‘The days are long but the years are short’—but the days are L-O-N-G

In this stage of life, the days can go how-is-it-only-noon-but-I-feel-like-I’ve-lived-a-thousand-lives slow.

‘The days are long but the years are short’—but the days are L-O-N-G

“The days are long but the years are short," and, “Oh it goes so fast! Enjoy every minute!"

What they say is actually true. I know.

I've watched my firstborn baby zoom into preschooler mode. I do not know where the last four years have gone. It really, truly does go fast when you look back.

I mean, quite often, by 9 am I've already negotiated a clothing debacle (putting clothes on to go outside can be a very unreasonable request to a 2-year-old), broken up a sister skirmish, vacuumed the floor from the Cheerios incident and nursed the baby four times.

But when you're in it?

When you're in it, it can go real slooooow. Like, how-is-it-only-noon-but-I-feel-like-I've-lived-a-thousand-lives slow.

As a mom of three kids under four, every day feels like I've done everything, but I haven't really done anything for myself yet.

By 10 am

I've heard my own voice ask my children to brush their teeth and put their sock and shoes (back) on at least six times. I've remembered to write out a check for soccer class, dug out the winter hats and gloves, added more diapers to the diaper bag, brushed my teeth, replied to five text messages, finally ordered thank you notes on Amazon and put the same load of laundry that's been sitting in the washer machine on for the third time to get rid of the mildew smell (again.)

By noon

I've gotten the kids into their car seats, fueled up on caffeine with a drive-through coffee (bye, money!), settled the great snack debate (don't worry, I literally have enough veggie sticks for everyone and their mama), changed a couple of diapers, sang Spaghetti Eddie songs at *just the right pitch and decibel* to please my tiny audience, found and turned on the baby shusher to soothe my crying infant, gotten the kids out of the car and 10 minutes late to soccer, and answered 57 questions.

I've also paused to wonder if I'm doing anything right.

If my children appreciate what I do for them?

If my husband understands the rat race that is my daily life?

By 3 pm

I've fed my children lunch, ate something on the fly, gotten my daughter to and from preschool, signed up for parent volunteer slots, gotten my younger two down for naps, downed more coffee (an IV would be helpful, I'm not going to lie), called the doctor back, helped my friend make a big decision through an intense text conversation, ordered a few shirts that might be comfortable and look semi-decent since purging things that don't fit (aka pretty much everything), meal planned, and nursed the baby about eight times.

By 4 pm

I often wonder where the energy will come from for the rest of the night. I've debated more coffee. I've texted my husband to ask him which train he'll be on and I'll wonder if I am going to be able to survive another two and a half hours...

I've day dreamed about having enough energy for a date night when my husband got home.

I've decided to peruse the internet for a new top to wear for girl's night out—if we can ever find a date that works.

I've decided I really do need to get out soon.

By 6 pm

I've cooked and served dinner, I've broken up roughly 10 arguments, I have found the right babydoll that goes with the pretty red dress, I've negotiated Bubble Guppy watching and I've vacuumed (again.)

By 8 pm

I've had a 20-minute chat with my husband, nursed the baby three times, explained why one can't eat an entire bag of chocolate chips, watched a meltdown over the wrong pajamas, put toys away, cleaned up the dinner dishes, put the recycling out, added things we need to our running grocery list, ordered new leotards for dance on Amazon, and put a reminder in my phone to order boots for the girls.

By midnight

I've soothed and shushed and bounced and nursed my baby, I've watched a television show, I've come up with tomorrow's to-do list, I've finally scheduled a hair appointment, I've gotten my toddler water, I've googled fun activities in the area to do this week and I've written an essay.

I've fully exhausted myself for the day.

Oh, and by midnight, I've finally gone to bed.

In between all of the things, I've listened to a fair share of yelling, crying and whining. I've been touched by someone at almost all hours of the day. I've changed a ton of diapers and made so many plans—plans of things we should do, things we need to do.

Some days, by 3 pm, I want to call it a day. I just feel like it needs to end.

I want our days to be busy because when they're not, I can't seem to come up with anything to do and I feel lonely.

But I also want our days to be calm because when there's too much rushing around, I feel overwhelmed.

Quite often I either feel overwhelmed by the loneliness of motherhood, the busyness of motherhood or the vulnerability of motherhood.

Some days by 6:30 pm when my husband gets home from work, I want to give him a kiss and then run to my bedroom and not come out until the next morning. I want to relax and be by myself and sit in quiet and not hear any requests at all.

The days are long but the years are short. Yes. That is for sure. I don't really know how four years of motherhood have passed so quickly.

But our daily life? It can feel long. And those long days are tough. But mama, so are we.

If anyone can handle these long, tough days, it's a mother. That's what I've learned.

So, I propose we change the saying to—

“The days are long, but the years are short. You're really strong and amazing and please ask your people for help when you need it and never forget to schedule your hair appointment and get a massage every now and then because you deserve it for keeping up with the daily mom grind so flawlessly."

Mama, you've got this. ?

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.


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


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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