New motherhood made me feel invisible

I even vanished from my own Instagram feed, eclipsed by this adorable less-than-eight-pound baby.

New motherhood made me feel invisible

You tend to get a lot of attention when you’re pregnant. As your belly grows and stretches, you are nearly bombarded by questions and commentary, hands outstretched to meet your protruding belly button, and people asking if they can give you gifts and throw you parties.

It’s almost overwhelming.

And then, your baby is born, and you become the center of attention again. Doctors and midwives, new grandparents and soon-to-be aunties are everywhere—ready to help and hold this miraculous person you are often credited for creating.

But somewhere between birth and my baby’s third month, I realized a strange phenomenon had occurred: I became completely invisible.


I spent most of my day alone with a tiny sort-of-human who never once acknowledged the Herculean effort I had taken on in keeping her alive. Trapped in our shoebox apartment, there was no one else to appreciate that I was managing to feed the baby, wash the dishes, do the laundry, make all of our meals, clean up messes and (somehow!) take regular showers.

It was like these chores were all getting done, and little magic productivity elves were getting all the credit.

It even affected how I saw myself. Where I had once boasted a handful of titles (editor, writer, wife, friend, daughter, etc.), I had suddenly and wholly become one thing and one thing alone: Mother.

I was simply gone. I even vanished from my own Instagram feed, eclipsed by this adorable less-than-eight-pound baby.

It led to a lot of conflicted feelings. I relished this new role that I often felt I had been born to play, but…where had the rest of me gone? I was running myself ragged keeping my family ticking along smoothly, and I barely even noticed because even in my own eyes I ceased to exist.

I had become a ghost in my own house. I didn’t know where I had gone—or who I was anymore. And I didn’t really know what to do about it. Do I do anything? Is this what my life as a mom will always be like?

When you’re a student or an employee, there’s a built-in system of acknowledgment, praise and reward. Your efforts are constantly being quantified and when you work hard, you typically receive praise or payment that makes you feel, if not appreciated, at least noticed.

Motherhood comes with no such built-in system—especially in those first months when you are just so needed and can barely count on a little eye contact to let you know your baby notices you as anything other than a food source.

Even though I knew I was single-handedly responsible for keeping my household together, I felt incredibly small and insignificant.

But then, quite suddenly, one day I realized something else. Maybe I couldn’t see myself the way I had been—the ‘old me’—because that person didn’t exist anymore.

I had evolved. Morphed into some new, stronger creature—a person I was just getting to know. When I stopped needing to be seen for who I had been, I realized I had never disappeared at all.

This new me had the strength to do all the things while also raising an incredible child.

This new me valued a crooked baby smile and a slobbery toddler kiss over any praise or monetary reward my past “jobs” had given me.

This new me saw the strength in asking for help, even though it will probably never come easy to me. When I started to reach out for help when I needed it—by delegating tasks—I realized that help had been waiting in the wings all along.

This new me had a new confidence in the realization that I had been the center of my baby’s universe since the moment she was born.

The thing is, the beginning of motherhood is overwhelming in almost every single way. A lot of the worrying seems inevitable.

But when I stopped worrying so much about how I was seen by others or if I was being noticed by anyone at all— I realized I was the heart of the family keeping us alive. And that was more validating than any compliment, pay raise, bonus or gold star anyone could ever give me.

These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

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

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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.


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


Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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