Dear mama: You’re not doing it wrong, it’s just *that* hard

We can try as hard as we possibly can, but sometimes things are just messy.

You're not doing it wrong, it's just that hard

It’s amazing how the smallest thing can change your whole perspective on life. For me, it was the kind words of a stranger.

I was leaving a mommy-and-me gym class, on my way to pick up my preschooler, holding my toddler by one hand and the carseat with my newborn in the other. I opened the door and my toddler made a bee-line for the parking lot—just slipped out of my hand and bolted.

By some marvel of mama-power I was able to grab him before he got there, without dropping my newborn—but not without falling, tearing my pants and skinning both my knees.

I just sat down on the sidewalk and cried. I was relieved he was okay of course, but I just felt so tired, so defeated. That’s when she came—another mom I hardly knew, from the class I just left.

She knelt down next to me, put her hand on my back and said, “Youre not doing it wrong. It’s just that hard.”

In that one moment, with my hair matted to my tear-soaked cheeks and searing pain shooting down my legs, she made me realize it wasn’t my fault. That I could try as hard as I possibly could every day, but sometimes things would just be messy.

As mothers, we often start to believe that if something isn’t going right, that it’s our fault.
Clearly I am missing something that would make this easier.’
‘Other moms seem to have this figured out, why can’t I?’
‘If only I was [fill in the blank]-er, this wouldn’t be a problem right now.’

And so, dear mama, I want to say loud and clear—it’s not your fault.

If you are trying so hard to limit your kids’ screen time, but literally have no other way to make a phone call, cook dinner or get a moment of quiet—you’re not doing it wrong, it’s just that hard.

If you desperately miss your partner and wish you could spend more time together, but find yourself collapsing into bed—alone—because you are just too touched out to consider anything romantic—you’re not doing it wrong, it’s just that hard.

If you spend hours a day washing, folding and wiping, but every evening your floors are still covered with Legos, crumbs and tiny socks—you’re not doing it wrong, it’s just that hard.

If you would love to run a 5k, but can’t even find five minutes to train, let alone get to the gym—you’re not doing it wrong, it’s just that hard.

If you’ve read three and a half books on sleep, tried everything and your baby still just won’t sleep through the night—you’re not doing it wrong, it’s just that hard.

If you get so much conflicting parenting advice from every corner of your life that all you can hear is noise so loud it drowns out your confidence in the fact that you are the best person to make decisions about your child—you’re not doing it wrong, it’s just that hard.

If you lived on Pinterest for weeks researching baby’s first birth party ideas, stayed up until 2 a.m. multiple nights in a row DIYing decorations and cupcakes, only to have to cancel it last-minute because the baby got pink eye—you’re not doing it wrong, it’s just that hard.

If every time you cross something off your to-do list you add two more to-do’s—you’re not doing it wrong, it’s just that hard.

If you love your job but feel like you can’t devote your attention to it the way you used to—you’re not doing it wrong, it’s just that hard.

If you really dislike your job but can’t leave because you need the money/insurance/tenure—you’re not doing it wrong, it’s just that hard.

If you love being a stay-at-home mom but are sick of feeling like you have to defend your choice to everyone—you’re not doing it wrong, it’s just that hard.

If you thought you wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but now that you’re here, you find that it’s really not what you envisioned—you’re not doing it wrong, it’s just that hard.

If you love your children so much it hurts, yet check the clock repeatedly to see if it’s bedtime yet—you’re not doing it wrong, it’s just that hard.

In that moment when I felt like a complete and total failure, the stranger outside of gym class saw an exhausted mama who was trying so hard to take care of her kids, even when it left her bleeding and crying on a sidewalk. She saw me more clearly than I could see myself—as a mama who was doing a good job.

And so, darling mama, allow me to pay it forward—

Finding time when you are a mother is just hard.

Working on relationships when you are a mother is just hard.

Keeping the house clean when you are a mother is just hard.

Exercising when you are a mother is just hard.

Making parenting decisions when you are a mother is just hard.

Feeling like you can get stuff done when you are a mother is just hard.

Figuring out if and how to balance a career when you are a mother is just hard.

Sometimes it’s all just really hard. Not because you are doing it wrong, simply because it is.

The fact that you keep going, keep cuddling, keep cleaning, keep planning and keep loving in spite of how hard it is, is your super power. You’re doing the hardest job on the planet with dedication, grace and love—and there is nothing wrong in that.

Ask for help, be gentle on yourself and know that you are not alone.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

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

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

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


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!


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.


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.


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.


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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