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I needed to fall asleep next to you tonight, my baby

Thank you for asking me to.

I needed to fall asleep next to you tonight, my baby

Today was a doozy.

As are many days lately, it seems. It’s this season of life we’re in. It’s really hectic. And it’s really full. Full of happiness and messiness and tantrums and crying and fun and imagination and emotions and, well—life.

We’re going to have these days here and there where I feel overwhelmed, and I know that. I’ve had the great days, where I feel like I’ve got this whole motherhood thing down. Where everything lines up and everyone listens, and I am a productivity queen. (They're not quite as frequent as I’d like, but they do exist.)




I’ve had the not-so-great days where I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing or why no one is listening to anything I say or how my email inbox just seemed to explode out of nowhere or if I’m going to have to call my husband to ask him to come home from work because I can’t deal.

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I know the good days show up and the bad days sneak in, and it’s a bit of a cycle. I know that. Motherhood can be a lot. Which is okay—I get it. And usually, after a long day, I take time to do something for myself—hang out with my husband or just veg out on the couch.

But tonight? Tonight, when my 2-year-old asked me to lay with her, I needed to. I needed to stay with her. And after an exhausting week—I needed to fall asleep right there with her in her bed.

Tonight, a few days after another horrific, tragic school shooting where parents lost their precious babies, for no reason...I needed to fall asleep next to you.

Tonight, after what feels like two solid months trading sicknesses in this horrible flu season—feeling isolated and frustrated...I needed to fall asleep next to you. Tonight, after the stress of trying to catch up on work and trying to manage all of the many directions life is pulling me in...I needed to fall asleep next to you. Tonight, when worries of motherhood feel extra heavy, and the responsibility of caring for three tiny humans feels a little raw...I needed to fall asleep next to you.

Tonight, after listening to my mind race all day—remembering this, remembering that. Jotting down notes and adding things to my calendar, I needed to turn off my thoughts and...I needed to fall asleep next to you.

I could have crept out of the room once I knew you were asleep. I could have zoned out in front of a TV show or read a chapter of my book. I could have done a face mask and sat in the bath with a cup of tea.

I could have picked up the toys or cleaned up the kitchen.

I could have responded to ‘just one more’ email or checked one more item off my list.

But what I needed was to just lay with you. I needed to feel your small body curled into mine. I needed to feel your head nestle in under my chin.

I needed to feel your soft baby hair brush against my face. I needed to feel your warm breath against my cheek. I needed to watch your belly safely rise and fall. I needed to see your eyelashes flutter as you drifted off to sleep.

I needed to lay quietly, peacefully with you so I could be with you at a time where I was feeling very vulnerable. And protective. And hopeful. Hopeful that you were off dreaming of a beautiful world where all this violence and hate and hurt doesn’t exist. Where only the goodness and kindness of this world carried over to your dreams, and not the bad stuff. Hopeful that, with action and change, our world will be safer for our children.

Hopeful that, with the reminder I get from the stillness of the night and some good solid rest, that tomorrow is a new day and I have another chance at being the best parent I can be to my kiddos.

Hopeful that, with the help and support from my husband, I feel like we can do this life together. On even the most overwhelming days, we can manage the hard stuff together—as a team.

Hopeful that my kids know I am doing everything in my power to be the best mother I can be. That I’m working hard for them every single day and that I truly want to give them the world.

Today was a doozy, but it also was a reminder that we are in this together—our little family. And if I have them on my side, that is all I need in this world.

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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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

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

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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