popular

Becoming Mama: An Experiential Event for Pregnancy + Postpartum

Print Friendly and PDF

Motherly's Becoming Mama event is an experiential and informative full-day event for new moms and moms-to-be, exploring all three trimesters of pregnancy—plus postpartum!

The event will include engaging panels with industry leaders, interactive workshops with experts, intimate, honest stories from influential moms, and a chance to meet your new mom village IRL. We'll also offer some pampering, shopping and a curated baby registry experience.

Sat, October 26, 2019
10am- 3:30pm
WeWork Now
902 Broadway
New York, NY 10010

REGISTER NOW


Event Lineup:

10am: Registration + Breakfast presented by Daily Harvest

10:50am: Motherly Co-Founder Welcome + Surprise Reveal!

11am: Intention Setting Ceremony

featuring Erica Livingston @birdsongbrooklyn

11:20am: Navigating the 4th Trimester sponsored by One Medical

featuring Radha Agrawal @love.radha; Samantha Huggins @carriagehousebirth; Margaret "Peggy" Chapman @onemedical; Deena Campbell @mother.ly

11:50am: Lunch + Wellness Break

12:50pm: Baby Steps to a Cleaner Lifestyle sponsored by Pipette

featuring Erin Boyle @readtealeaves; Meaghan Murphy @goodhousekeeping; Caroline Hadfield @pipettebaby; Conz Preti @mother.ly

1:20pm: It Takes a Village: Self-Care for Mom sponsored by Pampers

featuring Diana Spalding @mother.ly; Elyse Fox @elyse.fox; Rebekah Borucki @bexlife; Alexis Barad Cutler @notsafeformomgroup

1:50pm: Snack Break presented by Stylish Spoon

2:50pm: The Motherhood Advantage in the Workplace

featuring LaTonya Yvette @latonyayvette; Samantha Wasser @eatbychloe; Grace Bastidas @parentslatina; Jill Koziol @mother.ly

PLUS:

Motherly's Gear Lab featuring the best gear for 2019 sponsored by Bugaboo

Bump + Baby Photos and DIY Nursery Decor sponsored by Crate+Kids

Pregnancy + Postpartum Style Station sponsored by Motherhood Maternity

Pampering for Mama in our Wellness Lounge sponsored by Baby Dove

Plus
  • Enjoy a Light Breakfast & Healthy Lunch.
  • Bring home awesome gift bags filled with baby & mama goodies.
  • Meet a whole new mama community to help you on your journey!
REGISTER NOW
*While many of Motherly's events are family focused, there will not be specific activities or play spaces for babies or kids. this event is more mom-focused. Babies under 1 are welcome at this event, but a baby carrier is suggested as there's no room for strollers. Please use your discretion.

Speakers

Radha Agrawal is the co-Founder, CEO and Chief Community Architect of Daybreaker, the early morning dance and wellness move-ment that currently holds events in 25 cities and over a dozen college campuses around the world with a community of almost half a million people. She is a successful entrepreneur (Co-Founder THINX, LiveItUp), author, speaker, DJ, inventor, and investor. Her new book BELONG answers the questions, "how the heck do I find my people?" and "How do I create large and meaningful communities in the real world?". She was named by MTV as "one of 8 women who will change the world." Radha lives in Brooklyn NY with her love Eli and her twin sister Miki – and lots of family and friends within a few blocks. You can most often find her tinkering with community and experience design projects, or on the dance floor at Daybreaker in New York City (if she's not dancing at sunrise in another part of the world.)

LaTonya Yvette is an author, stylist, and lifestyle blogger. Her eponymous blog covers motherhood, style, and beauty. Her debut book, WOMAN OF COLOR, recently published in April 2019. She lives in Brooklyn with her two children, River and Oak.

Rebekah "Bex" Borucki is a mother of five, TV host, meditation and yoga guide, birth doula, and author of You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life: Simple 4-Minute Meditations for Inspiration, Transformation, and True Bliss (Hay House 2017) and her brand new book, Managing the Motherload: A Guide to Creating More Ease, Space, and Grace in Motherhood (Hay House 2019). Her mission is to make mental health support and stress management tools accessible to all, especially BIPOC (Black and Indigenous People of Color), LGBTQ+ folks, and other marginalized communities. Rebekah lives with her family and a barn-full of rescued farm animals on their 8-acre homestead in rural New Jersey. For more information, visit www.MotherloadBook.com.

Samantha Wasser is the Founder, Senior Vice President and Creative Director of popular plant-based, fast-casual brand by CHLOE. Samantha provides creative vision for the brand, overseeing brand identity, growth, menu development, and social media presence, all of which have been major credits to the brand's rapid expansion and evolution. Samantha Wasser has proven to be not only a veteran in the culinary space but an innovator and thought leader in today's restaurant industry. She was recognized in both Zagat's and Inc. Magazine's honorable "30 Under 30" for her work in restaurant development in 2014 and 2016. Samantha also serves an Advisor for WeWorks Food Labs. In December 2018, Samantha and her husband Mitch welcomed their son James Wyatt into the world. Following, in May 2019, Samantha led a women-run collaboration called Beyond Mother's Day with partners Kindbody and Robyn, that included a series of events held by by CHLOE with the goal to advance the narrative of improving support for all paths to parenthood. During Beyond Mother's Day, by CHLOE gave 50% of proceeds from their Beyond Mother's Day Cupcake sold throughout May to Baby Quest Foundation, a non-profit providing financial assistance to couples who struggle to afford fertility treatments.

Elyse Fox is a mother, director, activist and tastemaker living in New York City. You may have read her name in bylines by Vogue Magazine, Forbes and Broadly to name a few. Through her efforts to destigmatize mental health Elyse has collaborated with Olay Beauty, Harvard University, Instagram, the U.S. Intelligence Community and Nike. Her mission is to connect communities and spread awareness through vulnerability and story telling. In January, 2017 Elyse created Sad Girls Club; a stigma-free online and IRL community created for millennials and Gen. Z to discuss mental health openly.

Samantha Huggins is a co-founder of Carriage House Birth and an empathic full spectrum doula, doula trainer, childbirth educator, curriculum builder and parent. As a founding member of Carriage House Birth, Samantha works vigilantly to redefine doula work and contemporary parenting. She oversees CHB Education focusing on childbirth education, doula trainings, elevating the early parenthood experience and doula professionalism. Samantha is deeply committed to this work and creating a model of care that is sustainable and works for all family systems.

Erin Boyle is the writer and photographer behind the lifestyle blog, Reading My Tea Leaves, where she writes about all things slow, simple, and sustainable. Erin's first book, Simple Matters, came out in January, 2016. It's a nod to the growing consensus that living simply and purposefully is more sustainable not only for the environment, but for our own happiness and well-being, too. Erin embraces the notion that "living small" is beneficial and accessible to us all—whether we're renting a tiny apartment or purchasing a three-story house. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two young children.

Grace Bastidas is the founding editor of Parents Latina and also has editorial oversight of the Spanish-language brand, Ser Padres. Prior to joining Meredith, she served as deputy editor of Latina magazine. She's also held senior editor positions at New York Weddings and The Village Voice, and has written for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications. In her free time, Grace is an ambassador for the Good+ Foundation, a nonprofit working to break the cycle of family poverty. A native New Yorker, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two young daughters.

Meaghan Murphy is Good Housekeeping's executive editor. Known for her high-energy, upbeat personality and YAY lifestyle, Meaghan B Murphy is a multi-platform media junkie. In addition to her role as the Executive Editor of Good Housekeeping, reaching 30 million total audience, Meaghan regularly appears on shows like Live with Kelly & Ryan, Dr. Oz, the Today Show and shoots a series for NBC News titled "A Better Way," in which she shares MacGyver-style hacks. She also joined the fourth season of "Small Business Revolution" (Hulu) as its expert in building community spirit — something she effectively did as Chief Spirit Officer of her own suburban town and as the ambassador for the community-based app NextDoor. A New Jersey native, Meaghan married her younger brother's best friend, Patrick, and together they live in Westfield (aka @bestfieldnj) with their "Irish triplets," Charley (9), James (7) and Brooks (6), and labradoodle Dempsey. When she's not at the gym for 5AM workouts with her #goodvibetribe, Meaghan is busy penning her debut novel The Fully Charged Life: A Radically Simple Guide to Having Endless Energy and Finding the Yay in Every Day for Penguin-Random House.

Alexis Barad-Cutler is a group facilitator, professional speaker, writer, and published author. She founded Not Safe For Mom Group (nsfmg) in 2018, after a well-known parenting website took down an essay she had written for them because it was "too controversial." She wanted to create a stigma-free platform and community where women could express the thoughts, feelings, and questions they don't talk about everywhere else. These days, (nsfmg) has an active on, and offline community that flies in the face of the sanitized version of motherhood typically seen on social media. (nsfmg) members engage in honest, deep diving conversations about everything from post-baby sex, to rage, to infertility, to gender disappointment, to postpartum depression and anxiety. The result is a community of support (and window into contemporary motherhood) you won't find anywhere else.

Deena Campbell is the Experts and Lifestyle Editor at Motherly. Her work has been published in Allure, The New York Times, PopSugar, Essence and a host of others. She currently resides in New Jersey where lives with her husband and two young children.

Margaret "Peggy" Chapman, MD, MS, FA is a pediatrician at One Medical, where she focuses on establishing a trusting and respectful relationship with parents and children to forge a therapeutic alliance. She believes preventive care and parent education are key to raising happy, healthy children-and she feels privileged to be part of the process. She enjoys working with children of all ages, from newborns through adolescents, and is especially interested in child behavior, child development, parenting, and ADHD. In her time off, Peggy enjoys walking, gardening, skiing, hiking, baking, and reading. She graduated from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and did a chief residency in pediatrics at New York Presbyterian Hospital. She's board certified in pediatrics.



Caroline Hadfield is President of Amyris' Pipette, a clean, safe and nontoxic personal care brand for babies and moms launching September 2019. Caroline a powerful force in the personal care and beauty markets, having previously launched the successful brands Sephora and Amyris' Biossance. Throughout her career, Hadfield has demonstrated her ability to identify opportunities in the market and deliver the highest quality results based on consumer demand. As a leader in the clean personal care movement, Hadfield recognized a need for a brand that caters to the sensitivity of newborn skin without compromising on safety or efficacy. She was instrumental in Amyris' decision to ban more than 2,000 potentially harmful ingredients from its labs. Hadfield's commitment to transparency is a driving force in her decision making as she continues to be an advocate and innovator in the emerging clean personal care market. Hadfield received her degree in Textiles and Management from Leeds University, and participated in Stanford University's Senior Executive Program. She resides in San Francisco, CA with her husband and two daughters.

Erica Livingston is the co-founder of Birdsong Brooklyn and a full spectrum doula supporting families through conception, pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. Her birth work began in the postpartum sphere and she still is most passionate about bringing that time period into the light. Erica is also an herbalist, breathwork practitioner and hosts birth and threshold blessings for her community and clients as well. A trained comedienne and performer, Erica brings heart centered humor to all the spaces she creates. Erica and her business partner and best friend, Laura Interlandi, built Birdsong Brooklyn, their doula and parenting business together in 2013 when they saw the extreme lack of support for the postpartum period reflected in their own journeys and the journey of almost every other new parent they came across. Working outside of hierarchy and patriarchy took an acknowledgement and a new container which they've been building ever since including a 13 week mentorship program for doulas of all walks and their online learning lodge for parents, doulas and people. Their business mantra is "All boats rise when we tether together and the sun shines for everyone!"

Jill Koziol is the co-founder and CEO of Motherly a modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood with it's 30M+ monthly audience. She is also the co-author This Is Motherhood and The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama, launching April 2020. Jill is passionate about serving and empowering women and mothers because when mamas are successful, everyone wins. She is an advocate for families, female founders, and how to thrive with multiple sclerosis. Jill lives in Menlo Park with her husband and two daughters.

Liz Tenety is co-founder and Chief Digital Officer of Motherly. A former Washington Post editor, she's also a mom of 4.

Conz Preti is the Stories editor at Motherly. Originally from Argentina, she now lives in NYC with her husband, son and two rescue dogs. Always looking for the next adventure and for another tattoo to add to her collection.


Diana Spalding is a certified nurse midwife, pediatric nurse, and mother of three. She has BA in anthropology from Emory University and both a BS in nursing and a master's degree in midwifery from New York University. In addition to caring for thousands of pregnant women, Diana has worked in pediatric oncology, and has served in several professorial and advisory roles in higher education settings. Diana is the Digital Education Editor at Motherly and the founder of Gathered Birth, a motherhood wellness center in Media, PA. She is soon-to-be TEDx speaker, and wrote The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama: Redefining the Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Journey, releasing April 2020.

Find out more about Motherly Events!


The very best of Motherly — delivered when you need it most.
Subscribe for inspiration, empowering articles and expert tips to rock your best #momlife.

Creating your baby registry is one of the most exciting getting-ready-for-baby tasks a mama takes part in (other than, you know, growing a life). But even though sorting through adorably teeny this and itsy bitsy that can be loads of fun, that doesn't change the fact that there are SO many products from which to choose—not to mention slight variations in version for each. And how do parents know if you even need that *very specific* item to begin with, since each baby's likes are so different? It helps to have an expert guiding you through the what's-actually-worth-it process, whether it's veteran parents in your life who will likely offer up suggestions, or stores like buybuy BABY that handpick the must-have options and make registry building super easy for you.

From strollers to car seats and swings (because you'll definitely be needing a swing at some point), here are our top picks for first-time parents of the items you'll be glad you put on your baby registry, trust us.

UPPAbaby VISTA stroller

UPPAbaby VISTA stroller

The best recommendation is the one from someone you trust and if you ask around, it won't take long for you to learn that UPPAbaby® is one of the most beloved stroller brands by new and seasoned moms alike. The VISTA is their crème de la crème, and it comes with all sorts of high quality features (think an ultra-sturdy frame and all-wheel suspension to help absorb all those bumps on the road) that will keep your babe comfortable no matter where your walk takes you. Plus, it comes in a bunch of great colors and transitions to a double as your family grows.

$959.99

Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat

ChiccoKeyFitcarseat

When it comes to keeping your little one safe, a car seat is probably the most important piece of gear you'll buy. While you'll hopefully never need to test it out, the KeyFit® seat keeps your little peanut extra secure with things like side impact protection—plus, thanks to handy bubble indicators, installing it correctly doesn't require a rocket scientist[JS9] . It's all about making your life easier while helping you breathe easier, too!

$199.99

4moms mamaRoo classic infant seat

4momsmamaRooswing

All hail the infant swing 🙌. Whether your cute new bundle is generally calm or has more of a defiant streak, chances are there'll be a time when you need some hands-free soothing. Enter the mamaRoo, a beyond useful swing that looks as cozy as it is. Strap the nugget in, choose one of five distinct motion patterns, and let yourself enjoy that moment of solitude on the couch (without leaving baby unsupervised, of course).

$219.19

HALO Bassinest premier series swivel sleeper

HALOsleeper

Being a new mom is all about snuggles and, if we're being honest, surviving those sleepless nights. And since the American Association of Pediatrics' current recommendation is to have your baby sleep in your room for at least the first 6 months of life anyway, why not have your little one spend his or her early nights snoozing in a bedside bassinet to save some time in the middle of the night? The HALO Bassinest is designed to nuzzle right up next to your bed, too, so you won't even have to get out from under the comforter during those 3am feedings.

Graco Table2Table premier fold 7-in1 convertible high chair

Gracohighchair

Spoiler alert: Your little babe is going to grow up fast. While it may seem like they'll be in that just-learning-how-to-eat phase forever, they'll outgrow the full-fledged high chair in a blink. While you can definitely buy a variety of different seating apparatuses for them, you can also buy one that'll last with your growing baby. With seven different configurations ranging from an infant reclining high chair to a toddler table and little chair, this is the only one you'll ever need.

$169.99

Fisher-Price 4-in-1 sling 'n seat bath tub

Fisher-Pricebath

Bath time is arguably one of the cutest elements of parenthood. So rather than concentrating on holding your slippery little baby safely in the sink while also, you know, washing them, do yourself a favor and invest in an infant tub with an adjustable sling. It'll help make the bonding time fun of bath time more secure so you can focus on enjoying those beautiful sudsy moments.

$39.99

Hatch Baby Rest sound machine night light + time-to-rise

HatchBabyRestsoundmachine

Technology has brought us a lot of advantages, but one of the best? The ability to comfort your little one without ever leaving bed. The Hatch Baby Rest offers sound- and light-control from your smartphone so you can use the power of noise to help them back to sleep if they fuss in the middle of the night without requiring you to drag your tired self out of bed. Plus, when the toddler years come around, it doubles as a time-to-rise clock so that ball of energy knows when it's appropriate to barrel into your room.

$59.99

Fridababy baby basics kit

fridababybasics

Fridababy has made a name for itself with its cheeky (but incredibly practical) products like the congestion-fighting NoseFrida® and the less-than-pleasant Windi. With this basics bundle, you can get four of their most popular—for nose, behind, scalp and nails—in one convenient package. It's not glamorous, mamas, but it's parenting at its finest.

$39.99

Graco 4Ever all-in-one convertible car seat

Gracocarseat

Whether or not you choose to purchase an infant car seat for the first months, you will eventually need a convertible car seat as your kiddo gets bigger, and the best options will grow with them. The Graco® 4Ever All-in-1 accommodates children up to 40 pounds facing backwards and up to 65 pounds facing forward. Plus, it can be used as a booster seat up through the age of 10. One less thing to buy until then, mama!

Skip*Hop explore + more 3-stage activity center

SkipHopActivityCenter

Insider parenting tip: Invest in a few great toys that serve as a great way to help your baby learn and explore and stay safe (read: unable to crawl away when you turn your head for a split second). An activity center serves both of those purposes—keeps them entertained and contained fabulously. Even better, the SKIP*HOP® Explore & More 3-Stage has an extra-long shelf life as it converts to an activity table when they outgrow the harness. Plus, there's a snack bowl attachment, and as every mama knows, snacks mean victory.

$129.99

This article was sponsored by buybuy BABY. Thank you for supporting the brands that support mamas and Motherly.

Our Partners

At Motherly we know that mothers can and do balance business needs with the needs of their children every day. We do it every day, and we know that mothers at other companies are doing it every day, too—but this balancing act often isn't talked about.

This week a COO and father, Seth Morales, went viral for drawing attention to how hard his wife, and all working moms, work outside of regular business hours and outside offices.

Morales posted a photo of his wife comforting their child in a hospital bed, writing, "I took this picture of my wife and son this morning. Too often working moms don't get enough credit. I'm sharing this because I want people to know it's possible. You can be great at work and at home."

FEATURED VIDEO

He continues: "But sacrifices need to be made before/after normal working hours. The idea of working 40+ hours in the office isn't realistic. You'd be surprised at how productive my wife is from her smartphone while running errands. But she constantly thinks she's falling short with everything. Balancing life is messy and difficult. For all you working parents out there please have grace for yourself, it's a process."

Morales is right about many things: 40 hours of butt-in-seat office work is not realistic for many parents. Our kids have needs Monday through Friday, 9-5 that we need to be there for sometimes. Clearly, Morales' child was in need of medical attention and that's the kind of thing that parents need to be able to give their attention to, whether it happens during regular business hours or not. And Morales is also right that parents are making sacrifices, working before and after traditional office hours and making the most of small pockets of time. It sound like Morales' wife is multitasking a lot of time time, running her work from her "smartphone while running errands."

It's great that this powerful COO is sharing the struggles that working parents face and that a working mother's spouse is recognizing her efforts on a personal level. But we would challenge partners like Morales: If you see your partner trying so hard to do everything and feeling like she's never doing enough, perhaps it is time to ask yourself if YOU are doing enough.

Research shows that among heterosexual couples, women simply do more of the unpaid work of child-rearing than men do, and it hurts our careers, our families and our relationships (and that if men did just 50 minutes more labor at home every day we could close the gender gap.)

We would also challenge business leaders like Morales: If you see your employees are making the sacrifices that he mentions here, working before and after working hours and feeling like they are merely surviving, not thriving, maybe your culture needs to catch up with the needs of employees.

And finally, we challenge any working mother who "constantly thinks she's falling short with everything" to drop some balls and delegate at home. Get the store-bought muffins and share the load of managing your family load with your partner.

Morales is right, we can be great at work and at home, but not if we're not supported at work and at home.

News

Sometimes it's hard for kids (and adults) to understand things that can't see. That's why some creative teachers are using bread to show kids just how germy their hands can get.

"We did a science project in class this last month as flu season was starting. We took fresh bread and touched it. We did one slice untouched. One with unwashed hands. One with hand sanitizer. One with washed hands with warm water and soap. Then we decided to rub a piece on all our classroom Chromebooks," teacher Jaralee Annice Metcalf writes in a now-viral Facebook post.

When the bread was left in sealed plastic bags the slices that had been exposed to more bacteria via laptops and unwashed hands grew the most mold.

FEATURED VIDEO



The bread that had been rubbed on those Chromebooks might be the grossest piece of bread we've ever seen, and really underscores Jaralee's point: "As somebody who is sick and tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired. Wash your hands! Remind your kids to wash their hands! And hand sanitizer is not an alternative to washing hands!"

The CDC agrees with this elementary school teacher: Handwashing reduces the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illnesses (basically the bugs kids seem to be magnets for) so it's a good idea to teach kids to do it properly and often.

Jaralee isn't the first teacher to go viral for incorporating this experiment into her classroom and she probably won't be the last. Full instructions for this project are listed on the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital website and are easy to replicate at home.

Her Facebook post has been criticized by people questioning the conditions of her experiment, but as she notes on her Facebook page, they're kind of missing the point: "We are an elementary school. Not a fancy CDC lab, so relax a little and WASH YOUR HANDS."

It's good advice from a caring teacher and a reminder to wash our hands (and sanitize our laptops!)

News

Whether you have a child in a Montessori school or you are just looking for cool gifts that encourage creative, independent play, we've got you covered. We found the most Montessori-friendly gifts available on Amazon and they won't break the bank—win-win.

While they aren't the hottest toys of the moment, they'll last you a lot longer than a trendy product. Here, you'll find handpicked quality and non-tech gifts like marble runs, interlocking discs and iconic board books, that'll stimulate simple, open-ended play. Perfect to share with family members looking for gifts that don't involve a screen.

Here are our favorite Montessori-inspired gifts under $50 found on Amazon:

TT.Remax Montessori munari mobile

TT.Remax Montessori munari mobile

The Montessori mobiles were designed specifically to engage infants in each developmental stage. This one is the first mobile in the series and is meant for newborns which is why it features black and white images.

Age: 3-6 months

$13.99

Kiddison Montessori kicking ball cotton

Kiddison Montessori kicking ball cotton

This handmade ball is perfect for Montessori babies because it is easy for them to hold and rolls slowly, providing just the right amount of challenge for babies learning to scoot and crawl. It also has a soft jingle that babies love.

Age: 1-2 years old

$15.99

Melissa & Doug rainbow stacker

Melissa & Doug rainbow stacker

This ring stacker is made from durable and child-safe wood, rather than plastic, and is simple in design, perfect for a screen-free play experience for babies 18 months and up.

Age: 18 months+

$7.97

Global Babies board book

Global Babies board book

Montessori focuses a lot on world peace and learning about different cultures. This beautiful board book is a perfect introduction. Spanish and English words teach the littlest readers that everywhere on earth, babies are special and loved.

Age: 1-3 years old

$5.99

EOFEEL Montessori interlocking discs

EOFEEL Montessori interlocking discs

These interlocking discs are a good example of a Montessori toy designed to isolate one specific skill—in this case, a baby's ability to transfer something from one hand to the other. It's ideal for building fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and inspiring babies to explore the world.

Age: 12 months+

$6.99

Elite Montessori object permanence box

Elite Montessori object permanence box

This Montessori toy helps babies explore the concept that just because they can't see something, it doesn't mean it's gone. With repeated use of this material, the child learns how it feels to succeed when they have achieved a goal on their own.

Age: 1-10 years old

$22.99

Elite Montessori infant coin box

Elite Montessori infant coin box

This is a more advanced baby toy to help babies further explore object permanence and work on fine motor skills.

Age: 12 months+

$21.99

Sunny Days Entertainment adventure play tunnel

Sunny Days Entertainment adventure play tunnel

Movement and gross motor development are a big part of Montessori and this tunnel can be used indoors or outdoors, encouraging babies and toddlers to keep moving even on the coldest days. When not in use, it folds flat for easy storage and quick portability.

Age: 3-12 years old

$14.39

Helen Oxenbury Baby love: a board book gift set

Helen Oxenbury Baby love: a board book gift set

Montessori books for babies and young children focus on the real world. These little board books depict babies doing things like clapping and saying goodnight, real life events babies can relate to.

Age: 1-4 years old

$9.99

Five Color Lines mini band musical instruments

Five Color Lines mini band musical instruments

While Montessori toys do not feature electronic sounds, instruments that allow babies and toddlers to create their own music are perfect!

Age: 5 years+

$33.99

Schleich north america farm world starter set

Schleich North America Farm World Starter Set

While many Montessori toys are made from natural materials rather than plastic, Schleich animals make the cut because they are highly realistic and to scale, supporting the Montessori ideal of helping young children to learn about the real world through their play.

Age: 3-8 years old

$19.92

JC Toys Berenguer doll newborn gift set

JC Toys Berenguer doll newborn gift set

Providing toddlers with realistic toys like this baby doll or realistic play food supports their exploration of everyday life through pretend play. The 8-piece layette gift set includes short-sleeve bodysuit, short-sleeve t-shirt, a pair of booties, hat, cloth diaper, diaper cover and hospital bracelet.

Age: 2-10 years old

$24.49

TickiT wooden fruit + vegetable match

TickiT Wooden Fruit + Vegetable Match

Montessori classrooms use matching work, like this one, to help young children refine visual discrimination to prepare for reading, as well as to introduce vocabulary. We love that the chunky tiles are easy for small hands to grip, rotate and turn over.

Age: 12 months+

$41.74

Star Right heads + tails animal match puzzle

Star Right heads + tails animal match puzzle

Part of the magic of Montessori is matching a child with just the right level of challenge. This beginner jigsaw puzzle does just that, as you can give a child one puzzle at a time if they're just starting out, or three or four puzzles if they've mastered completing one.

Age: 2 months-2 years old

$8.99

Guidecraft jr. rainbow blocks

Guidecraft jr. rainbow blocks

Blocks of all kinds are in line with Montessori's emphasis on exploration and child-led learning and play. Use this toy when helping kids with hand-eye coordination, visual perception, color exploration or light table activities.

Age: 2-7 months

$24.95

Gabrielle Balkan The book of bones: 10 record-breaking animals

Gabrielle Balkan The book of bones: 10 record-breaking animals

The Book of Bones is the perfect addition to a Montessori library because it provides rich detail about the world in a straightforward, beautiful way. Little readers can examine animals' skeletons and guess to whom they belong; the answers are revealed in humorous explanations.

Age: 7-10 years old

$14.85

ECOOPRO elecfly kids microscope

ECOOPRO elecfly kids microscope

Young children are all about exploring their world and a microscope is the perfect tool for a budding young scientist. It's built-in three different color filters and the rotating wheel saves you from having to stain slides.

Age: 5 years+

$43.99

Kidz Xplore outdoor explorer nature exploration kit

Kidz Xplore outdoor explorer nature exploration kit

Montessori schools often include an outdoor classroom, encouraging children to spend as much time as possible in nature. This outdoor explorer set helps get kids learning outside!

Age: 5-10 years old

$25.97

Thoth Montessori wooden mathematical manipulative material block board

Thoth Montessori wooden mathematical manipulative material block board

Rubber band boards are often used in Montessori classrooms to encourage children to explore geometry, while also working on fine motor skills and concentration. Kids will also learn all types of 2D shapes and concepts around fractions.

Age: 3 years+

$14.99

National Geographic balance stepping stones

National Geographic balance stepping stones

These stepping stones are in line with the Montessori philosophy of encouraging children to use their bodies as well as their minds—these make a great indoor gross motor activity!

Age: 3 years+

$49.99

Fajiabao Montessori logic games slide puzzle board

Fajiabao Montessori logic games slide puzzle board

In Montessori, children work with patterns to encourage early math skills. This toy encourages children to work with patterns in a fun way. The one side of sliding blocks printed with four kinds of shapes and five-pointed star. Matching the different shaped blocks helps kids identify different geometric puzzles.

Age: 3 years+

$14.99

MEROCO Montessori screwdriver board

MEROCO Montessori screwdriver board

Developing real life skills is a big part of Montessori for young kids. Why not let them practice with a real screwdriver instead of a pretend one?

Age: 3 years+

$26.99

Ravensburger solar system jigsaw puzzle

Ravensburger solar system jigsaw puzzle

In Montessori, elementary aged kids are busy exploring the big questions of the universe as they begin to think more abstractly. This type of beautiful and realistic puzzle supports that interest in science while building skills like concentration and creativity.

Age: 8-15 years old

$12.99

DK dinosaur book

DK dinosaur book

Montessori elementary classrooms spend a lot of time studying early history, including prehistoric times as this is a huge interest of many children this age. This dinosaur book is a great way to encourage their curiosity!

Age: 4-7 years old

$20.69

Blue Orange Photosynthesis strategy board game

Blue Orange Photosynthesis strategy board game

Many Montessori classrooms for older kids begin incorporating more group work as social interactions and relationships are so important to this age group. Board games are a great way to support social skills like taking turns and winning or losing gracefully. Kids will love going through the life-cycle of trees and earn points as their leaves collect energy from the revolving sun's rays.

Age: 8 years+

$29.99

NEX sewing machine

NEX sewing machine

Montessori continues to support teaching practical life skills with older children and a sewing machine can be a really rewarding gift as a child experiences the pride of making his or her own clothes. The simple on/off control button and foot pedal make it great for little ones.

Age: 10 years+

$27.99

Hape quadrilla wooden marble run

Hape quadrilla wooden marble run

A wooden marble run is a perfect Montessori toy because it's made of natural materials and encourages creativity and problem solving skills. The marble run can also be leveled or built up with add-ons for more advanced builders.

Age: 4-15 years old

$42.52

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

A month before Christmas the brakes on my 15-year-old sedan started making a strange noise. The bill at the auto shop came to $2,400. That's a lot of money for my family. My Christmas shopping list was immediately slashed, the vacation we'd been planning for the new year (our first real vacation ever) drifted further into the future.

Every day I look at my family and I think about how lucky we are. Our son is healthy and that is priceless. We have a modest home filled with everything we need and wiggle room for some little luxuries (hello Starbucks and Disney+). And importantly, in an area where unemployment is steadily climbing (and with a spouse who is about to be out of work) I still have a job.

FEATURED VIDEO

But when that $2,400 bill came my usual gratitude was overtaken by resentment. Because as much as I appreciate what we have, I resent how much our culture is focused on the aspirational when for so many of us, even average seems unattainable.

I resent the fact that I am still paying off my student loans.

I resent how incomes haven't risen with housing costs.

I resent how childcare costs eat so much of my income.

But mostly I just resent how society is squeezing parents for every dollar while simultaneously shaming us for not having enough of them.

So to the mama who wishes she had a bigger budget for her kids' Christmas presents, I see you. I know that you're trying so hard and your kids know it, too. Please know that the magic of Christmas is not in the cost, it's in the memories. Please give yourself the gift of a guilt-free Christmas.

To the mama who is working overtime and picking up side gigs, I see you. I see your hustle, your ambition and your love for your family, and this Christmas I want you to try to give yourself a break. Even just a small one, because even mamas are human and you need to rest, too.

To the mama who is running a household on only her partner's income, I see you. I know it can feel impossible (that's because it nearly is). I also know you are supporting your spouse in their career because that's what is best for your family right now. I know that you are working so hard at home and that sometimes it feels like one income isn't enough. Please give yourself credit for all the unpaid labor you are doing.

To the mama who can rely only on her own income, I see you. You're solo parenting, you're the sole provider, and you are amazing. You are strong. You are bearing so much responsibility and I want you to know that you are more than enough for your children.

To the mama who can't afford to live where she wants to, I see you. Maybe you always dreamed of raising your kids in the big city, but economic realities have relocated you to a far-flung suburb. I see you out there, doing what is best for your family on a budget smaller than you'd like, in a city smaller than you'd like. Mama, know that you are a gift to your community.

To the mama struggling to pay for IVF: I see you. And I see how bad you want this. I want it for you, too. I wish you didn't have to turn to loans and credit cards and crowdfunding for this. Please know that motherhood takes many forms and be gentle with yourself this season.

To the mama struggling to pay off a birth: I see you. And I'm angry for you. I am so angry and perplexed by a system that would bill new parents astronomical sums at a time in their lives when they can least afford it. Giving birth should not put people into debt.

To the mama who has reached her limit, I see you. When you're waiting for payday, every minute seems like forever. When your card is declined at the checkout that moment lasts a lifetime. Please, accept help if you need it. There is kindness in the world for you.

To the mama using SNAP or visiting the food bank this season, I see you. And I'm proud of you. I'm proud of you for navigating this challenging time in your life because figuring out how to do this isn't easy. I'm proud of you for being such a good mother and making sure that your kids have nutritious food.

To the mama getting help from her family, I see you. It can be hard to accept help from your parents when you are a parent yourself, but please do try to see it as a gift. They love you so much that they want to support you, and you can honor that by seeing yourself as worthy of support.

To the mama who is not getting help from her family, I see you. It can be painful to watch your friends and acquaintances get financial help from their families when yours is not in a position to do the same. It's human to be envious when someone's dad gives them a down payment, but the best gift you can give yourself is to focus on your own kids and non-financial gifts you are giving them every day.

To the mama who feels like her life doesn't live up to Instagram, I see you. I understand the pain of scrolling through social media, wondering why it seems like everyone else has a nice home and can take their kids on vacation when you can't. Give yourself the gift of unfollowing or turning off social media.

To the mama who feels like she'll never get out of student loan debt, I see you, I am you, and I can tell you there's hope. For years my student loans have kept me down. They are the reason I am driving a 15-year-old, money pit of a car in the first place. But by the end of 2019 they will finally, mercifully be paid off. Most of the student debt in America is held by women. This is an issue impacting a generation of mothers. You are not alone.
Life
Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.