Motherhood is: Wondering how another year has passed by so quickly

I know you are wondering how you got here, how time moved this quickly, how the child you thought would stay little forever is ready to walk away from you for the first time. It's okay to hold on as long as you can. It's okay to reminisce even though you still have so many wonderful years to go.

Motherhood is: Wondering how another year has passed by so quickly

My daughter is turning one soon. And as much as I try to be present and live in the moment—an effort which has simultaneously become both my greatest priority and biggest challenge as a mother—I can't help but feel my mind wandering as we approach this milestone...

One minute, I am back in my hospital room meeting her for the first time. I am holding all seven pounds, five ounces of her against my chest, breathing in her newness, kissing her cheeks, feeling the joy of the world literally in my fingertips.

Then the next minute I feel the weight of time, the fear of it going by too quickly. The terror of missing it.

The other day, I closed my eyes for a second at a stoplight, and just like that, the realization that I only get 17 more years with her as my baby hit me so hard I cried. I hurried home, took her out of her car seat, and held her tight in the garage.

I've still got time, I told myself… I've still got time.

As I get ready to celebrate her birthday, I am preparing for my first Birth Day too. It's the anniversary of my mamahood. The day that marks the beginning of my journey with my daughter. I am reminded that my Birth Day is a privileged experience, one longed for by many and one celebrated and shared with many more.

It's a day that erases the passage of time and takes us back to the most important moment of our lives as mothers. No matter your current stage of motherhood, I see you, mamas. I celebrate with you and I stand with you. Your Birth Day story and the journey you have gone on since—matters.

To the woman who just received the call that she is about to become a mom, happy joyous Birth Day to you. Your Birth Day is immediate and instantaneous the minute you love your child.

Motherhood is not bound by blood—it is so much greater, and knowing this has already made you an amazing mom. Always remember the elation you feel now. Year over year, relish in the beautiful uniqueness of your Birth Day story.

To the mom whose child sleeps in heaven now, happy Birth Day. Whether days or years have passed since you last kissed your child, remind yourself of the very realness of your Birth Day.

The passage of time has brought its fair share of pain, I'm sure, but it can never steal your motherhood. Your story matters. Your child's life was significant and real. The love for your child will never diminish. Your Birth Day will always be important.

To the mom clutching her 5-year-old's hand, staring in disbelief at the list of school supplies held in her other, happy Birth Day. I know you are wondering how you got here, how time moved this quickly, how the child you thought would stay little forever is ready to walk away from you for the first time. It's okay to hold on as long as you can. It's okay to reminisce even though you still have so many wonderful years to go.

To the mama packing up her college-bound daughter's car with cardboard boxes full of hopes and dreams, happy Birth Day. You did it, girl, you made it here. The baby you rocked in your arms has become the woman you dreamed her to be. She is who she is because of you.

I know the sting of walking back into the house without her is unimaginable. I know looking into the vacant room where she once played with innocent bliss and sitting on the bed where you spent countless hours comforting her to sleep feels overwhelming. In that moment when you feel the sadness of your work being done, or perhaps the fear of the best years being over, know the best is yet to come.

To the mama whose baby is now a mama, happy Birth Day. You get the gift of generations, the joy of living it for a second time through your child's eyes. Holding your grandbaby for the first time gives you a new sense of life and purpose. As you soak it in, cherish that your journey—your own Birth Day—set lives into motion so that the world could stand still in this very moment.

To the mom getting ready to celebrate her first, happy Birth Day. I feel your heart as it rejoices in the beauty of today, looks forward to the promise of tomorrow, and misses the memories of yesterday.

As I watch my daughter play and delight in a world that is hers for the taking, I still find myself touching my belly, wondering how it was only a year ago that I carried her into this world. I find myself second-guessing if I have done enough or been enough for her.

When I feel my mind go to that place, I work hard to remind myself of what I know to be true: I love my daughter unconditionally and beyond measure. I've cuddled and kissed her every chance that I could. Every decision I've made has been in her best interest.

Every night (except for four—I know this because those four nights tore me apart) my voice was the last thing she heard before she went to bed as I whispered, "Good night, sweet pea, I love you. God bless you and keep you safe." There is nothing I wouldn't give, my own life included, to ensure her safety and happiness. I remind myself that despite my weaknesses and shortcomings, I am enough.

We, beautiful mamas, are enough.

We only get so many Birth Days. Let's hold onto the truths that make us mothers. Let's celebrate where we've been as we embrace where we are going. Let's hold each other when it hurts and hold on even tighter to the joy when it is good.

In a few weeks, I will sneak into my daughter's room while she is sleeping and rock her quietly as the clock ticks past midnight so I can be the first to whisper, "Happy birthday" in her ear.

I'll hold her tight and memorize every single detail of her face as she begins her second year. I will tell myself "Happy Birth Day" and I'll allow time to stop. I know even now that that moment won't be enough time and it never will be. But I will surrender myself to it and pray for many, many more.

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These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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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

Janod wooden 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.


Detective set

Plan Toys detective 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.


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.


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!


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.


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25+ Halloween movies for kid, by age

These capture the goofy, spooky and sweet aspects of Halloween. Boo.

My family loves watching Halloween movies to get into the spooky spirit.

Of course, every kid has a different threshold for what they consider too scary. With most of these selections, there are links to Common Sense Media, where you can read more about the content of the films (along with reviews from other parents and kids).

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