Babies and Tots

From newborns and babies to toddlers and tots, these articles help you navigate and find encouragement during pregnancy and the early years of motherhood.

Dear Stay At Home Mom: I Want You To Know These 8 Things

Dear Stay At Home Mom: I Want You to Know These 8 Things

Dear Stay-at-Home Mom, If you had told me 10 years ago that I would end up being a stay at home mom who home-schooled her children, I would have straight up punched you in the throat—then laughed. Then probably punched you again. I’m only telling you this to give you a better idea of your author. I didn’t plan on this role, but I didn’t plan on marriage or children either, and I had no idea how much they would turn my life and my heart upside down—for the better! Maybe this was always your dream, or maybe you fell into this role as I did. Regardless, if you’re a SAHM, you probably need some encouragement and, most likely, some sanity today. […]

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8 Children’s Books That Will Make You Laugh and Cry

During my one-year reign as an elementary school library assistant, I learned a lot about children. And books. And, of course, children’s books. I was always charmed when they tittered up to check their books out, bouncing with excitement as they mustered up all their strength to heave the books onto the counter with gusto. As I entered their information into the computer, they gleefully tapped their hands on the covers of the books and earnestly explained why they were excited about these particular choices. “My sister read this one, and it was sooo cute!” “This dog looks just like my dog at home. He’s brown with black spots, too.” “Ms. Bolen read this one on the morning news, and it was

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5 Ways to Make Parenting Your Strong-Willed Child Easier

5 Ways to Make Parenting Your Strong-Willed Child Easier

Friends, I like to think that I have a black belt in strong-willed child parenting. My oldest child is one for the record books. He’s loving, he’s kind, and he’s a joy to be around. Unless he’s ready to lock horns, at which point all bets are off and it’s game on. Parenting him has been a joy and a challenge. And after doing life with him for the past 10 years, I feel like I know at least a thing or two about how to handle him and maintain a relative amount of peace in our household. I have even managed to keep my own sanity, which as you may know is no small feat when you have a headstrong child.

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5 Things to Do If You're Struggling With Breastfeeding

5 Things to Do If You’re Struggling With Breastfeeding

Engorgement and cluster feeding and sore nipples, oh my! Plugged ducts and milk blebs and bad latches, double oh my! I’ll take the lions and tigers and bears any day, thank you! Breastfeeding is the hardest job nobody told you about. It’s one of the most natural things our female bodies can do, yet it definitely does not come naturally. I’ve heard on more than one occasion from moms who would rather repeat the pains of childbirth to never have to breastfeed again. Yep, sounds like this nursing gig is no walk in the park. When I gave birth to my daughter, I struggled with getting a proper latch, which made breastfeeding very painful for the first few weeks. I also dealt

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Here’s How to Help Your Kids Fight a Cold Naturally and Quickly

Here’s How to Help Your Kids Fight a Cold Naturally and Quickly

Oh no… The dreaded sneeze, sniffle, or fever has made its first appearance. Immediately your mama’s mind fills with questions: Are they getting sick? What kind of sick is it? Where did they get it? Did we expose anyone else? Are their siblings acting sick? Can I keep them from getting it? Can I avoid getting it? Do I need to cancel our upcoming plans? How long will we be quarantined? How can I help my kids fight a cold? And then, the most important question that we will cover today: What can I do to help kids fight a cold naturally and cure it quickly? I’m not a doctor, but I will say that over the course of the last seven

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This Is How Toy Rotation Saves Your Time and Sanity

This Is How Toy Rotation Saves Your Time and Sanity

Have you heard of toy rotation? Ever consider giving it a go? We think it is a great way to help you and your family make time together! What is toy rotation? Put simply, toy rotation is when you replace your kids’ toys on a scheduled plan. For example, you may switch out the toys every two weeks. To some, this may seem a little bizarre. But trust us. There’s a method to the madness! How can toy rotation save your sanity? Can swapping toys out make that much difference? It certainly can! As parents, we all know how frustrating it is to spend time tidying up after our kids constantly. If you think about it, the more toys kids access, the

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newborn baby attached to mother's chest in a blue sling, one of the joys of being a new mom

The Joy Series: The Unexpected Joys of Being A New Mom

I am not going to lie, I did not have motherhood on my life’s radar. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t until a couple of my closest girlfriends, feminists, and boss babes in their own right had their babies that I thought, “Maybe I should have a kid too.” “Should we try to have a kid?” I asked my husband, jokingly. We had no idea how our lives would change by meeting our little boy within the following year, but I can’t deny I was surprised by the joys of being a new mom. It isn’t easy and can be exhausting, but don’t let social media fool you: Being a new mom is not all hard, not all struggling,

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Moms-Be-Sure-to-Make-Memories-That-Will-Last-a-Lifetime

Mom, Be Sure to Make Memories That Will Last a Lifetime

I recently traveled through Northeastern Georgia as we headed to the mountains of North Carolina. We have the privilege of enjoying the autumn in the tranquil and beautiful land between the Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Observing the burst of color in the month of October leaves one in awe of the beauty of creation. While heading to our final destination, we spotted a Fruit Stand – Corn Maze – Hayride – Bakery – Ice Cream Store and Pumpkin Patch. Yes, these were all there in one location. With fare like this, we had to stop and see which of these we couldn’t live without. Parking in an absolutely full lot, alongside another load of pumpkins being delivered from the

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woman sitting on couch breastfeeding her baby

Postpartum Weight Loss While Breastfeeding—Achieving the Impossible

I thought I’d prepared for every scenario of having a newborn—almost. Enter breastfeeding. There was nothing natural, sweet, or easy about the breastfeeding learning curve I faced. I consoled myself through weeks of clogged ducts, antibiotics for mastitis, and flow worries with two thoughts: my baby’s brain and immune system will benefit from this, and I’ll lose postpartum weight faster burning so many calories. Yet, only one of those assumptions was true! Contrary to all I’d heard and read, I learned quickly breastfeeding doesn’t necessarily make you lose weight. As a mom approaching her baby’s first birthday with a few pounds to go, I’m here with a dose of perspective about the postpartum weight loss journey while breastfeeding. First, let me add

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On Life and Childhood Cancer, From a Pediatric Oncology Nurse

After her morning coffee, some cuddles with her gorgeous Weimaraners, and a little bit of knitting (she’s admittedly a grandma trapped in a millennial’s body), Amanda heads to work ready to bring light and comfort to her tiniest of patients as they fight cancer. You may not know, but September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Perhaps you’ve seen the phrase “Fight like a kid” on a t-shirt or social media post recently and wondered what that’s about… it’s to bring awareness to the children who are battling for their lives. Some of us have never been around a child with cancer, but for others, this month hits close to home because of the fight they’ve shared in. The reality of this month

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Dear Mama, You Need to Break up With These 3 Things

Dear Mama, There’s no doubt about it: motherhood isn’t for sissies. As a mom, you are a leader. An advocate. A nurse. A teacher. A mediator. A friend. A vomit-cleaner, diaper-changer, and so much more. Your job requires a steady arsenal of qualities at your disposal: resiliency; stamina; wisdom; grace; compassion; laughter; and, again, so much more. What you don’t need, though, is that inner lethal voice that criticizes you or downright shames you. It’s the voice that tells you that you’re messing up the little lives in your care or that you’re simply not cut out for the job of motherhood. Sometimes, it whispers quietly, and you briefly forget it even exists. On other days, the bully voice screams louder than

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Why These Dads Make Strong Kids

Why This Kind of Dad Makes a Strong Kid

My husband and I were watching a singing competition the other night, and I noticed an interesting trend during the competitors’ interviews. Time after time, the contestants made similar claims. The reason they were standing there, taking a televised risk, was because of their father or father figure. For most, the influence of a positive male role model made a difference in their lives. It’s what made them a strong kid, promoting an overall confidence and a healthy self-esteem. The kind of confidence you need to pursue big dreams. This observation sparked a new curiosity within me. Why do fathers make such an impact? What is it about a dad’s role, specifically, that seems to almost make or break a child? While Grit

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When You Don't Feel Blessed as a Mother

When You Don’t Feel Blessed as a Mother

Have you ever had those days where you feel like everything is working out? You slept well the night before. You woke up before your kids and actually got a hot cup of coffee down. Your hair falls exactly the right way and your favorite Cracker Barrel t-shirt is wearing just right (okay, that last one might be all me). But it’s amazing, right? I know those days are few and far between but aren’t they glorious? Of course they are! Those are the type of days when people without kids start to fantasize about what it would be like, saying things like, “Wouldn’t it be nice to start a family? Let’s have one boy and one girl, exactly 18 months apart

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Here’s to Strong Men, and Here’s How to Raise One

Here’s to Strong Men, and How to Raise One

As a mom of four boys, I am thinking of the attack on manhood lately. It seems like I know a lot of great women and not too many great, strong men. I guess it depends on what your definition of a great man is, but I think most of us can agree on what it is not. Unfortunately, due to cultural influences and the time period we live in, I believe there is a rise in the number of passive, lazy, and entitled “boys who can shave.” Men who still live in their parents’ basements playing video games for as long as possible, thus putting off such beautiful privileges such as marriage, children, and jobs where they will grow and succeed.

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How to Wait With Grace During the Adoption Process 2 WP

How to Wait With Grace During the Adoption Process

Oh my goodness, it’s with tremendous humility that I write about adoption. To me, there is no greater honor than to have been chosen to adopt each of my babies. If you had asked me 10 years ago if I would ever be giving insight or even be passionate about such a precious gift, I would have very enthusiastically said, “Never!” I have to confess that I love my comfort zones. It’s something I’ve always struggled with—making sure I adjust, adapt, and prepare in order to be comfortable. I thought that if something was “hard” then I must not be doing it right. This really started after my mom passed away. I began to take every relationship and situation in my life

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How to Raise Strong, Confident Daughters With Darlene Brock

In episode 63, These Strategies Will Help You Raise Great Kids, of our podcast, This Grit and Grace Life, Darlene Brock, co-founder and president of The Grit and Grace Project, shares some of her own parenting experiences and snippets of wisdom from her new book, Raising Great Girls. Having raised two caring and successful daughters of her own, Darlene penned her book in the hopes of encouraging other moms to push past the difficulties that often come with cultivating young ladies (or young men!). In Raising Great Girls, Darlene outlines various job descriptions, like Creative Counselor and Coach, that a parent must assume in order to mold a balanced daughter. She breaks down three of these job titles within the podcast and

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Who's the boss

Who’s the Boss? 5 Ways to Be the One in Charge

Whether you have a two-year-old or a 10-year-old there are some days you may wonder who is in charge. It certainly doesn’t feel like it’s you. You won’t win every battle nor should you expect to.  You can’t put it upon yourself to effectively crack the whip, so to speak, impeccably correcting each and every transgression any child is capable of. But there are a few absolutes you need to incorporate into your life just to keep peace on the home front, guide your kids toward acceptable behavior, and some days, to simply maintain your sanity. 1. Know your child. There may come a time when you find your child disassembling the new toy that you spent an hour on just successfully

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