Inspiration

This Magic Trick Can Completely Transform Your Relationship in a Single Day

This Magic Trick Can Completely Transform Your Relationship in a Single Day

I could tell you that I didn’t hear my husband come in the door, but that would be a lie.

The truth is that I did hear him fiddle with his keys, then pick up his computer bag with one hand and gym bag with the other, ultimately shoving the door open with his elbow.

I did hear it, though it would be understandable if I didn’t—what with the thunderous crashing of my preschooler’s Disney cars as they raced across our dining room floor, not to mention my toddler screaming “Mommy hold me!” on repeat as she clung to my leg while I seasoned the chicken breasts for dinner.

Even with all that noise and chaos, I did hear my husband come home from work. I heard him loud and clear.

But I did not budge from my spot at the stove. I did not turn my body or even just my head. I didn’t say a word either.

I simply pretended I hadn’t heard him come in.

Here’s the really crazy part of the story

It sounds like a passive aggressive move, doesn’t it? A really mean, manipulative thing to do. Is pretending not to hear our husbands walk in the door a regular thing wives do when our husbands are in big, big trouble?

If so, here’s the crazy part: There was no trouble. I wasn’t angry at him in the least; indeed, I was HAPPY that he was home. Inside I felt a surge of joy—joy mixed with relief that my solo parenting was over for the day.

So why did I not acknowledge his presence?  More →

This is the Last Chubby Summer

This is the Last Chubby Summer

Savoring the Summer With a ToddlerI’m sitting cross-legged on the grass in the middle of our half-acre backyard. There isn’t a foot of shade to be found, so I’m letting the sun beat down on me as I shield my eyes to watch my two kids run around our play set. 

Suddenly my two-year-old is barreling toward me, then she’s collapsing into the tiny spot between my crossed ankles. She’s all sweat and dirt and giggles.

I forget that we’re both sticky and gross in this summer heat and just wrap my arms around her little toddler body. My hands find a resting spot on her fleshy thighs, and I give them a loving squeeze. I inhale deeply and try to memorize the moment, but in an instant she’s up again and running across the yard and back to the play set. All I’m left with is the echo of her happy squeals, but I remain hyper-aware of the way her legs felt pressed up against my thumbs and forefingers. More →

5 Gifts Moms Must Start Giving Themselves

5 Gifts Moms Must Start Giving Themselves

5 Gifts Moms Must Start Giving ThemselvesDo you know how some people are just amazing gift givers?

I have one particular friend who always blows me away with her birthday and holiday gifts. They are always simple—never extravagant—and yet obviously chosen with such thoughtfulness and kindness.

And they are always so me. I am reminded again and again that she understands me in a way that others do not just be looking at the small tokens of our friendship she picks out for me.

She’s basically the Jack Donaghy of gift givers.

I, on the other hand, am not. When choosing a present for someone, I struggle and agonize and google gift lists all day long.

The only thing tougher than choosing a gift for someone else? Giving one to myself. More →

9 Things To Do When You’re Overwhelmed By Motherhood

9 Things To Do When You’re Overwhelmed By Motherhood

9 Things To Do When You're Overwhelmed By Motherhood“Honey, did you get more cookies at the grocery store?” I called to my husband as I rifled anxiously through the pantry. 

“No, I thought we just bought some,” he called back. 

Turns out, we had just bought some—but I had already polished them off in what was becoming a dangerous nightly ritual:

Step 1: Get the kids to bed. Rush them through their nightly routine to be done as quickly as possible.

Step 2: Fly down the stairs to the kitchen. 

Step 3: Eat all the cookies. (And scroll through my phone mindlessly while inhaling them.)

Fortunately—due to my history with emotional eating—it didn’t take me long to realize something was going on. That uncontrollable urge for more and more sweet stuff is always my first indicator that something is askew. 

I was overwhelmed by motherhood, and every night I crammed cookies into my mouth to try to deal with it. More →

Thoughtful Mother’s Day Gifts That’ll Bring Tears to Her Eyes

Thoughtful Mother’s Day Gifts That’ll Bring Tears to Her Eyes

Thank you to Lat & Lo for sponsoring this article.Thoughtful Mother's Day Gifts That'll Bring Tears to Her Eyes

Mother’s Day is one of those holidays that seems to carry a lot of weight. 

That’s probably because moms do so much, yet their contributions are frequently taken for granted. They’re the pillars of the family—holding everyone else up, keeping everyone else together—but too often their service and sacrifice is under appreciated. 

Which means that when Mother’s Day rolls around, the pressure is ON.

It’s important to get it right—especially if the words “thank you” have gone unsaid over the past year. If your gift is so thoughtful it actually makes her eyes well up? Well, then you have definitely gotten it right!

So whether you’re a partner who wants this Mother’s Day to be extra special for the mom of your children, or a mom yourself looking for unique ideas for your own mother (or perhaps a list of ideas to send your husband as a major hint!), there’s something here that’s sure to tug at the heartstrings.  More →

Tips for Celebrating Spring With Beautiful Family Portraits

Tips for Celebrating Spring With Beautiful Family Portraits

Thank you to Portrait Innovations for sponsoring this content. Celebrating Spring with Beautiful Family PortraitsLots of people consider spring their favorite season of the year, and understandably so. The emerging flowers, the warmer temps, and the longer days tend to leave us feeling bright and energized—ready for new beginnings and open to new possibilities.

All that excitement makes spring the perfect time to get some updated family photos. 

Last week I headed to my local Portrait Innovations studio for some spring-themed portraits of my two kids. Here’s how we made the most of our photo session—and how you can capture the joy of this season in your own family portraits. More →

Family-Friendly Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day—No Green Beer Required!

Family-Friendly Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day—No Green Beer Required!

This is a guest post written by Sarah Lockwood.

Family-Friendly Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day—No Green Beer Required!

Over the years, the cultural and religious celebration of St. Patrick’s Day has become closely associated with—you guessed it!—drinking alcohol. Indeed, St. Patrick’s Day is probably one of the drunkest days of the year in the United States (followed closely by the 4th of July).

Still, more and more people are choosing to abstain from alcohol during this long-celebrated holiday—because they or a loved on is in recovery, because they are celebrating in conjunction with their families and young children, or just because alcohol isn’t their thing.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to realize that the beer-soaked St. Patrick’s Day that many people know (and some people love) is mostly an American invention. In Ireland, the holiday is a bit more reserved, focusing more on friends, family, history, and food than on alcoholic beverages.

Indeed, St. Patrick’s Day is also known as the Feast of St. Patrick, and since its inception more than three centuries ago, the day has been a traditional feast day.

So if you’re looking for a way of celebrate that is both fun for the whole family and true to tradition, here are some tips for creating a special St. Patrick’s Day feast—while holding the booze. More →

Dear Mama, Do It Anyway

Dear Mama, Do It Anyway

One mom shares what it felt like to really stay present with her child, despite her unending to-do list.“Mommy rub Lily’s hair,” she said, almost matter-of-factly.

I had laid her down in her crib as usual, but tonight my 1-year-old wasn’t going right to sleep like she usually does.

Instead she popped back up and made her request in that achingly sweet voice only possessed by kids just learning to talk.

“Mommy rub Lily’s hair,” she said again, this time nodding her head yes, perhaps hoping I’d imitate her and nod yes as well.

“Would you like me to stroke your hair before you fall asleep?” I asked, although it was an unnecessary clarification.

“Yes! Yes!” she replied excitedly.

One mom shares what it felt like to truly stay present with her child, despite her unending to-do list.

Gently rubbing the back of her head, stroking the baby-fine hairs that reach only a little past the base of her neck, is something I’ve been doing more and more recently—but never as part of our bedtime routine. Yet she was requesting it now, with a clearness and specificity that made her seem much older than her 20 months.

I want to tell you that I immediately saw the moment for what it was: an opportunity to steal some extra cuddles with my baby-who-is-no-longer-a-baby.

But I did not. More →

Your 4-Step Guide to Becoming the Best Mom You Can Be

Your 4-Step Guide to Becoming the Best Mom You Can Be

This is a guest post from Aja Rutledge of She Takes Steps.

Your 4-Step Guide to Becoming the Best Mom You Can Be“Uh oh,” I heard my child say. As I looked over to see what sparked the comment, I saw the cup on its side and juice flowing from the table to the floor. My son was frozen as if he found out about the mannequin challenge and decided this was the time to record his own version.

The natural response would be to grab some paper towels, head over and engage my son in helping to clean it up. Instead, I felt a boiling up within me, something erupting in my throat.

And then it happened. I exploded.

“What did you do that for?! Why are you just standing there? Clean it up!” I started vigorously grabbing paper towels and headed to the accident location. As I sharply dropped to the floor to clean the mess I saw my son flinch, in fear, out of the corner of my eye.

That fear softened me, but I still vigorously cleaned up the mess as my child perfected his mannequin stance. Once done, I muttered some comments and headed to my room as shame took over, tears dripping down my face.

How did this happen? Why did I respond like that? It was JUST spilled juice, seriously not a big deal.

Sitting on the bed, ashamed, embarrassed, and actually afraid, it hit me: I was repeating what my mother did with me. I was once in my son’s shoes, a little kid stuck in fear trying to understand what I did and how to prevent having more rage turned on me.

Yet, here I was, repeating the pattern—the pattern I vowed never to repeat with my own child. More →

How to Make the Most of After-School Time With Your Kids

How to Make the Most of After-School Time With Your Kids

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Schreiber Foods, Inc. All opinions are entirely my own.

How to Make the Most of After-School Time With Your Kids

Even though my son is only in half-day preschool, I have already learned the power of the after-school hour.

That snippet of time between the end of the school day and the beginning of dinner or evening activities is a critical time for families who are able to be together then. It is a daily opportunity for us parents to reconnect and bond with our children, and a chance to set a positive tone for the remainder of the day.

But of course, thanks to too much homework, too tight schedules, and too much fatigue all around, it can also be a time of serious stress and frustration.

If your after-school time is feeling heavy on tension, demands, and strained conversation—and light on connection, family engagement, and energy—consider incorporating these three best practices into your after-school routine. More →

What Millennial Moms Understand About Self Care (That Other Moms Don’t)

What Millennial Moms Understand About Self Care (That Other Moms Don’t)

Last week I overheard some comments that made my heart hurt. They included:

“I can’t believe that mom gets a babysitter so she can go to the gym. Those poor children.”

“I know a mom who took an entire weekend away from her family so she could ‘rest.’ So selfish.”

“I can’t believe how many moms these days put themselves before their kids. It’s like, do you even love them???”

Here’s how I interpreted those comments: Self care = Bad. Moms who engage in self care = Bad moms.

What Millennial Moms Understand About Self-Care That Other Moms Don't

Although the comments were not explicitly directed at me, they still stung personally. They came at a time when I’m working hard to prioritize my physical, mental, and emotional health—for my own sake and that of my children and family—and I walked away feeling I’d been branded a terrible person for DARING to take care of myself. Naturally, then, my internal reaction was one of anger and defensiveness.

As I stewed over what I’d heard, I realized something important. The comments all had one critical thing in common: They were uttered not by moms of my generation, but by moms of the previous one.

When it comes to the topic of self-care, there is definitely a generational divide.

More →

I’m Raising My Daughter to be Beautiful—And You Should Too

I’m Raising My Daughter to be Beautiful—And You Should Too

“Oh, it happens all the time. A lot of girls do it,” my student stated, with a bit of a shrug.

The nods throughout the classroom told me that, yes, a lot of girls really are doing exactly what she described.

I was filled with sadness, but not surprise.

Parents, Let's Raise Our Daughters To Be Beautiful—Not Just "Pretty." An inspiring, positive parenting article that all parents of girls should read!

We were about four weeks in to my Intro to Women’s & Gender Studies course, discussing the unattainable standards our society imposes on feminine bodies. My student shared a trend I had not yet heard of in which girls post a photo or video of themselves online along with the simple question, Am I pretty or not?

Yes, you read that right: Girls are asking the INTERNET for validation of their physical appearance.

The internet, where the comments section is always deplorable, where plenty of strangers are willing to show their ugliest sides and use their cruelest words. Where it’s all too easy to forget that the person behind the screen is just that: a person.

Girls are requesting scrutiny of their bodies, their faces, and their hair—inviting thousands of strangers to offer opinions, criticism, and judgments of their attractiveness.

Like I said, sad but not surprising. More →