I’m not perfect, but I am the perfect mother for my child

In the times of ease, I am their perfect mother. In the times of challenge, I am their perfect mother.

I’m not perfect, but I am the perfect mother for my child

I am their perfect mother. I’m not a perfect mother. I’m their perfect mother.

In the times of ease,I am their perfect mother. In the times of challenge,I am their perfect mother. They chose me to travel this path with them. During times of confusion, I enter the silence of my being and remember – I am the right mom for my two small human beings.

My journey to family began with two short pregnancies. Back-to-back pregnancies that ended without a baby, only with heartbreak. A large part of my healing came from my search for spirit and spiritual practice.

Having my heart cracked open from my miscarriages also left my heart wide open for insights, quiet voices, and new light to come through.

It was a time of profound change.

My third pregnancy was my five year old son’s—Tucker. His pregnancy was filled with anxiety—for obvious reason. The one thing that kept me going was a vibrational hum I could feel, the entire time I was pregnant with him. Everyday I had to feel that humming sensation in my womb, so that I would know all was well. If the hum were faint, I would get very quiet, meditative, and sit until I could feel it again.

Join Motherly

Toward the end of his pregnancy, I had a dream that has stayed with me since. In the dream, it was as though his soul was taking my soul out into the universe, he was showing me all of it—everything—the cosmos.  All beings made sense for a moment of time—fo rall I could feel was love. He told me that he was fine. That people would think he wasn’t healthy, but not to worry—that he would be small, but healthy. He told me he had chosen me. He told me he was coming to be my teacher. I awoke with a sense of peace I had never known before.

Not long after, on his due date, I found myself at the dreaded Ultrasound center (anyone who has lost a pregnancy knows why they become dreaded) having an “emergency ultrasound” to determine whether or not his blood flow had stopped. If his growth had stopped. If he was in distress. I should have been an absolute wreck. Somewhere inside, I knew he was fine. My heart was at peace, even when my brain was doing it’s “what if” thing.

Low and behold, the ultrasound discovered he was completely healthy, no signs of distress at all. He did measure to be very small. So small, in fact, the ultrasound techs decided to use the word “abnormality” with me. Side note: I could write an essay on words and phrases an ultrasound tech should not use vs. ones to use. For a moment, I was terrified, but when I fell into my silence and felt him, felt his being, all worries faded away.

He was born two days later, six pounds even.

He looked right at me, and I could feel: We knew each other already. And that I was his mother.

Five years into this dance together, I can attest to the fact that he is, in fact, one of my greatest teachers, in every sense of the word. I find myself needing to be humble to that. My brain or my education doesn’t always have the answer. My answers are often within—buried deep under the to-do list, the noise of the outside world, and the endless stream of information coming at us these days. My answers lie in the quiet recesses of the soul, where I once again can meet him as spirits. Not mother and son, but two spirits on this path together.

My son is a delightful little man. Truly. He has the most infectious giggle I’ve ever heard, and eyes that dance with joy.  But he’s also quite intense, in many different ways. He’s complicated. I feel every nuance to his complexity, and he feels my reaction to his nuances. Tucker, his sister, and myself, are a whirlwind of emotions. It gets overwhelming at times.

We are currently in one of those times. A time of discomfort before the next level of beauty and growth and maturity evolves. It’s a challenging place for me to be, and a difficult place for me to hold for my son. I’m struggling to find ease. The best how to books and expert advice don’t have all the answers. So I remember—I ­re-member—connect with myself and enter the silence. I return to that dream, that time before all the influences of this world were upon us. I again feel his presence, his otherworldly presence, the essence of his being telling me, I am here. I chose you.

I am his perfect mother.

When I feel confused or worried, I can still look into his deep blue eyes and see his trust.  He trusts the process, and so should I.  I’m not supposed to have all the answers. It’s not supposed to be easy all the time. That doesn’t mean it can’t hurt when we get lost for a bit. That doesn’t mean the search for what’s right won’t be painful. It is always a work in process.

I make a lot of mistakes.

But when I say I’m his perfect mother, I truly do believe it.

I rely on it to guide me. Our journey together may not look like another family’s. And that’s ok. I am who he needs me to be.

The next time you find yourself wading in the river of challenge with your children, please remember you are good enough, you are more than good enough—you are their perfect mother. They chose you.

I am his perfect mother. I am the right mother for my children. And so are you.

Join Motherly

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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.


Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.


Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.


The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.


The Snoo bassinet


Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!


Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.


Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!


Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.


Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.


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


10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less