Meet 4 inspiring moms whose careers blossomed after babies

“I’ve honed a relentless focus on results and a healthy distaste for inefficiency.” ?

Meet 4 inspiring moms whose careers blossomed after babies

No, motherhood doesn't have to mean the end of your career. In fact, it can also mean the beginning of an awesome new chapter. Maybrooks features four women who learned to thrive at work after baby arrived—

1. Jenny Donnelly

Jenny Donnelly didn't have a computer science degree but she quickly parlayed her math background from college into web development, system networking and coding when she headed to California in the 1990s. She eventually landed a role at Yahoo, where she has been for 10 years and is now an engineering director managing 26 people. After her first baby she found herself stretched pretty thin so she devised a way to re-prioritize and focus on important pieces — and with each of her two kids came a promotion. Here's how she does it.


Jenny Donnelly, Engineering Director, Yahoo Gemini


Hillsborough, Calif.


A career I love, wonderful husband, two happy & healthy kids!


Monday through Friday I keep it 9 to 5 in the office, plus phone calls during my commute, plenty of nights after the kids are in bed, weekends as required


Son (6), Daughter (4)


Fancy restaurants


I'm halfway through Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To by Sian Beilock


I love cooking for my family! Fish tacos, flank steak, and roasted chicken are all very easy for weeknights.


The Atlantic


The Good Wife, Downton Abbey, plus anything on Bravo


Yelp to help me pick my next date night destination.


I buy almost everything except groceries online: my clothes & shoes, kids' clothes & shoes, beauty products, gifts, even toilet paper. I'd buy groceries online too, but I love my weekly jaunts through the produce aisle.


Go on vacation!


I have a laser focus on priorities and make every work minute matter.

You're a woman in tech at the Director level. You're also a mother of two! Tell us about your working mom journey and how you got here.

I landed in San Francisco after college during the Internet boom of the 90's. I didn't have a CS degree, but my first job was as a sort of jack-of-all-trades at a startup, and I soon realized I loved all the technical aspects of my job: building the website, setting up the network, and teaching myself how to build useful things with code. That was my real entry to tech and I'm pretty much a self-taught geek.

Since landing at Yahoo 10 years ago, I've been able to really deepen my technical and leadership skills and even start a family. For me, those things actually went hand in hand. When I had my first baby, I was stretched so thin and really burning the candles at both ends. My response was to cut out anything and everything unnecessary both at work and home and to focus on only the most important things.

At work, that meant throwing myself into the most impactful projects around me and cutting out the rest. I've honed a relentless focus on results and a healthy distaste for inefficiency. Taken at a higher level, it means having clear team priorities that align with business goals and avoiding premature optimization. I really think that shift is what has unlocked my potential as an effective leader, which in turn led to a series of promotions.

With each baby came a promotion, but also a period of time where you worried you couldn't handle it all. What changed your thinking and what advice do you have now for others that they can have a big career and a family too, and not to worry so much?

Not handling it all wasn't just a worry — it was a reality! Things were slipping through the cracks left and right. But in the process of letting the smaller stuff go, I consciously up-leveled my goals to be things I truly wanted to fight and sacrifice for.

I decided I didn't need to answer every email that landed in my inbox, but I did put in the time on the ones that needed to be handled well.

I didn't accept every meeting invite that landed in my calendar, but I did make special childcare arrangements to attend some very important ones.

You mentioned that you'll step out of important meetings to take phone calls from the school. As the manager of 26 people, how do you manage in a way that messages your priorities and allows people to feel comfortable with their own?

I do have family obligations that pop up unexpectedly now and again — I think most of us do. I don't try to hide it, and I openly respect everyone's needs to take care of their family or other personal matters. Our company culture is very transparent in that way, and that is true all the way up to our CEO Marissa Mayer. I think it's because we all trust each other to be hard working, to cover for each other from time to time, and to make up for lost time in other ways.

My job is very demanding, but I am able to give it my all because I never feel like I'm being asked to compromise on the things that are most important to me.

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You've been at the company 10 years and said you recently looked around the room and saw women in various leadership roles and thought the company must be doing something right? What do you think Yahoo is doing right?

I'm not sure I can point to any particular policy or program, but I do think we are philosophically a deeply meritocratic company that tries to eliminate bias in all aspects, from hiring to promotions.

Being a working mom will require you to work crazy hard and make a lot of sacrifices — that's a given. I think it's really valuable to figure out what your most ambitious, fearless self can dream up and what sacrifices you are willing to make to get her there — and then to go for it! On the flip side, know what sacrifices you won't make and stick to your guns. For instance, I love to cook and it is really important to me that I am home for dinner every night. Check in with yourself now and then to make sure the goals and the sacrifices are in balance.

2. Layla Kajer

Layla had just accepted a new job across the country where she was planning to double down on her career for the next three to five years. So when she found out she was pregnant—unexpectedly and unplanned—it was a bit of a shock. She continued to double down during her pregnancy. And then on maternity leave discovered a new self, which led to changes she may never have imagined, and the search for a company that would support those changes.

Here's how Layla describes it—

Somewhere along the way, growing up as a girl in modern society, for me it feels you have to choose your path — you are either a career woman or a mom type. Like cattle being branded, it seems binary and permanent.

The decision was easy for me. I'm a career woman. Born and bred.

As a child, I played business-owner and banker over house or dolls. Combine that with watching key women in my life search for purpose outside of kids, and I was firm on my position—I'm all work all the time.

That was, until my life turned upside down and I found out I was pregnant—completely unplanned, unexpected and (dare I say) a tiny bit unwanted. I was 31 years old, financially secure and in a loving relationship so this wasn't a disaster. But I had recently accepted a position to move across the country, a symbol that I am doubling down on my career and leaving the kid debate for three to five years down the road.

Nope. It happens now.

White knuckling my identity

As reality of my pregnancy set in, I was determined to stay relevant at work and maintain my people-pleasing, over-achieving, hard-working reputation. I initially told my firm that I was going to take a short leave—less than what they offered at full salary. I signed up for a project that required I fly to the Middle East twice a month. While pregnant. That seemed like a good idea at the time (yes, feel free to roll your eyes—I do too now).

On my last day in the office, I looked my boss in the eyes and said, “when I get back, I'll be ready to hit the ground running. I want that promotion and I plan to travel." And I meant it.

To my surprise

I loved being home with my baby girl. It was the hardest thing I'd ever done, and it changed me. I finally felt sweet release from pressure I'd placed on myself, historically grounding my purpose solely on work achievements. While I was out, I saw there was joy in something other than external validation. There was no stress of whether clients liked me and would buy more work from me. There was no self-doubt after a tense meeting. To be fair, I had plenty of other new stress-inducing situations, but this was the first time I saw a different way of existing and it felt good.


My entire life had been built on the notion that I'm only valuable if I'm crushing it at work so what happens to EVERYTHING if my willingness to give so much of my time and energy has changed?

Death of a two-tone existence

The rumble of a changing identity is a tricky thing.

I used to call it an identity shift, but I now see it was an identity expansion.

It's like an addition you make to a house. It is bigger, utterly more, with fresh new features but the rest of the house — with all the memories in it — is still there. My ambition didn't go away or even lessen, it's just that I now have more in my life that matters.

My challenge wasn't trying to shoehorn mommyhood into my old identity and life. My challenge was to find an environment where my ambition can thrive without detriment to my family life.

This idea that we must have a clear one-or-the-other identity does not serve greater womankind and, instead, holds us in the narrow confines of an antiquated gender-biased existence. We can, should be, and are changing, energetic beings who exist in multiple dimensions and have the freedom to flourish in many priority permutations.

My reconciliation came when I realized my job had to shift in order for me to have the home life I want. So it did. I found a company comprised of other moms and dads and a position that allowed me minimal travel but high-impact work with a mission-driven company at headquarters five minutes from my house.

I'm only two months in to this working mom adventure, but I already see that I can be and am both a loving, involved mom who treasures bedtime cuddles and a badass creator able to lead change, make decisions and own a room.

3. Jackie Hanselmann Sergi

Jackie is a recruiter and executive coach based in Portland, experienced the five stages of grieving her old work self after returning to work from maternity leave. She was depleted and feeling like she was letting everyone down — work, spouse and baby — until her boss and mentor shared some words that gave her the space to grieve and move forward to embrace her new role — one she finds is just as effective and boasts a few more tricks.

It feels a bit poetic that I write this blog entry from the friendly skies high above the world below, on my first overnight trip away from my little girl.

Once the 20-something career road warrior, deftly navigating numerous airports in a week, to now, the 30-something new mom who is discovering the freedom of air travel without baby and a monumental entourage of stuff.

It is one of the first few moments of quiet and non-touching that I have experienced in a long time, and in these quiet moments I once again feel a bit of freedom mixed with a side of guilt that I am actually enjoying this moment being me — not mom — but me.

It took me a while for me to get here – to this place where I allow myself to admit that I have changed, and to allow myself to miss the me before the mom.

Two years ago, I started my new role at my dream organization. I was excited for my new adventure to join the all female executive recruiting firm focused on working with nonprofits doing great in the world. I took two weeks off between roles and detoxed from my previous employer and enjoyed much needed time off. I started my new role, wide-eyed and ready to tackle this new chapter in my life.

Little did I know that I was not starting my new role alone; I was growing a new little life and a new identity for myself as well. Two weeks in, while positive that I had the illness of the current client search I was working on, I was shocked to see the little pink line appear on the pregnancy test.

Some of my thoughts after the initial, “Oh wow, this is happening," were, “What about my career? My job? My airline status (funny but kind of true!)?"

Ten months later, I welcomed into the world a new reality that came in the form of a rosy-cheeked beautiful baby girl. What I didn't realize was that with the new arrival marked the departure of another life and identity that I needed to acknowledge and grieve.

As the days of maternity leave ticked away, I grew anxious to return to my job. Internally there was a battle brewing over wanting to continue to be the full time mother versus the woman who missed working with nonprofits to find their leaders and enjoyed having an organized calendar of events that were far more predictable than a three-month old's daily needs.

When I returned to work, I threw myself into the work trying to prove to my company, and more to myself, that I was not only the same kick-butt worker as before but even better now because I had birthed a baby. After a month of this grind, I was exhausted, depleted, and feeling as if I was failing on all fronts — wife, mother, and employee.

And then I was gifted with a conversation with the founder of my company that shifted everything for me. Katie called me into her office and asked me how things were going and I gave my well-practiced answer that everything was over all good and that I was working really hard and trying to find the balance.

Katie, a seasoned mother of two, saw straight through my answer. She leaned in close and shared the following words that I will remember forever:

“One of the hardest things that I have ever been through is when my mother died, but the second hardest loss that I experienced was the loss of the woman that I was before I had children. It is okay to say it is hard, and it is okay to grieve the woman that you were. You are not selfish, you are not less than, you do not have to prove yourself to us, you just need to be."

And with those words, the floodgate of emotions erupted, and I felt allowed to grieve. I went through all five stages of grieving:

DENIAL — unable to accept that I was any different or couldn't attack my work as before my daughter was born,

ANGER — angry that I felt expected to be everything to everyone, angry that there were not enough private pumping rooms, angry that I was touched out and guilty for not always finding the beauty of new motherhood

BARGAINING — stretching myself to the point of exhaustion to keep all the plates spinning at the detriment to self

DEPRESSION – feeling like I was failing everyone

ACCEPTANCE – (finally!) which came with embracing the good, bad, and the ugly of the new stage of my life and to love myself with the sweet admiration and grace that I feel with every snuggle of my daughter.

The freedom to grieve the woman that I was and embrace the woman that I am is a daily exercise in patience and love. As I packed for my first overnight trip away, I cried and thought of all the what if's to going away but as I quickly passed through security with only one bag and then leisurely sauntered through the airport with hot coffee in hand, I remembered that I'm still the road warrior but now I just have new tricks up my sleeve.

Jackie Hanselmann Sergi is an executive recruiter with KOYA Leadership Partners in Portland, Oregon, loving wife, and a proud mom of one sweet little girl.

4. Stephanie Kumar

Stephanie Kumar of Pinterest felt pressure to be a strong role model for the little girl she held in her arms everyday, so she decided to “lean in" and search for a job that would better propel her career, all while on maternity leave. Here's her story.


Stephanie Kumar, Insights Lead at Pinterest


New York City


Going from maternity leave right into a new role and company leading CPG Insights @ Pinterest


Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Chloé, 8 mos.


'No Chewing Allowed' Chocolate Truffles


Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman


I love to cook flavorful vegetarian food. Some recent favorites: Cauliflower Fried Rice & Zucchini Pesto Pasta


Women's Health, MIT Technology Review, Harvard Business Review


The Voice and The Mindy Project


We love to travel, and the TripCase app keeps all of our itineraries in one spot. Pinterest is my go-to for pretty much everything else in life from tonight's dinner to organizing my closet!


Babywear! When the only thing that soothes your crying tot is holding them, babywearing will let you send emails, take conference calls, or cook a meal.


We love to sing and dance with Chloé. There's nothing more fun than letting your inner-child out!


Being a mom has inspired me to be a better person now that I have this little girl to impress.

Tell us about your working mom journey. What are you doing now, and how did you get here?

When I found out I was expecting, I was leading an internal consumer analytics team at a large tech company where I had been since 2011. After the baby arrived, I excitedly made a transition to Pinterest. Now, I lead insights for our CPG partners, where I surface trends that can drive business for marketers across food, drink, beauty, and cleaning brands. Here's an example of my latest work: Pinterest Blog: Pin Trends: This Thanksgiving, don't forget the pie.

You've only been at Pinterest for a few months, which means you did a job search with a newborn! You told me that your baby was a big driver for the change — can you explain?

Having a baby changed my life in a big and unexpected way. Suddenly, I felt the need to become a role model to this little girl that I held in my arms every day during maternity leave. I made the decision to “lean in" and try something that would propel my career, even if it was a bit of an intimidating decision at times.

We're really impressed with how intentional you are about the way you schedule your week and really try to avoid “mother's guilt" — how did you know to do this?

I learned very quickly that it was impossible for me to give 100% of myself every day to every part of my life (daughter, husband, friends, 'me'). Rather than feel guilty about it, I took control and chose moments where I could give 100% of myself to that person.

For my daughter, evenings are hers until she goes to bed around 7:30 p.m. I schedule date nights at least once a week with my husband, and reserve at least one day a week with my girlfriends (both happen after my daughter is in bed). On the weekends, my husband will take Chloé for long walks where I get time to myself to read a book or get a pedicure. With dedicated time reserved for everyone, including me, I end up being the best version of myself for everyone in my life.

You mentioned that both you and your husband are big planners — how does this manifest itself when you're managing two big jobs with a baby?

Our friends tease us for being such Type A planners, but it really has been a godsend for managing our new normal.

Here are a few of my favorite planning things:

—A whiteboard in the kitchen to capture a running grocery and “to do" list (has also been used to show our babysitter the last time Chloe has eaten or napped)

—A hanging calendar where we note upcoming holidays, birthdays, professional events, date nights and vacations so nothing gets missed

—Shared Google spreadsheets when planning big vacations (who is doing what, how much it will cost, potential destinations, etc.)

What is your best advice to other professional women?

Having a baby is a beautiful addition to life, but remember to maintain what drives you and makes you happy as a woman.

I, for instance, love to travel the world, and decided very early on that my daughter would be a welcomed part of that. Many in my life still think that I am brave (and/or crazy) to travel with an infant, but after about 10 flights in eight months, I can happily say that she ends up charming all of her fellow fliers every time.

Maybrooks is a career resource for moms. Search jobs, research family friendly companies, and find tools to navigate your career.

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In This Article

    How one company is making a huge difference for LGBTQ youth

    Take notes, all you other brands, this is how it's done

    Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

    This article is sponsored by H&M. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    We spoke to Chris Bright (he/she/they), Director of Public Training at The Trevor Project, who works closely with H&M. Chris shared with us the Trevor Project's important mission, and what all brands should do to best support LGBTQ youth today.

    1. For those that do not know, what is The Trevor Project's mission? What is it all about and its impact on society?

    The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, and LGBTQ youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight or cis peers. Our mission is to end suicide among the estimated 1.8 million LGBTQ youth under the age of 25 in the U.S. who seriously consider suicide each year.

    Founded in 1998, The Trevor Project launched TrevorLifeline, the first 24/7 national lifeline supporting LGBTQ youth in crisis alongside HBO's broadcast of the Academy Award-winning short film Trevor. The first calls were answered that night. Since then, we have grown from reaching several thousand LGBTQ youth per year to becoming the preeminent resource for LGBTQ young people in crisis, directly serving over 200K LGBTQ young people in the last fiscal year alone. We work tirelessly to save young lives by providing support through our free and confidential crisis programs on platforms where young people spend their time — online and on the phone. In addition to TrevorLifeline, we offer 24/7 digital crisis services including TrevorText and TrevorChat, as well as TrevorSpace, the world's largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth.

    H&M + The Trevor Project

    2. Can you describe the nature of the relationship/partnership the Trevor Project has with H&M?

    Our collaboration with H&M has been remarkably successful, with H&M driving awareness of The Trevor Project and our services among its audience while also demonstrating its strong support of LGBTQ young people. H&M first partnered with us in December 2020 during our "Every Single One" holiday campaign, where they donated $250K in matching funds for Giving Tuesday. This helped The Trevor Project have our best-ever Giving Tuesday moment.

    Our work together has had extensive impact, allowing H&M to engage employees, customers, and community members in conversations about LGBTQ Allyship through Trevor's resources and mission. We're thankful for H&M's support, which helps us continue to operate and improve our 24/7 life-saving crisis services so we can serve more LGBTQ young people.

    3. Why was H&M the right company to partner with?

    H&M is an established yet relevant brand that has the attention of young people, and we're always so thankful to partner with youth-facing brands that can not only spread messages of love and support, but also can increase the awareness of our crisis services and resources. We know that H&M genuinely cares about creating a better future for LGBTQ young people.

    4. What do you see as the biggest challenge or struggle for LGBTQ kids today?

    LGBTQ youth are incredibly diverse, with so many intersecting identities and unique experiences — making it difficult for me to pinpoint what might be the single biggest challenge or struggle for all LGBTQ youth today.

    What I can say, however, is our research reveals numerous challenges or struggles that may be more prevalent across the board for LGBTQ youth. According to our 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, which captures the experiences of nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth ages 13 to 24 across the U.S., nearly 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. Over 94% of LGBTQ youth reported that recent politics negatively impacted their mental health and more than 80% of LGBTQ youth stated that COVID-19 made their living situation more stressful.

    What's clear is that while there is no single biggest challenge or struggle for our LGBTQ youth today, it's critical that we find ways to uplift and support each and every LGBTQ young person that we can.

    5. Since it's back to school time, are there stressors or situations that are uniquely heightened for LGBTQ youth, other than the standard new school year jitters, that people don't necessarily know about?

    Our research has found that LGBTQ youth who reported having at least one LGBTQ-affirming space had 35% reduced odds of attempting suicide in the past year, with LGBTQ-affirming school environments having the strongest association with reduced suicide attempts. Since the onset of COVID-19, the volume of youth reaching out to us has significantly increased, at times nearly double our pre-COVID volume. Feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anxiety have been heightened as a result of the pandemic, further emphasizing the need for LGBTQ youth to have access to spaces that affirm their identities, such as gender-neutral bathrooms, trans-inclusive sports, and positive extracurricular activities such as Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs).

    LGBTQ youth who reported having at least one accepting adult — whether it be teachers, coaches, or counselors — were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year. The Trevor Project created the Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention, which includes requirements for teacher training, mental health instruction for students, and policies and procedures for suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. Now, more than ever, it is crucial that as in-person learning returns, schools provide LGBTQ students with safe learning environments where they can feel empowered, supported, and accepted by their peers and educators.

    H&M + the Trevor Project

    6. In what way is the support that The Trevor Project provides crucial to LGBTQ youth, especially as it pertains to suicide prevention?

    The support that The Trevor Project provides is so crucial because suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people — and LGBTQ youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight or cis peers. LGBTQ youth reach out to Trevor because we are LGBTQ-affirming and a trusted provider of crisis services. All of our volunteers are highly-trained to answer calls, chats, and text from LGBTQ youth 24/7 when they are feeling suicidal or need a safe, non-judgmental place to talk.

    Almost three-quarters of youth stated that they either would not or were unsure if they would have another service if The Trevor Project did not exist. We aim to be there for every young LGBTQ person in crisis with a clear message: you are loved, your life has value, and you are never alone.

    7. What do you think the responsibility is for brands to be involved in pro-social, activism-related work?

    Everyone can play a role in creating change and building progress in our society. Brands — especially those with large platforms and influence — have a responsibility to fulfill that role as well. We recognize H&M and our other brand partners for helping spur progress on important issues, and we encourage others to follow suit. Beyond the essential financial support that brands can provide to nonprofits like The Trevor Project, there's also a direct benefit for the community when brands are loud about their support of Pride; we've found that more than half of youth said brands who support the LGBTQ community positively impact how they feel about being LGBTQ. Finally, it's important to remember that Pride doesn't begin and end in June — the opportunity to support Pride is 365 days a year. We are thrilled to have H&M as a year-round partner for The Trevor Project, demonstrating their authentic support for our work.

    8. What is one of the biggest impacts or positive results you have seen come from the partnership between The Trevor Project and H&M?

    We wouldn't be able to do the work we do and make the progress we've made without our brand partners like H&M. The Trevor Project has experienced significant growth in the last few years with the implementation of our five key program areas: crisis services, peer support, research, education and public awareness, and advocacy. Since 2019, we've been working to scale our volunteer training to increase the number of crisis services counselors on a yearly basis. In addition to original, intersectional monthly research briefs, our research team launched the world's largest survey of LGBTQ youth mental health in 2019, and has released a total of three national, annual reports. We've ramped up Trevor's advocacy work on the local, state, and federal levels to protect the rights of LGBTQ people, including bills to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy that have been in introduced in 40 states. H&M's partnership helps us advance this work by raising significant funds and awareness for our mission. During June 2021, when H&M served as one of our key Pride Partners, our crisis counselors served over 19,500 crisis contacts with free, confidential support via phone, chat, and text.

    9. How important is it for LGBTQ+ youth to see allies in popular culture, be it a celebrity or high profile person, mainstream brand, etc.?

    LGBTQ representation in the mainstream media is extremely important as it makes LGBTQ youth feel seen, validated, and confident that they are not alone. Over 80% of youth said that celebrities who are LGBTQ positively influence how they feel about being LGBTQ, and more than half of youth said brands who support the LGBTQ community have a positive impact on their LGBTQ identity. As we continue to see increased visibility for marginalized communities in popular culture, diverse images will become normalized, which in turn creates a safer, more accepting world for all of us.

    10. For people who want to get involved with a cause like The Trevor Project, what is the best way to make a difference?

    There are a number of ways to get involved with The Trevor Project – from making a donation ( to applying to be a volunteer ( to spreading the word about our resources.

    Affirming spaces and support systems work to save young LGBTQ lives. People can be active in their communities to ensure that more safe, affirming spaces are available and thriving. Even making an effort to respect someone's pronouns and encouraging those around you to do the same can make a huge difference. Our research has also found that LGBTQ youth who report having at least one accepting adult were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt. If you get the opportunity, be that one person for a young person in your life.

    If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project's trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat, or by texting START to 678678.

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    This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

    One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

    I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.

    Honestly, it's no wonder. Originally designed as a better blanket for luxury hotels and engineered with textile experts to create this uniquely soft fabric, it has made my bed into the vacation I so desperately want these days.

    The comforter is made up of two layers. On one side is their signature knit "snug" fabric which out-cozies even my most beloved (bought on sale) cashmere sweater. The other, a soft quilted microfiber. Together, it creates a weighty blanket that's as soothing to be under as it is to flop face-first into at the end of an exhausting day. Or at lunch. No judgement.

    Miraculously, given the weight and construction, it stays totally breathable and hasn't left me feeling overheated even on these warm summer nights with just a fan in the window.

    Beyond being the absolute most comfortable comforter I've found, it's also answered my minimalist bed making desires. Whether you opt to use it knit or quilted side up, it cleanly pulls the room together and doesn't wrinkle or look unkempt even if you steal a quick nap on top of it.

    Also worth noting, while all that sounds super luxe and totally indulgent, the best part is, it's equally durable. It's made to be easily machine washed and come out the other side as radically soft as ever, forever, which totally helps take the sting out of the price tag.

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    Here is my top pick from Sunday Citizen, along with the super-soft goods I'm coveting for future purchases.

    Woodland Snug comforter


    The bedroom anchor I've been looking for— the Snug Comforter.


    Braided Pom Pom Throw

    Because this degree of coziness needs portability, I'm totally putting the throw version on my list. It's washable, which is a must-have given my shedding dog and two spill-prone kiddos who are bound to fight over it during family movie night.


    Lumbar pillow


    What's a cozy bed without a pile of pillows?


    Crystal infused sleep mask

    sunday citizen sleep mask

    Promoting sleep by creating total darkness and relaxation, I've bookmarked as my go-to gift for fellow mamas.


    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


    Motherly created the flexible online birth class moms need

    The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

    Taking a birth class is a pregnancy milestone. Whether you've been excited to take a birth class for a long time or have just recently decided that you wanted to take one, sitting down for that first lesson feels big—spoiler alert, this is really happening! But finding time for a birth class isn't as easy as it would seem.

    We know new parents are busy (hello, understatement of the year). Between diaper changes, pediatrician appointments, healing from birth and the general adjustment to #newparentlife, the days can fill up quickly. But a lot of people are caught off guard by how busy pregnancy can be, too! That first trimester is so often full of symptoms—like nausea and fatigue—that can make previously easy or simple tasks exhausting. The second trimester begins and (usually) we start to feel better. But then our days get filled with planning out baby registries and deciding on questions like, "Where will this tiny new human sleep?" And before you know it, it's the third trimester—and, well, then you're in the home stretch. Plus there are so many appointments!

    All this to say that we get how busy you are—and how hard that might make it to fit in a birth class.

    And that's why we created The Motherly Birth Class. The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

    Think you'll want to watch each lesson a few times over? Great!

    Due date's next week and you need the option to take a birth class very quickly? No problem!

    Like everything at Motherly, we designed this class with you in mind.

    Taught by Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding (who also wrote "The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama"), this class is broken into 12 lessons—and you get to control how and when you watch them. We'll teach you about what your (amazing) body is up to in labor, how to decide when it's time to head to the hospital or birth center (or when to call your home birth midwife), what your options are for coping with pain and so much more.

    When you sign up for The Motherly Birth Class, you'll get access to a downloadable workbook and meditations. Plus, you'll be invited to join our supportive private online community (where you can chat with the class instructor!)

    Oh, one more thing: Your insurance or flexible spending account might even able to able to cover the cost of this class.

    Pregnancy is wonderful—but it's a lot. You deserve a birth class that works for you and empowers you to have your best birth. Because vaginal or Cesarean, unmedicated or medication, birth is incredible. And you are the star of it all.

    You've got this.

    Sign up for The Motherly Birth Class today!

    The Motherly Birth Class


    Take our completely digital birth class from the comfort of your living room. We'll help you have your best birth—because you deserve it.


    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

    So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are 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 indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don't think it will be put away too often!)


    Secret Agent play set


    This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


    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.


    Stepping Stones


    Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.


    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.


    Sensory play set


    Filled with sand or water, this compact-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.


    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.


    Foam pogo stick


    Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.




    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.


    Hopper ball

    Hopper ball

    Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.


    Pull-along ducks


    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.


    Rocking chair seesaw


    This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.


    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.


    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.


    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


    18 stylish-but-comfy pieces to refresh your wardrobe this fall (and everything's under $75!)

    From school pickup to working from home, these pieces will freshen up your closet without breaking the bank.

    Freedom Company

    What is trending in the world of fashion changes every year. Keeping up with what's in style is challenging when you're a busy mama who's constantly cleaning up, preparing meals and working all day. That's a fact, so how can you possibly be expected to keep up with the latest clothing trends?

    During the height of the pandemic, many of us became comfortable dressing down, going braless, and saying goodbye to snug jeans. But who says we can't tackle a look that is cozy and polished? From 2021-2022: biker shorts have begun replacing short-shorts, bright colors are trending, tie dye and retro patterns are making a major comeback, and let's not forget, joggers are the new skinny jeans. The accessories you choose will help others determine whether or not you're lounging around town post-yoga class or preparing for a job interview.

    Replacing your entire wardrobe every year, however, is too expensive. But purchasing a few clothing items within your budget will help boost your self-esteem and keep you feeling proud with what you're wearing every day.

    Bearing in mind that no two moms are alike, we narrowed down a list of must-have clothing items—there is a little something for everyone. And the best part? Each garment costs less than $75.

    We carefully selected each piece based on several factors: pricing, quality, and the level of comfort. Enjoy browsing through our wide-ranging list, and of course, happy shopping!

    Sensual Fashion Boutique Entro Terracotta Long Sleeve Tiered Ruffle Midi Dress

    Not only is the color of this mid-length dress perfect for autumn but it's also lined and tiered with ruffle details, providing an added layer of warmth. The end of the sleeves and waist area have elastic for lovably chic vibes, and the v neck isn't too low cut for play dates and strolls through the park.


    Digital Print Tie-Dye Joggers


    Go ahead: check out dresses, loungewear, and activewear on any clothing website and you're bound to find a wide array of tie dye options. Pair these high-quality, affordable joggers with a form fitting tee or crop top in the warmer months or a matching hoodie in the fall and winter.


    Nancy Rose Performance Stealie Tank


    Every one of Nancy Rose Performance's tanks are dyed by hand, so no two are the same. To make this an even better purchase, this flattering top is anti-odor, UV resistant, protective against germs and bacteria, and the fabric promotes healthy skin—does it get any better than that? The body hugging fit is comfortable, not too tight, and can be worn out of the house or even as a cozy pajama tank.


    H&M Shirt Jacket 

    This loose-fitting shirt jacket literally matches with everything from dresses and rompers to joggers and jeans. We can't get enough of how delicately soft the 100% cotton feels—it's almost like you're wearing a throw blanket around your body.


    Freedom Company Babydoll Dress


    Available in four color variations, this flowy dress is an absolute staple in any moms' wardrobe. Some people prefer dressing it down with a pair of flip flops or sneakers, while others wear heels and a trendy scarf—making this an excellent option for any occasion. Bonus points: it's made from a buttery soft material, doesn't shrink in the wash, and there's even side pockets for convenience.


    ​Smash + Tess The S + T Bada$$ Bike Short 


    So long, short-shorts—biker shorts are trending for good reason: they're versatile and cute as heck. You can wear them to a morning yoga class and then throughout the remainder of your day, while embracing the comfortability and vintage appeal. Smash + Tess is bringing sexy back with these dusty rose-colored shorts that can be worn with a loose-fitting tee, crop top, or camisole—honestly, there isn't much they can't match.


    ​Socialite Shortie Cami Romper


    You're choosing both quality and affordability, and who doesn't want that? This romper comes in heather grey or black taupe and it's soft as jersey sheets. You can dress it up with a pair of wedges, sunglasses, and a casual cardigan, or pair this loose-fitting piece with flip flops for a chill and cozy appearance.


    ​M.M.LA Fleur The Constance Dress -- Everstretch


    Doesn't every mama need a sexy black dress for date nights and special occasions? With Everstretch material, M.M.LaFleur's midi dress will quickly become your go-to for night's out in the town.


    Wolven Moonlight Mandala Reversible Four-Way Top


    A shirt that can be worn in four different ways, how unique is that? You can wear this as an all black shirt, a solid black shirt with a keyhole in the front, a printed shirt, or a printed shirt with a keyhole at the top of the front. Talk about convenience—you could wear the same shirt four times in one week and no one would be the wiser.


    MISSGUIDED Purple Floral Print Cut Out Skater Dress


    Why can't moms dress in cool clothing on the weekend or after work hours? Be daring: opt for a dress that has a low cut v-neck and also shows just enough of your back to make you feel sexy without being too revealing. The purple hues within the floral pattern are seriously gorgeous.


    L*SPACE Off Duty Short


    Flattering on all body types, these retro inspired gym shorts are made from ultra soft French terry rib fabric. No joke, you will want to wear these all day, forego pajamas, and keep these cuties on while you're sleeping at night.


    Onzie Biker Babe One Piece


    This one piece incorporates two of the biggest trends this year, tie dye and biker shorts. ONZIE created a form fitting outfit that can be worn at the gym, during your fave hot yoga class, or as a stylish option for everyday wear. We promise, you'll look like the coolest mom everywhere you go, because let's be real, you already are.


    ​A Pea In The Pod BB Dakota Under Belly Maternity Jogger Pant


    Resembling fluffy cotton candy clouds, these joggers stretch to fit pregnant, postpartum moms (even if your kids are all grown up). Their timeless look blended with maximum comfort makes for the perfect pair of pants.


    ​ASTR the LABEL Geraldine Lettuce Edge Top


    Not only is this crop top affordable, but you can quite literally match it with anything: biker shorts, skinny jeans, leggings, or skirts. The ruffled lettuce edge adds a nice touch, setting this shirt apart from all of the rest. Let's get rid of the stereotype that moms must cover up—why don't we show a little belly, feel proud of our bodies, and strut our stuff once in a while?


    ​Frank and Oak The Oversized Tie Dye T-Shirt


    The loose fit of this tie dye shirt causes total comfort, and who doesn't want that? This tee pairs well with biker shorts, leggings, and skinny jeans. They're available in pink or green, so you can pick your fave or perhaps buy both!


    ​LEZAT Jessie Brushed Jogger


    Affordable pricing? Check. High quality clothing? You bet! These joggers are made from extra soft, recycled nude pink fabric. For a matching set, you can add their cute cami to your shopping cart and still, your purchase will only come to a total of $60. We can't recommend this brand's clothing selection enough!


    ​Peruvian Connection Conservatory Dress


    This dress can transition from summer to fall if you throw on a nice jacket and brown boots. Depending on how you choose to accessorize, you can dress it up casually or professionally.


    ​Pistola Trina Muscle Tee


    Muscle tees are making a huge comeback for men and women alike. When the soft cotton material is cloaked in a feminine pattern, we're all bound to fall in love.


    Cameron Diaz on having a baby at 47: 'You really have to work hard for it'

    "The only pressure for me now is I have to live to be, like, 107, you know? No pressure!"

    This is the decade that saw the face of first-time motherhood change. The number of first-time mamas under 30 is shrinking, while more and more women are becoming moms after 40.

    Cameron Diaz is one of them. The actress and businesswoman, now 48, became a mom in January at the age of 47. In a new episode of Naomi Campbell's YouTube series, No Filter, Diaz opens up about what it's like to become a mom in your fourth decade.

    "A lot of people do it the other way around... they get married [and] have a family in their youth," says Diaz."I'm kind of doing it in the second half of my life."

    This second half has been the happiest she's ever felt, she explains, adding that life with daughter Raddix and husband Benji Madden feels like the "sweet spot" of her life story. But having a child at 47 is a different experience than having one at 27... and it does mean Diaz will be spending her 50s and 60s raising a child while some of her peers will be sending theirs off to college.

    The first-time mama is taking it all in stride, telling Campbell with a laugh: "The only pressure for me now is I have to live to be, like, 107, you know? No pressure!"

    She continues: "Having a family when you're's like anything when you're young: You do it. But when you're my age and you decide to do it, it's a real choice. You really have to work hard for it."

    Right now, raising her daughter (and working on her wine business) is what feels right for Diaz. She tells Campbell she doesn't think she's going back to acting. "I feel really resolved. I mean, I never say never to anything, first of all, but I feel really resolved," she explains. "I haven't made a movie since 2014. It's been a long time, it's been seven years or six years since I made a film. Girl, I am okay with that."

    Sometimes, what's right for you in your 20s isn't what's right in your 40s. Cameron Diaz proves that, and she proves that the door to motherhood doesn't close on your 40th birthday.

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