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Actually, motherhood is political

I can't tell you what to care about, but I will beg you to care.

motherhood is political

More than anyone on this earth, mothers are invested in the future; we give birth to and raise the future. So, why then, do we constantly hear commentary along the lines of, "Keep politics out of mom spaces. Talk about motherhood instead."

Because, in case you haven't noticed, motherhood is political. It is perhaps the most political occupation one can have.

We have no choice but to care; leaving politics out of it is impossible and unacceptable.

Not needing to care about politics as a mother is a privilege. It means that your health, safety, financial stability and very existence do not depend on decisions made by others; that your life won't change drastically depending on who is in charge. There are so many people—millions of American mothers—for whom politics is a matter of life and death.

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Every single aspect of motherhood is affected by politics.

Motherhood is healthcare. Mothers are dying in childbirth. Mothers are struggling from the lack of access to mental health services. Mothers are fighting to get their children's basic health needs met. Politicians make the decisions that impact healthcare; so while there are women who die giving birth to the next generation of citizens, motherhood will remain political.

Motherhood is the impact of racism. Systemic racism is so embedded into our daily lives our country has accepted it as normal—and the results are disastrous. Politicians sit at the helm of that system; so while there are mothers who fear for the lives of their children because of the color of their skin, motherhood will remain political.

Motherhood is the economy. There are mothers who work multiple jobs, mothers who live paycheck to paycheck, praying that they will be able to afford a roof and food. Politicians vote on changes to workplace laws; so while there are mothers for whom one missed paycheck means homelessness for their children, motherhood will remain political.

Motherhood is the lack of paid parental leave. The United States is the only industrialized nation without a national paid parental leave program—politicians decided that; so while there are women who must return to work within two weeks of giving birth, while they are still bleeding from their births, motherhood will remain political.

Motherhood is a pandemic. Mothers have lost jobs during the pandemic disproportionately more than fathers. The mothers that do have jobs are holding up the front lines as essential workers—teaching, nursing, food service and caregiving are all fields that employ more women than men. In the meantime, mothers are expected to figure out the pandemic childcare crisis completely on their own—politicians have not helped; so while there are mothers who are risking their lives during a pandemic for a society that won't lift a finger to help them, motherhood will remain political.

Motherhood is our bodies. Our bodies have been legislated for hundreds of years; they are the center of the debate in the Supreme Court. Your feelings on abortion, whatever they may be, are political because politicians are making the decisions; so while they sit behind closed doors and decide what women can do with their bodies, motherhood will remain political.

Motherhood is immigration. There are 40 million immigrants in the United States—many of them are mothers—many of them are our mothers. Politicians gather to decide the fate of people who were born on the other side of a geographic line (that was decided by other politicians); so while people debate what constitutes human rights for mothers and their children, motherhood will remain political.

Motherhood is LGBTQ+ rights. Whether you have an LGBTQ+ child, family member or friend (you probably do) or are a member of the Queer community yourself, the lack of LGBTQ+ rights and equity impacts you in some way. Just five years ago, it became legal for LGBTQ+ families to adopt in every state in the U.S. (there are still many inequities in rights, though). Guess who made that decision? The Supreme Court, comprised of judges nominated by politicians; so while there are people who want to raise a child but have to fight for basic rights based on who they love, motherhood will remain political.

Consider this list and all the ways these very political concepts impact motherhood every day.

I can't tell you what to care about, but I will beg you to care.

Our children's futures depend on you caring. To create any kind of change, we have to put the people in leadership who reflect our values and will ensure our children's future—whatever that means for you.

Women have been told to stay quiet since the dawn of time. Our opinions have been dismissed, our thoughts discarded, our voices silenced by any means necessary. But we are the generation that has said enough. That has uncomfortable conversations and votes in record numbers and cares deeply about our future. We are fumbling in the dark and making mistakes and trying again.

We are brave, we are loud—we are mothers. There is nothing more powerful than us.

In This Article

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall 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 outside-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.

    Wooden doll stroller

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    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

    Detective set

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    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.

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    Sand play set

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

    Balance board

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    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

    Meadow ring toss game

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    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

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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    A Montessori-inspired gift guide—for newborns to 6-year-olds

    There are plenty of Montessori-friendly toys that are beautiful and engaging, but also appeal to children's developmental needs.

    With so many toys out there, it can be hard to find intentional gifts for our children that are both fun and meaningful. Using a Montessori approach to your shopping doesn't mean your choices need to be academic. There are plenty of Montessori-friendly toys that are beautiful and engaging, but also appeal to children's developmental needs.

    Montessori toys are usually made from natural materials, non-electronic and foster independent play, creativity and concentration. Montessori materials are simple and somewhat minimalist in general, and this is especially true for infants and young toddlers. The world is so stimulating for these little ones already, that simple toys made of natural materials spark the child's curiosity without being overwhelming.

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    In a recent survey shared in the Reproductive Health journal, one out of six women in the United States reported being mistreated while in labor, where mistreatment included, "loss of autonomy; being shouted at, scolded, or threatened; and being ignored, refused, or receiving no response to requests for help."

    One out of six.

    To make these numbers even more sickening, mistreatment was more common among women of color, women with partners of color, women with lower socioeconomic status, and women under the age of 30.

    (And yet people still question the validity of stating that black mothers are at a higher risk of pregnancy and birth-related complications.)

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    Rarely at a loss for words, I find myself almost unable to speak.

    I am a midwife, and I am disgusted.

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