Why is motherhood portrayed as being either magical or depressing in media?

I often somehow feel happy and sad. Tired and energized. Low and inspired.

Why is motherhood portrayed as being either magical or depressing in media?

I am so immersed in all things motherhood at this stage in my life. It's seems like my life is mom/baby/toddler/marriage after babies/breastfeeding/tantrums/exhaustion/giggles/etc. all day, every day. (Because, well, it is.)

And lately, I feel like I'm sandwiched between two worlds: One world is perfect and pristine and fashionable and cool and on-trend and knows it all—this world is called social media. In social media, motherhood is beautiful and magical and balanced in your own way and exactly what you've always imagined.

And then there's the other world: how the media portrays motherhood. I haven't seen Tully yet, but the trailer makes me feel sad. I watched the first episode of The Letdown on Netflix and a lot of it was relatable, for sure, but also kind of left me feeling despondent.


Basically, what I'm saying is that a lot of what we see representing motherhood on screens is either perfection or depression. It's either magical or terrible. It's either the most amazing thing or the most exhausting thing. It's accurate and it's inaccurate.

But the thing is: motherhood is both. Motherhood is all of the above. And more. It's SO MANY FEELINGS AT ONCE. I often somehow feel happy and sad. Tired and energized. Low and inspired. Confused and clear. Busy and in the moment. Wishing time would freeze and wishing it would speed up. Wishing bedtime would already be here and having fun with my kids. It's a lot at once, all the time. It's never just one thing. It's all the things.

Because I can go from extreme anxiety from my child busting into my room (aka my home office) without pants or a diaper on while I am on an important work video call to her going off to play again leaving me to finish the call and feel inspired by the role I have at work to then feeling angry because I hear the word 'stupid' out of one of my children's mouths to complete 😍 over my baby's rolls as I admire them while she nurses… a sense of panic because I didn't take anything out for dinner and am wondering what we'll eat back to anxiety over looking at the state my house is in (it looks like it's been ransacked) to such pride after watching my oldest two high five and say, "best friends!" (it's their new thing and it's awesome) to crazy love when my preschooler tells me I'm beautiful... feeling exhausted after answering what feels like the 1,000th request I've gotten today to slight shame as I make my 4th (or is it 5th?) cup of coffee of the day to laughing (really hard actually) because my 2-year-old asked if we could go to the "chocolate chip doughnut house" (aka Heavn'ly Donuts) to encouragement at the thought of my husband being home in a half hour to help split the load… joy as I hear my baby laugh at her sister's antics to confusion over how I am even supposed to deal with their fighting and bickering to overwhelmed at the thought of wanting to declutter and simplify but not even knowing where to start and then amazement at the kindness my kid's have in their hearts after watching them do something nice for the other to excitement at the thought of catching up on Grey's after bedtime to gratefulness for this life and the people in it to wishing it sometimes felt easier to understanding it won't always feel this chaotic to sleepiness wondering how I'll have the energy to do it all again tomorrow...

It's not one thing. It's EVERYTHING. Motherhood is complex. And it doesn't have to fit into a neat little box or specific category.

I definitely always try to acknowledge the hard parts of this life—when it's draining, the reality of the challenges I face—but I also don't shy away from celebrating the real truly great parts of all of this. Because it is inspiring it is validating it is fun it is hilarious it is everything I've ever wanted and it is pure magic.

Motherhood is about learning and growing and evolving and transforming and accepting and nurturing. It's about your "old self" your "current self" and your "future self." It's about remembering what you used to like or do when you had time to like or do it, appreciating what you have and what you prioritize time for now, and about having goals and dreams for the future.

It is not about comparing and winning and being perfect.

It's enlightening, it's humbling, and most of all? I've gotta say—I think it's pretty wonderful.

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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.


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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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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