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Some kids can’t wear masks—and they don’t deserve to be shamed for it

Mask shaming has gone too far. There are a million reasons why that kid might not be wearing a mask.

stop mask shaming
@5byseven/Twenty20

Confession: I've had to check myself a lot during this pandemic.

I find myself in an emotional spiral nearly every day, and a lot of times, the emotion that bubbles up is anger.

In some cases, anger is warranted. If we had done this correctly—responded to this pandemic early and swiftly—the situation might be so much better right now. We should have prioritized health and education. We should have supported people so that they could make safe choices instead of being forced to choose between safety and income.

We should have done so much more, but we didn't, and here we are. And I'm angry.

But I need to watch how that anger presents, and to whom I direct it.


I run my select errands and inevitably come home upset at all the perceived wrong-doings of other people.

"Six feet! That is not 6 feet!"

"Why is she buying so much toilet paper? Save some for the rest of us!"

And perhaps the loudest internal protest: "Where is your mask?"

(For the record, these are silent conversations I am having with myself—I haven't actually said anything out loud… yet.)

The anger is real—but that doesn't make it okay. Because the truth is that we have no idea what other people are going through. Everyone has a story that we know absolutely nothing about. Things are kind of awful right now, and my assumption-based anger doesn't help at all.

And so, I am checking myself—and I want to ask you to join me.

There is no question that we all need to do our part and follow the public health guidelines. We also need to be kind; because my goodness the world needs it right now.

There are so many reasons a child may not be wearing a mask. Here are a few to remember:

  • They are younger than two years old (remember that some kids look a lot older than they actually are)
  • They have emotional, sensory or communication reasons (that may not be visually evident to you)
  • They have a health problem that makes mask-wearing difficult
  • A family member relies on being able to see them lip read
  • They are a kid and have been wearing a mask all day, and finally just got fed up and ripped it off

And the people who are walking within 6 feet of each other? Yes, maybe they are choosing to ignore the rules—or maybe they just received really bad news and forgot themselves for a little bit.

And that person buying massive amounts of toilet paper? Yes, maybe they are selfishly hoarding—or maybe they work in a group home caring for elderly people, and they just need to buy a lot of toilet paper.

We are facing collective trauma. I cannot think of a single person who isn't hurting right now—and many have layers and layers of hardship and trauma happening at the same time.

Everyone has a story. If we gave people a little more grace and a little less anger, this whole situation might be a little more tolerable. This doesn't mean that we don't hold people accountable. Nor does it mean that we get to pick and choose the rules that we want to follow (when we are able to follow them).

The collective good needs to matter more than it does right now, and a huge part of that is following the public health guidelines whenever we possibly can.

But the other part of the collective good is kindness—so please, can we inject more of that into our days?

For the children that are ale to wear a mask, these are our absolute favorite:

Kids mask buddies

kids mask buddies

Sold as a set of three, these double-layered cotton masks will be your child's favorite to wear. They get to pretend to be a kitty, fox or puppy, after all! And, they come with a little carrying case that can be worn on the wrist or as a scrunchy for storage when not in use.

$25

Reversible mask

reversible kids mask

These reversible masks could not be any cuter. And you'll love that they are made of four layers of cotton. The elastic ear loops keep them snug on the face while ensuring your little one stays comfortable.

$12

Instant hand sanitizer

hand sanitizer

For germ fighting on the go, Noodle & Boo instant hand sanitizer is an absolute must. It's completely vegan, and it won't dry your hands out. With a mild but lovely scent and a container that fits perfectly into the cup-holder of your car, this hand sanitizer will make your days so much easier—and safer.

$10

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

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

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

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.

$30

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!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

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.

$30

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.

$100

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.

$40

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.

$121

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.

$100

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.

$45

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.

$179

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.

$100

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.

$33

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.

$88

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

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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