I am so thankful for this beautiful chaos that is motherhood

Three little kids, a husband, a full time job, a house, a dog, and 1,000 other random things that require my attention—it's a lot. A lot of chaos, a lot of mess, and lot of exhaustion.

I am so thankful for this beautiful chaos that is motherhood

I do a lot of deep sighing throughout the day.

I'd like to tell you it's because I am practicing some deep mindful reflection and breathing, but more often than not it's more of an, Okay mama, three hours 'til bedtime, you've got this breathing.

Three little kids, a husband, a full time job, a house, a dog, and 1,000 other random things that require my attention—it's a lot. A lot of chaos, a lot of mess, and lot of exhaustion.

But there is so much beauty in that chaos—so much. And when I really stop and think about what it means, it takes my breath away.

I am thankful for a hamper full of little pants, jeans with grass stains on them, because it means my kids are playing out in nature.

I am thankful for a sink full of dirty dishes because it means we have food to eat.

I am thankful for the back-and-forth-and-back-again driving I do, because it means that my kids get to go to school and receive an education.

I am thankful for coffee. So very, very thankful ☕️.

I am thankful for the never-ending stream of "Why? Why? Why?" because it means my children are passionately curious about the world.

I am thankful for doctor appointments, because it means we have access to medical care.

I am thankful for a whole house to clean because it means I have a home.

I am thankful that I have to invent thousands of ways to say, "Wow that's amazing!" when my kids show me stuff because it means they want me involved in their lives.

I am thankful that my kids think cereal for dinner is, "So silly, mommy!" instead of, "Come on that's pretty lazy, mom."

I am thankful that my husband doesn't notice when I get my hair done because he thinks I'm pretty anyway.

I am thankful for feeling so gross when I have a cold because it means that when I don't have a cold, I feel really good and healthy.

I am thankful for deadlines and meetings and work-induced stress, because it means I have a job I love that's really important to me.

I am thankful for warm sweaters on cold days .

I am thankful for the constant clutter because it means that we have more than we need, and not less than.

I am thankful for never feeling like I have enough time in the day because it means my life is full.

I am thankful for missing my friends because it means I have relationships worth feeling sad over.

I am thankful for Target. Because Target.

I am thankful for the times my daughter talks back to me because it means she feels confident enough to stand up for herself.

I am thankful for the times my middle guy demands I kiss him 174 times before I walk out the door even when—especially when—I am already late, because it means... well, it means everything.

I am thankful for the times my youngest guy burrows his head in my neck and won't let me put him down because it means he feels safe with me.

I am thankful that my husband gets upset when we don't spend enough time together because it means I have a partner who loves me ❤️.

I am thankful for the outrage that I witness about the current state of the world because it means I live in a community that still cares.

I am thankful for when my dad calls me three times in one weekend to remind me to get my flu shot because it means I have parents who still want to take care of me.

I am thankful for my dog because he's just really stinking cute.

I am thankful for the constant self-battle to stop spending so much time on my phone because it means I have access to information and technology.

I am thankful when my kids are way more excited to see Daddy than me because it means I picked the best father in the world for them.

I am thankful for red wine and fireplaces and cheese.

I am thankful for the absolute exhaustion I feel at the end of the day because it means I LIVED my life.

I am thankful for the tiny hands and loud voices that wake me up way too early every morning because my goodness I can't imagine my life without them.

I am thankful that I'm learning to find the beauty in the chaos. Because there is a lot of chaos—but there is also so much beauty.

I am thankful to have had another year to spend with my family. A year full of tantrums, and picky eating, and messes, and "I don't want to wear this itchy sweater"s, and "Moooo-oooom, I need more toilet paper"s...

Because it means that I am the luckiest mom in the whole world. Sigh.

These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

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

Our Partners

The one thing your family needs to practice gratitude

And a tradition you'll want to keep for years.

Gracious Gobbler

I think I can speak for well, basically everyone on planet earth when I say things have been a bit stressful lately. Juggling virtual school, work and the weight of worry about all the things, it's increasingly difficult to take even a moment to be grateful and positive these days. It's far easier to fall into a grump cycle, nagging my kids for all the things they didn't do (after being asked nine times), snapping at their bickering and never really acknowledging the good stuff.

But the truth is, gratitude and appreciation is the kind of medicine we need now more than ever—and not just because the season is upon us. For one thing, practicing gratitude is a scientifically proven way to boost our happiness, health and relationships. More importantly, we need to ensure we're cultivating it in our children even when things are challenging. Especially when things are challenging.

I'm ready to crank the thankfulness up a few dozen notches and reboot our family's gratitude game so we can usher out 2020 on a fresh note. So, I've called in some reinforcements.

Enter: the Gracious Gobbler.

Keep reading Show less

Dear 2020 baby: Thank you

This year has been a mess. But you've been the light in the darkness.

Sweet 2020 baby,

I just want to say thank you.

Because in many ways, this year has been a mess.

A bit of a disaster, really.

But you.

You've been the light in the darkness.

Keep reading Show less