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An ode to my leggings: What would I do without your comfort?

I've decided to officially give myself a break in the "looking 100% put together all the time" arena.


How? You might ask.

Black leggings.

I will buy more. I will wear more.

Because other pants? Over them.

We have just come out of the other side of a winter filled with snow storms and sicknesses and snots and fevers and isolation. It's been a bit rough. There was not as much reading books while we were cuddled up with a trendy woven blanket as we would have liked. There was definitely more rushing to Target for Motrin and dashing to CVS for prescriptions and the shoveling of driveways.

Winter is one of my favorite seasons. I love (almost) everything about it, but this year there was a LOT of hard work involved. I need a vacay from this season if you know what I mean. (Spring, be kind to us...please?)

So, I've decided to give myself a break. At the moment, I'm not really striving to look any certain way. Instead I'm embracing. I'm saying YES to who I am already.

I am a mom in my thirties now, and I no longer feel compelled to do things I do not like to do.

Like shaving in the winter for example.

Right now I have decided I do not like pants.

Lucky for me, fashion has given me a gift, a thank-you present for putting up with underwire bras: leggings. Leggings do not cramp my style, they don't question my decision to drink wine. Leggings get it. They say hey girl don't worry about it, you're butt feels great, so it looks great.

Leggings know that I'm a mom who doesn't have time to shower today. Leggings care that this mom belly birthed four (!) kids. Leggings know that I might squeeze in a work out (but they also know that I probably won't). They know that I'm a wonder-woman stay-at-home mom extraordinaire who just needs to feel her jiggly parts all tucked in while she tucks in her little ones in bed at night.

Leggings don't judge.

One of the most common things moms struggle with is trying to manage the stress in their lives. Do you know what does not manage stress? Buttons and zippers. Waistbands that dig in. Jeans that are so tight in the thigh region that it's hard to sit down.

Problem solved: leggings.

Reasons to wear jeans:

You are attending, or taking part in a rodeo.

You are a part of the sisterhood of the traveling pants, and your pants are magic.

You are hoping to restrict your range of motion.

You are John Wayne.

You are painting and you need to wear something to ruin.

You are long boarding on asphalt and forgot your kneepads.

***

Reasons to wear black leggings:

Every other reason.

***

Do you know where it is appropriate to wear black leggings? Everywhere. Attending a wedding? Taking your kids to the Chic-Fil-A play land? Going to bed? They are universal, like the Olympics and Betty White. Same pants, different shoes.

I used to be into designer denim, and I do think I will still pull them out for special occasions like parent-teacher conferences and barrel racing. I have not barrel raced since I was 11, so the odds are in my favor. I think it's good to wear them occasionally though so I remember what leg prison feels like. Afterwards me and my leggings will dance like Judy Haynes and Phil Davis to celebrate what a beautiful thing we have going.

Jeans, I'm sorry I just don't have time for your unspoken judgements and expectations. Your unforgiving waist band is rude.

We should break up. It's not me, it's you.

In all seriousness though, whether you have decided to not worry so much about looking put together all the time or not, give yourself a break. We all have things to work on, but let me just say—you are an amazing mother and you're doing other things right. Along with whatever you've decide to quit worrying about, please be more concerned with self-kindness. Let yourself off the hook more often. Wear soft slippers and black leggings. Because girl, you're worth it.

May you also find a moment to cuddle on the couch with a book and a trendy woven blanket. (In your leggings of course.)

P.S. We need to rally. Leggings and yoga pants can not go by the wayside like high-waisted underwear and scrunchies. They can NEVER go out of style. Now, if we could just make men's hoodies a thing...

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

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

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

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

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

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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Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids—so here’s what I did

We asked our three most pessimistic friends who have kids whether it's worth it or not

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

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