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My life as a mom might look boring—but it's everything I've ever wanted

To an outsider looking in, it probably doesn't look like I did much today.

My life as a mom might look boring—but it's everything I've ever wanted

To an outsider looking in, it probably doesn't look like I did much today.


I didn't get the clean laundry folded and it has been glaring at me from the guest room for three days now. I didn't scrub the floors like I probably should have. I didn't check off all (or even close to all) items off my to-do list.

I didn't shower or put makeup on or do my hair. I didn't bother changing my shirt even though it had some spit-up from the baby on it and some Cheerios from my toddler. I didn't make a home cooked, gourmet meal carefully chosen from someone's Pinterest board for dinner.

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I didn't remember to make the eye doctor appointment I needed to or to look for that missing shoe. I didn't clear out my email inbox and I didn't finish that lingering work task I never can seem to get to. I didn't pick up the groceries we need or bring the car in for an oil change.

To an outsider looking in, it probably doesn't look like I've accomplished much in my life.

I haven't won an Oscar or a Pulitzer Prize or a national championship. I haven't climbed Everest or Kilimanjaro. I haven't backpacked Europe or camped in Yellowstone.

I haven't mingled with celebrities or dined with royalty. I haven't written that hit song or performed in front of millions of fans. I haven't competed in the Olympic Games or landed on the moon.

I haven't walked the runways at Fashion week and the only vintage I'm wearing are my husband's sweatpants from college. I haven't lose the baby weight or stuck to a gym routine that works for this season of my life.

I haven't magically been excused from experiencing #momfails, I haven't cracked the code to toddler tantrums. I haven't performed life-saving surgeries or cured cancer. I haven't mastered driving stick shift or surfing or even how to use a curling wand.

To an outsider looking in, my life probably doesn't seem grand enough, exciting enough.

I don't live in a huge home. I don't wear designer clothes. I don't give lavish, over-the-top gifts. I don't frequent the spa. I don't belong to a country club or a fancy gym. I don't have a personal chef. I don't go on luxurious vacations. I don't have VIP tickets to see Beyoncé or courtside seats to the Celtics. I don't even wear jeans that often (leggings for life).

So, why then, would I say that I feel like the luckiest person in the world? Why do I smile so wide and beam with pride?

Because I love the life I lead.

And while there are many, many things I didn't do—I did do more than one might think.

I did model how to act with kindness even while frustrated. I did help my preschooler practice tying her shoes. I did cheer my toddler on when she was uninhibitedly dancing to her favorite song. I did create magic and I did instill confidence.

I did fill my children's bellies and gently brushed their hair and hugged them when they fell. I did soothe my baby's cries by rocking her in my arms. I did sing the "ABC's" and "Old McDonald" too many times to count.

I did hug my husband for a long, long time when he got home and asked about his day. I did come up with a great idea I shared with my team at work. I did pick up around the house as best I could with the limited time I had and I even watched one of my favorite shows post-bedtime.

Oh, and I did write this essay.

And while there are many, many things I haven't done—I have done more than one might think.

I have given birth to three beautiful, healthy girls. I have married the love of my life. I have kept strong friendships going, some for almost 30 years.

I have told the people I love how much they mean to me. I have practiced gratitude today and will work harder on grace tomorrow. I have plotted and planned and hoped and dreamed.

And while there are many, many things I don't do or have—I do have a lot.

I have arms that are full with giggly toddlers and loving preschoolers and chunky babies. I have a husband who looks at me like I'm the most beautiful, interesting person in the world.

I have a family who cheers me on and supports my dreams. I have friends who love me for who I am. I have co-workers who are brilliant and creative and encouraging.

I have a home where I feel safe and rested. I have food on the table, a clean bill of health, clothes on my back and love in my heart.

I may not do much or have much—but somehow, I have it all.

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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.

$30

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!

$75

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.

$40

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.

$120

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.

$30

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.

$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

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.

$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

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.

$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

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.

$100

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.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

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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

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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The President has reportedly selected his third SCOTUS nominee.

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