I would never trade my life, but sometimes I'm jealous of moms who don't have babies anymore

They weren't physical things I coveted. Oh no. What I coveted most were ease and freedom.

I would never trade my life, but sometimes I'm jealous of moms who don't have babies anymore

I am not a jealous person. I am extremely satisfied with my life. I think of my journey as a very extraordinary, ordinary one.

I have an amazing husband, who is an outstanding father to our three wonderful children. We live in a very nice home, in a fabulous community, that is near the beach, in Charleston, South Carolina (consistently voted one of the best cities in the world). Although I almost always wish to lose a few pounds, I am generally pleased with my body. I love my friends. I love my job. I am healthy. I am happy. I am blessed.

If someone gets new boots, I may think they are nice and wish I had a pair, but I don't covet. If someone remodels their kitchen, I may salivate over their gorgeous backsplash, but I don't get angry when I enter my own kitchen and stare at our tile from 1999. If a Facebook friend posts stunning pictures of their tropical vacation, I may google and "dream plan" a similar trip for myself, but I do not cry over the fact that I am not there.

But there was a time, well, actually, there have been three times, when I have become consumed with jealousy. I am talking all-out covetousness, enviousness, green-eyed monster, jealousy. And these three times all coincided with the times when my children were babies.

They weren't physical things I coveted. Oh no. What I coveted most were ease and freedom. I would see a seemingly carefree woman casually running on the trail behind my house while I sat in a chair nursing my baby and I would feel such rage thinking, why can't that be me?

I'd enter the grocery store with a baby in a car seat carrier, a diaper bag on my shoulder, and no place to put the milk, while the woman next to me bee-bopped in with her basket on her hip and her phone to her ear and I found myself shooting evil-eyed envy her way.

And I didn't reserve these feelings for strangers—my friends were also fair game.

If we had a chance to meet another couple for dinner with older kids and they said, "Oh, we just gave the babysitter we found on Facebook $30 for pizza and told her to make sure the kids go to bed at some point tonight" (while I had spent days interviewing and researching potential caregivers and left them with a dissertation on how to care for the baby), I wanted to reach across the table and throat punch my "friends" for their nonchalant attitude towards the challenge that is finding a suitable babysitter.

If you are like I was and are living in these depths of despair, fear not. It will not be like this forever. Soon, very soon, you will be the mama running down the trail with nothing but an iPod. Or the mama talking on her cell while picking out eggs. Or the couple that actually enjoys going out to dinner and can do so without hours of investigations beforehand.

You will return to a life where you have time for you and you alone. I promise.

But you know what is wild? When you are out of this baby stage and when you are able to enjoy life a little bit again, you WILL miss these days.

You actually will feel pangs of jealousy when you pass the mama juggling the shopping cart cover and sippy cup in Target.

You will look longingly at the mama running on the trail while pushing the stroller.

You will smile with a bittersweet recollection when your friends describe their trials and tribulations at finding a suitable nanny.

Because you will remember all the times that weren't so tough. You will remember the giggles that came while you pushed the shopping cart. You will remember the baby coos you heard coming from the stroller while you were jogging.

You will remember the times you couldn't wait to get home from dinner so you could peer into the baby's crib to watch their little chests rise up and down. You will remember the smell of them while you held them close because they couldn't stand being in the store for another second. And you will remember their little finger wrapped around yours while you nursed them.

Yes, mama, you will get your life back. And you will love it. And feel relief. But you will never again have the precious moments you have now. So, please, try to be patient and take time to enjoy all the goodness before you return to that carefree life you once had.

Because with your freedom, comes your child's freedom, too—and that, mama, will make you truly green with envy for the life you once knew.

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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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9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.


Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.


Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.


The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.


The Snoo bassinet


Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!


Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.


Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!


Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.


Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.


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


It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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