Yes mama, you *can* bring your child with you to vote

What you need to know about voting with kids in 2020.

can i bring my child with me to vote 2020
Matt McClain/Getty Images

This year it is incredibly important for every single eligible voter in the United States to exercise their right to cast a ballot.

But for moms who don't have childcare, getting to the voting booth can be a huge challenge—and this year the pandemic and tense political atmosphere have made it even harder.

A lot of moms are wondering if they will be able to vote if they don't have someone to watch their kids on November 3.

Here's what you need to know about bringing your kids to vote in 2020:



1. It's legal

In all 50 states in America (and in D.C.) parents are allowed to bring kids to the polls. This a huge relief to parents who would otherwise need to get childcare in order to vote. If someone at the polling place tells you that you can't vote because you've got a baby with you, they're wrong.

That said, COVID-19 adds an extra layer of complexity to the situation in 2020.

If you're bringing children over 2, some polling places may ask that they wear a mask (some polling places are even stocking child-sized masks in case parents don't have one).

You're going to need to follow your polling place's social distancing regulations as well.

2. Some states limit the number of kids a voter can bring

Wearing your baby or pushing one kid in a stroller is always allowed, but when you have multiple kids tagging along things can get more complicated, depending on your state.

Many states do not put a limit on how many children a mama can bring with her (some moms report squeezing three or four kids into the booth) while other states (including Pennsylvania and Maryland) limit the number of children a parent can bring to just one or two.

State rules vary, so if you're planning on bringing multiple children with you on election day, check out your local rules before you go.

If your state max is two kids, but you've got three, you might consider a voting date with another mama. That way you can watch each other's kiddos while placing your votes (and go for a coffee walk afterward).

3. Lines can be long, so go before the rush

Generally speaking, the peak voting times are in the before and after work periods and the lunch hour. Stay-at-home parents have the advantage of being able to avoid these peak times, but even if you go at 10 am the line may be long.

In 2020, long lines are not the exception, they're almost the rule. It's not fair, it needs to be fixed, but it is the reality this year.

So if you're bringing the kids along, bring some snacks or toys to make the line a bit more fun. Once you're in, remind the kiddos that they have to be on their best behavior. Most states reserve the right to evict disruptive children from the polling place.

4. No selfies in the booth

It's tempting to snap a pic of your kiddo participating in the political process, but best not to do it in the actual voting booth, as that's illegal in many states. It's cool to take photos before voting though, or after, when you (and your babies) can sport those "I voted" stickers.

5. The age limit varies by state

If your children are teens, you probably won't be trying to squeezing three of them in the booth with you, but one may want to tag along to see the political process in action. That's totally cool, too, but the age limit varies by state.

In some areas, kids up to 17 can vote with mom or dad, but in others, the age limit is 15. Again, check the rules in your state before heading to the polls with your kids.

Parents should be able to show their children how the political process works, and not having childcare should not prevent parents from voting.

6. Check to see if you can get childcare 

The lines are long and the risk of COVID is present. It's totally understandable if you don't want to bring your kids to the polls, mama.

If that's the case, check with your partner, co-parent or friends and family to see if anyone would be able to watch your children while you vote. Consider swapping with another mama (especially if you've got a COVID-19 bubble family) so that each of you watch the kids while the other votes.

If you can't find childcare, check with your local YMCA. Some locations are offering 2 hours of free childcare for parents who need to vote on November 3.

Remember mama, your vote matters. You matter.

[A version of this post was first published November 1, 2018. It has been updated.]

Cars.com

This article is sponsored by cars.com. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Even before you became a parent, buying a new car could be a complicated process. Throw in a car seat or two and a dash of anxiety over safety, and suddenly it can feel like a monumental task. In fact, according to a national Cars.com survey, for two-thirds of parents car seats play a significant role in the selection of their car.

Fortunately, when it comes to the right car for a family, Cars.com has done the heavy lifting for you. (Literally!) In their 2021 Car Seat Fit Report Card, their certified child passenger safety technicians compiled Car Seat Check scores for 51 vehicles to determine which provide the safest fit for the most car seats. "Cars are an investment and parents or parents-to-be will want to find a car that can grow with their family, but that doesn't mean you need to jump into a minivan before your first child arrives," says Jenni Newman, Editor-in-Chief at Cars.com.

We sat down with Newman to discuss the Report Card's findings and get her tips to help you make the best decision for your family's ride.

Motherly: What are the top considerations parents or parents-to-be should look for when choosing a car that will provide the safest fit for a car seat?

Jenni Newman: Here are a few things to consider when shopping for your next car: Is there enough space? Look for vehicles with roomier backseats, and think about the number of kids in car seats you could have at one time. Nearly half of parents' decide to buy a new car because they need to fit three in a bigger car. Remember, kids can stay in some level of car seat until they're 4 feet, 9 inches tall—for some kids, that could be when they're 12 years old. Not to mention, you will need enough room for your stroller, grocery bags, equipment for kids' activities and any other items parents and caregivers tote around.

[You also want to ] consider how easy it is to find and use the lower Latch anchors, which are located in the outer rear seats between the back and bottom cushions. A good Latch system makes car-seat installation easier, and since you'll be using car seats for many years, anything that makes life more convenient is a big win.

Finally, how does it feel? Once you've done your research online and have narrowed down your search, get to your local dealership for some hands-on experience. Test out the roominess, ask about kid-friendly features, bring your car seat and try to install it in the cars you're interested in. Dealers are happy to work with you and help you test all the cars and features that matter to you.

Motherly: What are the top cars that accommodate a car seat and why?

JN: The following cars aced our car seat fit tests thanks to their easy-to-find Latch anchors and spacious rear seats. The top cars are:

  • 2021 Audi SQ8: A two-row SUV with a twin-turbo V-8 that puts the fun into the most mundane errands.
  • 2021 Genesis GV80: This luxury SUV can be had with two or three rows — we tested a two-row version. The refined interior might have parents thinking twice about putting kids in the backseat, but don't worry, leather seats are easy to clean.
  • 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid: The redesigned compact SUV now comes in a hybrid version that sips gasoline, meaning you can take those family road trips without fueling up as frequently.
  • 2021 Nissan Sentra: This compact car is small but mighty when it comes to family duty, thanks to its roomy backseat.

cars.com

Motherly: Which cars are best for families with 2 or more car seats?

JN: Whether it's a sedan, SUV, pickup truck or minivan, most vehicles can handle two car seats as long as there's enough rear legroom to accommodate a rear-facing infant or convertible car seat.

Three car seats make life more interesting. Not many cars can fit three car seats across the rear seat, but in our car seat installations, we test each car to see if it can accommodate all three of our car seats across the backseat—an infant seat, convertible seat and booster seat—and publish the results. The Volkswagen Atlas, a three-row SUV and the Cars.com 2021 Family Car of the Year, features a roomy second row that easily manages three car seats across it, and its third row is spacious enough to handle car seats or even adults.

Motherly: What are the best ways for parents to confirm that their car seat has been installed correctly?

JN: There are some simple steps that parents can take when installing a car seat. First, they should read the car seat owner's manual as well as their car's manual to make sure the installation is starting off correctly. The manuals may have guidance on whether a car seat can be installed in the middle rear seat, for example.

When installing the car seat, parents should use either the car's Latch anchors or a seat belt, but not both at the same time. Using the Latch system tends to be a little easier for most parents, but if you cannot find your car's lower Latch anchors, then using a seat belt for installation is perfectly acceptable. With a seat belt installation, make sure the seat belt's retractor is in the locked position to keep the car seat securely in place. Your car's owner's manual will walk you through how to lock the retractor.

Check your car seat install by grabbing the car seat near the belt path and giving it a tug. If it moves more than an inch in any direction, tighten the Latch strap to better secure the car seat. It's important to do this test at the belt path because if you test an infant seat, for example, at the top of the car seat, where the baby's head is, it'll seem like there's too much movement, but if you test at the belt path, you'll get a better sense of installation's snugness.

cars.com

Motherly: Aside from car seat fit and safety, what are some other features or technology that parents or parents-to-be should consider when shopping for their next family car?

JN: Automakers are loading cars with tons of family-friendly features. One of my favorites is the in-vehicle vacuum in the Chrysler Pacifica minivan. I'd love one of those in my own car - and it would have been amazing to have when my kids were toddlers.

Speaking of minivans, the Pacifica, Odyssey and the all-new Kia Carnival minivan offer an in-cabin camera system that allows parents to monitor any shenanigans in the second and third rows. The camera in the Carnival, which was named Cars.com's Best Minivan of 2021, has impressive resolution, zoom functionality and even night vision.

Automakers are also working to combat child in-car heatstroke with a commitment to add rear-seat reminders to their vehicles by no later than the 2025 model year. GM and Nissan, for example, have systems that use an alert to remind the driver to check the backseat if the rear doors were opened at the start of a car trip. Hyundai offers its Ultrasonic Rear Occupant Alert system, which uses sensors to monitor the backseat for movement. It alerts the driver if it senses any movement.

Whether you need a car to accommodate one child or a brood, the new Cars.com report could be the first step to getting your family on the road safely. And when in doubt about your car seat's fit, remember, you have options. "Installing car seats can be frustrating. I've been doing it as a certified child passenger safety technician for more than 10 years and have two teenage boys and there are still times when I struggle," Newman says. "Cars.com has hundreds of Car Seat Checks that can be a useful resource for parents who are installing car seats into a new or older model car. Parents should ask for help when they need it, and can find certified technicians at their local police department, fire department or hospital."

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10 Montessori phrases for kids who are struggling with back to school

The first day of school can be hard for everyone, mama. Here's how to use the Montessori method to help your child adjust.

No matter how excited your child was to pick out a new lunchbox and backpack this year, there will likely be days when they just don't want to go to school. Whether they're saying "I don't like school" when you're home playing together or having a meltdown on the way to the classroom, there are things you can say to help ease their back-to-school nerves.

More than the exact words you use, the most important thing is your attitude, which your child is most definitely aware of. It's important to validate their feelings while conveying a calm confidence that school is the right place for them to be and that they can handle it.

Here are some phrases that will encourage your child to go to school.


1. "You're safe here."

If you have a young child, they may be genuinely frightened of leaving you and going to school. Tell them that school is a safe place full of people who care about them. If you say this with calm confidence, they'll believe you. No matter what words you say, if your child senses your hesitation, your own fear of leaving them, they will not feel safe. How can they be safe if you're clearly scared of leaving them? Try to work through your own feelings about dropping them off before the actual day so you can be a calm presence and support.

2. "I love you and I know you can do this."

It's best to keep your goodbye short, even if your child is crying or clinging to you, and trust that you have chosen a good place for them to be. Most children recover from hard goodbyes quickly after the parent leaves.

If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, give one good strong hug and tell them that you love them and know they can do this. Saying something like, "It's just school, you'll be fine" belittles their feelings. Instead, acknowledge that this is hard, but that you're confident they're up to the task. This validates the anxiety they're feeling while ending on a positive note.

After a quick reassurance, make your exit, take a deep breath and trust that they will be okay.

3. "First you'll have circle time, then work time, and then you'll play on the playground."

Talk your child through the daily schedule at school, including as many details as possible. Talk about what will happen when you drop them off, what kinds of work they will do, when they will eat lunch and play outside, and who will come to get them in the afternoon.

It can help to do this many times so that they become comfortable with the new daily rhythm.

4. "I'll pick you up after playground time."

Give your child a frame of reference for when you will be returning.

If your child can tell time, you can tell them you'll see them at 3:30pm. If they're younger, tell them what will happen right before you pick them up. Perhaps you'll come get them right after lunch, or maybe it's after math class.

Giving this reference point can help reassure them you are indeed coming back and that there is a specific plan for when they will see you again. As the days pass, they'll realize that you come consistently every day when you said you would and their anxieties will ease.

5. "What book do you think your teacher will read when you get to school this morning?"

Find out what happens first in your child's school day and help them mentally transition to that task. In a Montessori school, the children choose their own work, so you might ask about which work your child plans to do first.

If they're in a more traditional school, find an aspect of the school morning they enjoy and talk about that.

Thinking about the whole school day can seem daunting, but helping your child focus on a specific thing that will happen can make it seem more manageable.

6. "Do you think Johnny will be there today?"

Remind your child of the friends they will see when they get to school.

If you're not sure who your child is bonding with, ask the teacher. On the way to school, talk about the children they can expect to see and try asking what they might do together.

If your child is new to the school, it might help to arrange a playdate with a child in their class to help them form strong relationships.

7. "That's a hard feeling. Tell me about it."

While school drop-off is not the time to wallow in the hard feelings of not wanting to go to school, if your child brings up concerns after school or on the weekend, take some time to listen to them.

Children can very easily be swayed by our leading questions, so keep your questions very general and neutral so that your child can tell you what they're really feeling.

They may reveal that they just miss you while they're gone, or may tell you that a certain person or kind of work is giving them anxiety.

Let them know that you empathize with how they feel, but try not to react too dramatically. If you think there is an issue of real concern, talk to the teacher about it, but your reaction can certainly impact the already tentative feelings about going to school.

8. "What can we do to help you feel better?"

Help your child brainstorm some solutions to make them more comfortable with going to school.

Choose a time at home when they are calm. Get out a pen and paper to show that you are serious about this.

If they miss you, would a special note in their pocket each morning help? If another child is bothering them, what could they say or who could they ask for help? If they're too tired in the morning, could an earlier bedtime make them feel better?

Make it a collaborative process, rather than a situation where you're rescuing them, to build their confidence.

9. "What was the best part of your school day?"

Choose a time when your child is not talking about school and start talking about your day. Tell them the best part of your day, then try asking about the best part of their day. Practice this every day.

It's easy to focus on the hardest parts of an experience because they tend to stick out in our minds. Help your child recognize that, even if they don't always want to go, there are likely parts of school they really enjoy.

10. "I can't wait to go to the park together when we get home."

If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, remind them of what you will do together after you pick them up from school.

Even if this is just going home and making dinner, what your child likely craves is time together with you, so help them remember that it's coming.

It is totally normal for children to go through phases when they don't want to go to school. If you're concerned, talk to your child's teacher and ask if they seem happy and engaged once they're in the classroom.

To your child, be there to listen, to help when you can, and to reassure them that their feelings are natural and that they are so capable of facing the challenges of the school day, even when it seems hard.

Back to School

One of the greatest joys of parenting is getting to introduce your baby to the great, big world. Even from a young age, travel can open our eyes to new environments, teach resilience and adaptability and create a meaningful bond between family members.

The problem? The logistics of traveling with a baby can be, well, challenging. For too long, one of the biggest obstacles standing between parents and their traveling plans has been the hassle of managing an infant car seat on our journey.

The new Nuna PIPA lite rx is changing all that. The Nuna PIPA lite rx is an infant car seat made for everyday life and more enjoyable adventures. With a combination of features that make travel easier, you can skip the question of "how" to go with your baby and move onto asking "where" to go.

From trips around the corner to trips across the country, the new Nuna PIPA lite rx car seat solves so many pain points of traveling with a baby. Here's why you'll love it...

It is amazingly light-weight

We're all for a good workout—just not every time we need to carry the car seat. Weighing in at just 6.9 lbs., the PIPA lite rx truly earns the title of lightweight champion. Combined with a luxe leatherette handle for comfortably carrying in your hand or the crook of your arm, this dreamy travel car seat is great at getting from Point A to Point B—whether you're in the car or not.

It is incredibly safe and secure from day one

With an additional GOTS™ certified infant insert and harness covers, 7-position height-adjustable no-rethread headrest, Aeroflex™ foam and side-impact protection, you can travel with the confidence that your baby is well-protected from your baby's first ride and beyond. And because any parent knows the trickiest part of travel is getting baby in and out of the car seat, the PIPA lite rx simplifies the task: The 5-point no-rethread harness can be held to the side with magnetic buckle holders while you're getting your baby in or out of the seat. (Meaning no more searching for straps under a wiggly baby!)

Your baby will be cozy for longer excursions

When it comes to keeping your little travel companion content, comfort is the name of the game. With foam cushions and a memory foam headrest, your little explorer will have the best seat in the car when buckled in. For a little extra privacy, pull down the breathable Dream Drape and quietly attach it to the side of the car seat with magnets. Or, enjoy some time in the sun without concerns about harsh rays with the full-coverage UPF 50+ canopy.

Base or belt... the decision is yours

The Nuna PIPA lite rx offers two ways to secure the seat to the car: with the (included) PIPA RELX base or by buckling in through the belt path on the infant car seat with the vehicle's seat belt, meaning one less thing to take along when you travel by taxi or airplane. Better yet, the car seat securely installs in just seconds so you can get on with the adventure.

Stroll on with the full travel system

Compatible with Nuna's extensive line of strollers, the Nuna PIPA lite rx lets you create a travel system that works for your lifestyle. From single strollers to rides that can grow with your family, you can click the Nuna PIPA lite rx into place and go—wherever your travels might take you.

The Nuna PIPA lite rx is available now in two color options. Take a closer look at this fully featured infant seat on nunababy.com.

This article is sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.
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15 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are 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 indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


Stomp Racers

As longtime fans of Stomp Rockets, we're pretty excited about their latest launch–Stomp Racers. Honestly, the thrill of sending things flying through the air never gets old. Parents and kids alike can spend hours launching these kid-powered cars which take off via a stompable pad and hose.

$19.99

Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don't think it will be put away too often!)

$139

Secret Agent play set

Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Stepping Stones

Stepping-stones

Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.

$99.99

Sand play set

B. toys Wagon & Beach Playset - Wavy-Wagon Red

For the littlest ones, it's easy to keep it simple. Take their sand box toys and use them in the bath! This 12-piece set includes a variety of scoops, molds and sifters that can all be stored in sweet little wagon.

$17.95

Sensory play set

kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

Filled with sand or water, this compact-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.

$19.95

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

Foam pogo stick

Flybar-my-first-foam-pogo-stick

Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

$16.99

Dumptruck 

green-toys-dump-truck

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.

$22

Hopper ball

Hopper ball

Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

$14.99

Pull-along ducks

janod-pull-along-wooden-ducks

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.

$16.99

Rocking chair seesaw

Slidewhizzer-rocking-chair-seesaw

This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

$79.99

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.

$79.99

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.

$24.75

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

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30 stylish diaper bags that don't look like diaper bags

Is a cute, trendy diaper bag that doesn't scream, well...DIAPER BAG, too much to ask?

Babies come with a lot of stuff. And when you're out and about, a roomy, comfy diaper bag is the place for everything you need to be prepared for whatever the day throws your way. But is a cute, trendy diaper bag that doesn't scream, well... DIAPER BAG, too much to ask? It's not, mamas.

We've rounded up our favorite diaper bags that don't actually look like diaper bags, but instead like the cute, super stylish bags you might have carried before the days of finding crushed up puffs at the bottom of your purse.

These diaper bags prove you can get the job done, mama—and look darn good while doing it.


Momkindness Carry-All Tote

momkindness-carry-all-tote

The Momkindess Carry All Tote Trio not only holds everything you need during your travels with a brilliant 3-in-1 design that consists of a tote, organizer and removable diaper clutch (for when you just need the essentials!), it's also made from stylish and easy-to-clean glazed canvas—so you won't have to stress about the inevitable spills. And if you want to make it even more unique, check out their gorgeous woven straps that allow it to be carried as a shoulder bag or backpack.

$140

Dagne Dover Indi Diaper Backpack

Dagne-dover-indi-diaper-backpack

The Dagne Dover diaper bag is the Mary Poppins of diaper bags, with slick mesh slim pockets inside of a structured and stretchy backpack that feels like it can hold everything. Made of an easy-to-clean premium neoprene fabric (what the brand is known for), the inside is a true treasure trove of goodies, including a fold-out changing mat, zipper pouch, and even a laptop sleeve. (And if you dig the style but don't need to lug around all the things for all the people, it comes in two smaller sizes as well.)

$195

Fisher-Price Morgan Quilted Backpack

fisher-price-morgan-quilted-backpack

Four and half stars and hundreds of reviews suggest this affordable bag hits all the marks. It not only features plenty of pockets to keep everything organized, it can also keep three bottles or sippy cups cold in the insulated front pocket!

$39.99

Parker Clay Mari Backpack

parker-clay-mari-backpack

This is the diaper bag you'll use throughout your baby-slinging days, into the older years and still have it kicking around when they have kiddos. Sustainably crafted from premium Ethiopian full grain leather, Parker Clay's Mari Backpack is designed for all stages of parenthood with bottle holders, six pockets for essentials, stroller straps and a padded laptop sleeve. It's durable, made-to-last, and gets better with age. (Just like you, mama.) And if all that's not enough to steal your heart, Parker Clay's social mission might be. Their Ethiopian factories employ at-risk women, providing them a safe work environment and livable wage along with the opportunity to learn and develop new skills and advance their careers.

$328

Petunia Pickle Bottom Pivot

petunia-pickle-bottom-pivot-diaper-back-pack

This two-tone canvas bag could not be prettier. We love that it easily stands upright when set down, and that it's super functional as a diaper bag yet super stylish as an everyday purse.

$159

Anjie + Ash Crossbody Parent Bag

ANJIE + ASH  Crossbody Parent Bag

Once you get the hang of things, mama, you might find that you want to pare things down and only carry around the essentials. This crossbody bag feels more like a purse than anything else, but has ample room for the necessities: inside fits up to six diapers, wipes, a phone, wallet, snacks, and the outside has pockets for two bottles.

$99

Mina Baie Vegan Kinney

mini baie vegan diaper backpack

Keep your options open, mama. This chic bag can be worn as a crossbody, tote, or backpack. With its minimal, top-loading design, all your essentials stay easy to access, no digging required.

$179

TWELVElittle LOVE Diaper Tote

Twelve-little-love-diaper-tote

Are you off to brunch, or taking your toddlers to the zoo? No one will be the wiser, mamas. We love the quilted look, padded straps, and roomy interior.

$139

WSEL Bags The Jett Diaper Bag

wsel-diaper-bag

This one's built for the entire family. The insulated bottle pockets, safe padded laptop space and USB charging port make it the perfect accessory for daily errands while its impressive capacity and 18(!) pockets makes it perfect for week-long trips.

$159.95

Caraa Baby Bag 

caara-baby-bag

We admit it. We're totally obsessed with all things Caraa. Their chic city aesthetic is perfect for any occasion whether you're exploring Paris or (let's be more realistic) carting small people from daycare to home and back again. The Baby Bag features plenty of pockets for all the things along including an insulated exterior pocket to keep things hot or cold and can be worn backpack or cross-body style.

$275

State Kane Double Pocket Large

State-kane-double-pocket-large

State makes some of the most high-quality, go-anywhere bags on the market. While this isn't technically a diaper bag, it has all the trappings of a parent-friendly backpack. Two separate main pockets keep things organized while generous side pockets can easily accommodate bottles and sippy cups. What's more, each State Bag sold helps support American children and families in need.

$115

Herschel Strand Tote Sprout

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This bag feels like a cooler and way more modern version of what Mary Poppins would carry. It's big enough to carry everything you need for an entire day out, ideal for having when you travel by plane, but also still super stylish and cool that it won't interfere with your #OOTD. It includes a good-sized changing pad with and inspiring message.

$99.99

JuJuBe Be Right Back

Jujube-be-right-back-backpack

From day care drop off to work and back again, this mighty backpack is ready to carry anything and everything (including your laptop!). And because we've all known the horror of finding a forgotten snack in the bottom of a bag, we're big fans of the silver-ion treated interior, which resists bacteria, mold and mildew.

$175

7AM Soho Diaper Satchel

7am soho diaper satchel

I'm a huge fan of 7AM Enfant products because they last forever. This diaper bag is no exception, after three kids and being tossed around in multiple strollers, trunks and plane floors, it's still looking fabulous. It comes with multiple pockets for you to stay super organized, plus, it includes stroller straps for easy installment onto any stroller and easy access to the inside of the bag.

$75

Kibou Fanny Pack

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If you are a minimalist mom and hate carrying big bags when going for just a quick outing, this fanny pack is everything you ever dreamed of. Small, but mighty, it comes with a changing pad that will come to your rescue when you need it, a pocket for dirty clothes (or diapers if you have nowhere to throw them out) because blow outs happen when you least expect them, and a small pouch for your cellphone and keys. We've taken this one hiking (with twins!) and it's the best!

$75.65

Fawn Design Original

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Stylish and versatile, this bag can be worn as a cross body or as a backpack. It's roomy without being bulky, and has a total of 10 pockets for awesome storage.

$169.99

Baby K’tan Flex Convertible Diaper Bag

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Parents rave about this bag because it can be worn three ways: as a messenger, on the shoulder, or as a backpack. But beyond versatility, the Baby K'tan Flex is all about hidden storage solutions, with nine handy pockets and a built-in insulated cooler big enough to hold roughly three 8-ounce bottles and a sippy cup. If you've ever left the house for hours on end and needed to keep a lot of milk chilled, this is the bag for you.

$59.99

Rose in April Raphael Heart Diaper Bag Khaki

Raphael Heart Diaper Bag Khaki

If you want a diaper bag that can double as your own personal weekender, this is it. It's a practical everyday bag, with two slim exterior pockets that you can slide small items into, and a coated cotton waterproof interior punctuated by roomy pockets. Who says diaper bags should only be for diapers?!

$95

Luli Bebé Monaco Diaper Bag 

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With its top-loading design and stylish silhouette, the newly launched Monaco from Luli Bebé is as functional as it is gorgeous. It's got nine pockets to keep you organized and knob base feet to keep it clean and upright when you set it down. And while it may look luxe, it doesn't mean it's fragile! The exterior can easily be wiped down with a damp cloth.

$159

Paperclip Willow Recycled Ocean Plastic Convertible Backpack

paperclip-willow-recycled-ocean-plastic-diaper-backpack

This bag is seriously ready for anything. Playground trips, darting around the city, surviving a zombie apocalypse...you name it. Not only does it feature ample storage including a padded laptop compartment and suitcase pass-thru, but it also has an integrated changing station that provides privacy and security with built-in sidewalls (which can easily detach when it's time to be cleaned.) And if that's not impressive enough, it's made from recycled ocean plastic, making it as good for the environment as it is for parents.

$199

Freshly Picked City Pack

Freshly Picked City Pack

This simple, modern backpack can easily take you from a day at work to dinner with the kiddos. We love the hardware details, the lightweight design, and the hidden back pocket.

$175

Vogshow Waterproof Bag

Vogshow Waterproof Diaper Bag

A sleek look, plus a padded laptop compartment, anti-theft and insulated pockets and magnetic buttons instead of zippers. 🙌

$44.99

Skip Hop Travel Bag

Skip Hop Travel Bag

With a large zippered main compartment, there's plenty of room to keep all of the things. We love the adjustable straps—you can wear as a backpack, cross-body, messenger bag, or attach to the stroller.

$97.99

Mommore Diaper Backpack

Mommore Diaper Backpack

With a water resistant exterior, wet clothes pocket and a main compartment that completely opens up, you'll love having this to tote around.

$32.99

JJ Cole Brookmont

JJ Cole Cognac Diaper Bag

As stunning as it is functional. It has 15 pockets and a removable liner on the inside so you can easily clean up messes in no time.

$83.99

Ticent Tote

Ticent-Diaper-Bag

With over 4K reviews, this one has incredible ratings. It offers multiple pockets, including an insulated one for snacks or bottles. The waterproof cotton material is ideal for those inevitable spills.

$27.99

Skip Hop Greenwich Backpack

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No one would ever know this bag is packed full of baby's items. 😉

$93.99

Humble Bee all heart convertible diaper bag

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This bag can go from backpack to tote bag in no time, perfect for anyone in the family to use on the go. This multi-functional bag does it all with spacious compartments, several pockets for enhanced organization, and all-essential accessories included.

$69.98

Babymel Robyn

Babymel Robyn Diaper Backpack

We love everything about this effortlessly stylish faux leather backpack. It's easy to wipe down, converts to a cross body bag, and even comes with a changing pad and drawstring bottle holder.

$90

Skip Hop Iconic Duo

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The timeless chevron on this 11-pocket bag means it will never go out of style, and the durable cotton canvas means it will stand up to years of use.

$65

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To my friends who had kids before me: I am sorry I didn’t know

But now that I'm a mother, I do know. And I promise to pay it forward.

I have never felt more fiercely loved than in the days, weeks and months after my baby girl was born. I felt immense love from everyone in my life, but the love I felt from other mothers was different. It came from deep-seeded understanding and empathy. It came from heartfelt celebration and excitement.

It came from a place that only another mother can relate to.


I recall one very emotional day when my daughter was about a week old. I had been going through the throes of triple feeding coupled with the height of what I assume you would call the baby blues.

My sister sat on the couch with me as I painstakingly tried to pump through severe engorgement, and as she rubbed my shoulders, encouraging me to make it through just one more feeding session, I broke down in tears and told her I was so sorry.

She looked at me shocked. Why, exactly, was I apologizing?

It is so simple to see now—in those moments of raw motherhood, my sister was able to love me in a way that no one else could because she had been there before.

While feeling overwhelmed with gratitude to have her in my life, I suddenly felt so much sadness that I hadn't been able to love my sister in the same way when she was walking through early motherhood.

And so many moments followed that one, moments that made me feel immensely lucky to be surrounded by what can only be described as the best humans on earth, followed by the realization that I wish I could have done so much more, and felt so much more, for my dear friends in their early days of motherhood.

So, to my friends who had kids before me: I am sorry.

To my sister who tried for months to breastfeed her son and spent countless hours with lactation consultants and feeding groups, I am sorry I didn't understand how something as simple as feeding your child could make you feel like a failure. I am sorry that I did not wrap you in the biggest hug every day and tell you that you are a great mom and that if you need to cry about it, it is okay.

To my friend with the baby in the NICU, I am sorry I didn't realize that behind the text saying you were "okay" and "didn't need anything," that nothing would've made a bigger difference than a warm meal and hot coffee dropped off to the front desk of the hospital. I knew you were a strong warrior mom (all NICU moms are), but now I know that even warrior moms need someone listening to what they aren't saying.

To my friends who lost their sweet babies before they arrived, I am so sorry that I never knew how much you could love someone you have never met. I am sorry that I couldn't even come close to imagining your pain and sadness until I felt my own daughter wiggle in my belly, and even then, I still couldn't. Saying I am sorry will never be enough to encompass the pain you are feeling, so I hope saying "I love you" will let you know I am here.

To my friends with the sick children, I am sorry I never fully understood the heart-wrenching agony of seeing your child in pain until I saw my own heart beating outside my body in my beautiful daughter. You are the bravest type of mom there is, and I know there is nothing you wouldn't sacrifice for your child. You hold up the world, but when you need someone to hold you up, I am here.

To my friend who confided in me that she was struggling with postpartum depression, I am sorry I did not know just how heavy that anxiety felt on your heart. I am sorry I didn't understand the darkness you experienced every night when you went to bed and the desperation of wondering when it would all go away.

To my friend who sent me the Starbucks card and heartfelt message on my first day back from maternity leave, I am sorry I didn't take more time to check in with you when you came back to work. I loved looking at photos of your beautiful baby and hearing about her life, but I should've spent more time checking in on you and making sure you felt loved and appreciated, especially as you made the adjustment back to work.

These wonderful, beautiful women have taught me so much. And while I didn't know, I do now. My understanding was almost instantaneous the moment I became a mom, and the sisterhood of motherhood has carried me through the difficult times and celebrated alongside me during the good.

To be loved without pretense or judgment is what this sisterhood is all about, and you just don't know until you experience it for yourself.

I am sorry I didn't know, but I promise to pay it forward each and every day.

This this story was originally published on May 24, 2018. It has been updated.

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