The anti-mom-judgment movement is well underway; people are acknowledging how judgmental we are with other mothers, and taking a stance against it.

It's great, but it's not enough.

If it were enough, 85% of moms would not feel that society isn't supporting them.

If it were enough, mothers would not have to balance the pressure of trying to breastfeed with living in a society in which 61% of people do not think women should breastfeed in restaurants.

If it were enough, policies would exist that protect the 25% of women that have to go back to work two weeks after they give birth.


If it were enough, mothers would not face the relentless burnout that comes from having to defend their parenting choices, over and over and over again.

Anti-mom-judgment is good, but it's time to take that one step further—we need to not only stop judging others, we need to empathize with them. Because if we truly empathized with one another, motherhood would be a whole lot better.

Empathy is when we put ourselves in someone else's shoes. When we understand, to the extent that we are able, what someone else is feeling. When we sympathize, we feel bad for someone. When we empathize, we feel with someone.

If we feel with someone, it will be much harder to judge them.

So here at Motherly, we are committing to empathy.

Empathy for the woman that had an unplanned pregnancy.
Empathy for the woman that has had losses and fertility struggles.
Empathy for the woman that does not want to be a mother.
Empathy for the woman whose relationships looks very different from yours.
Empathy for the woman that had a very different birth experience from yours.
Empathy for the woman that feeds her baby differently than you did.
Empathy for the woman that feels differently about careers and motherhood than you do.
Empathy for the woman that makes different medical decisions than you do.
Empathy for the woman that votes for someone you don't like.
Empathy for the woman that has a very different day-to-day existence based on the color of her skin.

We are committing to listening.
We are committing to engaging in the conversation.
We are committing to feeling with

There is a lot that is broken for mothers in our society right now.

Mom burnout.
Gender inequality.
Enormous racial disparities.

And so much more.

These issues did not develop overnight, and they will certainly not be solved easily or quickly—but we must do something now.

And it starts with empathy.

That's why Motherly shares stories and ideas from a diverse group of experts, parents, and women.

That's why Motherly will challenge guidelines that do not allow for comprehensive education on all the ways women choose to feed their babies.

It's why we have created a Safe Space for women to share and learn about controversial issues, such as abortion.

Our country is fraught with divisiveness. So many people are saying that they are just going to "disengage from it all" because no one is listening, no one is trying… no one is being empathetic.

If we keep shouting from our soapboxes without listening to what others have to say from theirs.

If we continue to isolate ourselves from the people who feel differently than we do.

If we forget as humans that every person on this planet has their own story, that is complex and beautiful and hard.

How are we going to make it?

In the 2019 State of Motherhood Survey, you told us that the value that was more important to instill in our children is kindness. Guess where it starts, mama. We must be kinder, and we must be more empathetic.

Even though some people may be naturally more empathetic, empathy is a quality that we are all born with. For example, studies have found that when babies and very young children see someone they love experiencing pain, they get upset.

But over time, we lose our empathetic abilities.

In fact, research has found that by the time children reach college, their empathy levels have decreased by 40%—a number that is getting worse as time passes, not better.

Some of this is inevitable. As we grow and become more consumed with our own lives, it becomes harder to find the bandwidth to deeply feel for everyone around us. There is likely an evolutionarily protective factor going on here as well—if our primate ancestors responded empathetically every time they saw one of their peers getting attacked by a predator, and ran in to save them as if they were saving themselves, our lineages wouldn't have made it too far. Being self-focused has its place in evolution.

Empathy is also uncomfortable, and the fatigue is real. To take on the pain of someone else is to introduce more pain into your own life. And given how burnt out moms are already, it is understandable to adding additional stressors is not at the top of the priority list.

Lastly, full empathy is not entirely possible. As much as I listen, read, and learn, I am never going to really understand what it is like to be a black woman facing the disparities of maternal mortality in this country. As long as I have the privilege of tucking my children into their beds at night, I am never going to embody the angst of a mother at the border who is still separated from her child. Ramsey McNabb writes that "to presume to know how another person feels is to strip that person of his or her separateness and uniqueness. It is especially offensive to people who have been victims of one form or another of oppression when members of the privileged group claim to know how they feel."

But that doesn't mean we don't try to understand more than we do.

And try we must, because it is the only thing that is going to make motherhood better for all of us.

In the thousands of ways that we are different—in the thousands of ways we can misunderstand and judge and hate—those are the opportunities for empathy.

You have forever been our biggest source of inspiration, so we want to hear from you. Use hashtag #empathyinmotherhood and share your experiences with empathy—the times you have felt it, and the times you needed more.

Join #teammotherly in our quest for empathy in motherhood. It's the only way this is going to get better.

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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.


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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

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

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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