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To the women who took care of my daughter when I couldn’t—thank you

You made it so that I could be a working mom, and for that, I am so grateful.

To the women who took care of my daughter when I couldn’t—thank you

Being a working mom is hard. By far, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do—leaving my daughter all day long with other people, while I work—to think about her, miss her, wonder if she’s having fun, or being sad, or missing me.


I’ve long sat on the fence between being a working mom and being a stay-at-home mom. Both sides seem to have advantages, hardships and differences. I’ve walked into the office more times than I can count, wiping away tears, missing my kids like crazy while telling myself to “pull it together.” Trying to “stop crying” before I face my team because you can’t be a successful female leader with mascara running down your cheeks.

Then the weekend rolls around, and a few hours into a Saturday, I’m exhausted, out of ideas, drinking cold coffee, and longing for Monday when I’ll be sitting at my desk ALONE cranking on spreadsheets.

There’s no easy answer: should I be a stay-at-home mom, or a working mom? Which is better?


For all the times I’ve wished to be with my kids and thought about how wonderful it would be to get to stay at home all day—to watch them grow up and to be there for every little milestone—I’ve never been able to pull the trigger. I’ve never seriously considered quitting my job, no matter how big my tears have been.

Mortgages, car payments, college tuitions and future vacations weigh heavily into this decision, as does the fact that I’m successful and pride myself in being a good role model for my daughter. But besides all those things that could be figured out easily if they needed to be, there really is something else.

Someone else.

My daughter’s teachers. They tip the scales. They are the ultimate factor in my decision to work or stay home.


They are the reasons I’m able to go to work every day. I am fortunate to work for a company that has amazing childcare on site. And while all the teachers are great, our’s are incredible. My daughter loves them, they love her, and they love coming to work every day.

Every day, I know that her next eight hours will be safe ones, fun ones, happy ones. I know that she will learn, and grow, and laugh. I know that she’ll paint pictures and run around the playground and stretch her imagination.

And while I know the women who spend her days with her aren’t me, they are the next best thing.


These women have become our family.

They have been the ones who have helped us navigate first-time parenthood, and they are the ones who’ve given us the best tips on how to handle nap times, biting and tantrums.

They’ve given us a heads-up when our daughter bonked her noggin on the playground, and they have given her comfort when she was sad.

They’ve held her hand while she fell asleep at nap and have offered to babysit on their days off.

They know the ins and outs of our family, ask me about my day and drink wine with me on weekends. They have become some of my best friends.

Today I had to say goodbye. Our three-year program ended. Next week my daughter starts preschool, and the teachers we’ve had since she was 16 months old will start over with new babies, new parents, and new memories to make.

They’ll watch a new mama’s struggle with packing bottles for work, tearful drop-offs and sandy-shoe filled pickups. Their days will no longer be filled with wild three-year-olds, but rather replaced with the coos and cries of tiny infants, across the building from where my daughter will now be a short two years away from kindergarten.

And it broke my heart. Saying goodbye was awful. I’d been dreading it for weeks—the countdown to the last day. It would be the last time we chatted about the day, while my daughter ran around the playground with her “boy” friend, begging me for just a few more minutes of fun.

It would be the last time my daughter excitedly told them about what we did the night before, and the last time they would be there to pry my crying daughter out of my arms, so I could hurry to a work meeting.

Today was the last day the women I trusted with my most precious gift would be there for my daughter when I wasn’t.

Physically leaving today was a tear-fest of epic proportions. Another teacher had to cover the room while we walked down the hall. And even then, my daughter just couldn’t let go.

By the time we actually made it out the door of the building, I was crying, my daughter was crying, the teachers were crying, even the front desk staff was crying. My daughter was so upset that I physically had to carry her to the car screaming, while she pinched and poked me all the way to her seat.

It broke my heart. She was in hysterics. She was feeling big sadness for the very first time. We were all hurting to leave.

They’ve given us a gift and formed a special bond with our family, one that three years ago I never could have dreamed of. When I started this whole working motherhood journey, I thought it would be impossible for anyone to take care of my daughter like I could. I thought I’d give it a few months and see how I felt, but I never actually imagined I’d make it this far.

And yet, here we are.

We are happy. We are thriving. We are learning. I’m balancing work and motherhood, and it’s because of these teachers. I’ve found someone to fill my shoes when mine are busy elsewhere — someone who loves, teaches and laughs with my daughter to make her days just as good as the ones she would have with me. To my daughter’s teachers—thank you from the bottom of my heart. You really are amazing.

We're so glad to live in a time when modern baby gear exists. Sure, no one is going to argue that having a baby is easy—but it can be easier with support from some gadgets designed to help your baby and put your mind at ease.

As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!


A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.

$239.99

A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.

$219.99

A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.

$379.99

A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.

$29.99

A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.

$99.99

A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.

$15.99

A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.

$79.99

A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.

$99.99

An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.

$24.99

A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.

$59.99

And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

Because while parenting may not be "easy," deciding to register with Target definitely is an easy decision. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with a Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

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

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9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.

$79

Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.

$30

Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.

$32

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.

$37

The Snoo bassinet

Snoo

Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!

$1295

Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.

$59.99

Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!

$46.99

Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.

$259.00

Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.

$27.95

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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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.

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