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Hey mama, let's support each other more

It's better to have the help and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Hey mama, let's support each other more

I was in the middle of buckling up my toddler in her car seat after picking up a few things I didn't really need at Target when I glanced up and noticed some movement in an old beat-up minivan parked next to me. Through the passenger window, I watched a young woman, maybe in her 20, also strapping a young child into a car seat. There were two children. The older child appeared to be around my daughter's age, 2 years old or so, while the other was merely an infant, fresh from the delivery stork.

I continued to watch her despite perspiration beginning to form above my brow, my forehead likely already a glistening mess. I don't know why, but I was drawn to her. I finished buckling in my daughter and handed over her favorite lift-the-flap book before closing the door and making my way to the driver's side. I looked over again at the young woman. She was struggling with the car seats, or, so I thought.

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After I threw my purse on the passenger seat and turned on the AC, I sat there for a moment pondering.

Should I ask her if she needs help?

Should I step in?

She probably doesn't need my help.

She's going to think I'm a creeper.

Just mind your own business.

I sat there for a good minute bantering inside my head before I was snapped back to reality with a knock on my window. It was the young woman.

"I'm so sorry to bother you, but I noticed you pushing a little girl in a shopping cart earlier. I was just wondering if you had extra wipes at all with you. I left my diaper bag at home. I just need some wipes."

Her eyes watered as she continued to speak.

"My daughter pooped through her clothes and it's everywhere. I'm afraid she's going to put her hands in her mouth on our ride home. I have to do something."

"No worries, I got it all," I responded a little too eagerly as I jumped out of the car.

"I have wipes, I have a diaper, I have an extra set of clothes."

I walked to the other side of my car, popped open the door and grabbed the diaper bag and two water bottles left in the backseat from my stepson's football game the previous weekend.

As I walked to the woman's van, I noticed she was already undressing her soiled daughter. I handed her some of the baby wipes and an extra diaper.

"I have a pair of shorts and a tank top she can have too. My daughter has almost grown out of them anyway."

She looked up and smiled appreciatively as she wiped off the little girl's legs.

As she tended to the girl, I unhooked the car seat and placed it on the ground. With my bottled water and wipes, I began rinsing off the seat and wiping out the mess.

After a little bit of TLC, the seat was good to go. Well, until it could be properly laundered.

"Thank you so much. I don't know what I would have done. This has just been one heck of a day. My husband is out of town for work. I got three hours of sleep last night. I just can't do anything right today," she said shaking her head.

My heart sank. I'd walked that road before. I knew exactly how she felt.

Without hesitation, I hugged her. In the middle of a packed Target parking lot, two young moms, who had met only minutes earlier, were in a full-on embrace.

Then, I did something my heart told me to do. I gave her my phone number and asked for hers. I shared with her that I lived close by and had lots of toys, coffee, and a nice playground near my house.

"How old is your baby?" I asked.

"She's a month old. She's the reason my brain can't function anymore," she chuckled.

"Don't worry, I completely get it."

After swapping numbers, we agreed to meet up sometime in the future.

As she pulled out, she waved at me, then we proceeded to drive off in opposite directions. The whole ride home my head was consumed with a flurry of thoughts. How often do you get that urge to reach out to someone, but you convince yourself otherwise?

I don't know her well enough.

It's been too long.

She's going to think I'm weird.

She doesn't need me.

She won't care if I don't call.

Or text.

You create a laundry list of excuses for why you shouldn't connect.

But, just think, what if that person really does need you? What if that old friend you see on Facebook who just had a baby does need to hear from someone who understands? Someone who cares.

What if the mom sitting alone on the park bench playing with her phone has anxiety and desperately wishes another mom would come over to her and say hello?

What if that mom standing right next to you in the checkout line is in a dark bout of depression and could use your smile and kindness?

The day your newborn baby is placed in your arms is often the best moment of your life. But despite those feelings in the delivery room, the period that follows can be riddled with anxiety, stress and depression.

Mamas you see every day walking in the grocery store, playing with their children in the park, and sitting in the pews of your local church might be struggling.

This mama standing right next to my car was struggling in a major way, and here I was trying to convince myself that she didn't need my help, when in fact she needed my help and more.

Whether it's a hug, words of encouragement, friendly conversation, or a change of clothes and wipes, reach out when you see a fellow mama who looks like she may (or may not) need help.

It's better to have the help and not need it than to need it and not have it.

As moms, we will always be stronger together. We will always need the support of a village. Don't hesitate to be a part of another mom's village.

Mama, that other mom needs you, too.

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.

$30

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!

$75

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.

$40

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.

$120

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

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.

$100

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

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

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.

$100

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.

$45

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.

$179

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.

$100

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.

$33

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.

$88

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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