Are you ever ‘ready’ to have a baby?

Motherhood isn’t about getting ready. Motherhood makes you ready as you live it.

Are you ever ‘ready’ to have a baby?

$861.48. I do not think I will ever forget that number.

I woke up on a Monday morning, and for the first time since forever, I did not want any coffee. Why would I not want coffee in the morning? I always want coffee. It was a chilly April day, the kind that felt like it couldn’t decide if it was going to be winter or spring, and in the moments of determining whether to wear a jacket, I stopped thinking about the coffee aversion and my husband and I headed out for the day.

Alex called at lunch; he always did. I remember telling him that it had been fairly quiet around the office and then I asked how his classes were going that day. Then I casually mentioned that I had a bit of heartburn, but I couldn’t pinpoint what I ate that would have caused it.

“Do you think you’re pregnant?” (Ha, ha.)

“Not possible.” (Ha, ha.)

Forty-eight hours later: “Hi, my name is Katie. I’m a patient at the office. I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do in circumstances like this, but I took a pregnancy test this morning and I think it’s positive. Well, all five were positive. Should I make an appointment?”

And so began my life as a mom, summed up in that prophetic statement to the sweet medical scheduler: I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do.

Our first baby was not planned. (I want you to understand that everything in my life is planned, which made the shock value of this event rather high.) My husband was not quite halfway through school. I was just over one year into a job that I loved, went to graduate school for, and felt very excited to build a resume on. We had only been married eight months, the infant stages of a lifelong relationship. And we had $861.48 in our checking account. By every measurable factor, we were not ready for a baby.

But babies do not always ask when you are ready.

Sometimes they come early. Sometimes they come far later than our heart would have hoped for. And sometimes they do come right on time, the month after you and your husband checked off the last item from the pre-baby bucket list, pulled the goalie, and got busy baby-making.

Still, in three short years of motherhood I have come to believe firmly that on this journey, very few things happen when are ready.

That first night in the hospital, after the nurse took our vitals, changed my diaper ice pack, said “Get some rest” and left my husband and me there with a newborn, I felt a small sense of panic. She did not give me any instructions, no rules, nothing. Does the baby sleep on me? In that plastic thing over there? Can I over-feed her? What if she cries? My first night with our baby began with the weight of responsibility and the daunting question of What are we supposed to do? I wanted to grab that nurse by the stethoscope and say, “Hey, hey, wait! I’m not ready!”

When it was time to go back to work after maternity leave and walk out the door carrying a breast pump instead of a car seat with my little blondie inside it, I cried for a week to my husband, constantly telling him, “I’m not ready!” And then, when I decided five months later to stay home with her, I felt something similar as I shut my office door and looked at my name on the wall next to it for the last time: “I love this job, and I’m leaving. I’m not ready.”

When my daughter made the transition from sweet, always content baby to has an opinion thankyouverymuch toddler, I wanted to cup her chubby cheeks and tell her to go back to that always-content mode because it’s so much easier for mama, and “I’m not ready!” to watch her change.

I wasn’t ready to explain life and death to a 3-year-old when Grandpa died.

I wasn’t ready for my son to need further medical testing.

We are rarely ready to leave on time.

When I am lying in bed and I hear one of the kids at 4:50 am, all I can think is, “I’m not ready for you yet!”

I’m still 15 years away from this, but recently I watched two close friends kiss the not-so-chubby cheeks of their graduates and send them off to college. And I know they both would say, “How did we get here? I’m not ready!”

Not ready.

Motherhood isn’t about getting ready. That is, at the same time, the hardest and most freeing thing about it.

Motherhood makes you ready as you live it.

Fill your life with good friends, encouraging words, lots of prayer, hand-me-downs, more prayer, and for the love of sanity have a good sense of humor—that is about as ready as we can be.

$861.48. We made it somehow. It took us nine months to pay off the hospital bills, but we did it. Everything we own is secondhand, but we have all we need. Four years ago I never would’ve dreamed that getting pregnant when we did was the best idea for our family. Today I would not change one thing.

The heart of a mother is always ready. Even though we are never ready. Finding a way to live that paradox, well, that’s motherhood.

Coffee + Crumbs is a collection of stories about motherhood, love and the good kind of heartache.

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The Motherly Shop is here 🎉 (and it has exactly what you need, mama)

We did the hard work for you, hand-picking the things you want and need and ensuring we only bring you the best—so you can take one thing off that full plate of yours.

Since the beginning, Motherly has existed to help mamas of all experiences feel seen, understood and supported. Through expert and mom-to-mom advice and information we've been here to help you along the motherhood journey.

With that same ethos, we've created The Motherly Shop—an online collection of products curated for every stage of motherhood. We did the hard work for you, hand-picking the things you want and need and ensuring we only bring you the best from brands and makers that really care—so you can take one thing off that full plate of yours.

To make browsing a little easier, we curate the products based on mama needs + pain points. For example, here's our newest collection created to gather everything a pregnant woman needs.

Check out some of our favorites from our Becoming Mama collection and get shopping!

The sleep support

Belly Bandit SOS pillow

Finding the right position for sleep can feel like an Olympic sport when you've got a baby belly to accommodate. Belly Bandit, masters of creating wearables that support pregnant bodies, also managed to create the ideal tool for side sleeping.


The wear-anywhere maternity dress

Stowaway Collection Maternity Becca dress

Finding clothes that still make you feel like yourself isn't always easy. With their premium fabrics and universally flattering cuts, we can't get enough of the maternity wardrobe essentials from Stowaway Collection maternity. Even better? They sew everything in Long Island City, NY and source USA-made fabric whenever possible.


The chic but practical shoe 

OSAY the label slip on

Bending over to put shoes on is so overrated. We've got you covered with the most stylish and obsession-worthy handmade loafers with a secret. Just fold down the back, and BAM! slip-ons. Additionally, the La Babouche Loafer + Slip-On OSAY the Label beauties are made from recycled leather that literally forms to your feet.


The delicate reminder

Whether it's whispered sweetly, shrieked from the top of the big slide, or echoed through the phone from thousands of miles away, 'mama' is the name you'll respond to for the rest of your life. Like all the Tiny Tags necklaces, this sweet reminder is laser engraved by highly skilled artisans in the USA.


The stylish diaper bag that doesn't look like a diaper bag

Mina baie vegan stevie

When leaving the house requires as much prep as an international flight (ah, remember those?) having a spacious bag you can depend on is key. Mina Baie bags not only deliver on a space for everything, but also manage to do it in style. They're the kind of bags you'll carry even when you manage to leave your little one behind.


The elegant baby book

Echo Art Bindery Baby Memory Book

From the minute they're born there are so many milestones and memories to capture. We hand-picked the gorgeous clothbound baby memory book from Echo Art Bindery for its small batch-feel and attention to detail. Made from high-quality paper it features colorful custom illustrations, a silver-stamped endive cover, and questions and prompts to help you remember those magical first days and beyond.


The empowering accessory

Sontakey 'I was made for this' bracelet

Words are powerful. Reminding yourself that you can do hard things can go a long way in giving you the energy and confidence to do so. The beautiful mantra bands from Sontakey were created by two mamas who have made it their mission to empower others with these words of encouragement.


The most delicious way to celebrate

Tost non-alcoholic refresher

Time to raise a glass, mama! We've long since had a crush on TÖST's non-alcoholic sparkles. The gingery cranberry tea blend is delicious on its own or even as a mixer. From baby showers to toasting an ordinary Tuesday that went off without a hitch, we think you'll be crushing on it too.


The pampering belly oil

Esker belly oil duo

Moisturizing, soothing, and totally divine, Esker's belly oil duo is formulated with only the cleanest botanical essential oils. One for morning and one for nighttime, they're ideal for pampering that beautiful belly of yours around the clock.


The hydration-friendly water bottle

Welly traveler water bottle

Meeting those daily hydration needs can be a challenge. (So can making it to the bathroom 700 hundred times a day, right?) We're big fans of Welly reusable bottles which not only look super sleek with their stainless steel and bamboo combo, but also include a removable infuser to brew tea or flavor your water.


The pre-packed hospital bag

Belly and Bag fully prepared

Leave packing your hospital bag to the pros. After all, you have plenty of other things to think about right now, right? The brilliant women at Belly and Bag have truly thought of everything and packed it up just for you.


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


12 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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


The new top 100 American baby names, according to the Social Security office

Did you have a baby in 2018? Did your name make the top 10?

[Editor's note: We know that being pregnant can be, well, a lot. And understanding what you really need versus what's just a nice-to-have takes time . With your needs in mind, we've selected the best products for pregnancy in The Motherly Shop. We've got you, mama.]

No one can beat Emma when it comes to naming babies in America. This week the Social Security Administration announced its annual list of the most popular baby names in America and Emma has the top spot on the girls' side for the fifth year in a row. On the boys' side Liam took the top spot for a second consecutive year.

According to the Social Security Administration, these were the top 20 baby names in America in 2018:

Girls: Emma, Olivia, Ava, Isabella, Sophia, Charlotte, Mia, Amelia, Harper and Evelyn

Boys: Liam, Noah, William, James, Oliver, Benjamin, Elijah, Lucas, Mason and Owen

How do those top 10 lists compare to the top baby names of 2017? Well, the girls' list is nearly the same except that Mia and Charlotte switched spots, and Harper (a name that fell out of the top ten the previous year) is back and has ousted Abigail. On the boys' side, Lucas kicked Jacob out of the top 10.

The real changes happened lower down in the data. Let's take a look at the popular baby names that were trending hard in 2018:

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