Category: Maternity Style
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19 results
Five Things Every Mom-To-Be Needs In Her Closet

If you are newly pregnant, you might feel a little overwhelmed by everything you need just for yourself. Well, we've got five essential garments for a stylish 40 weeks.

If you are newly pregnant, you can feel a little overwhelmed by everything you need for baby and for yourself.

1. Jeans: Look for an adjustable waistband, stretch material and a flattering cut, such as a bootleg. This would be a good item to splurge on because you will probably wear these for a bit after the baby is born.

2. Cargo Pants: Pull on these lightweight, fashionable pants for everything from shopping to lounging. These pants look great with a fitted tee or an empire-waist top.

3. Skirt: Look for a skirt in a basic color (black or brown) with a lightweight material and a stretchy waistband.

4. Dress: A wrap jersey dress will look great on your pregnant body, and is a perfect look for a date night with your honey.

5. Tops: Pick up a figure-hugging top with a cute neckline to accentuate your bump. A flirty and feminine empire-waist shirt is also a great look, and you can never go wrong with a fitted tee.

An article from SHEKNOWS.COM.

Great Pregnancy Outfits Make Your Regular Outfits Work For Your Bump

Your baby certainly has plenty of gear. Now it’s your turn. Shower yourself with Mom-approved stuff that will make those first few postpartum weeks fly by.

You don’t have to get a whole new wardrobe during your pregnancy—just expand the one you have. Literally!

Keep it snug. "Don't be afraid to show off your baby bump in tops that are getting tight on you," says Susan Lazar, a maternity designer whose Egg Maternity and Egg Baby lines are sold in stores around the country. "Fitted clothes that highlight the silhouette are better than loose clothes—you look more sleek."

Love your leggings. "You can get away with a lot in a good pair of black leggings and a large sweater on top," says Lisa Steckler, a mom of three in Needham, Massachusetts. "They’re the most chic, and comfy, pregnancy pants." Pull on cute boots and you’re good to go.

Belt it out. "It looks chic to take a large t-shirt, cinch it above your bump with a belt, and wear an open cardigan over it," says Alexandra Suzanne Greenawalt, a New York City stylist who works on photo shoots for magazines like Elle and In Style. "You can basically belt anything that opens in the front, like a button-down shirt worn over a tank, for a more refined look."

Go for a belly band. This inexpensive, wide piece of elastic extends the life of your regular jeans and pants. As your stomach grows, you leave the button of your bottoms open and just slide the band over them to keep them in place. Way better than safety pins.

Think jackets. "For the office, I wear my large-size or maternity shirts layered under my usual jackets and cardigans," says Alice Chan, an expectant mom in Washington, D.C. "Of course, I can’t button them, but I look more professional than if I just wore the shirts by themselves."

Go sporty. Your bump isn’t the only thing that gets bigger during pregnancy. Give your growing (and growing) breasts extra support by wearing a sports bras instead of regular bras. Only you will know!

An article from the HUGGIES® Brand

9 Months of Maternity Style
I am 6 months into my second pregnancy and I am pretty sure I’ve hit the pregnancy style rut. It’s hard to dress your constantly growing belly. Things that fit one day, seem to be to tight the next. What’s a gal supposed to do? Here are my tips to help along the way (and to steer clear of the maternity section)…
10 Ways To Feel Beautiful During Pregnancy
For the most part, I absolutely love being pregnant. Once I get past the fatigue and sickness of the first trimester, I usually feel pretty good and do indeed feel like I have the “glow” that everyone is always talking about. But once the third trimester creeps in, I start to lose a bit of that glowing feeling and need a little extra help to feel beautiful. Whether you just need some help getting through the last few weeks, or need little pick-me-ups throughout your pregnancy, here are 10 surefire ways I’ve found to help me feel beautiful through all three of my pregnancies.
Your Maternity Wardrobe
<p>It might be time to invest in some comfortable new clothes, especially underwear and shoes.</p>
<p>By Dr. Laura Riley  </p>
<p>Do you need a little retail therapy? Head out for some new maternity clothes, if you haven't already. Maternity fashions have improved significantly in the last few years, and you'll likely be surprised at the cute tops, dresses, and jeans you'll find. Some women love making this switch from their old clothing to their new "Look at me, I'm going to be a mom!" outfits, but others dislike it. Both feelings are normal.</p>
<p><b>Undergarments.</b> As you borrow or buy new clothes, don't overlook what goes underneath. You're probably busting out of your old bras by now. Invest in two new bras that fit your expanding breasts. Select ordinary bras in larger sizes, if they're comfortable, or choose nursing bras, which offer roominess and support now and when you're breastfeeding. Try on several before deciding which feels best. Nursing bras can be expensive, and you don't want to get home and realize they don't fit.</p>
<p>If you wear pantyhose, you'll probably start outgrowing your prepregnancy hose if you haven't already. Some women find that maternity pantyhose are comfortable because they expand to fit a growing belly without binding at the waist; others just go up to the next size in their own preferred prepregnancy style. Try both to see what works best for you.</p>
<p><b>Shoes.</b> Your shoes may be feeling tight soon. While it doesn't happen to all women, many find that their feet increase a half or full size during pregnancy. If you discover that the shoes that fit perfectly a few weeks ago now feel tight, buy or borrow new shoes. The last thing you need during pregnancy is blisters caused by too-tight shoes.</p>
<p>Proper fit is especially important in your exercise shoes. When buying new shoes for walking or jogging, go to a good shoe store with knowledgeable salespeople and have your feet measured. Choose a walking shoe if you walk and a running shoe if you run; walking shoes and running shoes are built differently, and wearing a running shoe to walk, or vice versa, can cause soreness in your legs and feet. Don't scrimp on exercise shoes. You want a style with plenty of cushioning because your feet are carrying more weight than they are accustomed to.</p>

<p><em>Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. </em></p>
Overcoming Your Pregnancy Body-Image Fears
<p>If you have hang-ups about what pregnancy will do to your body, you're not alone. Beyond your expanding belly, all kinds of changes -- good and bad -- occur from head to toe. Here, we uncover your most common fears about gaining the pounds necessary for a healthy baby, along with advice on how to deal.</p>

<p>Fear #1: Gaining, and Not Losing, Weight </p>
<p>Even though gaining weight is a natural and necessary part of pregnancy, some women can't get past the numbers that will start to creep up on the scale. They're worried about gaining too much weight during pregnancy and that their bodies may never look the same post-pregnancy. Some women reportedly put off having children because of this fear.</p>
<p>Overcome It: Before pregnancy, start working toward the acceptance that your body will go through a lot of changes, and though it may never be exactly the same after you have a baby, you will never be the same either. That being said, plenty of women do bounce back to their pre-pregnancy weight or a number close to it. Instead of focusing on your weight, concentrate on health and fitness, which will be good for both you and your baby-to-be.</p>
<p>"Women need to develop a willingness to view bodily changes as part of the journey of motherhood, instead of something to be feared," says Julie Hanks, a psychotherapist, and owner and director of Wasatch Family Therapy in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. "It's crucial to have a healthy view of your body during and after pregnancy."</p>
<p>Fear #2: Pregorexia </p>
<p>The growing phenomenon of pregorexia refers to anorexia in pregnant women or those who recently gave birth. Most pregorexia sufferers have a history of anorexia or bulimia, and the weight gain required for pregnancy can cause past eating disorders to resurface. Excessive dieting and exercising is dangerous outside of pregnancy, but dealing with an eating disorder when you're pregnant or trying to conceive can be even more detrimental.</p>
<p>"I felt very foreign in my body and I was not connected to it at all. I felt disgust with my body," says Maggie Bauman, who suffered pregorexia when she was pregnant with her second child. Bauman, now a therapist in Newport Beach, California, gained 33 pounds during her first pregnancy. In an effort to gain less with her second, she exercised excessively -- so much so that she almost miscarried at 11 weeks.</p>
<p>Because of her dangerously over-the-top fitness regimen and an insufficient diet, she was diagnosed with inter-uterine growth retardation, which meant her baby wasn't getting enough nutrients. As a result, Bauman's newborn had a very low birth weight and suffered seizures due to poor neurological development.</p>
<p>Overcome It: Don't be ashamed to seek help. Remember -- you have a baby growing inside of you, and you have to take care of your body so your baby can be healthy during fetal development and once it's born. Focus on the baby's needs instead of your own. The baby is helpless; you are not.</p>
<p>Fear #3: Losing Control </p>
<p>When you're pregnant, you're no longer living for yourself -- you're responsible for a growing baby. And that growing baby results in all kinds of physical, emotional and lifestyle changes, many of which are far beyond your control. The fear of losing control can be especially troubling for women with eating disorders because they typically focus on perfection and maintaining control. Getting pregnant may be the ultimate way of losing control.</p>
<p>Overcome It: It may be easier said than done, but you simply need to learn to let go over control. "Women need to realize there's a physical process happening inside them and be amazed at it," says Debi Demare, a professor at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.</p>
<p>Try to focus on the baby's needs rather than your own. If you're not getting enough calories and nutrients, you won't be providing what your baby must have for proper development and your body may not produce enough milk to feed your baby once he is born, Demare says. Plus, relinquishing control now is good practice for when the baby comes along. Then, you'll likely have even less control: You can't control when the baby cries, how much sleep you're going to get, and so on.</p>
<p>Fear #4: Body Dysmorphic Disorder </p>
<p>Body dysmorphic disorder is a distorted image of oneself. Women who suffer from this problem view pregnancy as scary body transformation, particularly if they are recovering from or were diagnosed with an eating disorder, says Jessica Foley, a licensed mental health counselor, in Brookline, Massachusetts.</p>
<p>Overcome It: Face your fears (weight gain, stretch marks, breast changes, and so on), knowing that these are changes that may occur, but that they're all a part of a healthy pregnancy. "Women need to accept some truths about their pregnancy and their body, and in doing so, gain some self-acceptance and self-love," Foley says.</p>
<p>Fear #5: Losing Weight</p> 
<p>Gaining weight isn't the issue for all women. Ayshwarya Sridharan's fear of pregnancy, for example, is the opposite of the norm: She fears losing too much weight, which happened during her first pregnancy.</p>
<p>"I lost 14 pounds during my pregnancy due to excessive morning sickness. Sometimes I'd throw up 20 times a day, and my nurse would advise me to rush to the ER immediately. My overall weight gain was just 15 pounds when I delivered. But I delivered a healthy girl. She weighed 4 lbs. 11 oz. at birth -- too tiny."</p>
<p>Overcome It: "I recommend that women get into the habit of eating something even before getting out of bed -- preferably dry, fiber-rich cereal or whole-grain crackers," says Yvonne Syto, a private practice dietitian in Stanhope, New Jersey, and author of Nutrition Map. "Thereafter, eat every one to three hours to prevent further nausea throughout the day. The longer you go without eating, the worse the nausea can become."</p>
<p>Something is always better than nothing, says Syto. Try vegetable, mushroom, or chicken broth simmered with a few pieces of fresh ginger, 1 to 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and a couple of star anise. "Sip on this throughout the day, especially if you're unable to hold down food. If you're able to tolerate it, add some firm tofu or boiled chicken breast strips for protein."</p>
<p>Fear #6: Losing Your Stylish Self </p>
<p>Pregnancy will inevitably change your fashion choices, thanks to a growing bump, but some women fear that it can change how others perceive their personalities as well. "There's such an emphasis on beauty and weight in our culture that during pregnancy women are often afraid they won't be who they were to everyone who judges them," says Susan Shapiro Barash, who teaches gender studies at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. "It makes people think twice about getting pregnant."</p>
<p>Overcome It: Start thinking of pregnancy as a means to an end and something that's completely revolutionary, Barash advises. To feel that you still have a part of your old self, celebrate your pregnancy, she suggests. Pregnancy used to be all about flat shoes and Laura Ashley prints but it's no longer that way. "Make your pregnancy as glamorous and hip as you want. Buy some nice clothes, get some accessories, wear makeup, and try to look as good as you can, so you feel good," she says.</p>
<p>You may also benefit from joining a pregnancy group, either in your hometown or online, so you can talk about your concerns. And if you usually exercise, see your doctor about a safe fitness regimen so you can keep it up -- sticking to a workout routine can help you feel good about yourself.</p>

<p><em>By Amanda Baltazar </em></p>

<p><em>Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. </em></p>
Are Your Shoes Fit for Pregnancy?

<p>Your feet need extra pampering when you're pregnant! Check out our helpful tips to keep your tootsies healthy and comfortable.

<p><b>Treat Your Feet Right </b></p>

<p>It's essential to treat your feet right during pregnancy. That means choosing shoes that are roomy and comfortable, and that offer adequate support. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, during pregnancy your feet may grow a half to a full size permanently. To ease pregnancy-related foot discomfort, the ACFAS recommends wearing an arch support to help support the extra weight your feet will be carrying, wearing athletic shoes with a roomy toe box, and wearing support stockings to minimize foot and ankle swelling.
<p>Here are questions to ask yourself while shoe shopping:

<p><b>What about boots? </b>
Not just for cool weather, you can now find great boot styles in all materials and for all temperatures. Look for short heels or flat soles. Our favorite? Soft slouch styles!</p>

<p><b>Are your feet ready to breathe? </b>
Let your toes get a breath of fresh air with a cute pair of flat-soled sandals. You can dress them up or throw them on with a pair of shorts and still look cool and chic.
<p><b>Does that shoe have a broad, low heel? </b>
A simple loafer with a low, stacked heel offers much better support for your weight than a low-heeled pump.
<p><b>Do you need ankle support? </b>
You might think flat shoes are better than heels, but some ballet flats and moccasins don't offer adequate ankle support. Walk around the store -- if your foot lifts out of it, there's not enough support.
<p><b>If it's an everyday shoe, does it have a rubber sole? </b>
These shock absorbers are easier on your knees and back. One great trend for pregnant women is "mock sneaks", which are athletic-style, slip-on, rubber-soled shoes in leather and suede.
<p><b>Does it slip on? </b>
This may seem pretty basic, but as your feet swell, laces will be harder (and more uncomfortable) to tie.
<p><b>Do you know how to say no? </b>
As beautiful as those four- inch Steve Madden heels might be, learn to say no to shoes that are bound to hurt your feet. You'll never regret choosing comfort over fashion during pregnancy -- and your back and hips will thank you!
<p><em>Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved</em></p>
Lessons Learned During My Pregnancy
<p>Mom Josey Miller shares what she wishes she knew during her pregnancy. From maternity clothes to exercise, learn what she recommends for first time moms-to-be.</p>

<p>Huggies and CafeMom bring you a new series of videos to help answer your pregnancy and new parent questions. </p>
How to Lose the Post-Baby Bump
  When the Duchess of Cambridge revealed her newborn son to the world, she also unashamedly showed off her prominent post-baby bump. Moms around the world praised her for not hiding what women's bodies look like after giving birth.

"Kate shows what a real mum looks like  and natural is beautiful," Siobhan Freegard of the Netmums website told the Daily Mail.

Unlike many celebrities would lead us to believe, a woman rarely emerges from childbirth free of her extra pregnancy pounds. Even women who gained a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy will have some to lose after going home from the hospital, experts say.

Immediately after childbirth, the uterus is still the size it was when a 20-week fetus was inside, says Dr. Gregory Fountain, OB/GYN at Emory Johns Creek Obstetrics and Gynecology near Atlanta. It takes about six weeks for it to shrink down to its normal size, he says.

Women typically gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy, and a lot of it does come out during birth, Fountain says. Depending on the size of the baby, the amount of fluid and the weight of the placenta, the amount lost in childbirth generally equals 10 to 12 pounds.

But it's common these days for women to gain more weight than they should during pregnancy.

Women who gain too much weight will, as you might imagine, need more time to lose the weight after the baby comes into the world, Fountain says. Everyone's metabolism is different, too, so that will play a role.

Doctors usually recommend women refrain from vigorous exercise until about least six weeks after delivery for noncomplicated vaginal and cesarean births, according to Fountain. Some women take longer, depending on the complexity of the delivery.

After giving birth to her first child, a woman will typically have a laceration, muscle injury or soft tissue swelling associated with the delivery that will take time to heal, Fountain says. He recommends walking as the main form of exercise during this time.

Talk to your doctor about what time frame is best for you, however. According to the Mayo Clinic, women who exercised during pregnancy and had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery may begin again as soon as they feel ready, even within days of delivery.

Stop the exercise that you're doing if you start to feel any pain, experts say.

A realistic goal for post-pregnancy weight loss is somewhere between three and six months, Fountain says, but that all depends on how motivated the woman is and how much time she has to devote to fitness.

There are activities built into motherhood that can help, however.

Breast-feeding burns about 500 calories a day, so it helps women lose weight faster than those who use formula, Fountain says. Some research has indicated physical activity can make breast milk taste sour because of an accumulation of lactic acid, according to the Mayo Clinic. This problem may be avoided by feeding the baby or pumping milk before a vigorous workout.

The baby can also help you stay fit, says Simone De La Rue, a fitness expert and trainer who has worked with celebrities and models.

"We always have a joke  rather than lifting a 3-pound weight, you lift the baby," she says. Rocking or lifting the baby can be great for the biceps and upper body. Dancing with the baby can both soothe the baby and get you moving, too, De La Rue says.

You can also push the baby around in a stroller when you want to go for a walk, notes Desiree Nathanson, a fitness and nutrition expert in Atlanta.

Motivation is hard for new mothers; they're exhausted and often feel like they're the only ones going through this, De La Rue says. Joining forces with other moms can be a big help.

It's important to be patient and ignore tabloid reports of celebrities who instantly bounce back into shape after having a child, Nathanson says.

"It's going to take some time," she says. "It's just going to depend on your body, so you just have be patient and realize that you've just given birth to a human being and that's what you need to focus on."

New mothers also have a hard time fitting exercise into their routines of responsibilities of child care; don't feel pressure to find a large block of time, De La Rue says.

"It's hard to find an hour, so if you can find 10 minutes, do 10 minutes of arms or 10 minutes of cardio, and later on in the day when the baby is snoozing, you can try and take another 10 minutes for yourself," she recommends.

De La Rue tries to ease back into abdominal work with clients who have recently had babies since the area is still sensitive.

She starts them off with low-impact cardio to get the heart rate going, then moves into arms and legs. She often waits until four or five months after a client has had a baby to focus on abdominal work, just to make sure everything has healed.

The "plank" yoga position could be held while your baby is on the floor underneath you lying down, she says. You can try it on your elbows or hands, but if that's too difficult, try it on elbows and knees or hands and knees. Make sure your hips are slightly tilted back so that your abs are engaged and your shoulders are retracted.

Your lower back should also get some attention, Nathanson says. The ''Superman" or "swimmers" position, in which you lie on your stomach and lift your arms and legs a couple inches off the ground, will strengthen your back muscles.

Focusing on how awful you may think you look post-baby is counterproductive, Nathanson says.

"Try to stay positive, and move, and focus on the baby."

Source: CNN

Infant Development: Milestones from 7 to 9 Months
As your baby becomes more mobile and inquisitive, infant development takes off. It might seem that your baby learns something new every day. Understand your baby's next infant development milestones and what you can do to promote his or her growth.

What to expect

Your baby will continue to grow and develop at his or her own pace. From ages 7 to 9 months, your baby is likely to experience:
  • Advancing motor skills.By this age, most babies can roll over in both directions — even in their sleep. Some babies can sit on their own, while others need a little support. You might notice your baby beginning to scoot, rock back and forth, or even crawl across the room. Some babies this age can pull themselves to a standing position. Soon your baby might cruise along the edge of the couch or coffee table.

  • Improved hand-eye coordination. Most babies this age transfer objects from one hand to another or directly to their mouths. Pulling objects closer with a raking motion of the hands will give way to more refined movements, such as picking up objects with just the thumb and forefinger. This improving dexterity will help your baby handle a spoon and soft finger foods.

  • Evolving communication. Your baby will communicate with you through sounds, gestures and facial expressions. You'll probably hear plenty of laughing and squealing. Your baby might even respond to his or her own name. Babies this age can distinguish emotions by tone of voice. They might repeat the sounds they hear — or give it their best shot. Your baby's babbling is likely to include chains of sounds, such as "ba-ba-ba." You might even pick out an occasional "mama" or "dada."

  • Stranger anxiety. Many babies this age become wary of strangers. Your baby might resist staying with anyone other than you, shunning even grandparents or familiar baby sitters. If your baby fusses when you leave — or melts down entirely — resist the temptation to sneak away. Say goodbye with a hug and kiss and a reminder that you'll be back soon. Chances are, your baby will stop crying as soon as you're out of sight and something else grabs his or her attention. You might even plan ahead of time how the caregiver will distract your baby.

  • Teething. If your baby still has a toothless grin, you can expect the first tooth — likely one of the middle teeth in the lower jaw (a lower central incisor) — to break through anytime. You might notice your baby drooling more than usual and chewing on just about anything. Offer a cool, wet washcloth or teething ring. If you haven't done so already, get in the habit of cleaning your baby's teeth and gums at least once a day. Use plain water and a soft cloth or baby toothbrush.

Promoting your baby's development

For babies of any age, learning and play are inseparable. To support your budding adventurer:
  • Create an exploration-safe environment. Keep only safe objects within your baby's reach. Move anything that could be poisonous, pose a choking hazard or break into small pieces. Cover electrical outlets, use stairway gates, place cords from blinds or shades out of reach, and install child locks on doors and cabinets. If you have furniture with sharp edges, remove it from rooms where your baby plays. The same goes for lightweight objects your baby can use to pull himself or herself to a standing position, such as plant stands, decorative tables, potted trees and floor lamps.

  • Keep chatting. You've likely been talking to your baby all along. Keep it up! Narrate what you're doing, and give your baby time to respond. Say something to your baby and then wait for him or her to repeat the sounds. Ask your baby questions that involve more than a yes or no response. You might not be able to pick words from your baby's babble, but you can encourage a back-and-forth conversation.

  • Teach cause and effect. Push the button on a musical toy and dance to the tune. Open the door on a toy barn and listen to the cow say "moo." Help your baby do the same. Self-confidence will grow as your baby realizes he or she can make things happen.

  • Take time to play. By now, you and your baby might be old pros at classics such as peekaboo, patty-cake and itsy-bitsy spider. Get creative as you add to your repertoire. Crouch behind a chair or the dresser, leaving a hand or foot within your baby's view, and prompt your baby to look for you. Or make an obstacle course. Arrange cushions and pillows on a carpeted floor. Encourage your baby to creep or crawl over the mounds. Stack blocks and invite your baby to knock them down.

  • Pull out the books. Set aside time for reading every day — even if it's only a few minutes. Reading aloud is one of the simplest ways to boost your baby's language development. Make it more interesting with facial expressions, sound effects and voices for various characters. Store books within easy reach so that your baby can explore them whenever the mood strikes.

  • Turn on the tunes. Music can help soothe, entertain and teach your baby. Try calming lullabies, upbeat children's songs, classical music or your own favorites.

  • Encourage experimentation. Toy box aside, help your baby's imagination and creativity take shape. If you're up for a mess, smear applesauce, pudding or another pureed food on the highchair tray and let your baby "paint" with the mixture. Give your baby measuring cups for stacking or clapping together. At bath time, provide small containers and plastic utensils for pouring and mixing.

  • Offer a comfort object. Babies this age often form an attachment to a blanket, stuffed animal or other comfort object. Although holding, rocking and cuddling your baby remain important, a comfort object can help your baby feel secure when you're not in sight or when your baby is tired, frightened or upset.
When something's not right

Your baby might reach some developmental milestones ahead of schedule and lag behind a bit on others. This is normal, and usually no cause for concern. It's a good idea, however, to be aware of the signs or symptoms of a problem.

Consult your baby's doctor if you're concerned about your baby's development or your baby— Isn't interested in rolling over, sitting or other types of movement

 — Isn't interested in reaching for objects or putting objects in his or her mouth
 — Doesn't respond to sounds or visual cues
 — Resists making eye contact
 — Doesn't babble, coo or imitate common sounds

Trust your instincts. The earlier a problem is detected, the earlier it can be treated. Then you can set your sights on the milestones that lie ahead.

©1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved.Terms of Use.

Source: Mayo Clinic
Choose Joy. Join the Happy Mama Movement.

From Everyday Family

When 2013 came to a close, and I did the whole how-to-be-better-next-year thing with myself, I discovered that I’m not the happiest camper at the campsite. For the record, I would never be caught dead at a campsite. Unless there were cabins. Or a camper. Or, oooh! a shiny RV with air and heat and comfy chairs and electricity and a shower with warm water and scented soaps.


Don’t get me wrong. I. Am. Awesome. The blog name came from somewhere, after all. I just feel like, after facing a serious illness with my kid last year, I should probably be more rainbows and unicorns because he is able to wake up and give me the standard type of kid grief every day. 

So, I decided a new baby was in order!

Kidding. Sorta.

I have officially shut down human production up in here, but I did give birth to a movement.

The Happy Mama Movement — a movement designed to inspire me and moms everywhere to choose joy. 

I want to focus more on cherishing the small moments of motherhood that are often overshadowed by the pukey-whiney-ugh-are-you-people-fighting-again moments that infiltrate our everything.

I know how hard those moments are, and I know how easy it is to make your entire existence as a parent about making it from one catastrophe to the next, especially when you’re at home. Constantly parenting. Day after day. With three kids ages five and under. During a snow storm. And with one diaper? 

I. Have. Been. There.

I sat on the bottom of my stairs with spit up, mashed carrots, and something yellow,which I’m certain was poop, covering my shirt, with my baby wrapped in a dish towel while my toddler and my 5-year-old dropped Legos in the fish tank. And I cried. Hard.

Every mom has a story like that — probably a book’s worth. And those are important parts of the mothering experience. They’re worth being remembered and told. But they aren’t the only part, and they certainly aren’t the part you want to remember most when you look back on what raising your child felt like.

It doesn’t involve pretending that mommying isn’t hard (it is and always will be). It doesn’t mean that I won’t allow myself a bad day or ten. (Um, how else will I get my heck-yeah-I-just-ate-a-whole-box-of-chocolates days?) All it means is that on days when things are running smoothly — kids are smiling, the tooth fairy is remembering to actually show up, and dinner isn’t being boycotted — I will breathe that in and enjoy it.

Want to join the revolution?

Join the Happy Mama Movement on Facebook and be inspired by stories of joy in mothering from myself and the entire Happy Mamas Team. 

The Pregnant Ballerina

From EveryDay Family

Forget the controversial CrossFit mama-to-be.

The true pregnant athlete has to be Mary Helen Bowers, former professional ballerina in the New York City Ballet for over ten years. If you haven’t seen her viral photographs and the debate about her choice of fitness during pregnancy, you’ve missed out on a lovely phenomenon and a bit of a debate on whether she should or shouldn’t be practicing her beloved ballet so late in her pregnancy.

Bowers is actually one of the ballerinas who helped train Natalie Portman for her famous (or infamous?) role in the movie Black Swan. And that’s not her only claim to fame. She also trains Victoria Secret models so that they are runway ready. (Hey, a little help over here, Mary Helen?)

With dance being such an important part of her life, it’s no surprise that the ballerina wanted to remain active in the art form that she has always known and loved. With her doctor’s clearance and supervision, Bowers continued to practice ballet right up until she gave birth. 

Bowers maintains that pregnancy is one of the best times in a woman’s life to stay active. Not only does she run a ballet-based exercise company for women, but she designed a special prenatal workout specifically for women that are trying to stay healthy during their pregnancies. 

In fact, Bowers says that her ballet routine has actually helped her avoid most of the common ailments of pregnancy like back and hip pain. 

“I’ve really been amazed by how active I’ve been able to be and how much my body has been able to do,” Bowers told USA Today.

“It’s a beautiful time. You feel connected to your body on a level like never before.”

And while I definitely agree with the ballerina on that level, I have to admit there are definitely some times in pregnancy that I feel a little too connected to my body. Perhaps if I could be as graceful as her, I would be singing a different tune, though. Who knows? Maybe I”ll take a turn in my 3-year-old’s ballet class during this pregnancy….

To see some incredible pictures of the beautiful dancing mama, visit her Instagram account at balletbeautiful.

A Wardrobe that Works: Tips for Making the Most of Your Maternity Wardrobe
  From EveryDay Family

You’re getting dressed for the day and decide to pull on your favorite pair of pants; the ones that fit like a glove and make you feel great every time. You slide them up over your hips, but when you try to button them you feel a small problem. Those pants that fit like perfection last time you wore them are suddenly just a bit too snug. You take a deep breath, suck it in, and hope for the best. You wonder at the intelligence of that decision when lunch has come and gone and the pants that were slightly snug this morning now feel like they may cut off your circulation any moment. You suddenly panic, wondering if they are cutting into your uterus. Could this be hurting the baby?

Now what?

Find a rubber band. Loop the band over the button, through the button hole, then back over the button. Saved! Once you make it through the day in your now not-so-perfect pants it is time to start thinking about maternity wear.

The rubber band trick will work for some clothes for a while, but if you are looking for some other ways to transition and wear your regular clothes a bit longer you might also want to consider a belly sleeve, or belly band. Many companies are offering these products now, but the basic idea is the same. It is essentially a stretchy ring of fabric that fits over your stomach and the top of your pants to allow you to wear your regular pants for a bit longer by holding your unbuttoned trousers in place. You can also use them to hold up your maternity pants, which sometimes have a tendency to stretch and sag. Of course, you can also experiment on your own. A stretchy cotton tube top can work the same way. Or you crafty mommas can sew your own bands, choosing the colors and patterns that work for you.

At some point you will probably find that you are ready to give up the buttons and zippers and graduate into the world of maternity wear. Where should you start? Which styles are the best? How much should you spend? A few tips:

Beg, Borrow, and Pass It On

Have any friends with little ones? Often you’ll find that friends who aren’t currently pregnant, but might be again, are willing to loan their maternity clothes out in the interim. Make sure that if you borrow from someone you know what belongs to them and whether they want it back. Some people may be done with their clothes and ready to pass them on altogether. Take what you can use, then pass them along when you are done.

Big Style, Small Cash

Maternity wear has a short shelf life, in the sense that you’ll only use these clothes for a few months. You don’t want to overspend on this wardrobe. Of course, everyone else only wears them a short time as well, so it is easy to find maternity clothes in good condition at consignment stores and the like. If you lack the time or the inclination to shop used, most department stores and major discount retailers stock their own maternity lines. Some carry only the basics, but some work with high-end designers to provide a budget-friendly line of pregnancy wear. You can easily put together a fashionable, workable wardrobe without making a huge investment.

Keep in mind as you shop that you will get bigger. Don’t buy everything early on, because you’ll find that the shirts that seem like massive tents right now may barely cover your belly a few months from now. Just like your tummy, your wardrobe needs room to grow!

Pregnancy: Fall into Being Fashionable
From EveryDay Family

Whether you are newly pregnant or about to pop, chances are your body is changing, and with that, you are trying to figure out how to keep in style without spending a “boat load” on a new wardrobe. With so many cute maternity fashions, it may be hard to control yourself at times.

However, do remember that this situation is temporary. To keep stylish in an inexpensive way, consider borrowing or swapping maternity clothes with family or friends. Check out local resale shops to find gently used maternity clothing.

When you do head to the mall or local shopping center, think about things that can keep you stylin’ well past pregnancy.

This may include jewelry such as necklaces or earrings, hair bands, and other accessories that will give you a little glitz, glamour, and fashion no matter if you are pregnant or not.

Additionally, look for clothing items whose shelf life may extend beyond pregnancy. For instance, cute and comfy t-shirts may have enough give to take in a growing belly, but also fit enough to conform to your body post-pregnancy.

Where to invest?

Do invest in clothing that makes you feel comfortable and gives your changing body the support it needs.

For example, a new bra (or two) and underwear may be a must. In fact, these undergarments may carry you all the way through those early weeks past labor and delivery.

When it comes to bottoms, don’t settle for sweats. Though comfy and cozy, they definitely don’t scream, “stylin.” Do invest in a pair or two of pregnancy jeans, which are designed to grow with you. These will not only provide the comfort you are looking for, but also keep you looking – and feeling – good. Skirts with stretchy waistbands may provide another fun and fashionable option, and their shelf life may also extend past pregnancy.

To complete your look, don’t forget about shoes. Although you may be subject to swollen feet, you can still keep in style with supportive shoes. You don’t have to settle for tennis shoes 24/7. Shop around, and don’t be afraid to splurge a little in this department. Your feet and back will thank you!

Pregnancy is a great time to show off your figure and celebrate mommyhood. Happy shopping!

The Mommy Contract
<img src="" height="333" width="500">

<p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">By Dana Brownlee, Working Mother</span></span></font></p><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></font></p><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">One reason I’ve grown to like jogging is that I seem to have the most
 interesting epiphanies while doing it. I had one&nbsp;a few weeks ago. As a 
small business owner, I partner with many other individuals, businesses 
and groups, and typically there’s a contract associated with any 
business transaction — certainly any involving money. Contracts are in 
place to ensure that everyone understands the terms and conditions of 
the transaction and to ensure that boundaries are clearly outlined and 
understood. About a mile into my jog it suddenly hit me like a bolt of 
lightning that I needed to draw up a new contract … this time with 
myself!&nbsp;</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Like many other busy moms, I juggle many roles simultaneously — wife, 
mother, entrepreneur, friend, sister, keynote speaker, consultant, 
corporate trainer and so on. Trying to fit all those tasks and 
responsibilities into a 24 hour day (with sleep) would be laughable if 
it weren’t so frustrating. While I jogged, I literally felt a gust of 
wind slap me in the face (the universe wringing my neck, I’m sure) as if
 to say, “<em>Stop</em> and make a contract with yourself!<em>&nbsp;</em>Decide what you will and won’t do and let everything else go.”&nbsp;It reminded me of some profound advice I received years earlier: <em>First, decide what’s important. Then, live a life that reflects that.</em> <em>The second is much harder than the first.&nbsp;</em>That
 sage advice nagged at me for years, but I never really embraced it. 
Possibly, the universe was helping me rectify this wrong because as I 
jogged, the covenants of my contract literally took shape in my mind. As
 soon as I got home, I raced upstairs to write them down.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Hre are the five elements of my “mommy contract”:</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>1.&nbsp;</strong><strong>I get to have my own identity.&nbsp;</strong>Women
 have long struggled with the choice between having a career or not. 
Fortunately, I started a training business nearly a decade ago that 
provides me tremendous flexibility and also allows me to define an 
identity completely separate from my role as wife or mother. I truly 
enjoy having an identity that is not completely a function of someone 
else, and I’ve decided that’s okay … better than okay, actually. This 
career identity means I won’t always look to my family for a sense of 
worth or validation. Although I’m no mental health professional, this 
seems like a healthy way to navigate life.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>2.&nbsp;</strong><strong>Family trumps work.&nbsp;</strong>Having 
decided that&nbsp;I get to have my own identity,&nbsp;I also needed to clearly 
decide that I’m not pursuing career success at the expense of family. 
Each working parent needs to figure this out for herself.&nbsp;But for me, as
 an entrepreneur, it’s important to have this value front of mind every 
day. I decided early on to work as little as possible to meet my career 
goals and instead grow my business through various passive revenue 
options. This approach lets me prioritize family over work. For me this 
means, among other things, spending weekends doing fun things with the 
family, minimizing business trips, being actively involved with my 
children’s school and making sure we take vacation time.&nbsp;</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>3.&nbsp;</strong><strong>I can take care of myself always.&nbsp;</strong>For
 better or worse, independence is extremely important to me. Although 
I’m completely committed to the partnership of marriage and the inherent
 interdependence that comes with that, I am invigorated by the reality 
that I can take care of myself and choose to embrace this. This value 
doesn't necessarily represent actions I wanted to take or things to do 
differently. It's more a matter of holding up a mirror to myself, 
voicing the value, and accepting it.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>4.&nbsp;</strong><strong>I keep promises to myself.&nbsp;</strong>Women
 in particular can feel a bit guilty when doing things for ourselves 
like jogging, going to the hair salon, getting a massage, even having 
lunch with a friend. Yet we know some of these “personal investment” 
activities help us maintain a sense of balance, happiness and peace. 
It’s important that we consider where we are in career, level of 
financial security and responsibilities as we decide what promises to 
make to ourselves — because we need to keep them, and doing so may mean 
not spending time in other areas. I’m committed to picking up my kids 
daily, taking Ari for a treat after school a few times a week and 
strolling on the Beltline on weekends with the family. But I’m just as 
committed to my pilates class and jogging. These aren’t indulgences for 
when everything else is done; they’re calendar appointments I try my 
best not to miss.</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><strong>5.&nbsp;</strong><strong>I don’t sweat the small stuff.&nbsp;</strong>I
 decided a while ago that I have a limited amount of energy and must be 
very judicious about how I spend it. I use the “don’t sweat the small 
stuff” principle in two ways: First, it helps me decide where to put my 
energy; secondly, it helps me <em>really</em> let go of guilt about 
anything I’m not doing. If I’m not going to join a board or attend a 
holiday party, I don’t want to mentally obsess about it. Instead I 
funnel that energy into whatever I <em>am</em> doing.&nbsp;</span></font></p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">
</span></font><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">The beauty of a mommy contract&nbsp;is that it’s yours, it's personal, and
 it's a reflection of your values, priorities and lifestyle. I plan to 
print and display mine prominently so when I’m faced with day to day 
decisions and options, I can measure them against my contract. My&nbsp;mommy 
contract helps remind me daily that I’m not simply a means to serve 
others, that I get to consciously choose how I use my energy, my time 
and my space.</span></font></p><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><em>Dana Brownlee is a keynote speaker, corporate trainer and team 
development consultant. She is president of Professionalism Matters, a 
boutique professional development corporate training firm based in 
Atlanta. She can be reached at</em> <em><a href=""></a>.</em><em>&nbsp; <br></em></span></font></p><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><em><br></em></span></font></p><p><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Image: Getty Images<em><br></em></span></font></p>
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