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I plan on doing *this* to help me find myself again

5. Make some mom friends.

I plan on doing *this* to help me find myself again

I am tired of hearing about getting my body, life, relationship, or abs "back" after having a baby. I hope that you all join me in finally releasing the pressure we all put on ourselves and acknowledge that it is a false premise that we ever get anything 'back' after we have a baby. We never get our body back, our lives back, or relationships back.

If you really think about it—beyond the short fantasies of relaxing Saturday mornings, the ridiculous metabolism you had in your teens, or how much sleep you got—do you really want the old you back if it means giving up all that you have now?

We hold on to this fantasy ideal of getting something back to when we thought it was perfect. Maybe an idea of our twenties when we were so free, stylish, and uninhibited. However, if I'm really honest with myself, my early twenties were very messy. I am way healthier and happier now.

I know that as a new mom I do need to find my groove and figure out who this new person is—the mom me.

It's hard to do because, well... I'm tired, I don't feel like I have the umph and I also feel quite frumpy.

I'm still in new-baby-survival-mode—even one year later. I'm grazing on whatever food is around because I don't take time to make real food for myself, I'm not working out, I'm not making time to see my friends, my husband and I are not spending quality time together, and still putting 150% into my little man when he's probably okay to have a little space here and there.

I decided it's time to take action and make myself a priority in my life.

Lucky for me, my sister is a certified health coach. We had many sessions to talk about why I wasn't making my health and well-being a high priority in my life (things like it feels like they're just one more thing to think about, I don't have the time, I don't feel inspired, we don't have the money to spend, and throw in a tiny bit of a martyr complex to boot).

This has helped me put strategies in place to make sure I'm creating my new balance, new normal—and to find that what I lost. Here they are:

1. Meal plan for me

We were already meal planning for my son, but I would always forget myself. So now I plan out breakfast, lunch, dinner and easy snacks. The key is finding things that I can prepare ahead of time easily or things that I can just grab and eat.

2. Move

I take barre classes which I love. I've been going since I needed to get in shape for my wedding six years ago, went all throughout my pregnancy, and as soon as I was cleared to workout again. The studio I go to also has online workouts that are great. I love that I can modify and do my own thing, so some days I go all out, and some days I really just focus on breathing and moving but don't push myself.

3. Get outside

Fresh air helps me so much. If I'm grumpy (or if my son is), nothing clears our bad moods up right away like a good walk around the neighborhood. We live in Seattle so the weather isn't always welcoming, but I usually have everything ready so if there's a good window, I bundle up my son and we go.

4. Interests

I can easily spend all my time fixated on my son and his eating, sleeping, playing or whatever I'm learning about/worrying about/studying at the moment. I've found it really helps to have a book or podcast or music that is totally unrelated to babies. It keeps my brain stimulated and changes up my daily routine here and there.

5. Mom friends

I've found a handful of other moms with kids the same age who I keep in touch about our current happenings. We share ideas, strategies and get our babies together to play. Other friends without kids don't seem to be as fascinated by which foods are most appealing to my son or what I'm trying to keep him entertained, so it's nice to have a mom pack that really understand what I'm going through and who have genuinely helpful ideas and feedback.

6. Relationship

It's so easy to fall into just being teammates with our partners in the trenches of parenthood. Once the baby is in bed, all I want to do is be quiet, have a glass of wine, go to bed and read without touching anyone.

However, an intimate relationship does not work that way. I make an effort to do what I need to do to feel sexy—because it has been the farthest thing from what I've felt lately—and so, in order to do that, I've had to let go of the past. I will never get my pre-baby body back, but I can be way stronger and sexier than I ever was. I can be more confident and fulfilled. I can create and embrace the new me.

I have the power to turn my new life into whatever I choose. It can be one where I am a tired, frumpy martyr or one where I'm a vibrant, inspired, loving, hot-mama—and I'm consciously choosing the latter every day.


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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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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

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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