One year later: how life has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic began

Virtually no aspect of life has been untouched.

One year later: COVID-19
@lkelley30/Twenty20

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. At the time, confirmed cases of COVID-19 stood at 125,000, and reported deaths were fewer than 5,000.

Today, 117 million people are confirmed to have been infected, and more than 2.6 million people have died. In the United States alone, over 29,000,000 people have been infected by COVID-19 and over 527,000 have died. The loss is staggering.

One year after COVID-19 went global, we're examining how our lives have changed. Because for so many of us, the pandemic has changed just about everything.


On March 11, 2020, the pandemic became real for many of us in more than just name. Italy ordered businesses and shops to close in an attempt to curb widespread sickness. The NBA made the unprecedented move of suspending its season. Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson announced that they tested positive for COVID-19 and were quarantined in Australia, where he was filming a movie.

That day might mark the moment the pandemic became real for your family. And still, we had no idea what was to come.

The loss of life

It's hard to examine how life has changed without emphasizing the lives lost. Again, more than half a million Americans have died because of COVID-19 in the span of a single year. In early January, more than 4,000 people died in a single day. A single day.

After a year of suffering and unimaginable loss, there's a renewed sense of optimism in the fight against COVID-19. There are three vaccines on the market in America and the country is finally, albeit belatedly, making headway in the vaccine rollout.

When President Biden took office in January, he pledged to get 100 million doses in the arms of willing Americans in his first 100 days in office. While the promise seemed lofty at the time, America is currently on track to hit that mark.

The White House has already said that we have enough doses of the vaccine to vaccinate every adult by the end of May. Today, the President will announce plans to secure another 100 million doses of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the second half of the year. The plan is about hope: it's about stockpiling doses for the eventual vaccination of children later this year. It's also about making sure we have enough vaccines to use in research to combat emerging strains of the virus.

That's a far cry from where we were just one year ago, with no vaccine or few medical answers about how to treat patients with the novel coronavirus.

Mental health

For many of us, the past year has involved isolation. We stayed home, socially distanced, and moved to virtual work and learning. We adapted holiday and birthday celebrations and stayed away from extended family members, for fear of passing the virus.

The pandemic exacerbated mental health and substance use issues for many people. Dawn Brown, the director of HelpLine Services for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said that at the height of the pandemic, calls shot up as much as 75 percent. She told RollCall that calls "about anxiety and depression replaced schizophrenia and bipolar disorder as the hotline's top illnesses."

The pandemic has also taken a toll on the mental health of children. A recent prepublication, peer-reviewed article in the journal Pediatrics found increases in both suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in children between the ages of 10-19 in the past year.

Kids and teens have experienced many kinds of losses during the pandemic. Many have lost loved ones but they've also lost contact with friends and family, face time with peers, and in-person instruction in schools and sports. Many are lacking the camaraderie that sports and afterschool activities once provided and are missing the traditional milestones of school dances and graduations that they once looked forward to.

Dr. Gene Beresin, the executive director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital, says there are several ways that parents can better support children right now. To start, he recommends controlling your own anxiety about COVID-19.

"Many of us are still worried about the current situation, one year later, and living with uncertainty isn't easy. Many parents and other caregivers are also running out of steam. But anxiety and stress are 'contagious.' Your kids will know that you are nervous or stressed even if you try to hide it," he says.

He recommends finding the most credible, fact-based information you can about the virus and trying to avoid misinformation spread on social media. That will just stress you out more.

He also recommends asking your kids how they're feeling, both in general and about COVID-19. Remember to validate their feelings and concerns and offer reassurance when you can.

"Your kids may worry about how you're going to get through this – how they're going to make friends again back at school, how they're going to get into college after 'a wasted year.' Remind them of other situations in which they felt helpless and scared. Kids love family stories, and these narratives carry a lot of emotional weight. Remind them that you have been through challenging times before – including this entire past year – and though everyone was distressed, everyone also worked together and got through it," he says.

And don't forget to seek professional help. That can be as simple as asking your child's pediatrician for advice or getting a referral to a mental health professional.

Education

The educational landscape has changed significantly in the past year. Last March, the American public school system shifted to virtual learning, practically overnight.

During the past year, school districts across the nation have enacted different policies to try to best serve their students. Some districts have operated virtually, many reopened with hybrid learning, and some have returned to in-person instruction.

Educators are trying everything to keep their kids safe. Desks are spread out as much as classrooms allow, plastic dividers have gone up in classrooms and cafeterias, and windows are kept open, even in frigid temperatures, to try to keep the potential spread of the virus low.

Sports and activities have been suspended or moved to virtual instruction.

Teachers have made the best of an impossible year. But even with all the love and support that teachers can offer, students are still suffering.

An estimated 3 million students in America have gone "missing" from school. They're not attending classes or doing work. Even when the pandemic ends, they might never return.

Who's most at risk of losing their education? According to this study, it's students in foster care, those experiencing homelessness, English learners, students with disabilities, and students who are eligible for the Migrant Education Program. There's also a large overlap with students from low-income families.

There's no easy solution to helping these students return to the classroom. Education experts say our children need accountability from their schools, local and federal governments. There needs to be more guidance, funding, and resources for schools, social services, and children.

As teachers across the country begin to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations and classrooms begin to reopen in earnest, we need to make sure that our most vulnerable students are not forgotten.

Job losses

The coronavirus pandemic has also caused widespread job loss and economic uncertainty.

One year after the pandemic first shut down our country, roughly four in ten Americans say they're still feeling the financial impact of the loss of a job in their household.

The job losses were felt overwhelmingly by women and people of color.

In the immediate aftermath of COVID-19 going global, more women than men lost their jobs. From February to May 2020, as the nation locked down to contain COVID-19, 11.5 million women lost their jobs, compared to 9 million men.

That disparity has only continued in the past year.

From March to December 2020, one in five women in America was pushed out of the workforce. No matter how the data is examined—by race, sector, or income—the burden of the pandemic fell hardest on women.

In her report, "The Burden of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women in the Workforce," Rep. Katie Porter points out that American job losses are concentrated in industries with the highest proportion of women in the workforce, especially women of color.

"Nine of the ten industries that saw the most jobs lost are in the service sector, including women-dominated professions such as performing arts, sightseeing, hotels, and retail. As a result, mothers experienced greater initial increases in unemployment as compared to fathers," she wrote.

During the month of December, women accounted for all of American job losses.

The U.S. economy lost a net 140,000 jobs in December. Overall, women lost 156,000 jobs while men gained 16,000 jobs. That means women lost 111% of all the jobs in December.

The crisis is worse for women of color. The unemployment rates for black and Latina women in December were 8.4% and 9.1%, respectively. The overall unemployment rate was 6.7%. For white men, it was just 5.8%.

According to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 38% of Hispanics and 29% of Black Americans have experienced a layoff in their household at some point during the past year, compared with 21% of white Americans.

We know things are dire for American families. What can be done?

Congress is set to finalize the Biden administration's $1.9 trillion stimulus package. Among other things, it includes aid for American families and businesses that are still reeling from the pandemic. It also includes an expanded child tax credit that could lift many families out of poverty with monthly payments.

One year later

So where are we, one year later? We're missing our loved ones, both those we've lost to COVID-19 and those we just haven't seen in the past year.

We're leaning on friends, loved ones, and doctors to help us through a mental health crisis.

Our nation is still figuring out how to reopen the education system in an equitable way. Our teachers are persevering and serving their students as best they can.

We're still a long way off from economic security. Millions of jobs have been lost, concentrated in industries populated by women and people of color.

And yet, there's hope and gratitude. The vaccination rollout is finally gaining steam and reported cases of COVID-19 are starting to slow worldwide. The phrase "when this is all over" is finally starting to feel like a reality, not just a wish.

We're still in the middle of a deadly pandemic. But there's hope and lessons learned. Take care of yourself and your family. Wear a mask and practice social distancing. We can do this—together.

Jamie Orsini is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, military spouse, and a mom to two busy toddlers. In her spare time, Jamie volunteers with the Solar System Ambassador program with NASA/JPL and reads anything she can get her hands on. She’s currently working on her first novel.

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

    pregnant-woman-looking-at-her-belly

    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

    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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    12 fall maternity sweaters for every stage of pregnancy (and beyond!)

    From turtlenecks to convertible cardigans, we've got the goods.

    If I'm being honest, the thing I look forward to the most about winter is sweater weather. After all, sweaters are like the adult equivalent of a beloved blankey, right? They're soft and cozy and when you slip into your favorite, it feels like maybe everything is going to be ok after all.

    But if you're dressing a bump, transitioning your wardrobe can be overwhelming. Your tried-and-trues are likely going to have to stay packed away and investing in new favorites when the need is only temporary can get expensive. Luckily, sweaters are some of the most forgiving pieces, lasting long after pregnancy in some cases.

    We've rounded up some of our favorite fall maternity sweaters for every stage of pregnancy and beyond.


    Isabella Oliver Abi Greencash Maternity Jumper

    Isabella Oliver Abi Greencash Maternity Jumper

    Made from a blend of recycled wool, recycled cashmere, recycled polyamide and Tencel, this side button sweater is sustainable fashion at its finest. The fully-functional buttons make it a great piece for nursing as well.

    $119

    Seraphine Nautical Cotton Maternity and Nursing Sweater

    Seraphine Nautical Cotton Maternity and Nursing Sweater

    Classic nautical stripes and breathable cotton make this timeless sweater a year-round staple.

    $75

    Motherhood Maternity Chevron Stripe Maternity Sweater

    Motherhood Maternity Chevron Stripe Maternity Sweater

    For a different take on stripes, we're crushing on this just-colorful-enough chevron number.

    $50

    PinkBlush Camel Boatneck Bubble Sleeve Maternity Sweater

    Pink Blush Camel Boatneck Bubble Sleeve Maternity Sweater

    Who says your bump needs all the attention? From fall photos to date night, this simple stunner lets your decolletage take center stage.

    $49

    PinkBlush Mock Neck Exposed Seam Maternity Sweater

    PinkBlush Mockneck Exposed Seam Maternity Sweater

    With the drop shoulder, side slit and exposed seams this relaxed sweater will be your go-to all season long.

    $51

    Seraphine Textured Knit Cape Maternity Sweater 

    Seraphine Textured Knit Cape Maternity Sweater

    Every mama needs a cozy turtleneck in her closet. This roll neck style with its curved hemline and ribbed knit detailing keeps the chill out while looking chic.

    $89

    Tupelo Honey Carolyn Cropped Pullover

    Tupelo Honey Carolyn Cropped Pullover

    Show off that adorable bump with this 80's-esque cropped piece. We love it with a tank and leggings, but it's perfect with jeans too.

    $69

    Hatch The Riley Sweater

    hatch-the-riley-sweater

    If you've got room to splurge, Hatch makes some of the most versatile and quality maternity clothes out there. The Riley sweater is no exception. With its seriously sophisticated camel hue and snuggly merino wool knit it will last well beyond the bump days.

    $298

    Ingrid + Isabel Rip Jade Crop Nursing Sweater

    Ingrid + Isabel Rip Jade Crop Nursing Sweater

    Designed for the early stages of pregnancy and nursing, Ingrid + Isabel's Rip Jade Crop features zippers on the side for easy access and a sweet dusty rose hue we love.

    $94

    Bump Biddy Isabel Turtleneck Knit Poncho

    Bump Biddy Isabel Turtleneck Knit Poncho

    Fuzzy and fabulous, this poncho style sweater is sure to get you all the compliments.

    $72

    Seraphine Grey Cotton & Cashmere Waterfall Maternity Cardigan

    Grey Cotton & Cashmere Waterfall Maternity Cardigan

    If you ever wished you could wrap yourself up in a blanket but still look tres chic, this one's for you. Wear it buttoned for a more polished cowl neck look or hanging loose, cardigan style.

    $109

    H & M Mama Fine Knit Vest

    h-ana-m-mama-fine-knit-vest

    This wrap-style cap-sleeve knit is chic enough for going out but cozy enough for staying in.

    $34.99


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    Manager's viral post about flexible working hours is making moms feel seen

    Because life happens whether you're on the clock or not.

    LinkedIn

    If there's one thing we've all learned during these past 18 months, it's that we're capable of being a lot more flexible than we probably ever thought we could be. Because, well, we've had to be. Primarily when it comes to work.

    We've all learned the importance of being a little more understanding, and one manager is hitting the nail on the head about being flexible at work in a LinkedIn post that has gone viral. And it's resonating with working moms, big time.


    Raise your hand if you're a woman and you've found yourself apologizing to your colleagues and supervisors about having to duck out of work or call off because your kids are sick. How about going into immense detail to "justify" why you need to take time off for your family? Yep, I see you've all got your hands raised!

    Though employees, women in particular, have basically been conditioned to do these things, this LinkedIn post basically gives us the validation that it's OK to not be a machine—because life happens.

    Megan Witherspoon, the Vice President of Communications at Altria, wrote about flexible working hours from a manager's perspective and it quickly went viral. Why? Well, it's a must-read. So go ahead and dive in.

    "I DO care that your daughter is home with yet another ear infection," she writes. "I DO NOT care that you'll be offline for 2 hours this afternoon for her doctor's appointment."

    Since we're all in for an anxiety-ridden school year when it comes to sicknesses—even the common cold ignites panic in most of us now—this line is especially validating to read.

    "I DO care that a bus driver shortage means you don't have reliable transportation for your son," she continues. "I DO NOT care if you need to get back to me in an hour after picking him up from school."

    Witherspoon also talks about the importance of taking vacation time and prioritizing your mental health, because a healthy employee is a happy employee. And happy employees stick around—because they want to.

    She concludes her post by reinforcing the idea that, as a boss, she cares about the things that are happening in the lives of her employees. And that as long as your work is done and done well, it shouldn't matter how or when you do it. Especially now, amid an ongoing pandemic that impacts our lives in ways both big and small every single day.

    Life happens. Flexibility is a valuable currency—at home and at work.

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