All of the unhelpful advice I got on how to get my daughter to 'sleep through the night.'

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.

Courtesy of Creative Commons
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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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via Seresto

A disturbing joint report by USA Today and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found that tens of thousands of pets have been harmed by Seresto flea and tick collars. Seresto was developed by Bayer and is now sold by Elanco.

Since Seresto flea collars were introduced in 2012, the EPA has received incident reports of at least 1,698 pet deaths linked to the product. Through June 2020, the EPA has received over 75,000 incident reports relating to the collars with over 1,000 involving human harm.

The EPA has known the collars are harming humans and their pets but failed to tell the public about the dangers.

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