Dear daughter: Becoming your mama has changed me forever

I found out that no matter how strong you are, some things will just break you. And you'll need your village.

Dear daughter: Becoming your mama has changed me forever

Dear daughter,

Thank you for making me a mama.

You taught me about a love that was bigger than myself.

I loved my parents, grandparents and family. I loved my husband. After all those years of giving and receiving love from others, I thought I had it figured out. Then I met you and it was like everything I thought I knew about love split into a thousand pieces.

The love you taught me about was all-consuming—and came with an unexpected fierce protectiveness I'd never known existed. Thank you for teaching me about this kind of love.

I learned what it means to be truly selfless.

I sat on the bed ravenously hungry but unwilling to move because you'd finally fallen asleep after an hour of crying.

Every night I got up to nurse you when you were hungry, cold, or just needed a cuddle. Even if I'd fallen asleep 30 minutes before I heard you crying again.

We booked flights around your nap schedule, altered plans with friends if the timing was better for you, and tried to fit our lives around your needs for so long after you were born.

Once you started eating solids you only had to look longingly at what was going into my mouth before I offered you some, or let you have the rest. It's part of my diet plan, right?

You taught me what it was like to fully put someone else's needs above your own for an extended period of time. You made me a stronger person.

I found out that no matter how strong you are, some things will just break you. And you'll need your village.

No one can fight the battles of motherhood alone. The terror of having a sick child. The bleakness of postpartum depression and the baby blues. The endless hours of rocking or cuddling a crying baby that was up every hour overnight.

You can't do it all alone. And you shouldn't have to. You're still self-sufficient and a rock star—even if you need help sometimes. We all do.

Becoming your mama allowed me to embrace my village and accept help.

You became my whole reason.

I'd had pet projects in the past. I'd gotten new hobbies, and been sucked into a book so good I literally couldn't put it down.

This time, the all-consuming nature of becoming your mama was a new kind of obsession— and I learned that not everything I focus on has to be self-serving. The constant checking to see if you were breathing, and the soul-sucking exhaustion of nurse, diaper change, sleep, repeat became my entire world.

While it wasn't a fun phase to get through, those early days taught me that I could be solely and 100% focused on something or someone other than myself—without any personal motivation behind it.

I learned to love my body for what it could do and wasn't so worried about how it looked.

I'd always struggled with those last five pounds. For years I worked out five days a week and was always looking for the next diet to somehow melt 10 pounds off my midsection.

After going through pregnancy and learning to breastfeed, I became much more worried about your nutrition and your health.

My body was a means to keep you thriving, and if that meant I had to eat more, then so be it. I wasn't obsessed with the fact that I still looked six months pregnant when we came home from the hospital. I didn't start working out right at my six-week appointment.

Thank you for teaching me how amazing a woman's body is, and for helping me to be more comfortable in my own skin.

You changed my worldview.

Every decision I've made since becoming your mama always keeps you at the forefront. I now question attending work trips where the value of my presence isn't greater than the value of my presence at dinner with you.

You made me reevaluate my career path and question what I wanted to do over the long term. Now it's not just me I'm looking out for.

I make safe choices because I know that I don't just need to come home for myself, I need to come home and be your mama.

Becoming your mama has changed me in a hundred other ways, most of which I'd like to think are for the better. Nothing else in my life has resulted in such a complete and utter transformation.

Thank you for making me better. Thank you for making me a mom.



From the Shop

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

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


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.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


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.


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.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


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.


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


It’s science: Vacations make your kids happy long after they’re over

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Whether you're looking for hotels or a rental home for a safe family getaway, or just punching in your credit card number to reserve a spot in a campground a couple of states over, the cost of vacation plans can make a mom wince. And while price is definitely something to consider when planning a family vacation, science suggests we should consider these trips—and their benefits—priceless.

Research indicates that family vacations are essential. They make our, kids (and us) happier and build bonds and memories.

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