Happy Holidays from The Motherhood!

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons- William Follett

“May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter, and every window open to great possibility.” - Mary Anne Radmacher

Another holiday season is upon us, and we at The Motherhood are excited to spend quality time with our family and friends! Whether you’re still shopping, wrapping presents or preparing a holiday dinner, don’t forget to take a break and enjoy this wonderful time of year!

Warmest holiday wishes from our families to yours, and a Happy New Year!

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons- William Follett

Where Are Germs Hiding in Your House?


With all the festivities that come with the holidays, no one wants to be stuck in bed battling a cold or the flu! That’s why Clorox®, The Motherhood and a team of germ-fighting bloggers recently shared the icky truth about where bacteria and viruses hide, and tips on how to stay healthy through the season!

The Clorox Company and global public health organization NSF International conducted a study in homes of parents with young children, and discovered that germs hang out in unexpected places! More than half of parents surveyed said they felt the kitchen countertop was the surface they needed to clean most often. Yet the study results found that four times as many households had bathroom sinks that were germier than kitchen countertops. The majority of parents surveyed also ranked the kitchen drawer knob as the germiest surface, but in reality, other spots around the home – such as the kitchen countertop, bathroom sink and bathroom faucet handle – harbored more germs and viruses. Check out this #GermsStick video for other findings you might be surprised to see.

Our bloggers used #GermsStick stickers to show the germy hot spots that bacteria and viruses were found – and as a reminder for where to disinfect!

CloroxLaurie, Guessing All the Way

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Lori, A Day in the Motherhood

So how can you keep germs at bay in your house this season? Read on for some tips, and visit Clorox.com/GermsStick for more information and fun activities to share with your family!

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), viruses such as Influenza and Enterovirus spread through close contact with an infected person or by touching contaminated surfaces then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
  • To prevent the spread of germs in your home, the CDC recommends disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, especially when someone is sick. Parents can use an EPA-registered disinfectant, like Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes, to kill 99.9 percent of germs* that can live on hard non-porous surfaces for up to 48 hours.
  • Along with disinfecting germ hot spots, parents can help keep their families healthier by taking the same prevention steps recommended every year, including:
    • Get Vaccinated: Getting a yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in flu prevention. The CDC recommends that everyone six months and older get a flu vaccine each year to protect against the flu.
    • Stay Home When Sick: If possible, keep kids home from school when they are sick to help prevent teachers and classmates from catching their illness.
    • Sing & Scrub: Make sure kids wash their hands the right way. They should wash hands frequently with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice).
    • Do the Elbow Cough: Teach kids to cough and sneeze into elbows instead of your hands to help prevent the spread of germs by touch.

*Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Influenza A virus.

#MakeWonder: Nurturing Creativity through Play

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With the holiday break just days away, children will soon swap schoolwork for fun at home – but the opportunities to learn don’t have to stop!

It’s been said that play is the work of childhood, and Wonder Workshop is taking this idea to an amazing new level.

With technology playing such an integral role in our world, Wonder Workshop – the maker of Dash & Dot - is engineering smart, new ways to take children beyond the screen and empowering them to learn, play and create joy.

The Motherhood team took a walk down memory lane and recalled some of the ways we delighted in using our imaginations as children and turned everyday objects into something extraordinary:

Brittnee: My cousins and I created and performed a puppet show for our family based on whatever holiday or occasion we were celebrating. With many of us participating, it was one of my first memories of working together with a group of people on a common goal – a performance for the whole family!

Brittney: I loved rounding up my neighborhood friends to create plays and musicals! We would create a script and choreography (music provided via cassette tape), spend a few days rehearsing, design and print flyers to promote the play and then put on our performance for a neighborhood audience. 

Erin: As kids, my brother and I could find magic in everyday objects and even trash: The laundry basket became a rocket ship, a refrigerator box filled with styrofoam peanuts became a certain rich cartoon duck’s money bin and our swing set in the backyard was a giant pirate ship. Our imaginations took us everywhere.

Kayla: I remember making homemade play dough with my mom when I was younger. I learned how to do it at school and was so excited I came home and begged my mom to help me make it again! It was one of our favorite things to do and I loved to make different colors, depending on my mood.

Nicole: When my brother and I were younger we used to make art out of ANYTHING. We would find smooth rocks and large leaves from outside and paint on them all sorts of colors and designs.

Sarah: I always loved building different types of buildings or houses with Lincoln Logs & Legos! I would try to “rebuild” places like my house and sometimes buildings like the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) in downtown Chicago!

Serena: My two cousins and I started a recurring newspaper called “The Triple ‘S’ Post” (our first names all start with ‘S’) and distributed it to our families. We were each in charge of different sections: comics, sports, weather, wanted ads, even a gossip column! We found a few copies recently and showed my nieces and nephews, who are around the age we were when we wrote them. They loved the idea so much that they’ve started a similar paper themselves!

For more on how you can discover new ways for your children to play and learn, visit www.makewonder.com.

Lyssé’s Virtual Chic Week Starts Today (12/15)!

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Need inspiration for what to wear to your holiday party, or tips for putting together that polished-yet-comfortable outfit to brave those crowds? Look no further than Lyssé’s Virtual Chic Week, kicking off on Instagram today (12/15)!

The designers behind Lyssé’s performance-inspired fabrics have hand-picked styles for ten fabulous fashion bloggers, including:
From soft modal dresses and vegan leather looks, to rich ponte leggings and textured twill pants, see how each of these ladies styled their holiday outfits by following Lyssé on Instagram (@lyssefashion) and checking out #LysseLady throughout the week!


It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week

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‘Tis the season for family get-togethers, holiday magic and also, the flu. Influenza is a serious disease that can result in hospitalization and can even be fatal. An annual seasonal flu vaccine (either the flu shot or the nasal spray flu vaccine) is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and spread it to others.

Did you know influenza vaccination activity drops quickly after the end of November – but flu activity peaks between December and February? That’s why we at The Motherhood partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a team of fantastic bloggers to raise awareness of the importance of flu vaccines during the ninth annual National Influenza Vaccination Week, December 7-13, 2014.

Our bloggers shared some eye-opening information on the importance of vaccinations in their posts. Read on for a few of the highlights and follow along with the conversation using #NIVW2014. For more information on influenza and how you can keep your family healthy this season, please visit the CDC’s website.

  • “It is recommended that anyone 6 months or older get an annual flu vaccine to help protect against the disease. And even those who have already gotten the flu could benefit from the vaccination because it protects you against three or four different flu viruses!” – Mariah, Formula: Mom
  • “I know we’re even more cautious because Aliceana has been diagnosed with asthma. Vaccination is especially important for children with asthma, diabetes (type 1 and 2), or certain other long-term medical conditions because they are at increased risk for serious complications from flu if they get sick. (Such as a worsening in asthma attacks.)” – Brittany, The Domestic Geek
  • “As a medic in the US Army we take our vaccinations very seriously. The average US Army soldier has had more vaccinations than the average person. One of those that we do yearly and without fail is the flu vaccination. With the ‘mission’ always our main focus, how can we do our job if our troops are sick with the flu? Early in October we get our flu vaccines and we vaccinate our entire company. We even vaccinate our pregnant soldiers. Getting vaccinated during pregnancy is safe and can protect the mother and the baby for up to 6 months after birth. We go through the training that is needed because every year something new is discovered. Every year the strain becomes a little different. Since I’m being protected, then why not my family? My kids get their vaccinations every year as well. It not only protects them but I feel a lot better knowing that they are protected.” – Ann-Marie, Growing Up Madison
  • “…Last week my daughter was throwing up so much she ended up having to go to the hospital to get an IV. I did not want anyone else to get that sick or get the flu, so I decided it was time for us all to get our flu shots…It’s especially important for my family to get it, since we have young children who are at higher risk. Other high-risk people include pregnant women, people with asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease, and people ages 65 and older.  If you are high-risk and get the flu, you can get complications like pneumonia or worsening of existing health conditions which can lead to hospitalization or death.” – Heidi, Honeybear Lane

Do you get a flu shot each year? Here at The Motherhood, all of us do!

Celebrating #GivingTuesday with The Motherhood’s clients


Today is #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back! Today, businesses, communities and individuals all over the world will celebrate generosity and support a non-profit close to their hearts.

The Motherhood has worked with The United Nations Foundation since the first Giving Tuesday in 2012, and we’re honored to be an ongoing part of this amazing movement. Take a look at how we’re celebrating this special day with some of our wonderful client partners this year – and how you can participate, too!

Champions for Kids: This year, our amazing team of bloggers helped 3.3 million children and 27,000 organizations through programming that provided Champions for Kids (CFK) with much-needed donations and resources to help children thrive. But we didn’t stop there.

The Motherhood recently volunteered to help coordinate an additional program with bloggers passionate about helping children in need across the nation, and asked bloggers to donate their voices to raise awareness of kids’ needs and spur additional donations to help fun CFK programming in communities across the U.S. Nearly 40 bloggers signed on – documenting their own childhood memories of kids in need who they wished they could have helped at the time. Inspired to help kids across the U.S.? Learn more about how you can support Champions for Kids here.

The Fred Rogers Company: Mister Rogers began each program by asking viewers to be his neighbors. This fall, The Fred Rogers Company and The Motherhood asked a group of bloggers to do the same by sharing personal stories on a brand-new site celebrating neighborliness: WontYouBeMyNeighbor.org. In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, we hope you’ll take a moment to share what it means to be a good neighbor by posting to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #BeMyNeighbor – your story will appear on WontYouBeMyNeighbor.org!

JOHNSON’S® More Hands, More Hearts™: This #GivingTuesday, JOHNSON’S has committed to the happy, healthy development of babies with the More Hands, More Hearts program, and The Motherhood is thrilled to work with a wonderful team of bloggers to share the news.

JOHNSON’S is donating baby care kits and a special grant to help moms ensure their babies thrive, and you can help, too! Simply share a photo through the Donate a Photo app and you’ll be providing a child with the critical resources he or she needs for healthy development. During the month of December, JOHNSON’S will double the donation when you select Save the Children, too – up to $100,000. You can also participate in our Twitter party on Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. ET, and use #MoreHandsMoreHearts to share how you’re giving back this season.

Walmart Food Pantry Holiday Makeover: Did you know that 49 million Americans – 16 million of whom are children – struggle with hunger at some point during the year? Many families rely on the support of their local food pantries, and providing meals requires these pantries to be well-equipped to safely store, prepare, serve and transport food.

This Giving Tuesday, Walmart launched the Food Pantry Holiday Makeover campaign. Between today and December 12, you can visit www.walmart.com/holidaymakeover and cast one vote per day (a 24-hour time period) to help a participating food pantry. 75 winning food pantries will each receive a $20,000 grant to purchase items they need to continue providing fresh meals and exceptional service to local communities. This is an issue close to our bloggers’ hearts, and over the next week, they’ll spread the word to support their local food pantries. The grants will be announced on December 15!

Tell us how you’re celebrating #GivingTuesday this year!

Twitter Parties this week!

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We’re kicking off the first week of December with four exciting Twitter parties! We’re planning fun conversations around a site that helps parents finds trustworthy apps; tips and tricks for unstoppable moms; a study that looks at the “germiest” places in homes with children; and an inspiring conversation about the third annual #GivingTuesday. We hope to see you there!


Tuesday, Dec. 2 @ 12 p.m. ET

The third annual Global Day of Giving is happening tomorrow, December 2, and we’re excited to hear how you plan to give back this year. We’ll be chatting about all the amazing causes and charities you can support this holiday season!


Wednesday, Dec. 3 @ 12 p.m. ET

Choosing the right apps for your children can be hard. That’s why we’re excited to chat about a recent survey from Moms With Apps! They surveyed more than 450 parents to find out how they select apps for their kids, and we’ll be sharing the findings during the party!

The Moms With Apps site features more than 285 developers and 885 apps that maintain high standards for protecting kids’ privacy. It even lets you know what’s inside every app before you download it!

Prizes: We will be giving away five prizes during this Twitter party to randomly selected participants who answer the trivia questions correctly. Each prize includes a $50 Visa gift card. Prizes limited to U.S. participants only.


Wednesday, Dec. 3 @ 2 p.m. ET

 Germs stick to all types of places, and kids spread them to more places than you can imagine. That’s why The Clorox Company and global public health organization NSF International conducted a study in homes of parents with children to help parents uncover the “germiest” hot spots – from the living room to common areas to the bathroom.

Join us during the #GermsStick Twitter party to learn about the interesting study findings and swap tips for cleaning and dealing with germs in your home!

Prizes: We will be giving away five prizes to randomly selected participants who answer the questions tweeted by @theMotherhood25 correctly. Prizes are limited to U.S. participants only. Four (4) runners-up with receive one (1) $25 American Express gift card, and one (1) grand prize winner will receive one (1) $100 American Express gift card and a Clorox® Disinfecting Product gift basket!


Thursday, Dec. 4 @ 1 p.m. ET

The makers of Children’s MOTRIN® are inspired by all the things moms do throughout the year, and especially during the busy holiday season! Join the Twitter party to share your unstoppable tips and tricks that help keep you going!

You can also share your best tips and tricks on the MOTRIN® Facebook page – for every post, the makers of Children’s MOTRIN® will donate $1 to Safe Kids. Moms could even win a weekly giveaway that includes a $100 gift card just for posting!*

Prizes: We will be giving away five $50 gift cards to randomly selected individuals based on the event’s RSVP’s.**

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY, OPEN TO LEFAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES & D.C., 18 AND OLDER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Promotion ends 11:59p.m. ET 12/28/14. Sponsor will donate $1 for each approved Submission made as part of the promotion, with a minimum donation of $30,000 and a maximum donation of $50,000.  For Official Rules, and complete details, visit www.unstoppablemoms.com. Sponsor: McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. To learn more about Safe Kids Worldwide visit safekids.org.
**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. OPEN TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 U.S. & D.C., 18 AND OLDER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. RSVP by 1:55 p.m. ET on December 4, 2014. See Official Rules for complete details.

The Motherhood celebrates #GivingTuesday with #UNselfie photos!

#GivingTuesday is only one week away, and we are so excited to see the impact of the third annual Global Day of Giving on December 2nd! The entire team at The Motherhood participated in the ongoing social media conversation recently by posting #UNselfies sharing how we’re planning to give back in our communities across the country. (We’re also hosting a Twitter party at noon ET on December 2 to keep the goodness going, so join us on Twitter with the #GivingTuesday hashtag at that time!)

What is an #UNselfie, you ask? 

According to the official website, it’s a show of support for Giving Tuesday. Take a pic, tag it #UNselfie and #GivingTuesday, and upload to your Instagram, Twitter or Facebook profile between now and December 2 (Giving Tuesday).

If you’re looking for inspiration, take a peek at the #UNselfies our team shared and watch the video to learn more about Giving Tuesday:


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Emily #UNSelfie - Giving Tuesday

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Print the template for sharing your own #UNselfie here, and consider joining us at noon ET on December 2 for the Twitter party to share all things #UNselfie and #GivingTuesday. We can’t wait to see how you’re planning on supporting this incredible movement!

Join PGH Momtourage’s #FosterLoveProject this holiday season!

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The holidays are a great time to give back to your community, and we are honored to share the news of an amazing charity called the Foster Love Project in Pittsburgh, where The Motherhood’s headquarters is located.

The Foster Love Project was started by Kelly Hughes of PGH Momtourage to raise awareness about helping foster children in the community. Kelly has been a foster parent seven times and knows firsthand how few resources foster children have when they are placed in a home, sometimes arriving with only the clothes on their backs and a couple of items in a garbage bag.

Kelly and the Foster Love Project are collecting donations to make “placement bags” so that case workers can easily give these children a bag of their very own to take to their foster homes. Kelly says, “It will instantly be something new and clean that they can call their own. A new blanket, a stuffed animal, some pajamas, a book of their own.” Each bag will be distributed by the Pittsburgh Bair Foundation and other local foster agencies.

Donations are being accepted at six drop-off locations in Pittsburgh between now and Dec. 31. Here are a list of items you can donate that will go toward a placement bag, or you can donate all of these to complete an entire placement bag!

  • Small duffel bags (backpacks also accepted)
  • Blankets
  • Stuffed animals
  • Pajamas (any size)
  • Toothbrushes & toothpaste (fluoride-free or Toms of Maine brand preferred)
  • Kid’s bath soap
  • Books
  • Diapers (any size)

If you can’t fill a placement bag, you can also purchase gift cards to local restaurants like burger or pizza chains. This can tremendously help foster families who often have short notice of a child arriving – a gift card can really come in handy at mealtimes! Gift cards to Walmart or Target are also helpful for foster families during times of transition.

Any gift cards can be mailed to:

Foster Love Project
c/o Three Rivers Grace Church
1028 Chartiers Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15220

For more information about drop-off locations, please visit the Foster Love Project Facebook page!

Melinda Gates: “It’s time we move from talk to action.”

Barbara Bush, Melinda Gates, Katie Couric

Photo Credit: UN Women

Melinda Gates, Barbara Bush and Katie Couric led a fast-paced, fascinating conversation on global health, called #BetterByHalf, in NYC yesterday.  A few highlights:

Melinda: I didn’t think I would get involved in this work. I was a political science major in college and worked at Microsoft.  I went to Africa on safari. 

Barbara Bush: I wanted to be architect, but then I traveled to Africa for PEPFAR in 2003, when HIV/AIDS was a death sentence.  On street people looked like skeletons – they were just born at wrong time in wrong place.  Mothers brought their kids to health clinics, asking for anything that could help them to survive.

Melinda Gates: When you talk to the women and girls around the world – they are so poignant in telling you about their lives and their dreams for their families and children.  Their aspirations are just like ours.


Barbara: My twin sister and I were raised to believe we could do anything if we worked like crazy … I became obsessed with global health and started Global Health Corps.

Melinda:  Global Health Corps is like Teach for America – creating talent in developing world.

Barbara: 300,000 women die in childbirth.  These deaths are preventable.  In the last fifteen years, maternal mortality has dropped by half.

Melinda:  The Foundation is figuring out what works. We are looking at what keeps women subjugated:

  1. Health – How do you lift up girls’ health?
  2. Decision Making – Does she have the capability in her house to make some decisions for herself.  If she marries off early, decision-making is nil.
  3. Economic opportunities – Give a girl some education and a mobile phone.  If girls and women have mobile phones they’re ability to get income rises enormously

Education for girls is fundamental.  If a girl stays in school, the way she works with health system is completely differently.  She will feel comfortable with authority, will know more about what she should ask for, will talk to her daughter, and will contribute much more economically.

Fifteen million girls marry before age 18 and are expected to have child within year.  One thing that we’ve seen work to delay marriage is to give an economic incentive – if you offer the family a goat or school supplies, they are far more likely to wait to marry off their daughters.

Child marriage

Melinda:  Eight million more women got access to contraception last year.  Our goal is for 120 million more women to have access by 2020.

Katie Couric: What does the Catholic Church think of this?

Melinda:  I am Catholic and I use contraception.  Ninety-four percent of Catholic women use contraception.  The church is against it, but isn’t particularly active on the topic.  They didn’t block funding on condoms for PEPFAR, which they could have.

Katie:  I’ve been to countries where some organizations are saying it’s good for women to have more children.

Melinda:  If we target the 200 million women who know about contraception and want it, we will make a huge difference.

It’s time we move from talk to action on all these issues. We need to bring a business focus – to take concrete actions and not just talk about things.

Barbara:  These issues exist in the US as well. You don’t have to travel outside your own town or city to engage in this inequity.

Katie: Men need to be involved.  We need a new word for feminism.  The economic rights of women.  This is a human rights issue.

Barbara:  Often men are drawn to issue because of their mothers or sisters. They wish that their mothers had the same opportunities.

Melinda: Pick the issue you’re interested in and do what you can to start working on it.  Bring your voice and talents and share your stories.  If you decide to buy a cow for a family during the holidays through Heifer International, that makes a huge difference.  The family gets more nutrition and more income, and they are told to give the calf to another family. Share your giving story with your friends so they’ll be inspired to do something too.

Katie: I would love for someone to give me ten ideas for ways to contribute for Christmas.  Give me ten organizations that my family can choose to support – to take some of the guesswork out of it.

Melinda: We just launched Better By Half because women make up half the entire population, and when women and girls are empowered, we’re not just better by half, we’re twice as good.

Thank you Melinda, Barbara and Katie for an incredible gathering and discussion. My family will follow your lead and choose organizations to support this Giving Tuesday (December 2nd) and for the holidays – and will share our stories with family and friends!

As a side note, both Better By Half and the One Campaign recommend organizations to support with your families.

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