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When you think about it, we get to celebrate 'Mother's Day' every day

Mother's Day is coming up, so I wanted to speak to your heart for a minute, mama. I've spent my fair share of Mother's Days feeling unappreciated and disappointed. I expected to be pampered, spoiled and presented with gifts only to find that it was basically just another Sunday. My husband always tries to make a fuss, but I wanted acts of love and appreciation from my kids, and not forced scribbles on a card either.


I wanted real, genuine love and appreciation. From my kids. Too much to ask? From young children, apparently so.

I've cried at the end of more than one Mother's Day because every mom on Facebook got something that seemed like a genuine expression of love from their child while my kids were forced to draw a heart on a page by their father at 8 pm before it was "too late."

Comparisons are sneaky little devils that zap the joy right out of life. I ended the day feeling like a rotten mom and like I possibly had rotten, ungrateful children.

But a few years ago, I realized something pretty awesome, and it changed the way I see Mother's Day. My kids give me little gifts of love every single day. What was I complaining about?!

We've intentionally created a culture of love and appreciation in our home. We frequently give each other small gifts, handfuls of picked flowers, and love notes.

So, to my kids, Mother's Day wasn't some out-of-the-ordinary day. It was just another day with Mom, and while I didn't get showered with gifts on one particular day a year, I realized I get showered with love on a daily basis, and that's better than good enough!

Mamas, your children might not take the time to plan an elaborate getaway or cook you hot meals all day, but pay attention to the little gifts you get throughout the day, every day:

A sweet snuggle from your little one.

Arms around your neck.

An invitation to play.

Your child's laughter.

An emotional expression that proves your child feels safe with you.

Late night conversations of the heart.

Butterfly kisses on the cheek.

A small hand to hold.

Your child's sweet voice calling you mommy.

Fistfuls of flowers from the yard.

Arms raised wanting you to hold them.

Handmade cards and art "projects."

A child who runs to you for comfort when they are worried or scared.

The precious sound of "I love you."

Fingerprints everywhere and messes to pick up. (Yes, they are gifts. Imagine life without them.)

A beating heart lying next to you, safe and secure in your love.

Each and every day of motherhood offers invaluable gifts if you slow down and take the time to notice them. Once you do, you will no longer be disappointed that you weren't showered with gifts on Mother's Day but will feel content and grateful for the gifts you are given every ordinary day. (But I do hope you get some chocolate this Sunday.)

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5 brilliant products that encourage toddler independence

Help your little one help themselves.

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

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Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

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Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

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Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

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BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

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