I’m not “losing” myself in motherhood—I’m becoming who I’m meant to be

Motherhood has infiltrated every fiber of my being.

I’m not “losing” myself in motherhood—I’m becoming who I’m meant to be

I recently read an article about womanhood, and the author posed the following question: “How do you build a complete self in a world that wants to see you as merged with or subsumed by other people?”

What a relevant question for right now.

What a relevant question for this very minute.

Before I really get writing, allow me to take inventory of the “self” that I’m working with (Warning: you might get jealous. No, you won’t). I have almond butter on the leggings that I’ve been wearing for the last three days. I peed a little bit when I sneezed a few minutes ago because my pelvic floor is a joke (thank you babies 2 and 3). I have a Batman Band-Aid on my thumb because I chopped my finger instead of the onion when I turned to one of the little voices yelling “mommy!” while I was making dinner last night. Earlier this week, I found myself crying during the NPR Spring pledge drive because… I don’t know… This American Life really does mean that much to me, also hormones. I have a big pregnant belly, and I just noticed that there’s a coffee stain on my shirt right where my boobs meet said belly. I am super hot today (sarcasm, but also, seriously, very warm).

I didn’t study abroad in college. I like to joke that I did the off-campus marriage program, i.e. I got married the summer before my last year of college. Now you know just how long my identity has been “merged with or subsumed by other people.” I was that girl. But that’s not to say that I don’t understand what it means to travel—most of us have had the experience of leaving what we know as home and going to a new place. Whether this experience is long or short, good or bad, it becomes a part of who we are. My experience working in an orphanage in Brazil has shaped who I am and, in fact, shaped the way my husband and I grew our family. That experience is part of the reason why we chose to adopt our first child. I can’t extract that experience from my whole person, nor do I want to.

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who is single and doesn’t yet have children. She was asking me about my writing, and she said something like “I want to hear about your kids too, but I don’t want you to feel like you lost yourself in them. I don’t want you to think that I don’t remember who you are or who you were.” She was very well meaning in this sentiment, and in saying this she was referring to what she thought was my complete self. She wanted me to know that she saw me as a whole person because she knows I do other things outside of raising kids.

This makes sense, and yet, it doesn’t because motherhood is like the ultimate abroad trip. We move into a wholly different space, and it changes us; it reshapes every element of our being. I’m different, and dare I say better, because of this whole motherhood thing.

Because of those little people who drive me crazy and cover my legs in mucus and lunch, I’m more than who I used to be. I’m dirty and messy and straight crazy lots of days, but I like this me. I love this me. Those small, wild people are making me and refining me and challenging me and growing me in ways that I never knew I needed to grow. I’m a better writer because of them. I’m a better learner because of them. I’m a better friend because of them (or ultimately I will be). I’m on my way to becoming a better wife. I’m certainly a better cook. I’m less selfish and more loving. I’m growing in patience and kindness and self-control. I may not look that sexy, but trust me, I’m becoming the whole package, and I didn’t get this way on my own.

Motherhood has infiltrated every fiber of my being. It’s the most all-encompassing experience I’ve ever had; shouldn’t I want to be changed by it? Maybe the world wants to see me as a merged person. I hope it does. I am a merged person, and my union to these people is what makes me whole.

I’m not losing myself in this thing called motherhood; I’m becoming myself, and it is so good.

This story was originally published on Coffee + Crumbs. Check out their book, The Magic of Motherhood, for more heartwarming essays about motherhood, love, and the good kind of heartache.

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12 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

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!


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.


This oil completely changed my skin this summer

And I'm never going back to lotion.

For all the sweating and swimming I do in the summer, it seems illogical for my skin to be as parched as ever. But your mid-thirties (and 2020 in general) don't really seem to follow any rule book, so here we are.

A couple of months ago, I was on the lookout for a moisturizer that would not only keep my legs from looking like an ashy mess, but also truly nourish and benefit my skin. I've developed a deep interest in skin care for my face over the past few years and decided it's high time to extend that degree of consideration to the rest of my body. (After all, there's more of it, right?)

It's not that I'm too concerned with aging, but let's be real. If there's something that can be done to slow the Wrinkle Express, I'm going to give it a go. I also wanted to find something natural that wouldn't turn into a goopy mess the second I started sweating.

Enter: Esker's Firming Body Oil.

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21 questions to ask your partner instead of, “How was your day?”

2. If you could do any part of today over again, what would it be?

After a long day of doing seemingly everything, when our partners get home it kind of becomes a habit to ask, "How was your day?" In between prepping dinner, handing off the kids, finishing your own work, we don't exactly get much value from this question. Sure, it may open up the opportunity to complain about that awful thing that happened or excitedly share that presentation you killed at work—but it usually stops there.

I could do a better job of really talking in my relationship. After 12 years and two kids, sometimes all we can come up with post bedtime routine is, "You good? I'm good. Fire up the Netflix."

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