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To the mama questioning herself—your instincts are right on, according to science

You do, in fact, know just what you’re doing.

To the mama questioning herself—your instincts are right on, according to science

Motherhood is a science.

Yes, the act of carrying a newborn while holding your toddler’s hand while on the phone with your mother-in-law while at the grocery store and mentally crafting an email to your boss is an art—(and you do it gracefully, we might add).


But the actual act of mothering is deeply engrained in our brains and bodies. Our response to our children is primal, and the way care for them is innate.

In other words, you’ve so got this.

Whether you’ve been around kids your entire life, or your baby is the first one you’ve ever held, in your core you know exactly what you’re doing.

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Parenting has always been hard, but there’s something particularly hard about becoming a parent now—we have so much information at our fingertips. And while generally speaking this is a good thing, it can also make being a parent very, very stressful.

How do we know which sleep training strategy to use (if any) when there are So. Many. Out. There?

How do we know how to get our child to eat more vegetables when every expert tells us something different?

How do we navigate a world of valuable, insightful research when our heads are spinning, and our bodies are just so tired?

We listen to our guts, and we follow our hearts.

You intuitively know what your child needs. Those are not just comforting words, it’s science.

For example—

The way you talk to your baby.

When you talk to your baby, do you instinctively use that sing-songy, Disney princess voice? What about raising your eyebrows and making big, I’m-so-in-love-with-you eyes when you look at her?

Science!

Researchers have found that the way we speak to our babies comes from our intuitive understanding of what they need to develop their language skills. And, the loving faces we make at them (also know as mirroring), has dramatic effects on their brain development as they grow.

The way you respond to your baby.

Does the sound of your baby crying instantly make your body tense? Do you find that you are usually the first person to get up and respond to your crying baby? Even if you don’t know why he’s crying, you feel instantly drawn to go an comfort him?

Science!

When mothers hear their babies crying, the part of their brain responsible for preparing the body to speak or move is activated—a phenomenon that exists only in mothers. This means that your baby’s distress triggers your body into action, before you even realize what’s happening.

And if you could easily sleep through your alarm clock blaring right next to your head, but the sound of your baby whimpering down the hall jolts you right out of bed, well that’s your mama brain responding to your baby too.

(P.S. this is true in adoptive mothers, as well).

The way you mom like a boss every day.

Are you the only one in your home that can find your child’s lost shoe? Did you put the keys in the freezer (again) last night, but still remembered to ask your child’s teacher how her cousin’s nephew’s Spider Man birthday party 5 weeks ago was?

Well, that’s science too.

Studies show that mammal mothers have better “object-in-place memory,” which basically means they are better at recognizing and remembering where things are. In nature, this means mama-animals are great at finding food for their little ones. In your house, it means your children will only ever ask YOU to help them find their... everything.

The thing is, mama, you are your child’s expert. And you need to trust yourself.

Absolutely ask your pediatrician for medical advice.

For sure listen when your mother shares valuable insights.

Reach for the latest parenting books when you have questions.

But also believe, really truly believe, just how powerful, smart, intuitive and simply amazing you are—just as you are, in your natural form.

You are fabulous. It’s science.

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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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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