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10 true things about motherhood in a pandemic

Mama—you've done so many hard things. You can get through a pandemic, too.:heart: :point_down::skin-tone-4:

motherhood-in-pandemic

There was a time when we thought this pandemic was going to last for a few weeks.

Then we thought it would be over before the summer. Then we said, "well maybe by midsummer everything will be okay?" But now, as summer fades into fall with no real end in sight, the collective (and exhausted) dread is palpable.

How am I going to keep doing this? How am I going to summon the stamina to do what is required of me under awful circumstances? How am I supposed to find joy when everything feels so sad? How on earth am I going to get through this?

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Because now that we know what pandemic survival is really like, finding the silver lining seems close to impossible. We're deep in the doldrums of the pandemic, and looking forward just feels scary and daunting.

I know, mama. I know.

Do you know what else I know? I know that you can do this.

Here's why.

1. You've done hard things before


Reflect for a few moments on other times when you have experienced hardship.

Yes, a pandemic is different; of course, it is. But mama, you have proven your resilience before. You have been utterly defeated, heartbroken and distraught. There have been times when you could not imagine that the sun would shine again.

But you got through it. And look at you now.

What would you say to your younger self going through that incredibly difficult time? You'd tell her that she is strong and what lies on the other side is so much better. Aren't you proud of yourself for getting through a tough challenge?

So, what does future-you want to say to today-you? Spoiler alert: Future-you is immensely proud.

You've done hard things before. You can do them again.

2. You don't need to get it perfect

Mothers are experts at demanding perfection of ourselves. We are our own toughest critics, and are so hard on ourselves, day in and day out.

Mama, it's time to let it go.

The messy house, the days filled with TV shows instead of educational activities, the conference calls disrupted by yells of "Mommmmmmm, come wipe my buuuttt," and all the other perceived "shortcomings"—mama, they aren't shortcomings at all.

You're trying to make it through the day, during a pandemic. It's going to be far from perfect. And that's okay.

3. Trust that you know what's best for your family

One of the (many) difficult aspects of living through a pandemic is decision fatigue. Every decision feels heavy, and it's exhausting.

Part of it is societal. We are so used to people telling us what the 'best thing to do' is (and by people I mean the internet), that we've lost the ability to trust ourselves.

But no one knows what to do right now, at least not completely.

So yes, listen to the experts. Make decisions based on guidelines and science. But it's also okay to trust yourself. Because the truth is that there is no perfect decision. I know that sounds scary—but in some ways, it's freeing. You don't have to make a perfect choice, you just have to make a good-enough choice, based on the information you have, and what you know to be true for your family. And if it turns out not to be the best choice, you can pivot.

You are allowed to trust your gut as you find your way through this.

4. You don't have to make all the decisions right now

So many of us mothers are planners, but planning involves making decisions with information—and we are just lacking so much information right now. It's hard enough to know what we are going to have for dinner tonight, let alone decide what to do about school in October or the holidays.

I got to speak with Emily Oster recently, and her advice about this resonated deeply. She said that anytime you are stressing over a decision, ask yourself if it really needs to be made right now—if it doesn't, let it go. As much as I would like to decide what to do for Thanksgiving this year, I simply do not have all the data I need to make the decision; and the reality is that I don't really need to just yet. So I can let it go for now.

Focus on the problems you need to solve today, and let the rest be.

5. It's okay to not be okay.

I am a midwife, and when I work with people giving birth, we spend a lot of time using coping skills. But sometimes in labor, you have to just not cope for a bit. Just totally lose it, cry, let out all the frustration and be in the discomfort of it for a little while.

The same goes for living through a pandemic.

You don't have to hold it together all the time, mama. You, too, can totally lose it, cry, let out all the frustration and be in the discomfort of it for a little while. Just remember to reach out to a therapist for help if it's too much or for too long.

6. You are not alone

In the depths of our isolation from each other, it's vital to remember that despite how lonely we may feel, we are so far from alone. We are facing this as a collective of humans working together to figure this out.

We wear masks.
We share heartwarming stories on social media.
We sign petitions.

We do many things that demonstrate how we support each other. Remember that the next time you realize you haven't seen another human in days. We may be in hiding, but we're here. And we're with you.

7. The other side will be better

It feels like the pandemic has caused so many issues, but the truth is that much has been wrong for a long time. Pre-pandemic, the problems were largely ignored—swept under the rug. COVID has lifted the rug and exposed them for all to see: the tremendous impact of systemic racism, trouble with our healthcare and insurance system, inequities in the workforce and uneven distribution of resources and access, just to name a few.

Now that we've seen them, we can't go back.

We will not accept what was "normal," we will demand better. The journey to better will be far from easy, but we're going to do it anyway. Mama, it will be so worth it.

8. Your kids know how much you love them

There is so much you want to do with and for your children that simply can't happen, right now. Financial restraints, safety concerns and limited access make it so our kids' existences look very different than they did just a few months ago.

Here's what hasn't wavered: your love. And they feel it.

They feel it when you breathe them in as you hug them.
They feel it when you close your laptop and say, "Yes baby, I will stop working to play with you for a few minutes."
They feel it when you let them eat Cheerios in front of the TV for dinner.
They feel it in the thousands of ways you love them each and every day.

Despite how it feels, you are doing right by your children. You have to trust that they know that, and that they are thriving from your love.

9. There are so many helpers

Circumstances feel dire right now. There are days when all news is bad; when hope feels like a distant memory of something we once experienced but can't really remember. But through it all, there are helpers (thanks, Mr. Rogers).

There are helpers taking care of the sick.
There are helpers working on a vaccine.
There are helpers delivering food and mail.
There are helpers re-imaging our education system.

There are helpers making, creating, inventing, thinking, supporting, building, dismantling, cleaning, fixing and raising, all over the world right now.

Helpers are out there trying to make this better. And mama? You're one of them.

10. You are shaping history

Have you seen any of the interviews with people who lived through the 1918 Pandemic? And when you did, did you get chills as you listened to them describe their journey, astonished at their strength and bravery? Mama, that's going to be you one day. History is going to remember this period of time forever—and you are (a very important) part of it.

You are helping to holding it all together. You are a force of change working to make it better.

You are shaping history by helping your neighbor.
You are shaping history by raising anti-racist children.
You are shaping history by loving your kids.

These are no small acts, mama. You are shaping history, and history will remember.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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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.

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Balance board

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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!

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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

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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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Report: President Trump plans to choose Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court

What you need to know about this mom of 7.

When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died on Friday her spot on the Supreme Court was vacated and on Monday President Trump said he is prepared to make his third U.S. Supreme Court nomination this week. "I will announce it either Friday or Saturday," Trump said on Fox News, adding, "We should wait until the services are over for Justice Ginsburg."

Now, CNN reports President Trump plans to choose Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court Nomination. He is expected to make the announcement on Saturday.

According to CNN, senior Republican sources are "indicating that Barrett is the intended nominee... All sources cautioned that until it is announced by the President, there is always the possibility that Trump makes a last-minute change but the expectation is Barrett is the choice."

President Trump says a vote on this Supreme Court nominee should come before the upcoming presidential election (a move that goes against Ginsberg's last wishes—and the precedent set by the senate in 2016). The President previously said he was looking seriously at five candidates for the spot, but during his Fox News interview on Monday, he only mentioned two: Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa.

Here's what you need to know about Amy Coney Barrett

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