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Dear daughter, when I fail at being your role model

I always wanted to figure out all of my issues before I raised you. I wanted to truly and uninhibitedly love the skin I am in. I wanted to never, ever, use the word "fat" to describe myself (even in secret). I wanted to have conquered anxiety and depression. I wanted to shake it all off and be the "perfect role model" before your precious soul entered the world.

Dear daughter, when I fail at being your role model

I always wanted a daughter. After two babies never made it earth-side, I ached and longed and prayed and cried for you. Every dream I had paled in comparison to my dream of you; and then you came. You came quickly like a tornado on a wild night that I will remember for the rest of my life.

What I felt for you was something I'd never felt before. I became a mother to a daughter, and I was born all over again.

A mother to a daughter is different. I know what it's like to be born in a girl body. I know what it's like to be a woman raised by a woman. I know what it's like to feel awkward in my feminine body for the very first time. I know what it's like to get my period and to like boys. I know what it's like to think "I'm too much" one day and "not enough" the next day. I know what it's like to compare sizes in the girls' bathroom with my friends. I know what it's like to travel through life as a girl. Our stories aren't the same, but they overlap and intertwine in the most vulnerable spaces.

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Everything in me wants to protect you from how the world will try and crush you. I would cut off my right arm if I thought it could keep the world at bay, and your soul untouched.

I always wanted to figure out all of my issues before I raised you. I wanted to truly and uninhibitedly love the skin I am in. I wanted to never, ever, use the word "fat" to describe myself (even in secret) or have a day when I felt less than worthy. I wanted to have conquered anxiety and depression by now and I wanted to have figured out my mood swings. I wanted to stop being so selfish. I wanted to shake it all off and be the "perfect role model" before your precious soul entered the world.

I haven't done that.

It turns out I'm just one flawed mama doing her very best, and though I've gotten more and more free as the years go by… I'm still a woman who struggles.

And this is what I've learned, my love, from being a woman who struggles: it is okay to struggle. We all struggle, and sometimes our weaknesses are the things that bind us together.

I'm a woman who struggles to own her identity, who battles self doubt, who wrestles with fear, and whose body image is still complicated.

I will never be the "perfect role model."

But I am a role model who tries. I'm a role model that believes that I am worth fighting for, so I hope you believe you're worth fighting for too.

I'm a role model that is safe for you to struggle around, fail around, and fall apart around. Please know that I will never judge your mess; it's okay, I've made lots and lots of messes.

I'm a role model that believes with ridiculous faith that the best is yet to come.

I'm a role model who apologizes often and wants to stay connected to your heart no matter what.

I look at you now with your deep brown eyes and your laugh that comes from the depths of your soul. Your laughter shakes your whole body; I love that about you.

I'd be lying if I say I didn't have the urge to pull you tight under my wing and keep you hidden there forever, but I won't. You have endless empty pages ahead of you that you get to fill exactly as you see fit. I will be your partner, your cheerleader, and your friend every step of the way.

As the words flow from my heart onto this page, I want you to know this: there is nothing you could ever do to push me away from you. Not ever. There's no decision you could decide, no mistake you could make, no person you could love, no failure you could fail that could ever make me stop loving you. Nothing. Not ever.

I make mistakes and I fail every single day of raising you; but my girl, I adore you. I adore you in a way I could never quite describe. I adore your fire and your passion. I adore your sweetness and your creativity. I adore everything about you.

My girl, you aren't just beautiful; you are beauty.

You are magic.

You were and are more than I ever could have wished or dreamed for.

I love you.

Your Mama

Originally posted on WonderOak.

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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.

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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.

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Balance board

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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!

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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.

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Wooden doll stroller

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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.

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Sand play set

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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.

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Water play set

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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.

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Mini golf set

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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.

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Vintage scooter balance bike

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Wooden rocking pegasus

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Croquet set

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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.

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Wooden digital camera

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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.

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Wooden bulldozer toy

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Pull-along hippo

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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.

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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