The relentless exhaustion of motherhood is real—and temporary

Your children are loved, and you’re doing one heck of a job, mama.

The relentless exhaustion of motherhood is real—and temporary

Tired, weary, beautiful mama—

I know you feel drained right now. Drained physically, emotionally, mentally. You are depleted of energy, ideas and solutions.

You are so exhausted that all you can think about is when you get to go to sleep.

You are so foggy some days, you can’t decide what you should cook for dinner.

You are so sore from hunching over during another marathon breastfeeding session or from carrying your toddler who’s in a stage where she won’t let you put her down.

You know no one said this was going to be easy, but you never realized quite how hard it would be, either.

But you are still going, still trucking along, still fighting the good fight.

You know how I know that? That you’re still going?

Because you’re a mom, and you will never be depleted of love. We may be depleted of almost everything else we have, but never this soul-bearing, all-encompassing, heart-walking-outside-of-our-bodies love.

Even when we feel like we have nothing left to give, there we go again—and give some more.

Motherhood reminds me of the book, The Giving Tree in a way. Not in the super sad feeling the book now gives me as an adult, but in the way that the tree gives and gives because she just wants the boy to be happy.

She gives him shade and something to climb. She gives him apples and branches to swing from and her trunk to build a boat. When she feels like she has nothing left, she gives him her stump to sit on—the last of what she has.

In rereading the book to my children, I find myself oddly identifying with the tree. She gives him everything she has and when she doesn’t feel like she has anything left, she digs deep within and still has more to offer.

Now, I’d argue that unlike the boy’s relationship with the tree, I get quite a bit of love and happiness back from my children. And we’re not physically giving away our body parts, like the tree (although, my 6-month-old begs to differ—she basically owns my breasts…) so our well is deep and infinitely filled with love to bestow our children. But still—there are some days when I just feel like this tree. I call it, “having a day.” When I tell my husband that we’re “having a day” he knows just what I mean.

So when you are “having a day” (you know what I mean), a day when...

You haven’t even been able to change out of your pajamas or maybe you’ve been wearing the same yoga pants for the last few days (who’s counting?)...

You haven’t showered in a couple of days and are trying to figure out when you can fit one in where you might be able to take enough time to shave your legs, too…

You definitely didn’t have time to put makeup on and a baseball cap is your hair-do for drop off...

When you have no creativity left when it comes to dinner time and serve your kiddos chicken nuggets and carrot sticks (again)...

When you text your partner to stop for takeout on their way home because you can’t even with dinner…

When you collapse in said partner’s arms when they walk through the door and relish in their calm presence and loving hug. (Oh and you thank the moon and stars above for the gift of take out meals #blessed.)

When you lose out on that $15 class you signed up for because the stars didn’t align for you to get out of the house (and you didn’t have one ounce of energy for it anyway…)

When the emails have to wait and the floors that need washing must be pushed off another day because you need to zone out in front of the TV or a good book…

When you’re having one of these kinds of days, I want you to recognize that yes—this is a day. Then, I want you to stop what you’re doing and find a mirror.

I want you to look at yourself and smile. Even if you’re crying, even if you think this is silly.

I want you to say out loud the following phrases:

I am the best mother to my child.

They picked me to be their mom.

I get to be in their lives every single day.

The role of motherhood is so hard!

But the life we’re living together is magical.

It’s okay to feel drained some days.

I will allow the love I have for my family to energize me.

I will take some time for myself however I can.

I will fill up my cup.

I am an amazing mother.

I am doing the best I can.

I am beautiful—inside and out.

Your children are loved, and you’re doing one heck of a job, mama. Don’t sell yourself short and please don’t beat yourself up. I promise to remember these things, too. Because, after all, we’re in this together.

(Oh and that tree really could have used some self-care in her life, so let’s promise to be better about that, too. Deal?)

You might also like:

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.


These kids dishes don’t look like kids dishes

And that's exactly why my toddler loves them. ❤️

My 4.5-year-old is, let's say, spirited in his opinions. He very clearly knows what he wants and doesn't want (oh to have the confidence of a stubborn preschooler!). And what he doesn't want right now is anything that looks too babyish. "That's for babies," he'll say if I give him anything with primary colors or looks too miniature. He doesn't want the baby fork and spoon, he wants what grown-ups use. He doesn't want the baby plastic cups and plates, he wants the glass and ceramic ones.

Well, you can see where this is going.

I had to find something that would satisfy his "not a baby" opinions but still not shatter to pieces if he accidentally drops it on the floor. I had to find him something that's made for kids but doesn't feel made for kids.

Keep reading Show less

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