by Humans of New York on Sunday, December 22, 2013

32. This mama, who’s got her work cut out for her (so do we!)

“What’s the scariest part about having a child?””He doesn’t think he can get hurt.”
Posted by Humans of New York on Tuesday, January 14, 2014

33. This little mama, who already gets it

“What do you want to be when you grow up?””A mom.””What’s going to be the hardest part about being a mom?””Bath time.”
Posted by Humans of New York on Sunday, May 11, 2014

34. And this mama, who’s still got it

“This better not be for a porno. I stopped doing those.””OK, Mother. That’s enough.”
Posted by Humans of New York on Saturday, March 7, 2015

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As a mid-Spring holiday, we never knew exactly what to expect from the weather on Easter when I was growing up in Michigan: Would we get to wear our new Sunday dresses without coats? Or would we be hunting for eggs while wearing snowsuits?

Although what the temperature had in store was really anyone's guess, there were a few special traditions my sister and I could always depend on—and it won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that my favorite memories revolved around food. After all, experts say memories are strongest when they tie senses together, which certainly seems to be true when it comes to holiday meals that involve the sounds of laughter and the taste of amazing food.

Now that I'm a parent, I'm experiencing Easter anew as my children discover the small delights of chocolate, pre-church brunch and a multi-generational dinner. While I still look forward to the treats and feasting, I'm realizing now that the sweetest thing of all is how these traditions bring our family together around one table.

For us, the build-up to Easter eats is an extended event. Last year's prep work began weeks in advance when my 3-year-old and I sat down to plan the brunch menu, which involved the interesting suggestion of "green eggs and ham." When the big morning rolled around, his eyes grew to the size of Easter eggs out of pure joy when the dish was placed on the table.

This year, rather than letting the day come and go in a flash, we are creating traditions that span weeks and allow even the littlest members of the family to feel involved.

Still, as much as I love enlisting my children's help, I also relish the opportunity to create some magic of my own with their Easter baskets—even if the Easter Bunny gets the credit. This year, I'm excited to really personalize the baskets by getting an "adoptable" plush unicorn for my daughter and the Kinder Chocolate Mini Eggs that my son hasn't stopped talking about since seeing at the store. (You can bet this mama is stocking up on some for herself, too.)

At the same time, Easter as a parent has opened my eyes to how much effort can be required...

There is the selection of the right Easter outfits for picture-perfect moments.

There is the styling of custom Easter baskets.

There is the filling of plastic eggs and strategic placement of them throughout the yard.

But when the cameras are put away and we all join together around the table for the family dinner at the end of the day, I can finally take a deep breath and really enjoy—especially with the knowledge that doing the dishes is my husband's job.

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


Our Partners

Lizzie climbed up the playground stairs on all fours, walked across the small suspension bridge and slid down the big red slide at our neighborhood park. I followed just inches behind my 4-year-old daughter ready to catch her.

I had become her shadow by necessity. Her actions were often unpredictable and sometimes dangerous so my arms became her safety net. Her big brown eyes and unruly curly brown hair encapsulated her carefree spirit, and I adored her with a love I never thought myself capable of.

She walked over to the swings and stood there, stiff, her eyes glazed over. She didn't look to me for help. She didn't point, raise her arms up or ask me to place her in the swing. But I knew what she wanted—I sensed it.

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"Do you want to swing, Lizzie?" I asked in a gentle voice. She remained silent.

I didn't expect an answer, but I always asked in hopes today was the day she would choose to use her voice to form a word for the sake of communicating with me. I placed her in the swing anyway and pushed her to the exact height I knew she preferred.

A look of contentment came across her face and a giant smile curled her lips. She was in her happy place. This place was a place I wasn't allowed in—not yet anyway. She lived in an alternative universe inside her head, and after the park, we would spend the rest of the day inside using therapy techniques to pull her from this place into the real world. I missed my daughter and the connection we once had.

There were so many quirks I thought were hers alone, when in fact they were symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.

Here are five possible signs of autism parents should know about. If you notice something that concerns you, please reach out to your pediatrician.

1. Change in language

As a baby, Lizzie's language gradually changed from babbling to gibberish. "With typically developing language skills, infants will babble often as early as two to three months indicating first instances of intentional and social communication," says licensed clinical speech language pathologist Julie Liberman. "An early sign of autism may be seen in infants creating nonsense syllables without added social-communicative behaviors."

Lizzie lost her social-communicative sounds and began to mimic noises from her environment such as screeching sounds or sirens. She also developed a few sounds such as "diddle diddle" that she would repeat all day long. The transition was subtle and slow—enough that at first I didn't recognize that it was happening. .

2. Sensory processing issues

"Sensory processing is how our brain and body organize and respond to sensory information. Issues develop when we are over or under-responsive to sensory information which impacts the body's ability to organize it, or modulate it and so responses range outside of typical parameters and dysregulation is observed," writes licensed occupational therapist Rachel Wolverton.

Lizzie walked on her tiptoes, flapped her arms when she was excited and ran full speed into the couch cushions over and over again. Many toddlers do similar behaviors, and we thought she was just being quirky and adorable. As part of her diagnosis, though, we came to understand that these repeated behaviors were signals that her processing was under-stimulated. She needed these movements to help her body and brain function. This also works the opposite way, too. Many kids are over-sensitive to lights, sounds and/or touch, so they become easily overstimulated. They might cover their ears, melt down when clothes are put on their bodies or withdraw from crowds.

3. Lack of response to name

Lizzie displayed what I call "selective hearing." I would stand in front of her, saying her name with a raised voice and she wouldn't respond or look up. She appeared to be deaf, but as soon as the theme song from her favorite Dora the Explorer TV show came on, she would run from the other room to watch.

As autistic teen advocate Matteo Musso explains, "Because we hear your voice so much, we don't usually respond to our name. It's that you say our name the same way all the time. A TV is more auditorily complex. One-word, same voice, can get lost in our thoughts and in our brain."

4. Repetitive behavior

My daughter began lining up her toys by color and her green peas at the dinner table. We thought she was brilliant! She is brilliant, but as it turns out, not because of her repetitive behavior.

While many children love repetition—as any parent who's got their child's favorite bedtime story memorized knows—what I learned is that the kind of repetitive behavior we saw in Lizzie is one of the core symptoms of autism.

"Individuals with autism typically find much comfort in repetitive behaviors, giving them a sense of control over their environment in a quite unruly world," says Dr. Caroline W. Ford, clinical psychologist and director of the Fairhill School and Diagnostic Assessment Center in Dallas. As she explains, autistic children experience real difficulty when their repetitive behaviors are interrupted: "When asked to change or alter the repetitive behavior, many autistic children become overly anxious."

5. Loss of connection

One of the most beautiful moments between mother and child is the first time her baby looks into her mom's eyes. It was in that moment with Lizzie, the connection formed was so strong I knew I would be willing to do anything for her.

Slowly over the course of months, she became more and more distant. She wandered around the house aimlessly and didn't seem to need me at all. As long as there was food and drink available, she was content to be all alone. It was hard to measure because it was a feeling, a distancing, a loss of connection. I second-guessed my feelings regularly. Mothers have a built-in intuition with their children, which should never be underestimated.

After my daughter's diagnosis with autism at the age of two, we researched and implemented a 30-hours-a-week home therapy program (although it's important to know that early intervention supports can also be found through community organizations and school systems—you don't have to do this alone). Now, I'm happy to say, Lizzie has made good progress, and I've found (and offered) support in the generous community of parents of autistic children like mine. I even started a non-profit, United in Autism, which partners with local charities to bring community-building, emotional-support events to special needs moms all over the country.

My daughter continues to be a source of joy and amazement. Most importantly, I know now that my daughter and I are not alone—and we never were.

Learn + Play

Starting this weekend Target will be limiting the number of people allowed in its stores to give shoppers and staff more space to spread out and adhere to social distancing recommendations during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Beginning April 4, Target will actively monitor and, when needed, limit the total number of people inside based on the store's specific square footage," the company notes in a news release.

You'll also notice staff wearing gloves and masks over the next two weeks as the company steps up its coronavirus protection measures.

Many people are choosing to stay home and order groceries online, but that's not an option for everyone as long lines at some Target's prove.

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"We're incredibly proud of the commitment our more than 350,000 frontline team members have demonstrated to ensure millions of guests can count on Target, and we'll continue to focus our efforts on supporting them," says Target's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, John Mulligan.

Target is open this weekend but—along with Costco, Aldi, Publix and Trader Joe's—Target stores will be closed on Easter Sunday to give the essential employees in these stores a much-deserved break.

I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."

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According to attachment theory, when you respond to the needs of your child, a strong bond is formed and woven into their personality, serving as a basis for all future emotional ties. So your kids love and depend on you. And they can feel anxious when involuntarily separated from you, like when you are asleep.

Child psychologist Esther Cohen suggests that it is fairly universal that infants and toddlers try to open the eyes of their sleeping parents. Her theory is that when you are present, but with your eyes shut, you are not responsive, and on some level this causes your child a form of "emotional distress." So the best and easiest way for them to feel better is to wake you up.

Cohen believes that reestablishing eye contact bridges the gap between your physical presence and your emotional presence, making the situation feel normal again. Your kids are relieved that you are alert and there to interact with them—and that you are available to protect them.

Kids are hardwired to seek our attention all the time.

At birth, your brain is only about 25% of its adult volume. Born particularly vulnerable, you depend on years of loving care. This prolonged helplessness has resulted in the evolution of certain behaviors—like baby coos, smiles and crying—that increase your odds of survival within your family.

By the time you are a toddler, you've developed a sense of who you are and what you can do in relation to people and things. You also know that you are a separate person from your parents. Toddlers also have the sense of what's called object permanence—the ability to understand who or what is, or is not, present. That means you can search for objects and people. (And wake them up when you find them.)

Bottom line: When you sneak off for a nap and your toddler looks for you, know that this is a natural instinct for them, and they will grow out of it. But for now, when you are asleep, you are not there, so your kids must. wake. you. up.

And for an extra fun fact: Research indicates that this also could be why it's so hard for you to ignore your partner when working from home. They are there, but technically not available, so you

continually find reasons to interact with them—just like waking them up from a nap. 😉
Life

Navigating family dynamics during or after a divorce is already a tremendous challenge. Throw a highly transmittable virus and a global pandemic into the mix, and many parents will be left with more questions than answers. Matters of custody, financial stability and mental and emotional health take on new significance—and new challenges—under these circumstances. But you can do it, mama.

As a divorce attorney, I've worked with numerous families during these past weeks, in various stages of the divorce process, all of whom are learning to navigate and negotiate unfamiliar dynamics created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are my tips for co-parenting in the context of COVID-19.

1. Show children that you are calm.

Parents know better than anyone how perceptive children are. Even so, we often forget how our moods and anxieties can unintentionally affect our children. To keep the calm in the household, let children see things are under control: Ensure that potential disagreements with your co-parent are kept in conversations between the two of you (not in front of the kids), and give yourself time and space to manage your own stress and anxiety. Stressed children mean stressed parents—and the principle applies in reverse as well.

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2. Be transparent with your co-parent.

Communicate as openly and honestly as possible with your co-parent about yourself and your children. Keep your co-parent updated about you and your children's location, home education and health (physical and emotional). It is critical that, in the case of an emergency and in everyday life, both parents be fully aware and in sync regarding children's whereabouts and welfare. Transparency breeds trust; secrets breed mistrust and animosity.

3. Keep your rules.

Because this moment feels so uncertain and some of our regular norms have fallen by the wayside, there can be a tendency to let other household rules start to slide. Make sure everyone remembers their responsibilities within the family.

School might be at the kitchen table now, but having children make their beds, get dressed and brush their teeth in the morning helps maintain a sense of normalcy that can be helpful for children when things seem tumultuous. Maintain chore schedules, eat dinner together and continue to follow rituals and rules that remind children (and parents) of the responsibilities we have.

4. Consult your health care provider when disagreements arise.

If you disagree on social distancing measures, I usually advise both parents to telephone their child's pediatrician or health care provider and agree ahead of time to follow their advice. Parents can also consult the CDC measures and agree to follow those protocols. Educating your co-parent can be the most helpful thing to do now.

If you are divorced and work with a parenting coordinator, they may also be a helpful resource. If not, a third party, like a mutually trusted friend or relative can serve as an impartial mediator to help you come to a reasonable agreement.

5. Maintain boundaries.

For parents and children in this time, it is important to maintain a degree of personal space. Many of us have been directed to self-quarantine, and isolation is not easy. The nationwide efforts to keep us apart in order to contain the virus have put many of us in closer contact with those around us than we may be accustomed to.

Constant shared space and time can certainly introduce new stress into an already tense environment. While these small measures may not seem significant, taking time to yourself to be alone—even just in a separate room—can be healthy and good for group morale. Take a walk, do some yoga, whatever it looks like, take care of yourself as a parent right now.

Be flexible with your co-parent.

Flexibility, transparency and reasonableness need to be at the forefront of all decisions. Remember that this is an unprecedented situation, and it calls for flexibility, especially in scheduling.

Both sides need to be reasonable if someone becomes ill, of course. If your co-parent can't travel due to illness, then you need to be understanding about this issue and work with them to provide makeup time for the future. But the situation also calls for transparency by the parent who is sick. That parent should provide the information necessary to make the co-parent feel comfortable that they have appropriate resources and are taking proper precautions to keep children and adults safe and healthy.

Plan ahead.

While immediate concerns may be taking center stage right now, planning for the future has never been more crucial. Make time to sit down with your current or ex-spouse and take stock of your respective finances, your job security and your co-parenting schedule management as soon as possible, and create a plan (and a backup plan) for going forward. Though it may not be comfortable, transparency with your current or ex-spouse is essential.

Be smart, plan ahead and above all, stay safe.

Love + Village
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