Madison Vining, mama of six, recently posted an honest message that went viral on Instagram. In it she described how we can’t really have the full picture of someone’s life just by what they post on social media. It’s little fragments of their life, which probably leave out the really good moments when people decide to put the phone down to be present, and also the really bad moments they don’t want documented.
The post, which has almost 12,000 likes and hundreds of comments, received a lot of praise from other parents thanking her for hitting the nail on the head.
The post reads:
“Instagram stories. Let’s talk.
If someone uses the maximum amount of stories allowed in a day (all the teeny tiny dots) guess what? All together, it totals less than an hour of their 24-hour day. Does that surprise you? It’s true. It’s a peek of 1/24th of their day. Furthermore, it’s probably the calmest parts. After all, when was the last time you got into a fight with your husband and thought “Hang on, let me insta-story this!” or had your hands full of screaming babies and thought “Hang on… let me try and hold a phone, too!”
I really want to challenge you.
Before you look at her life and become jealous: you likely did not see her raise her voice as she struggled through schoolwork with her kids, or her picking up trash after the dog ripped it up and dragged it all over the driveway, or her doctor give her a terrifying diagnosis, or her son’s preschool teacher call and say he’s been a problem… Again. Or her crying because she hates her body and hasn’t felt like herself in so long. Or her going to bed each day feeling guilty and like she didn’t do enough for everyone. Or her husband being out of work. Or her dad who walked out on her as a kid and it still hurts. Or her burning dinner and yelling a swear word in front of her kids.
Yeah, you don’t see all the bad.
But you know what? Before you look at her life and become critical, know that you didn’t see her singing worship music and taking extra time as she changed her baby’s diaper. You didn’t see her driving all the way to recycle center when the trash would have been easier. You didn’t see her close her laptop, close her eyes, and stop to pray for someone she doesn’t know. You didn’t see her tell her daughter, “Just keep killing them with kindness, baby” as she sobbed in her arms about a bully. You didn’t see her give up “me time” to prioritize date night with her husband. You didn’t see her take her oldest to lunch. You didn’t see her anonymous donation.
You don’t see a lot of the beautiful things that happen in her life and in her heart, because they’re sacred and the first thought that pops into her mind isn’t, “I should grab my phone right now.”
You don’t see it all. Be kind to one another.”
Thank you for saying what many think, mama.
We love a popular baby name list as much as the next parenting site, but when this list of the WORST baby names popped up we couldn’t resist taking a peek. (And we figured you’d probably feel the same way!) The worst baby names? Parents magazine shared the list noting that rather than making fun […]
Becoming a parent also means becoming a magnet for unsolicited advice. It can feel like every random person at the grocery store has an opinion on how you’re caring for your baby, and that fact that certain safety recommendations have evolved in recent decades doesn’t help.
That’s why a post by reddit user MindyS1719 is going viral again. It was first posted last year, but as winter temperatures return, Mindy’s message is resonating again: She wants people who haven’t recently had a baby to understand why babies and little kids may not be wearing coats when families are unloading in parking lots this winter.
“New car seat guidelines avidly warn against children wearing coats in car seats—and this makes it really challenging for caregivers (particularly those with multiple small children) to get kids out of the house then in the car then out of the car again and into the destination,” she wrote.
This reddit user is so right. It does seem counterintuitive. If it’s cold out of course you’d dress your little one all warm and cozy before strapping them into their car seat, but safety experts say parents should take off kids’ winter coats before strapping them into car seats. A coat that protects a kid from cold could prevent them from being protected in the event of a crash.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, bulky coats and snowsuits can compress in a car crash, leaving the straps too loose to keep a child safely in their seat.
With temperatures falling in much of the country, a video demonstrating just how this works is having a resurgence online. Back in 2015, Sue Auriemma from safety non-profit Kids and Cars took The TODAY Show to an official crash test lab in Michigan and strapped a child sized crash test dummy into a car seat while it was wearing a winter coat. During the crash, the coat compressed. Like the AAP warns, the dummy came hurtling out of the car seat.
In the video Miriam Manary, a safety expert in the University of Michigan’s crash test lab, tells a TODAY reporter that parents should remove puffy coats before strapping kids in. “We want to see a nice tight harness to the child’s body, you should not be able to pinch any webbing up the shoulder, and [the] harness clip should be at armpit level.”
In the video, after Manary straps the dummy back in without a coat, the crash test is repeated and the dummy remained safely in its car seat.
In the two years since the video aired more and more parents have heard about the dangers of mixing car seats and bulky winter clothing, but first time parents or those from warmer climates may still be surprised to hear of the recommendation as it’s not something they’re used to dealing with.
In cold states or places like Canada, parents might worry about a child freezing in the event of a crash, but experts say you can still prepare your child for cold weather without preventing the car seat or booster from doing its job.
“Families can dress their babies and children in layers to keep them warm and safe—fleece is a good top layer for trapping heat without adding padding under the harness or seat belt,” Katherine Hutka, president of the Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada, told the Globe and Mail noting that just because a kid can’t wear a bulky winter coat doesn’t mean they can’t wear a thinner fleece jacket as well as their boots, mittens and hat.
“When it’s really cold, kids can wear their puffy coats over top of these layers on the way to the car,” Hutka said. “After they are safely buckled, they can wear their coat backwards over their arms to stay warm.”
Kids and Cars director Amber Rollins takes a hard line on the issue of bulky coats and snowsuits, telling the Washington Post that parents should never make exceptions, and shouldn’t worry about how cold their backseat might become after a crash. “First you have to survive the accident. If you don’t survive the accident, then this is not an issue.”
Those are chilling words, for sure, but if we make sure to follow proper car seat safety and remove bulky coats before buckling up, the chances of coming home safe and warm go way up.
It’s important for parents to know the guidelines, but it’s also important that other people don’t judge parents who are just trying to do their best in this situation. As Reddit’s Mindy suggested, we all need to “cut parents some slack. We’re trying. And we’re doing everything we can to keep our kids warm while maintaining what’s left of our sanity.”
To all the mamas bundling and unbundling kids in parking lots this winter, we salute you.
[A version of this post was originally published December 1, 2017. It has been updated.]
Can you believe it’s already time to start decorating for the holidays? And this year, Target is making it easier than ever to create inviting holiday spaces that are still neat, organized and clutter-free. Whether your style is whimsical, traditional or rustic, there are plenty of neutral creams, frosty whites and touches of evergreen that will take you through the holidays and well into the new year with style.
This holiday also marks the 3-year anniversary of the launch of Joanna Gaines’ Hearth & Hand with Magnolia line. The collection features nearly 300 new pieces from gifting and décor to entertaining. Oh, and this season they have faux Christmas trees!
Ready to create your own modern winter wonderland at home? Grab our favorite minimalist piece:
Joy wire Christmas wreath
The word “Joy” isn’t a holiday classic for nothing—it’s sure to bring lots of smiles and laughs to any home. And when it’s atop the garland in this festive wreath, it’s an instant pick-me-up. Plus, for an extra twist: This comes pre-strung with white LED bulbs for a little light to brighten dark spaces.
Mini cable-knit stocking
This stocking brings simplistic holiday cheer to just about any living space. This mini size is perfect for little ones or if you just want stockings that don’t take up too much space.
Faux white pine garland
Bring the outdoors indoors with a garland that can be framed around your door. Or add holiday spirit to your table runner with a garland centerpiece. We love how realistic this one looks for such an affordable price.
Whitewash advent calendar
Let’s be honest, advent calendars are nice, but some have gone a bit overboard in how complicated they are. But not this one. The cutout shape of a tree features rows of numbers, while a roaming wreath moves the countdown along. Simple, yet chic.
Round tree skirt
No tree is complete without a beautiful tree skirt. This striped one is a must-have for a farmhouse-inspired atmosphere. Even better if you want a splash of rustic charm that matches your other holiday décor.
Mini marquee star wall sign
Brighten up your living room with this attention-grabbing statement piece. Hang the star sign on your entryway wall to help welcome guests, or place it on your mantel, shelf or end table alongside other accents to add touches of holiday cheer in a minimalist way.
Ceramic house decorative figurine
This tiny house with windows, door and a chimney lends realistic, whimsical appeal, but the solid ceramic design allows it to be used from season to season. Place a small light inside to light up your mantle when standard candles won’t suffice.
Sometimes less is more! Upgrade your staircase or tree with this simplistic wooded garland. Pair with fresh cedar and grapevine twigs to create a striking focal point on your home.
Joy wall decor
Create holiday cheer in a small way by adding holiday wall art that sparks a bit of joy.
For a refined look, the decor offers a hardwood frame and the sawtooth back allows for easy display on tiny spaces that need a touch of holiday spirit.
Minimalists will rejoice for this multi-tasking stocking holder—acting as both festive signage and a holder for multiple stockings. It’s simple, charming and will look great on your mantle for years to come.