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Something very strange happens to *time* when you become a mom for the first time

Whatever happened, wherever she eventually went, this was it. We were it.

Something very strange happens to *time* when you become a mom for the first time

Before ever becoming a mom, I thought I had parenting down—pah ha ha!


Let me give you some background. I’d spent nine years working with children and families before I became pregnant with my daughter. I knew kids, I loved kids—what could possibly go wrong?

I took to pregnancy with relative ease. With only mild sickness and a newly developed love for chocolate milk I enjoyed the swell of my belly and bathed in the excitement of our impending arrival. We created a beautiful nursery, purchased teeny tiny clothes and keenly attended our birth preparation classes.

Long (very long) story, short. Despite the classes I was not prepared for birth. I distinctly remember seeing my daughter for the first time and being overwhelmed not by love but by pure, unadulterated relief and exhaustion.

This relief was short lived. My first lesson?

The actual act of giving birth is a drop in the ocean of parenting.

Despite a dedicated obsession with birth for my final months of pregnancy I rapidly understood that the wailing infant in front of me was less concerned with her mode of arrival than she was with adjusting to this new place she called home. I’m certain that there were times when we both wished she could just pop back inside for a few hours break.

I distinctly remember the moment when reality hit.

Three weeks in, I was staring at the clock on the kitchen wall. It said 11am but I knew that was wrong because this day had literally gone on forever. I can recall the feeling of growing panic as I assessed the number of hours until my husband would come home. I looked back and forth between my daughter and the clock, my sleep deprived brain attempting to solve the problem.

And then it hit: this isn’t going to end.

That might seem rather obvious. Not that this day would go on forever or even that I would always have a baby—but that I would never again be who I was before. I would never stop being this little person’s mother. Whatever happened, wherever she eventually went, this was it. We were it.

Never before in my life had there been a situation so permanent. Sure, there’d been jobs and relationships that seemed hard to leave for one reason or another but always blinking in the background was the exit door, ready and waiting.

As I sat there that day in my kitchen, staring at the clock, there was no exit in sight. Frankly, it was terrifying.

I can only tell you, as most new mothers can, that the following few weeks were a blur. Time became both the most important factor and the least.

I could tell you how long since she last fed or slept but had no concept of being in rhythm with the outside world. I watched people walk to work and couldn’t remember what it felt like to start a day.

Long dark night feeds blurred into hazy endless days. Everything was simultaneously in slow motion and sped up. Six-weeks-old already, but how long have I been sat on the sofa? Who knows?

It became easier, as it does. Chrysalis-like, we emerged from those foggy days as partners. Our days began to acquire rhythm. We left the house before noon. She become alive in the world and I watched every second.

Endless people told me how fast it goes. ‘Not at 5am’, I would counter in my head, flashing what I hoped was a maternal smile.

Two and a half years later I understand a little more what they meant. I see my little girl and those foggy baby days seem distant.

I am beginning to feel ready for another baby. To plunge back into the endless night and lose a little of myself for a while because now I understand something else.

I’m never going to be the person I was before but also, becoming a mother has made me more myself than I thought possible.

But I still can’t tell you how the time thing works. That’s a mystery.

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

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.

$88

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com 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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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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