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.

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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Simple Guidelines for Traveling With Kids and How to Enjoy It

Simple Guidelines for Traveling With Kids and How to Enjoy It

Let’s just get this out in the open: vacationing with children is a daunting affair to think about. There’s planning and packing and food and travel and lodging and food (because they always eat). Should you plan a lot of activities? Should you keep it simple? What is on the menu (because they always eat)? The stress of the process can make even the most seasoned travel mom want to fold and plan a staycation instead. The getaway becomes more like a chore you have to do rather than an enjoyable experience for everyone. But no matter if it’s your first trip or your fiftieth, I’ve got a few tried and true tips that will leave you anticipating your next vacation, not

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50+ Activities for Kids That Are Free or Really Cheap

50+ Activities for Kids That Are Free or Really Cheap

Does anyone else feel like they are spinning in circles in place this summer? Mamas, you feel me? This season is bringing out the grit and grace in me more than ever. As a mom of a 5-year-old boy, we have done coloring, LEGOs, and screen time. We’ve read books, run in literal circles, and I’ve found myself needing more ideas. So, I set out on a mission to search the inter-web, rack my brain, and ask friends for some assistance. To save you all this research, below are 50-plus ideas to keep the kiddos entertained (they might also learn a thing or two!). Good for most any age (very little assembly required!): 1. Make photo books online and look out for

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How Can I Overcome Destructive Anger and Burnout in Motherhood?

How Do I Overcome Destructive Anger and Burnout in Motherhood? with Natalie Hixson – 201

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music | Android | Email | TuneIn | RSS | MoreNobody says motherhood is easy—sometimes it can be downright challenging. And when those moments pop-up, your first reaction may be anger, which is normal. But destructive anger and burnout in motherhood? Not normal, and not healthy. Certified professional life coach Natalie Hixson joins Darlene Brock and Julie Bender this week to discuss how moms who are dealing with chronic anger and burnout can seek healthier means of expression and actually enjoy their motherhood journeys. Several years ago, when screaming and slamming doors didn’t stop her toddler’s tantrums, Natalie brought her daughter to a therapist. It was there she realized that the problem was with her,

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You Need to Know This Before Having a Baby

You Need to Know This Before Having a Baby

Over the last year and a half, the number of family members and friends who have been expecting is crazy! Love has definitely been in the air, or in the water, or whatever they say. With that has come lots of opportunities to share my life experiences and trials. That’s why I was so inspired to write this article. The first time I gave birth was a long time ago. 16 years, to be exact, and if you’ve read my other posts then you’re probably trying to do the math. I’ll save you the trouble. I got pregnant at 16. We can talk more about that later though. Since then I have had three more kids. Most recently, seven months ago, and

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Ask Dr. Zoe Image for posts

Ask Dr. Zoe – I Don’t Feel a Bond with My Newborn; Is this Normal?

‘First-time Mom’ asked: As a new mom, I sometimes feel guilty not having that initial bond with my newborn and miss my before-mom self. Is this normal and how or what is the best way to get rid of these thoughts? I love my little one a lot. Dr. Zoe answered: Dear Momma, Somehow society has created this often unspoken consensus that a good mother is all sacrificing and perfectly content to lose herself in motherhood. I don’t believe this, nor have I seen that it is healthy or creates a better outcome for children. I really despise the word “normal” and prefer to use “healthy” instead. There are many behaviors that are “normal” in our society that are not healthy and

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The Other Side of the Motherhood Story

If Kids Disrupt Our Lives So Much, Why Do We Do It?

(Listen to the audio version of this article here.) Before I had kids, I used to see all of the motherhood memes on social media and scroll right on by, rolling my eyes a bit. Why are there so many? Now that I am a mother, I read almost every single one, laugh, screenshot the best, and send them to my friends.  They’re funny because they’re true.  All of them. The ones about how your kid never asks their father for something if mom is in the room. The ones about how your toddler has a meltdown because you cut their sandwich in half (even though they asked for you to cut it in half yesterday), about how you never knew what

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6 Necessities that Moms of Littles Can't Leave Home Without

6 Necessities that Moms of Littles Can’t Leave Home Without

Today, we went to the splash park. The morning was beautiful, not a cloud in the sky. The kids were being my little angels as I like to call them. We sang in the car on the way there. My son read his book while my daughter looked out the window and talked to herself about silly, adorable things. Like how Elsa needs a haircut. We pulled into the parking lot and it wasn’t too busy. There was a nice spot left in the shade. Everything was going great … until it wasn’t. Toddlers Are Like Ticking Time Bombs Until the outing actually started. Until other kids showed up. Until I started having cramps and needed chocolate (which I did not bring).

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babies and tots

Mastering the Exhausting World of Babies and Tots

There’s no doubt our kids light up our lives. Truly, they are some of our greatest treasures in life. But do you ever feel like motherhood is a little bit harder than you expected it to be? Ok, maybe a lot harder… You are not the only mom who second-guesses the way you do things from time to time, fights mom-guilt, and wonders if there are easier or simpler ways of doing things. Many of our writers and staff members are moms just like you, and we share some of our joys, struggles, and ah-ha moments with others so they might find help, encouragement, laughs, and solidarity. From newborns and babies to toddlers and tots, these articles will help you navigate and find

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How do We Handle the Messiness of Motherhood? with Laila Schell – 168

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music | Android | Email | TuneIn | RSS | MoreMotherhood is messy—literally and figuratively! While moms work hard to raise healthy, happy and responsible kids, they’re also dealing with the pressure to be perfect. The age of social media is unforgiving in this arena, and moms often struggle with feeling like they fall short. In this podcast episode, Darlene Brock and Julie Bender interview Laila Schell, a writer, wife and mom of four who’s experienced her fair share of motherhood ups and downs. Laila expresses the importance of giving yourself grace when you feel like you don’t measure up, and understanding that you don’t have to be perfect to be a great mom. We

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Expecting Twins? How Mommas Can Best Prepare for A Double Pregnancy

If you are expecting twins, there is one thing that I, a former twin carrier, would like to plead with you not to do. This one thing, like a giant red button with a sign hanging from it that says “do not push,” is tempting (trust me, I’ve been there). You will want to push it. You will want to see it. You will start typing into Google… But don’t. Trust me. Stop. And I’ll tell you why. The Reality Starts Sinking In—You’re Expecting Twins When I was early on in my pregnancy with twins, there was no denying how much my life was never going to be the same. I noticed how much was changing—and strangers enjoyed pointing this out as

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5 free or cheap ways to entertain your kids

5 Free (or Cheap) Ways to Entertain Your Kids

Ever find yourself on a budget with kids to entertain, especially in the summer months? Seeing that “free kids activities near me” seems to be my number one Google search lately, I’d like to think I’ve picked up a thing or two. So, here are a few ideas that will keep your kids on an adventure while you protect your pocketbook. 5 Free or Cheap Ways to Entertain Your Kids: 1. The Library My personal favorite go-to is the library. They consistently offer storytelling and art projects, and we’ve even gone to Lego building, an animal show, and family board game night at the library—all for FREE. There are usually multiple libraries within driving distance, so I’d recommend trying various libraries to

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5 ways for a busy mom to prioritize intimacy with her husband

5 Ways for a Busy Mom to Prioritize Intimacy With Her Husband

My husband and I have a new tradition called “sweet o’clock.” We plan out the evening ahead of time, and I make a homemade treat, one of our favorites being a new flavor of homemade ice cream. As soon as the kids go to bed, we smile and head to the kitchen. On tough days (we are currently living through the “terrific twos” with twins), we will hint at our little secret and delicious rendezvous throughout the day. “Sweet o’clock night,” I will whisper as the kids are screaming from their high chairs or doing superhuman squirms to get out of changing their pull-up. I might be ready to pull out my own hair, or have one of those bathroom-cry moments that

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how to be a praying parent throughout your child's life

How to Be a Praying Parent Throughout Your Child’s Life

Our daughter, Summer, brought him home from college one weekend. They watched March Madness basketball, played video games (in a competitive manner, because that’s my girl), and laughed a good deal. Later that week, we received a thank you note from this young man. And everyone knows that a thoughtfully written thank you note earns huge points with a future mom-in-law. Every. Time. I had been praying for the potential spouses of my son and daughter. That weekend, I was pretty sure I’d met my son-in-law-to-be, Joshua. How fun to bump into an answer to your prayers—in person. Making intercessory prayers for our children is a privilege. It’s a tool from God to assist us in the high calling of rearing our

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when i feel like a bad mom i pray this for my kids

When I Feel Like a Bad Mom, I Pray This for My Kids

(Listen to the audio version of this article here.) “I am not a perfect mom.” I have this thought—well, much harsher versions of it—more often than I’d like to admit. I lost my patience and yelled. I made PB&J for lunch and frozen chicken nuggets for dinner because I cannot seem to meal plan. I was on my phone too much. My house is a mess (better not post any pictures from today—yikes). I tried a “super easy” kids’ activity I found on Instagram that ended in my toddler eating the glue stick and coloring on the wall. I felt stressed out rather than present during our entire trip to the park because the kids were running in opposite directions, and all these

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Mama just wanted one good picture

  About this photo: “It was Thanksgiving Day, and I had strategically waited to dress my two toddlers until right before we were planning to walk out the door… you know, so they’d appear kempt and stain-free when we arrived at our dinner party. Since they never seem to look this way at the same time often, all I wanted was one nice picture of them smiling side by side. This is what I got. Sometimes you just have to laugh and let go!” —Ashley Johnson, managing editor at Grit and Grace Life   A #filterless Motherhood If you’re a mother, you may have found yourself perplexed scrolling through Instagram. It seems like most social media mommies are constantly sharing adorable family

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Why i stopped deep cleaning my house to start enjoying my kids

Why I Stopped Deep-Cleaning My House to Start Enjoying My Kids

There’s an old adage that says, “Cleaning and scrubbing can wait ’til tomorrow, for babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow. So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep. I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.” A long-time friend of mine, who is years ahead of me in the parenting game, sent it to me one afternoon while I was in the middle of a mommy meltdown. I only had two of my four children at the time, and I was exasperated at the thought of never having a clean house again. It was during my full-time corporate days, while my husband was also running a restaurant and attending school full-time to obtain his accounting degree. Cleaning my house was

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