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Before you know it, you’re in the next phase with your baby—so don’t wish this one away

Each stage has its hardships, but also has its glories.

Before you know it, you’re in the next phase with your baby—so don’t wish this one away

I don’t really like the newborn stage. There. I said it.


I’m not sure why it’s acceptable to not love the “terrible twos” or the teenage years, but frowned upon to wish the newborn stage away. But it is. Maybe it’s because babies are just so precious. Or because they are so helpless. Or so teeny.

But, all those things aside, I’m just not a fan of sleepless nights or inconsolable crying or non-stop nursing. I have often said, if a baby came out as a 6-month-old, I would have had 10 more babies—but those first few months are just awful to me.

So, when I had my third baby, I found myself counting the days until she turned six months. Every time I woke to nurse I would think, I am that much closer. Every one week celebration would be met with a “another week down, xyz more to go.” I literally spent every waking moment wishing time away.

But, as mentioned, she was my third. I also had a 10-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter who were in the throes of their childhoods. And I felt guilt. Extreme, heart wrenching guilt. Because I so did not want to wish their little lives away. If anything, I wanted quite the opposite; for them to remain exactly where they were in time.

This point was brought more fervently to me upon a trip into their elementary school . I was savoring the hour away from my littlest. And as I rounded the corner, heading back to the cafeteria from the front office, I was met by a first grade class. In that moment, for some reason, I could see my youngest. Clearly and precisely. It was as if time—that terrible monster—had indeed sped up right in front of my eyes. I could feel her as a first grader and knew it would be here in an instant.

And I almost lost it.

I rounded yet another corner and stumbled upon two middle school girls putting up a poster. And I could see my middle child. Clearly and precisely. I could feel her as a teenager getting ready for high school. And, I remember thinking, high school is going to be here before I know it.

And I almost lost it.

I then entered the cafeteria, and my 8-year-old daughter came running at me with such love and enthusiasm that I buckled. She grabbed me in the biggest bear hug and held on with all her might.

And then I did actually lose it. Because I wanted nothing more than to freeze time, right then and there. I didn’t want my baby to be a first grader and I didn’t want my middle to be a teenager. I didn’t want my oldest to ever move away. I wanted time to stop and allow me to enjoy my children who loved me with every fiber of their being, the way they do right now.

My son then entered the cafeteria. All 10 years and 100 pounds of him. I asked him if it was still cool to sit with his mother and he said, without question, “YES MOM!” I waited to see if he would hug or kiss me, and without a pause, he did.

And I could see him as a high schooler. I knew that he would not be in this school much longer, nor would he want to eat lunch with his mother or hug her in the cafeteria. But in that moment, he wanted nothing more than that. And I wanted to hold on to that moment, with every fiber of my being.

As I drove home, I was met with the ghost of my big kids’ past. I passed the playground where I wished for nothing more than for my son to be able to go down the slide by himself or for my daughter to be able to swing without assistance.

I also passed the house where I can see—as clear as can be—my 2-year-old son trick-or-treating as a pirate while my husband held my 7-month-old daughter dressed as a cat.

It literally seemed like just days ago, as opposed to years. I passed the pool where my kids learned to swim and the trail where they learned to ride bikes. All places where I thought, I can’t wait until they can do these activities without assistance (while also being in awe of the learning process.)

I then entered the house where they learned to roll over and crawl and pull up and walk and talk. And, again, felt as if those milestones were met just a little bit ago rather than an eternity. And I realized—at every stage, I simultaneously wanted them to move on to the next phase and yet remain right where they were.

So, mamas, my advice to you is this. Each stage has its hardships, but also has its glories. Learn from the hard and revel in those good moments—no matter how big or small. Because, in just a hot second, you will be on to the next and the next and the next.

And before you know it, your child will be hanging posters in the middle school hallway while you wish desperately that you could go back to those sleepless nights.

It really does go in a blink, even when it feels like a lifetime when you’re in it—in those exhausting raising-little-kids days. But what I truly understand now is that if you don’t stop to enjoy the present, future-you will do nothing but wish she could return to the past.

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The Motherly Shop is here 🎉 (and it has exactly what you need, mama)

We did the hard work for you, hand-picking the things you want and need and ensuring we only bring you the best—so you can take one thing off that full plate of yours.

Since the beginning, Motherly has existed to help mamas of all experiences feel seen, understood and supported. Through expert and mom-to-mom advice and information we've been here to help you along the motherhood journey.

With that same ethos, we've created The Motherly Shop—an online collection of products curated for every stage of motherhood. We did the hard work for you, hand-picking the things you want and need and ensuring we only bring you the best from brands and makers that really care—so you can take one thing off that full plate of yours.

To make browsing a little easier, we curate the products based on mama needs + pain points. For example, here's our newest collection created to gather everything a pregnant woman needs.

Check out some of our favorites from our Becoming Mama collection and get shopping!

The sleep support

Belly Bandit SOS pillow

Finding the right position for sleep can feel like an Olympic sport when you've got a baby belly to accommodate. Belly Bandit, masters of creating wearables that support pregnant bodies, also managed to create the ideal tool for side sleeping.

$80

The wear-anywhere maternity dress

Stowaway Collection Maternity Becca dress

Finding clothes that still make you feel like yourself isn't always easy. With their premium fabrics and universally flattering cuts, we can't get enough of the maternity wardrobe essentials from Stowaway Collection maternity. Even better? They sew everything in Long Island City, NY and source USA-made fabric whenever possible.

$80

The chic but practical shoe 

OSAY the label slip on

Bending over to put shoes on is so overrated. We've got you covered with the most stylish and obsession-worthy handmade loafers with a secret. Just fold down the back, and BAM! slip-ons. Additionally, the La Babouche Loafer + Slip-On OSAY the Label beauties are made from recycled leather that literally forms to your feet.

$135

The delicate reminder

Whether it's whispered sweetly, shrieked from the top of the big slide, or echoed through the phone from thousands of miles away, 'mama' is the name you'll respond to for the rest of your life. Like all the Tiny Tags necklaces, this sweet reminder is laser engraved by highly skilled artisans in the USA.

$105

The stylish diaper bag that doesn't look like a diaper bag

Mina baie vegan stevie

When leaving the house requires as much prep as an international flight (ah, remember those?) having a spacious bag you can depend on is key. Mina Baie bags not only deliver on a space for everything, but also manage to do it in style. They're the kind of bags you'll carry even when you manage to leave your little one behind.

$178

The elegant baby book

Echo Art Bindery Baby Memory Book

From the minute they're born there are so many milestones and memories to capture. We hand-picked the gorgeous clothbound baby memory book from Echo Art Bindery for its small batch-feel and attention to detail. Made from high-quality paper it features colorful custom illustrations, a silver-stamped endive cover, and questions and prompts to help you remember those magical first days and beyond.

$62

The empowering accessory

Sontakey 'I was made for this' bracelet

Words are powerful. Reminding yourself that you can do hard things can go a long way in giving you the energy and confidence to do so. The beautiful mantra bands from Sontakey were created by two mamas who have made it their mission to empower others with these words of encouragement.

$35

The most delicious way to celebrate

Tost non-alcoholic refresher

Time to raise a glass, mama! We've long since had a crush on TÖST's non-alcoholic sparkles. The gingery cranberry tea blend is delicious on its own or even as a mixer. From baby showers to toasting an ordinary Tuesday that went off without a hitch, we think you'll be crushing on it too.

$50

The pampering belly oil

Esker belly oil duo

Moisturizing, soothing, and totally divine, Esker's belly oil duo is formulated with only the cleanest botanical essential oils. One for morning and one for nighttime, they're ideal for pampering that beautiful belly of yours around the clock.

$75

The hydration-friendly water bottle

Welly traveler water bottle

Meeting those daily hydration needs can be a challenge. (So can making it to the bathroom 700 hundred times a day, right?) We're big fans of Welly reusable bottles which not only look super sleek with their stainless steel and bamboo combo, but also include a removable infuser to brew tea or flavor your water.

$30

The pre-packed hospital bag

Belly and Bag fully prepared

Leave packing your hospital bag to the pros. After all, you have plenty of other things to think about right now, right? The brilliant women at Belly and Bag have truly thought of everything and packed it up just for you.

$225

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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12 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

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

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.

$189

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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