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Going from 1 to 2 kids was WAY harder than I thought

Having a second baby hit me like a ton of bricks.

Going from 1 to 2 kids was WAY harder than I thought

My second babe just turned 6 months old and only just recently have we resumed all mommy and me activities with both my toddler and baby. We all had a great time singing and dancing in our new class called Zumbini. (Imagine Zumba for toddlers and babies, it's hilariously fun.)


However, just a couple months ago, I wouldn't have thought it was fun. I wouldn't have enjoyed myself at all. In fact, with an out-of-state move and dealing with postpartum depression, I made the decision to stop going to all toddler activities we were doing before the baby was born.

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After a second C-section I had to stop this part of our routine for the simple fact that I needed to let my body heal. But after six weeks, I knew I needed to let my mind recover and heal too.

Having a second baby hit me like a ton of bricks.

With my first child, when she napped I usually got some rest, too. But with my second child, every time he napped I was still taking care of my daughter. There was no nap time for mama. Instead, I was playing with her, cleaning, making meals for both of us, and all the things I was still doing before the baby was born—but now I was taking care of a newborn in the midst of it all.

I remember having a conversation with a friend who told me after her second was born she just strapped the baby to the carrier and continued all activities with her toddler. Life went on.

However, the one time I attempted to get both kids ready and in the car to make it to story time on time, it didn't quite pan out the way I envisioned. We were late. I was expected to participate, so there I was shaking a maraca with one arm while nursing my newborn with the other, and then had to load my two kids back in the car after class was over, only to then have them both fall asleep on the ride home and of course wake up as soon as we pulled in the driveway. Then I had to get lunch ready for my toddler, while my baby cried because of overstimulation, and it was only 1 pm!

That's when I decided no more. We were going to stay home, where I could put the baby to sleep in a quiet room and I could actually get some rest.

I'll be completely honest—there was a LOT of TV watching during this season of adjusting to two children. There were still a lot of meltdowns, and it was a really lonely time with minimal adult interaction. But with the little sleep I was getting, it was the only way I was keeping my sanity.

I was getting used to being a mom of two, and it was a lot of hard work. I was trying to be gentle with myself. And you know what? It worked.

I'm writing this because I noticed that two amazing things happened. One, my baby started getting older and actually started to enjoy the few trips we made to the park, which I knew was going to happen eventually (but it did feel like it was taking forever to get there).

And second, which surprised me the most, my daughter learned how to play and entertain herself at home. I no longer had to sit with her through every activity, instead, she was doing things all by herself. It has been a joy to watch her independence flourish.

Even through the extra TV watching, she started talking (a lot) and was learning about colors, letters and games. She started helping me with the baby, and recently they started playing and laughing together, not for long periods of time, but enough time for this mama to write this essay. 😉

On my son's half birthday, I had the courage to try our Zumbini class with both kids. And both my daughter and baby boy enjoyed it so much! I even found myself enjoying it, too. So much so that we committed to a whole six weeks of it, just once a week. (Taking baby steps, here people.)

The truth is—just as my friend found that going to her toddler's activities with her young baby in tow gave her some type of sanity, not going to any at all, gave me sanity.

Even when we do things differently, we're all in this together. I now believe that I've got this. And so do you, mama.

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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.

$30

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!

$75

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.

$40

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.

$120

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.

$30

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.

$100

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.

$40

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.

$121

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.

$100

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.

$45

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.

$179

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.

$100

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.

$33

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.

$88

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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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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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