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Let me take your picture, mama—you’re beautiful

Your kids deserve to see and remember just how loved they are, and how beautiful you are.

Let me take your picture, mama—you’re beautiful

You just went through 48 hours of labor—your body went through an iron man and you became a new version of a woman you never dreamed you could be.


You are overcome with emotions, holding a new precious being you are now responsible for. You don’t feel at all like the previous version of yourself, the woman you left at home before the trip to the hospital—you’re new, different and indescribably emotional.

I see you. I see your beautiful body. I see the beautiful expression on your face when you gaze down at your new baby. I see the emotions on your face when you gaze at your partner. I see you feeling self conscious in all of the imperfections that childbirth leaves you with—I see you—and you’re beautiful.

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You work 60 hours a week out of the house. You have a high executive job that is demanding and exhausting and takes all of your time and energy. You come home after a long day, and if you make it home by dinner, you have to muster up enough energy to feed, bathe and put your children to bed. You try your best to engage with them about their day and be positive and perky and upbeat, but you are really exhausted and often sidetracked.

I see you. I see you trying to juggle everything. I see you constantly having “mom guilt” about how much you work and how many obligations you have with your career. I see you doing your best, because that is really all you can do. I see you trying to get in every possible minute of the day with your kids so that they know you love them. I see you constantly having mixed emotions, trying to put on a million hats. I see you—and you’re beautiful.

You just had your third baby a year and a half ago and for some reason, this last time around the baby weight is just not coming off. You’re 20 pounds away from where you ideally would like to be and as much as you try to eat right and find time to workout, you’re a mom of three kids and you just can’t prioritize yourself like you used to.

I see you. I see you giving everything you can to the ones you love. I see you constantly putting others before yourself. I see you skipping the gym so that your oldest can go to karate practice. I see you—and you’re beautiful.

Your husband travels all the time and you’re constantly the one at home, keeping your family afloat. You might have some help here and there, but it is all on you to make sure the family stays running.

You start your day with someone needing you and end your day with someone needing you. You don’t have a single minute during the day that is your own. When you’re not feeding, bathing, dressing, cleaning or changing your children, you are picking up the house, running errands, driving them to and from their activities, cooking for them and helping them with their homework.

I see you. I see you skipping yet another haircut. I see you wearing “active wear” again even though you aren’t working out. I see you wanting a manicure and needing a wine date with a friend. I see you—and you’re beautiful.

No matter what stage of motherhood you’re in or what motherhood looks like for you the one constant is that you are beautiful.

As a photographer, I often hear people tell me things like “I want to book photos but I need to lose 15 pounds first” or “I want family photos, but my husband travels too much” or “I really think family photos are a great idea, but I think I’ll just do it of the kids this year.”

Your kids don’t see flaws. They don’t see weight, they don’t see stress or exhaustion, they don’t see your nails unpainted or hair undone. Your kids don’t see anything but love, warmth, comfort and the constant.

You’re launching your kids into the future of independence. All of those messy milestones that happen to get them there are beautiful moments that become a blip in time if you don’t document your days.

Your kids deserve to see and remember just how loved they are and just how beautiful the woman who made all of those memories possible is. So let yourself be seen even when you don’t feel like the best version of yourself. Make time for memories. Because you will never regret having photos to look back on.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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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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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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