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By Amy Miller

As a former teacher, and now as a busy mom to a precocious 3-year-old, I know that sensory play is a pretty big deal.

After all, brain development abounds when kids’ play involves many or all of their senses. Who would argue with increased cognitive, language, creative, and problem-solving skills? Certainly I’m in favor of those things. But after I became a parent, as I combed through Pinterest ideas of rainbow-colored noodles and glow-in-the-dark slime, I thought, “Who has time for that?! There must be a better way.”

The same way I felt about elaborate sensory play activities is how I sometimes feel about mindfulness. “Who has time for that? I can’t be in this moment! I have too much to do!” “After the kitchen is cleaned up, then I’ll dedicate time to practicing mindfulness.” Right. Right after I make the glow-in-the-dark slime. …


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I’m just going to get really real here for a minute.

I’m always flattered when someone tells me that I’m “such a good mom.”

But behind my humble “thank you,” I’m usually thinking, “I don’t want to burst your bubble. But, you have no idea how frequently I most certainly do not feel like a ‘good mom’.”

I say it’s time we change the conversation about what being a good mom really means.

I appreciate it when people see photos of activities I do with my kids or witness a positive parenting moment and recognize my efforts as a mom. But those times are only the highlight reel of our journey. Reality is not nearly as glamorous. …


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“Sleep when the baby sleeps.”

“Enjoy every minute.”

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

If you’re expecting a baby, you’ve probably heard advice like this given with the best of intentions.

The reality of having a newborn is it’s really difficult and not always very enjoyable. Your body, mind, and feelings shift and change with every pregnancy. And asking for help isn’t always as straightforward as it may seem.

When you use your pregnancy and postpartum period to get to know this new you and prioritize your own needs, the journey into new motherhood becomes a lot easier, happier, and healthier. …


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We gave my 1-year-old son a baby doll for Christmas. Yes, my SON, a BOY. I wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, if I could, I’d make sure EVERY child EVERYWHERE has a baby doll.

I would never make a claim like that without backing it up with some solid reasons. At the foundation of those reasons is early childhood development, of course. So, let me tell you a bit about why if you don’t already own a baby doll you should get one for your child and what to look for when you do.

Imaginary or pretend play begins to develop at very basic levels between 12 and 18 months. Children learn through observing and imitating the actions of those around them. Even very small children benefit from acting out nurturing and taking care of a baby. As they do so they learn valuable skills and build a foundation for future learning. …


This article originally appeared on Parent Co.!

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After a refreshingly honest conversation over coffee with one of my oldest friends about how complicated relationships can be, he sent me this article, “The Secret to a Happy Marriage May be an Emotionally Intelligent Husband.

His caption to this message was, “The world is fucked.”

I totally get his concern. At the risk of stereotyping and generalizing (which as a rule I try not to do), the male species is not notorious for their ability to effectively communicate their feelings. It’s really no fault of their own. …


“I’m going to take a quick shower,” I explained to my four-year-old.

I rarely shower during the day when both our boys are awake to spare myself the anxiety of wondering what sort of mischief is going on in my absence. But there was no way around it this time. I was covered in the germy ick of the stomach bug that was making its way through the family. I couldn’t put it off any longer.

“But I don’t think I know how to keep little brother safe on my own,” he replied.

I was thankful for his honesty and his exceptional verbal skills. He could have whined, argued, and negotiated. Instead he told me how he felt. If only all our interactions could be so simple. …


A version of this article was originally published on Parent.co.

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I struggled to keep up with the nurse at the pediatrician’s office as she led us down the hall. I couldn’t understand why she was walking so fast! Didn’t she know I had just given birth?!

I honestly couldn’t believe I had to be dragging my brand new baby and my postpartum body through the clinic at all. Being out of the house felt like being on another planet.

My legs felt like jell-o. I had the worst brain fog ever. I was hungry, thirsty and severely sleep deprived. …


This piece originally was published on my blog.

I bought some new maternity clothes. I put away things that wouldn’t fit. We made and sent a sidewalk chalk “I’m going to be a big brother” photo announcement.

I hesitated as I did all these things. I had doubt. But I convinced myself it was just anxiety from the last time. It really wouldn’t happen again, right? Right. But really, I knew.

I felt the same way during this pregnancy as I did in the fifth week, right before my first miscarriage. I just didn’t feel pregnant. But this time my belly continued to grow. …


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I remember working really hard on a sketch for art class in middle school. I sat for a long time examining every stripe on my sleeping cat trying to duplicate it just right in my drawing. I tried really hard and took my time, concentrating on the details and shading. I was pretty proud of how it turned out.

The teacher gave it a C. I’m sure many have similar stories that extinguished the creative spark.

Creativity as a means to make a living has often been viewed as a lesser valued contribution to society. But the millennial generation is beginning to revolutionize the workforce experience. …


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Photo: Pixabay

A friend of mine and I were talking recently, as our kids played, about the appeal of having a tidy, minimalist home. Then we both laughed, saying, “Sounds amazing if you don’t have kids.” Keeping an organized, clutter-free home with young kids seems like an oxymoron.

Our culture tells us kids need stuff. When they outgrow or get bored with that stuff, we should buy them new stuff. Conjuring up thoughts of kids in a house with “nothing to doooo….” …

About

Amy Lynn

Writer. Warrior Mom. Early Childhood Pro. Minimalist. Spiritualist. Dreamer. Singer. Dancer. www.fireflywriting.com

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