To my daughter: I don’t just want you to think you can be anything. I want you to see it’s true.

I want to help pave the path to your destiny, whatever that may be, by teaching you to kick aside the preconceptions that will clutter it along the way.

To my daughter: I don’t just want you to think you can be anything. I want you to see it’s true.

To my darling little woman of the future,

We have been learning about crossing roads, you and I. We are very particular–even if there isn’t a car in sight we will not go until there is a green man.

Yesterday, we were waiting at the pedestrian crossing, your hot little hand in mine, and all was well with the world. “Green man means go!” we said in unison when the light changed. “Mummy?” you said as we started walking. It was your thoughtful tone. The one that always tells me A Very Important Question is about to follow, like, “What color are dragons?” or “Why doesn’t the sun melt the moon?”

Then your 3-year-old self said this: “Why is it never a green lady?”

Oh, my little girl–how often you have the power to floor me with just a few words! Why indeed do we call it a green man when we could equally call it a green lady? I had honestly never, ever thought about that before.

This is a pattern I have noticed developing. A week ago you asked if girls can play basketball or only boys? The week before, if girls can play with Spiderman or only boys? A while before that you turned your nose up at your daddy’s pink shirt and said, “Why are you wearing girls’ clothes daddy?” It’s starting. At the tender age of three we need to start teaching you about shaking off the shackles of gender stereotyping.

Oh the responsibility of parenting, my little girl! The trouble is, from where you sit, perhaps your little nuclear family looks like a walking, talking gender stereotype. Daddy goes out to work and Mummy stays home. Mummy cooks (not very well) and Daddy takes out the bins (when Mummy reminds him to). When something breaks you say, “I think Daddy can fix that.” A little echo of my own voice coming back to me. Have we unwittingly taught you, already, that your options are limited as a result of your gender? I fervently hope not.

I want you to know that, for you, both your daddy and I have become committed feminists. (And if you think men can’t be feminists just have a listen to this guy–when you’re a bit bigger!) To us, feminism means unreserved equality. It means you can be whatever you want to be—and no stereotype need ever hold you back. That doesn’t mean you have to rail against the so-called norm if you don’t want to. Feminism is for everyone and you can wear it like an armor always. Play sword fights in your pirate costume and shimmy up a tree, but on the days you feel like donning your tiara and calling yourself a princess, go right ahead. There is nothing wrong with being a princess!

A post shared by Motherly ( on

In your home you have an example of a “traditional” parenting set-up, but now that I can see you starting to take note of these things I plan to make absolutely sure you know this: I stay home with you because I really, really want to. It’s my choice; I sacrifice other things so that I can do it and, even on the most smarties-up-your-nose, toilet-paper-all-over-the-house of days, I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s my feminist prerogative, and the rewards I reap are summed up in you saying to me, “I think I want to be a mummy when I grow up.”

Our world is at the edge of something revolutionary. I pray that by the time you have daughters of your own, women serving as heads of state won’t be a progressive concept. I hope it will just be.

In raising you and the baby sister who comes behind you, my little women of the future, I vow to parent you as consciously as I can.

I want to help pave the path to your destiny, whatever that may be, by teaching you to kick aside the preconceptions that will clutter it along the way. I promise to ensure that our conversations about what girls and boys “can be” are gently reframed in terms of what “girls and boys want to be.” As well as telling you how beautiful you are (because I can’t help it!) I will make sure you know your value far beyond the way you look. As my favorite literary character, Aibileen Clark (The Help), said: “You is kind, you is smart, you is important.” And that, my sweet girl, is all you need to know.

Oh, and also, from now on we will cross the road when we see the “green person”–and not the “green man.”

Join Motherly

Rarely is a woman more concerned with what her body needs than when she's pregnant. We start to question and research everything, right? From swearing off turkey sandwiches to diving down the rabbit hole of prenatal supplements that make up what we lack, the stress of overthinking is real, mama.

One of the main reasons we launched the Motherly Shop is to help take some of that stress away. We've tracked down the best brands and products developed by people (and in many cases, women!) that truly work to serve the needs of real mamas, especially throughout the overwhelming transition into motherhood.

That's why we knew we had to introduce mamas-to-be to the science-backed and expertly-formulated protein collagen for pregnancy from Needed. And as one of our bestsellers, it's clear you've been looking for it, too.

Keep reading Show less

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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less