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I'm training for a triathlon and feeling how truly strong my 'mom bod' is

For the first time in nine years I'm not pregnant or nursing a baby.

I'm training for a triathlon and feeling how truly strong my 'mom bod' is

I feel like I'm going to vomit. My friend who runs marathons told me, “When you feel like you're going to throw up, keep pushing for three or four more minutes. It will increase your stamina," so I've been running through that pukey feeling. I'm slower than most of the girls in my group, but I'm getting faster. See, I remember that pukey feeling from those 10, 12, 15 hours of labor. I got this.

For the first time in nine years I'm not pregnant or nursing a baby, but out with my friends. I stop at one glass of Malbec and, instead of staying out to dance, I head home. I get out of bed at five o'clock to work out.

“But why?" my friend asks. Here's my answer:

I don't do it because my 4-year-old said, "Your butt looks like it got poked all over." (Yeah, that's cellulite). She's also said, “You're the strongest, Mommy," and, “You look so beautiful, I love how you look," and, “Do the dance again, Mommy!" Not one of my kids care about a couple dimples on my booty, especially when we're shaking them.

I don't do it so my body is beach ready. My body is beach ready when I put on my bathing suit and sunblock.

When I was pregnant with my third, the doctor came in (with a cute intern) and pointed at my belly. “What's this?" he asked. Um, a stretch mark Mr O.B., perhaps you've seen them before? Yes, it's unusually large, but surely you're aware.

Anyway, if I can be humiliated by the doctor and be okay about my bod, I think I can handle anyone at the beach.

I don't do it because my stomach is mush. I think my stomach will always be squashy, no matter how many planks I do. I remember when planking wasn't a thing, and I liked it better. All my babies have slept on that belly, snuggled up, their little heads on my heart. It's a comfy tummy.

I don't do it to decrease stress. I use naps, orgasms and wine for that. Also, my kids sometimes set up a “spa" for me in the bathroom. I lie on the damp, dirty bathroom rug while the four of them rub my back with hot washcloths and sweet-smelling bottles of hotel lotion. Paradise.

I don't do it for my husband. He likes big butts and he cannot lie. He has seen me make and subsequently give him four human beings. I mean, after that, running a couple miles kind of fast is pretty inconsequential.

Yes, I'm setting a good example for my kids. Yes, I feel better. And yes, I'm becoming that person who is a little grumpy when I don't work out.

None of these things are really why either, though.

I'm training for a triathlon, my first. Pre-kids, I used to think, “Wow! Those people are amazing, I could never do that." But I'm doing it. I'm doing it now because, after pushing out four babies, nourishing them with only my body, lifting them to the branch so they could climb, pushing, pulling, and dragging them screaming out of countless grocery stores, carrying their sleeping bodies from the car and up a thousand stairs to bed, catching them whenever they were going to fall, all that and raising them up, I finally know the strength of my body.

Please don't tell me how to get my body back. My body has been here all along, growing human beings. I never knew how capable I was until those four tiny people gave me this extraordinary gift: they gave me my mom body.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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Life