Lauren Conrad to Caitlyn Jenner: How do we talk about women in America?

From LC to Caitlyn Jenner to postpartum bodies, we’re all abuzz this week about what makes a woman, and what makes her beautiful.

Lauren Conrad to Caitlyn Jenner: How do we talk about women in America?

As moms, we’ve gotten used to rethinking our relationship to our bodies, and how we talk about them.

Like when we tried to redirect our internal dialogue from “I’m huge!” to “I am a pregnant mother goddess swollen with the fullness of new life!” (Or something! Hey, we tried!)

So we loved what Jen McLellan, founder of “Plus Sized Birth,” told Motherly about about how giving birth changed her thinking about her body: “During pregnancy something changed within me as I watched my belly grow and felt my son kick. When I gave birth on my knees, there was no looking back! I realized in that moment the strength and beauty my body possesses.”


From Lauren Conrad to a moving essay at Medium to Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover, we’re all abuzz this week about what makes a woman, and what makes her beautiful.

On Monday, Lauren Conrad shared that the editorial staff of her website has decided to delete “skinny” from their vocabulary.

Here’s Conrad writing:

“When we’ve talked about getting in shape in the past, words like “skinny,” “slim,” and “thin” have often come up. Starting this month, we’ll be banning any body shaming terms from the site, and replacing them with words like “fit” “toned,” and “healthy.” We try do to this for the most part anyway, but now we’re making it official! The word skinny will now be reserved for skinny jeans. My editorial team and I had a long talk about it, and we want to make sure that the focus is on being fit as opposed to a number on the scale. Every body is created differently—and healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes.”


The importance of Conrad’s message was made evident as we read Andrea Gutierrez‘s new essay at Medium, about what happens “When My Daughter Asks Me if She Looks Fat.” Gutierrez’ daughter is nine:

After I gave birth to my son, I was conscious of the way I poked at my postpartum body, knowing my then three-year-old daughter was eyeing me. I tried not to grimace when she grabbed the folds of fat that sagged around my emptied womb and announced, gleefully, that mommy was “fat.” Her little eyes were mischievous, waiting to see how I reacted to her watching, to her laser focus on my midsection and her use of the “F word.” I wanted to scream “Don’t touch it, don’t make it exist!” But her little eyes were always watching so I forced out a smile. “Mommy had a baby,” I would tell her, “This is what Mommies look like after they have babies.” That sounds positive, I think to myself. But at the same time, I resolve to add an extra workout to my week.

I want to tell her that her lovability is not connected to her size and shape, but that the world will, for the rest of her life, tell her the opposite. Every single image she sees of women — on TV and in the movies, on magazine covers and her toy shelf, in the Fairy Tale High books she reads and in the whispers of the little girls on the playground — chant the same refrain: be thin, be thin, be thin. I want to tell her that her battle has just started, that it will come at her from all ends, and that there is no end in sight. But I can’t form those words. I’m not sure she’s ready for them yet.

Being a woman is powerful. Being a woman can sometimes feel disempowering. As moms, we’re working to be conscious not only of the messages we send to others about their bodies, but about the way that we talk to ourselves about our own.

Speaking of transformation. . . also this week,Jon Stewart welcomed Caitlyn Jenner to womanhood by noting that in the transition from male to female she also experienced a shift in cultural perception and expectation, Mic noted. From “what a strong athlete!” to “what is she wearing?”

Women are incredibly strong, powerful, and yes, beautiful. But if only allow ridiculously unrealistic expectations to define what we think about ourselves, we can wind up trapped in unhealthy ways of thinking and relating to the miraculous bodies we posses. Why not love the skin you’re in instead?

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.


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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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