You’re not a bad mama because you work

Here are five ways to help you get through that guilt.

You’re not a bad mama because you work

I recently got this email in my inbox, from someone who was feeling like a bad mom. Why? Because she’s a working parent.


I keep telling myself I am enough and that I am making the choice that’s right for me and my family by continuing to work with (now two!) kids. However, I sometimes feel judged by those closest to me for that decision, particularly a few female family members.

I know they mean well and perhaps are biased by their own experiences having decided to stay home with kids and work once they were older, or to work part-time. Although I can rationalize this, I still can’t shake the guilt and the feeling of being judged as a “bad mom.” —Working Mama Feeling Judged

Dear Working Mama Feeling Judged,

Oh, mama. Everywhere we turn, and no matter who we are, we can find evidence that we are all, indeed, “bad moms.” We’re doing too much of this. Not enough of that. One way or another, we’re ruining our children. And failing as parents.

I’ve never been a fan of all this judging. And I’ve always hated the mommy wars. Today, I’m here to offer empathy. A hug. Some stories. And five concrete suggestions of things I’ve done that have helped me get my own head in a better place as a working mom.

First, learn the history and the research

In my own struggles with this question, I took great solace from learning that so-called “alloparents” have been critical to child rearing for pretty much all of human history. I learned the term “alloparents” from Brigid Schulte’s amazing book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play when No One Has the Time.

Here’s a good introduction to the idea, from the book. For context, Brigid is interviewing Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, an evolutionary anthropologist, and they’re discussing Kung women in the Kalahari Desert in Africa, 2,000 years ago:

“The whole idea that mothers stayed at camp and the men went off to hunt? No way! These women were walking thousands of miles every year with their children. Or if it was not safe, they were leaving them back at camp.” She pauses to drive that point home: Sometimes mothers left their children back at camp. The children were with their fathers, older siblings, grandparents, relatives, and other trusted, nurturing adults- people Hrdy calls “alloparents” (“allo” means “other than” in Greek). “It’s natural for mothers to work. It’s natural for mothers to take care of their children,” she says. “What’s unnatural is for mothers to be the sole caretaker of children. What’s unnatural is not to have more support for mothers.”

I also recommend you pick up a copy of Avital Norman Rothman’s wonderful essay collection entitled The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality. In the book’s Forward, Christy Turlington Burns writes that the “deeply entrenched ideal of the Good Mother” is a myth that “creates false standards that set women up for failure, not success, and for judgment, instead of support. It is an attempt to disempower the experience of motherhood. It tells us we are not worthy of our power to create, and that we must conform to narrow ideals of what makes a mother ‘good.’”

“Our collective point of reference for a ‘healthy’ family often goes to a contrived golden era of the 1950s and 1960s, when television shows and magazine advertisements blasted this stereotype into millions of American homes, only perpetuating the Leave It to Beaver fantasy,” says Emma Johnson, in her book, The Kickass Single Mom.

As someone who was raised, in the early years, by a stay-at-home mom, I definitely grappled with the “bad mother” notion when I had kids of my own. I knew I wanted to keep working and that I’d be a better mom if I did so. But I had a lot of fear about transitioning my baby to childcare, and missing his “firsts.”

The daycare world seemed so foreign to me. And the cultural messages told me that working outside the home was somehow going to hurt my kids. Apparently, something like 60% of Americans still believe children are better off when a parent stays home.

We know from research like this Harvard Business School study, however, that this simply isn’t the case. What did the study find?

That women whose mothers worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves. They are more likely to hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs. And they are more likely to earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full time.

Men raised by working mothers are more likely to contribute to household chores. And they are more likely to spend more time caring for family members. Not bad qualities in life, I’d wager.

Finally, though I won’t go into detail about it here, check out the literature on “good enough parenting.” Yep, that’s actually a thing. David Winnicott, a British pediatrician and psychoanalyst, coined the term “good enough mother,” which says, basically, that our children benefit when we “fail” them in manageable ways, so that they can learn to live in an imperfect world. “In short,” says Carla Naumburg, Ph.D., “building our children’s resilience is the gift of the good enough mother.”

Second, seek out examples

Okay, enough with the intellectual piece of this. Now it’s time for stories! I truly believe that storytelling has the power to help us weave together work and home.

Can you seek out some examples of other children who go to childcare? Can you find examples of adults who had “alloparents” growing up? For me, two different experiences had a tremendous impact on how I feel about working parenthood:

Story one: I was pregnant with my eldest and happened to be at my in-law's house for a holiday. At the time, I knew I was planning to send my baby to daycare, but I was definitely intimidated by the prospect. So much so that I sometimes wondered if my baby would “turn out okay” if subjected to the wrath of the daycare baby room.

While I was there, a family came over to visit—two parents, and two little kids, both of whom were in daycare and had been from the start. My eyes lit up, and I started asking a million questions. These kids seemed fine. Seemed normal (whatever that is for toddlers!). Seemed well-mannered. And friendly. Well-adjusted. And, perhaps most importantly, seemed to be incredibly well-attached to their parents.

Was that possible? Yes! I saw it before my very eyes. Proof that “daycare kids” could turn out just fine. And that their parents could be wonderful parents, too.

Story two: At one point when my babies were little, a friend of my was talking about her childhood. She happened to mention that she had gone to daycare while her mother worked.

“Daycare was wonderful!“ she exclaimed with a twinkle in her eye and a smile on her face. “I can still remember exactly where everything was in each little room. I loved the teachers. The toys. My friends. And I have such beautiful memories of that place.” Wow, I thought, reassured. For me, it was so helpful to hear her reminisce with fondness about her caregiving situation growing up.

Third, consider critical conversations with family members

You mentioned feeling judged by your female family members. Is this based on anything in particular they have said? Or done? I’m wondering if a critical conversation with any of them might be in order, using the formula I set out in this piece, New Parents’ Script for Tough Conversations: 4 S’s to Remember.

Are there any ways you can invite these family members deeper into your own world, to learn more about how it works? I know, with two small kiddos and a full-time job, your bandwidth for extra effort (or drama!) is probably nonexistent.

I’m just wondering if part of their judgment is coming from a place of not knowing how your childcare arrangement works. Or for not seeing examples of the many ways there are to be a good parent.

Finally, I’d say that if their comments are shaming in any way, remind yourself that “hurt people hurt people.” And consider drawing some strong boundaries for yourself around what’s okay and what’s not okay for them to do and say when they’re around you.

Fourth, welcome the guilt

What’s left after you address any specific comments with your loved ones is, of course, what’s happening in your own head. My favorite mantra, which I repeat to myself daily, is, “comparison is the thief of joy.” (Here are the other nine mantras for working mamas that get me through the day.)

Essentially, I’ve learned to welcome in the guilt. Sounds counterintuitive, I know. But it turns out that acknowledging that the guilt is there is way more effective at reducing it than trying to drown it or shame myself for feeling it. By sitting with the guilt, and simply knowing it’s there, the guilt loses its sting. And when the sting is gone, I feel much more empowered to be a kick-ass career professional. And a pretty darn good mom, too.

Finally, gather your working mama posse

Last, I’m thinking it would be incredibly helpful to have a group of working moms to rely on for support. Do you have one already? If your children go to daycare, can you find a way to connect with the other parents there?

For awhile, the other daycare moms and I were going out once a month after the kids’ bedtime for a drink at a local bar. Are there other working parents in your office in whom you can confide? Is there a parent group at your workplace?

If not, can you create one? Are there online communities you can join for support? (Take a session of the Mindful Return course, and you’ll have an alumnae Facebook group of working mama buddies for life!)

What Avital Norman Rothman, editor of The Good Mother Myth, discovered when she started talking to other moms, was that “many other women were just as frustrated and annoyed with this [good mother] myth as I was. They felt as if they were being held up to unrealistic and arbitrary standards. Who created this measuring stick for what is good enough and then proceeded to spread it as gospel? The more I spoke with other moms, the more I realized that the narrative surrounding the Good Mother will only change if we share the realities of our lives and deconstruct the myth, which for too long has been hijacking the hearts, minds, and attention of women across every economic, social, and racial background–some more than others.”

The power of “me, too” is immense, mama.

In closing, always remember, Working Mama Feeling Judged, you are not abandoning your children by working. That’s not the definition of “abandon,” by any means. I know there are no easy answers here, but I hope a few of these suggestions brought you some comfort.

If my experience can serve as a helpful example, please know that my boys, who are now 4 ½ and 6 ½, are more than fine and are well-attached to me and to my husband. And we’ve both been working since they were infants.

I once had a mentor say to me that my concern and worry about whether I was being a devoted enough mother was evidence itself that I was an excellent parent. You wouldn’t be asking these questions if you didn’t care, mama. And that you care says to me there’s no ounce of “bad mom” in you.

Originally posted on Mindful Return.

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 (TheTrevorProject.org/Donate) to applying to be a volunteer (TheTrevorProject.org/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 www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678678.

    Our Partners

    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

    Sunday-Citizen-Woodland-Snug-comforter

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

    $249

    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.

    $145

    Lumbar pillow

    sunday-citizen-lumbar-pillow

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

    $65

    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.

    $40

    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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    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

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    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.

    $79

    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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    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!)

    $139

    Secret Agent play set

    Plan-Toys-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.

    $40

    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

    Stepping Stones

    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.

    $99.99

    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

    Sensory play set

    kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

    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.

    $19.95

    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

    Foam pogo stick

    Flybar-my-first-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.

    $16.99

    Dumptruck 

    green-toys-dump-truck

    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.

    $22

    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.

    $14.99

    Pull-along ducks

    janod-pull-along-wooden-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.

    $16.99

    Rocking chair seesaw

    Slidewhizzer-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.

    $79.99

    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.

    $79.99

    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.

    $24.75

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    Ashley Graham reveals she's expecting twins! 🎉

    "Is that a penis? That's a penis!"

    Ashley Graham/Instagram

    From one boy to three boys just like that! In her latest Instagram post, model Ashley Graham reveals that she's expecting twin boys. The video shares the adorable moment she and her husband Justin Ervin found out they were going to have baby number two, and when she found out that baby number two was two babies!

    "Are you serious? We're gonna have three boys?" she says as her surprised husband shouts: "You are kidding me!"


    It's the CUTEST video, but by far the best part is her gasp when she realizes it's twins, followed by her declaration of "Is that a penis? That's a penis!"

    Back in July, Graham shared the exciting news that she was pregnant again with a super cute TikTok video. She and Ervin are already parents to son Isaac, who was born in January 2020.

    It's impossible not to grin from ear-to-ear while watching Graham and Ervin get that big, fat positive on her pregnancy test, isn't it? Their house is going to be so full of chaos and love in no time.

    Well Isaac, get ready to share your toys and your space with your two new baby brothers!

    "I don't think he understands the concept of being a 'big brother,'" Graham told PEOPLE over the summer. "He knows that there's a baby in the belly. Because I say, 'Where's the baby?' And then he points and then wants to kiss it."

    Graham has always been super candid about her life as a mom, from changing her newborn son's diaper on the floor in a public store to her thoughts on "bounce back" culture and breastfeeding. She's such a delight to watch as a mom and as a woman who creates space for women with real bodies to feel confident.

    Congratulations to the happy couple and soon-to-be party of five!

    Celebrity News

    Mandy Moore brought her breast pump to the Emmys and it's everything

    She called the pump her 'VIP accessory.'

    Rich Fury/Getty

    Breast pumps have come a long way over the years, but no matter what type of pump you use, there's pretty much nothing discreet about them. And you know what? Why should it be discreet? Our babies have to eat, right?

    Well if you're looking for some breast pump inspo, look no further than Mandy Moore at last night's Emmy Awards.


    While she looked absolutely stunning in her red gown and her hair and makeup were on point, she also brought along one very essential 'VIP accessory': her Motif Luna breast pump. (Which is a very good pump, IMO.)

    Mandy Moore/Instagram


    Moore gave birth to her first child, son Gus, back in February and she's easily become one of our favorite celebrity moms ever since. Her husband, Taylor Goldsmith, is currently away on tour and was unable to join her for the awards show.

    Over the summer, she documented a very relatable notch on the ol' Mom Belt: traveling with an infant where absolutely nothing goes right. But she handled it like a champ (and so did Gus), and we all nodded along in sympathy because we've all been there. Babies might be tiny, but they require A LOT of equipment, and doing anything outside of their normal at-home routine is a gamble.

    Also this summer, Moore shared photos and videos from a mountain-climbing expedition she did with her friends. And yes, her "VIP accessory" made it to the top of a volcano, too. Because who wants engorged breasts when you're doing one of the most athletically challenging and physical things a person can do?

    Basically, Mandy Moore is awesome and we love watching her motherhood journey. She may not have won an Emmy last night, but she's still a winner in literally every other way.

    Celebrity News