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This is #momlife: Terrifying toys, lots of boogers and SO much love

The experts should really tell you about things like this. 

This is #momlife: Terrifying toys, lots of boogers and SO much love

My bedside table has always been a crowded place, undusted and littered with hand cream, antacid bottles and lip gloss. My tendency toward OCD usually keeps me in check, however, my bedside table has always been the exception. But when my daughter was three, she walked into my bedroom, examined my mess, and hooked her princess crown on the bedside lamp.


"I made it pretty," she stated proudly.

“Thank you,” I said, laughing and hugging her.

“I’ll get more,” she replied.

As the days passed, it was like living with an aggressive magpie bent on sprucing up my bedside table. The objects were less likely to be jewels, and more likely to be a sock she’d used to blow her nose.

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My bedside table became a combination of childhood sculptures and my daily accoutrement, and while cluttered, it was endearing. I was a working single mother at the time, and when I rolled over to sleep at night and saw our enmeshment of co-shrine belongings, it made me feel like we were doing okay.

One night I turned out the lights and fell asleep. Hours later I awoke in a state of pure panic. Someone was in the house. There was a voice in my room. I shot out of bed, blinking rapidly, trying to see my way through the darkness, pulsing with fight or flight emotions.

A high pitched demonic-quality voice filled the room, "Iridescent! You're looking sparkly tonight!"

Strange green lights flashed on my bedside table, and I realized there was no intruder in the apartment. No poltergeist had befallen our abode. The explanation was simple. Resting upon a stack of Dr. Seuss books, and beside my lip gloss and a plastic teacup full of marbles, was Jane’s most prized possession, her talking Tinkerbell cell phone.

You have never known terror until you have been frightfully awakened by a tinny dollar store version of Tinkerbell’s voice. I took a few hundred deep breaths, switched the toy phone to “off” and settled back into bed.

Ten minutes later, Tinkerbell was back, "My, I'm impressed by your fairy wisdom!"

Undereye circles blazing purple, I jumped from bed, grabbed the toy, and made a beeline for the bathroom. I had no more logic in my being. I was sleep deprived, pumped full of cortisol, and being haunted by a seemingly possessed toy. I only knew one thing: Tinkerbell had to die.

I filled the bathroom sink and submerged the cell phone in water. Standing there at three in the morning, drowning a child’s toy, in hindsight, might have been a bit dramatic. I could have just removed the batteries, a thought that dawned on me the next morning when I was sane again. But as I watched the air bubbles gurgle to the surface, I knew the little electric workings of its guts were smoldering into oblivion and there would be no more midnight Tinkerbell horror in my house.

As I went back to bed and glanced over at our bedside sculptures, I realized this late-night crime would not go unjudged. A plan became very clear in my mind. Jane would find the phone, push the previously chatty buttons and declare, “It’s broken!” To which I would reply, “Aw, that’s okay. We’ll go buy another toy.” And then we would skip off together, holding hands on a mommy/daughter date, and buy something that contained zero batteries.

This plan was not meant to be.

The next morning, I awoke, stretched, and smiled when I saw Jane arranging her hair bows on my bedside table. My smile faded when I heard a horrible, garbled voice from the bathroom speak out, "You are glowing with sunshine today!"

It sounded as if Tinkerbell had aged 40 years and developed a heavy smoking problem, The fairy dust is ready for harvest!”

“My phone!” Jane exclaimed, running to pick it up and holding it to her ear, unfazed by its wetness and Tinkerbell’s new bass-level voice.

The experts should really tell you about things like this. No one tells you that one day you'll try to snuff out Tinkerbell. And then plan to lie to your kid about it. And then Tinkerbell will resurrect herself from the dead and taunt you with her zombie vocal chords.

No one tells you these things.

No one tells you that pregnancy sometimes involves far less glowing and way more waddling.

No one tells you that after you have a baby, and the doctor gives you the no-sex-for-six-weeks speech, you’re going to laugh in his face and say, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you because I was distracted by my 50,000 stitches. Did you say 16 weeks?”

No one tells you that yes, you might get depressed.

And yes, you might need medication.

No one tells you that your toddler’s toys may be scarier than any horror movie.

No one tells you that when your baby voluntarily kisses you on the face and picks her nose, your heart will explode with joy when she reaches out a finger and says “Here mommy, my booger.”

You will hug her.

You will take that booger.

You will realize whatever path you followed to arrive at that spot, the spot that allows you to be filled with joy over a booger-present, was worth it.

And sometimes, no one will tell you that you are a miraculously resilient being. But you are. Hard things will happen, and you will survive. You will learn. You will become stronger than you ever imagined.

You will drown a Tinkerbell phone in the sink, hear it rise from the dead, and you will say, “Not so fast smart mouth, let’s see how you fair in the freezer.”

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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 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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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 www.comfortsforbaby.com 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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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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