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You must be cringing as you read this.

You must be thinking I’m going to school you on how to treat your new boyfriend. You must be thinking I’m going to lay down some laws about how to treat my children.

That is not at all what this letter is about.


I would like to welcome you.

Welcome to this unique dynamic of “modern family.”

Welcome to the way we wing this life and this relationship. Yes, I said relationship, but not by its standard definition.

The children keep us in a relationship, much like your work keeps you in a relationship with your boss. If success is the goal, whether in work or parenting, the relationship between those who strive for that is important. I will not fill this letter with none-of-my-business type advice on how to treat a man I have known since I was 20. I won’t tell you anything that is personal about him; anything that he chooses to share is between you two. I’m not going to tell you why things did not work between us. All I will say on the subject of us is what I say to everyone:

"To me, he’s a great guy — for someone else."

This might sound weird, but I’m so excited about you.

My sons will see a side of their father they don’t even know they missed. They’ll witness the kind of happiness that blooms from the excitement, joy, and mystery that comes with a new relationship. They’ll see their father beaming with hope. They’ll hear him laugh (too much and too loud, as they’ve reported to us) and speak with a new charm in his voice. And because they love and admire him, all of these things will make them happier too.

Photo via iStock.

I want you to know that it is so important to be yourself around us. Please don’t ever feel threatened, intimidated, or out of place around us. Just like you, we are also fumbling through the newness of your place in our lives. We trust that if you are good enough for him, you are good enough for us. We expect you to have quirks, flaws, and a uniqueness about you that might leave us scratching our heads from time to time.

And we don’t want you to change a thing.

Don’t ever feel like you can’t speak to me, my (new) husband, or any of the boys.

Photo via iStock.

Say anything. Or say nothing at all. Please be you.

You’re going to see us (the kids, mostly, but also my current husband and me) quite often. You’re going to find yourself sitting with us at concerts, plays, games, graduations, and many other events. It will feel awkward at first, maybe, but I hope that changes quickly. While the kids know very well their father and I are divorced and done, they need to know we are united in our support of them, and this is one of the many ways we will unapologetically display that support.

I want them to look out at the audience while on stage and see all of us together watching them with pride and excitement. Many of my friends have asked me if sitting between their father and stepfather feels weird. I have done weirder things to esteem, encourage, teach, and build my sons. (Singing ridiculous songs about potty training is the first that comes to my mind.) This is no sweat. I ask that you join us (when you are ready) and become part of the united front that supports them unconditionally.

Say anything. Or say nothing at all. Please be you.

You may find yourself sitting through conversations between him and me. Please understand that we need to communicate in order to run our successful “business” of raising amazing humans. Sometimes we need to do it often. And along with the trust I mentioned in the former paragraph, there is trust you will know when it’s appropriate to chime in. Should you ever feel uncomfortable or insignificant during times like this, I ask that you look at the bigger picture and keep in mind that our communication outside the subject of our children is almost nonexistent.

He will never call to ask me advice on fashion (which is a good thing because I have none!).

He won’t call me to chat about a TV show he enjoys.

He won’t call me to complain about his work day.

Our relationship revolves around three growing boys. While other subjects may arise while we’re in the same space for a long period of time, please know that my role in his life is “mother of his children.”

Nothing more.

I give you a lot of credit for embarking on a relationship with a father of teenage boys!

This is new to them too, and they have no idea what to do or say around you. They are teenagers with their own lives, hopes, dreams, and intentions, and they may not always be at their best. I ask that as you become more of a presence in their lives, you get to know them individually.

My hope is that as time goes by and you are around them more, you’ll have a unique relationship with each of them. This will take deliberate work and effort. And at times it won’t be easy, much like anything else worthwhile.

Carefully and respectfully, I welcome you.

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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Joy

Tea time: how this boutique blends cultures from around the world

Ethically sourced, modern clothes for kids that embrace adventure, inspire connections and global thinking.

The Tea Collection combines philanthropic efforts with a deep rooted sense of multiculturalism into each of their designs so that kids can grow up with global sensibilities. They make clothes built to last with practicality and adventure in mind. But why "Tea"?

Let's spill it. Tea is a drink shared around the world with people from all different cultures. It is a common thread that weaves the world together. The Tea Collection was born from a love of travel and a love of sharing tea with different people in different places. Inspired by patterns from around the world, these clothes help children develop a familiarity with global communities.

Tea sources their materials ethically and ensures that each of their partners abide to strict codes of conduct. They have a zero-tolerance policy for anything "even slightly questionable" and make sure that they regularly visit their manufacturing partners to ensure that they're supporting positive working conditions.

Since 2003, The Tea Collection has partnered with the Global Fund for Children and has invested in different grassroots organizations that create community empowered programs to uplift kids in need. They donate 10% of their proceeds and have already contributed over $500,000 to different organizations such as: The Homeless Prenatal Program (San Francisco, CA, USA), Door of Faith Orphanage (Baja California, Mexico), Little Sisters Fund (Nepal) and others in Peru, Sri Lanka, India, Italy and Haiti.

But the best part about the Tea Collection? They're also an official member of the Kidizen Rewear Collective, which believes that clothes should stretch far beyond one child's use. They have their own external site for their preloved clothes that makes rewearing affordable. Families can trade in gently used Tea clothes and receive discounts for future products. Shopping the site helps keep clothes out of land fills and reduces the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

By creating heirloom style clothing made to last families can buy, sell, and trade clothes that can be reworn again and again. Because "new to you" doesn't always have to mean never been worn. And let's be honest, we all know how fast kids grow! Shopping preloved clothes is a great way to keep styles fresh without harming the environment or feeling guilty about not getting the most out of certain styles.

But don't just take our word for it! Head over to the Tea Collection and see for yourself!

Upworthy has earned revenue through a partnership and/or may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through links on our site.

Education

Teacher of the year explains why he's leaving district in unforgettable 3-minute speech

"I'm leaving in hopes that I can regain the ability to do the job that I love."

Lee Allen

For all of our disagreements in modern American life, there are at least a few things most of us can agree on. One of those is the need for reform in public education. We don't all agree on the solutions but many of the challenges are undeniable: retaining great teachers, reducing classroom size and updating the focus of student curriculums to reflect the ever-changing needs of a globalized workforce.

And while parents, politicians and activists debate those remedies, one voice is all-too-often ignored: that of teachers themselves.

This is why a short video testimony from a teacher in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County went viral recently. After all, it's hard to deny the points made by someone who was just named teacher of the year and used the occasion to announce why he will be leaving the very school district that just honored him with that distinction.

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