By the time my baby was 48 hours old, I was being told to keep her awake during the day so that she would sleep through the night.

By the time my daughter was 3 weeks old, I was being told to reduce the number of times I breastfed her and instead "top her up" with formula so that she was more likely to sleep through the night.

By the time my daughter was 4 months old, I was being told to give her a bottle of baby cereal to fill up her tiny tummy. You know, so that she might sleep through the night.


By the time my daughter was 9 months old, I was being told to "let her cry it out" — you guessed it, so that she might just sleep through the night.

I didn't actually follow any of this unsolicited advice, so you'd think that it had no effect on me, right? Yet as I type these words, I can feel a hot wave of anger pulsing through me.

How is it possible that such unqualified advice is being reeled off to vulnerable new mothers as though it's some sort of edict?

I wish I could say that I felt empowered enough in those early days to have openly laughed in the face of what sounded to me like utter nonsense. I wish I could say that my innate mommy confidence stopped such conversations in their tracks. But I can't.

Because I was anything but empowered. I was scared — absolutely terrified — that I was somehow screwing up this mothering gig. I listened to these snippets of never-ending advice, and as I disregarded each one, I felt more and more alone: Was I really the only mother in the world who wasn't following this particular book? Was I actually the only mom whose child didn't sleep through the night, and was it somehow my fault for not following these unnatural-sounding "rules"?

I felt isolated and riddled with self-doubt. And on top of that, I was bone-crushingly exhausted.

"Tiredness" doesn't cover it. Tiredness was something other people dealt with — other people without children. Tiredness was manageable and regular. I saw tiredness, and I raised it tenfold.

But then one sleepless night, as I sat nursing my baby girl, I skimmed through some comments in a mommy group on Facebook. It was the wee hours of the morning, and people other than me were still awake. Not only that — this obsessive concept of sleeping through the night was also plaguing them. They agreed that it's presented as nothing short of the Holy Grail of motherhood, something upon which to precariously balance our ever-diminishing fragile self-worth as mothers. But not everyone was playing the game.

One comment stood out to me, and I can still picture the words clearly, all these years later: "I'm 26, and I don't sleep through the night. Why should I expect my baby to?"

Image via Louise Herbert, used with permission.

As I read these simple words, I felt a slight lift in my exhaustion, so I read them again. And again.

There were other moms out there who were following their instincts and who even felt confident in doing so. That realization felt like magic.

From that point on, I found the courage to use my voice. I learned to stop people's unsolicited counsel in its tracks, and I found a group of moms who could relate to me and my sleepless adventures instead of inundating me with advice I didn't ask for.

The thing is, the concept of sleeping through the night is a brand worth millions. And the companies selling sleep products and sleep advice need us to keep obsessing over this elusive milestone so that they can keep on profiting from our exhaustion.

But here's what I say: Screw them and their expensive sleepy stardust. Because we aren't just ignoring the lady at the pharmacy or an ill-advised relative when we withdraw from the sleep game; we're inadvertently ignoring an entire industry. Let's be clear — that takes remarkable strength. When every dialogue we have about sleep is centered on this one ideal of sleeping through the night, it's hard to see through the bull and follow our mommy instincts.

So in case you, too, have lately been plagued by the pressure of getting your baby to sleep through the night, I have a message for you.

Keeping a baby awake during the day, swapping breastfeeds for formula feeds, filling a baby's tiny tummy with cereal, or letting them "cry it out" might work wonders for some babies and parents. But certainly none of those are universal truths. (In fact, some even have known health consequences and go against the advice of they-know-more-than-us advisers like the World Health Organization.) So if they don't work for you and your family, that's OK.

Moms, do yourselves a favor and trust your instincts.

Trust your babies. Most of them will take an eternity to sleep through the night. Let’s collectively embrace this concept of normal infant sleep and find ways to accept, cope with, and thrive on what little sleep we are granted.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

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