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I finally learned to let go of my mom guilt once my second child came along

I’m learning and growing just as much as my kids are. 

I finally learned to let go of my mom guilt once my second child came along

Like a lot of mothers, I struggle with ‘mom guilt’. I often question myself, the decisions I make, and my parenting style. I question whether or not I’m teaching him the right lessons so that he will learn to be respectful, responsible, and kind. I question my parenting skills—if I’m around enough, empathetic enough, creative enough, and if I’m having a positive effect on the person he’s becoming.


The self-doubt is endless.

My first born is a handful and a half. He’s the type of kid referred to as “spirited” or “wild child”. He’s gone through many challenging phases in his four years of existence. After struggling to understand why he would scream and cry at family gatherings around people he knows and loves, or would refuse to go to certain public places, we finally brought him to the doctor.

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After eventually finding out that he was experiencing social anxiety that would he likely grow out of, and being reassured that there likely wasn’t anything further to worry about—I began to feel guilty. I can only assume he inherited that from me. Throughout the first year of his life, I struggled severely with depression and anxiety, and I can’t help but think that it affected him.

I didn’t realize it then as much as I do now, but those nagging feelings of self-doubt played a big part in the way I parented my son. I analyzed (and over analyzed) nearly everything. His sleeping habits, developmental milestones, and the way I thought I was perceived as a mother topped the list of my everyday stresses.

After his birth, I was in the thick of postpartum depression (PPD), and my anxiety was running sky high regularly. I felt like everyday decisions that I made would be detrimental to who he would eventually become (no pressure). It wasn’t until I began to manage my PPD that I realized it’s not necessary to feel this way and I don’t have to feel this way—I learned to ease up on myself.

And even though I learned to ease up, or that I should ease up—I feel terrible about it.

I feel terrible because while my son was stuck with a mother who was constantly on edge inside, his baby sister gets a mother who has the ability to properly manage her feelings. I often wonder if he would have benefited from having a mother who had stronger coping techniques instead of potentially projecting her anxiety and stress on to him. Maybe he wouldn’t struggle so much to manage his own feelings.

After the birth of my second child, having already been through my proverbial “first rodeo,” I am much more relaxed this time around. I worry less about what others think and tend to have a (mostly) go with the flow attitude around my parenting style.

At 7 months, my youngest still sleeps with me and I have a relatively relaxed sleep schedule with her which is a stark difference from my son, who slept in his crib at 6 months old. Determined to get him to sleep through the night, I searched various techniques and consulted with friends, almost obsessed with ensuring he spent his nights in his room and not ours. Although my son does sneak into bed with us occasionally, I often wonder if he might feel slighted when he sees his baby sister sleeping in Mama’s bed.

My first born is self-sufficient and enjoys playing alone but even independent kids notice when attention is diverted to someone else. Even with family around helping out, my attention was the one attention he wanted when the new baby arrived.

I was grateful that he wasn’t jealous of his sister instead, he loved her dearly, almost immediately. I realized this and made sure to include him in as much of the tasks involving my daughter as I could. This was as simple as asking him to put a diaper in the garbage pail, passing me wipes, or grabbing her blankie. It was helpful for him to be a part of things, I loved watching him feel so important, and it helped ease my guilt knowing he felt included and loved.

Some of my better parenting moments definitely come from experience and realizing that I can only do my best. I’ve realized over time something really important, something that has changed my mindset and has ended the guilt trip I’ve put myself on the last few years: I’m learning and growing just as much as he is. I’m learning how to be a mom just as he’s learning how to be a big kid with big feelings.

I’m a parent, and I’m also human. We’re all just trying to figure out what’s best for our kids based on trial and error (with a side of Google).

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14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

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

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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.

$30

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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Detective set

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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.

$40

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.

$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

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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.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

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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

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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.

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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.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

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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

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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.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

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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.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on 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 support Motherly and mamas.

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

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"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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