A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

The day my baby stroller broke nearly broke me, too. One of our babysitters texted: "This just happened . . ." with three sad face emojis and a photo of my stroller, with the hinges completely detached from the wheels.

"It's the end of an era!" I texted my husband (more crying emojis) and explained about our stroller's demise. We were way past due for an upgrade anyway, but this stroller had been with us since our firstborn. By now—and two more kids and over six years later—it had "seen some things."

That night, I couldn't wait to cart away The Great Big Blue Eyesore that had been taking up the better half of our entryway for years. I waited until the kids were asleep so as to avoid all the questions that would inevitably ensue if they were to see me in the act:

"Where's it going?" (The trash.)

"You're throwing OUR STROLLER in the trash? What's gonna happen to it?" (Um…)

"Is another baby gonna use it?" (Hopefully not, unless that baby's parents don't intend to leave the house.)

I wheeled it (sort of, since it was falling apart more and more with every inch it traveled) down the hall, slowly and solemnly. When I reached the trash room, I gave the stroller one final, firm push in the direction of some crushed Amazon.com boxes and a chewed-up-looking wicker basket, and turned away.

But right before the door shut behind me, I felt this surprising pang as I pictured the stroller sitting there alone in the dark. Forlorn. Like it was a living, breathing thing.

Though in many ways, my stroller did have a life to it; it had soul, a spirit. It was my faithful friend since the day my first baby was born.

It remained the most indispensable tool in my Mom Arsenal—without which I would basically be housebound in a city that's not exactly car-friendly. Nearly every day, I had silently praised its extra-large wheels that maneuvered this way or that with basically the suggestion of my pinky's push, and its enormous undercarriage that could hold the family dog and a week's groceries (or sometimes an entire 6-year-old boy.)

As fast as I shut it, I threw open the door to the trash room and flung myself at the thing, burying my head deep into the sickly-sweet-smelling seat. How many ounces of milk (my own and from other animal sources), ice creams, and chocolate chips had congealed into the dark fibers of the stroller seat over the years? I inhaled the smell of it and felt intoxicated with memories:

There I was as a new mom, side-by-side with a mom friend, strolling down the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights in matching strollers (same brand, hers was yellow), as we traded tips on how best to swaddle.

There we all were, new mamas unsure of ourselves and these new roles we had, our strollers lined up while we made a picnic beside them, squeezing those messy pouch foods into our baby's waiting mouths.

The stroller smelled of memories and more—it smelled like my babies. It was sour-sweet-milky mixed with sweat and skin and boy and pacifiers. Leaving all of this behind almost did feel like leaving a living thing alone in a dark trash room, and walking away.

This stroller was a representation of my transformation to 'mother.'

When I got back to my apartment, I broke down sobbing.

"I threw out the stroller!" I cried, to my husband.

He smiled, relieved that I hadn't received a horrible phone call between the trash room and our apartment, and wrapped his arms around me.

"I don't have babies anymore!" I wailed as if I had lost my actual children, rather than having merely allowed time to do its thing.

We had already said goodbye to all the other accouterments of babyhood—from the jumparoos to the baby carriers. Even the high chair that had way overstayed its welcome simply because it looked good in our kitchen, had finally gone on to greener pastures (our cousin's house).

But getting rid of the stroller signaled my very solid leap away from the baby years and onto the kid stage of my motherhood. And while these are all good things—triumphs, really—it is hard to shake off an identity that's been with you for what feels like forever.

I toyed with the idea of going back for the stroller and holding onto it for just a few more days if only to smell the baby smell that no longer clings to the skin of my growing boys. But I knew that would be ridiculous. So I did the only thing you do when you're having trouble saying goodbye to something or someone. I found something new.

Before bed, I ordered our replacement stroller—a sporty, compact, umbrella stroller meant for toddlers and up and selected overnight delivery. I looked at the space it would soon occupy in place of its forebear. I would have a day to grieve my loss. And tomorrow, I'd strap my 3-year-old into his new, 'Big Boy' stroller (that would fit his legs, finally!) and his big brother could ride beside us on his scooter.

Honestly, mamas, change is painful even when it's good.

And the truth is, no matter the ride, we will all get to wherever we need to go.

You might also like:

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

Subscribe to get inspiration and super helpful ideas to rock your #momlife. Motherhood looks amazing on you.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

We've had some struggles, you and me. In my teens, we were just getting to know each other. It was a rocky road at times, like when people referred to you as "big boned." I was learning how to properly fuel you by giving you the right foods. How to be active, to keep you strong and in good shape. I wish I knew then what I do now about you and what a true blessing you are. But that's something that has come with the gift of motherhood.

In my 20's, we became more well-acquainted. I knew how to care for you. After I got engaged, we worked so hard together to get into "wedding shape." And, looking back now, I totally took that six pack—okay, four pack—for granted. (But I have the pictures to prove it.)

Now that I'm in my 30's (how did my 30's happen so fast, btw?) with two kids, I'm coming to terms with my new postpartum body.

Keep reading... Show less

If there are two things a mama is guaranteed to love, it's Target plus adorable and functional baby products. Target's exclusive baby brand Cloud Island has been a favorite destination for cute and affordable baby clothing and décor for nearly two years and because of that success, they're now expanding into baby essentials. 🙌

The new collection features 30 affordable products starting at $0.99 and going up to $21.99 with most items priced under $10—that's about 30-40% less expensive than other products in the market. Mamas can now enjoy adding diapers, wipes, feeding products and toiletries to their cart alongside clothing and accessories from a brand they already know and love.

The best part? The Target team has ensured that the affordability factor doesn't cut down on durability by working with hundreds of parents to create and test the collection. The wipes are ultra-thick and made with 99% water and plant-based ingredients, while the toiletries are dermatologist-approved. With a Tri-Wrap fold, the diapers offer 12-hour leak protection and a snug fit so parents don't have to sacrifice safety or functionality.

So when can you start shopping? Starting on January 20, customers can shop the collection across all stores and online. We can't wait to see how this beloved brand expands in the future.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

You might also like:

Many people experience the "winter blues," which are often worst in northern climates from November to March, when people have less access to sunlight, the outdoors and their communities. Another 4% develops Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a form of clinical depression that often requires formal treatment.

If you have the winter blues, you may feel “blah," sad, tired, anxious or be in a worse mood than usual. You may struggle with overeating, loss of libido, work or sleep issues. But fear not—it is possible to find your joy in the winter, mama.

Here are eight ways to feel better:

1. Take a walk

Research has shown that walking on your lunch break just three times per week can reduce tension, relax you and improve your enthusiasm. If you are working from 9 to 5, the only window you have to access natural sunlight may be your lunch hour, so head outside for a 20 minute brisk but energizing walk!

If you are home, bundle up with your kids midday—when the weather is often warmest—and play in the snow, go for a short walk, play soccer, race each other, or do something else to burn energy and keep you all warm. If you dress for the weather, you'll all feel refreshed after some fresh air.

2. Embrace light

Research suggests that a full-spectrum light box or lamp, which mimics sunlight, can significantly improve the symptoms of the winter blues and has a similar effect to an antidepressant. Bright light at a certain time every day activates a part of the brain that can help restore normal circadian rhythms. While light treatment may not be beneficial for everyone (such as people who have bipolar disorder), it may be a beneficial tool for some.

3. Plan a winter trip

It may be helpful to plan a getaway for January or February. Plan to take it very easy, as one research study found that passive vacation activities, including relaxing, "savoring," and sleeping had greater effects on health and well-being than other activities. Engaging in passive activities on vacation also makes it more likely that your health and well-being will remain improved for a longer duration after you go back to work.

Don't overschedule your trip. Relax at a beach, a pool, or a cabin instead of waiting in long roller coaster lines or visiting packed museums. Consider visiting or traveling with family to help with child care, build quiet time into your vacation routine, and build in a day of rest, recovery, and laundry catch-up when you return.

4. Give in to being cozy

Sometimes people mistake the natural slowness of winter as a problem within themselves. By making a concerted effort to savor the slowness, rest and retreat that complement winter, you can see your reduction in activity as a natural and needed phase.

Research suggests that naps help you release stress. Other research suggests that when your brain has time to rest, be idle, and daydream, you are better able to engage in "active, internally focused psychosocial mental processing," which is important for socioemotional health.

Make a "cozy basket" filled with your favorite DVDs, bubble bath or Epsom salts, lemon balm tea (which is great for “blues,") or chamomile tea (which is calming and comforting), citrus oils (which are good for boosting mood), a blanket or a favorite book or two. If you start to feel the blues, treat yourself.

If your child is napping or having quiet time in the early afternoon, rest for a full 30 minutes instead of racing around doing chores. If you're at work, keep a few mood-boosting items (like lavender spray, tea, lotion, or upbeat music) nearby and work them into your day. If you can't use them at work, claim the first 30 minutes after your kids are asleep to nurture yourself and re-energize before you tackle dishes, laundry, or other chores.

5. See your friends

Because of the complex demands of modern life, it can be hard to see or keep up with friends or family. The winter can make it even harder. While you interact with your kids throughout the day, human interaction with other adults (not just through social media!) can act as a protective layer to keep the winter blues at bay.

Plan a monthly dinner with friends, go on a monthly date night if you have a partner, go to a book club, get a drink after work with a coworker, visit a friend on Sunday nights, or plan get-togethers with extended family. Research suggests that social interactions are significantly related to well-being.

Realize that given most families' packed schedules, you may need to consistently take the lead in bringing people together. Your friends will probably thank you, too.

6. Get (at least) 10 minutes of fresh air

A number of research studies have shown positive effects of nature on well-being, including mental restoration, immune health, and memory. It works wonders for your mood to get outside in winter, even if it's just for 10 minutes 2 to 3 times per week. You might walk, snowshoe, shovel, go sledding or go ice-skating. If you can't get outside, you might try these specific yoga poses for the winter blues.

7. Add a ritual

Adding a ritual to your winter, such as movie night, game night, hot chocolate after playing outside, homemade soup on Sundays, or visiting with a different friend every Saturday morning for breakfast, can add beauty and flow to the seemingly long months of winter. Research has suggested that family rituals and traditions, such as Sunday dinner, provide times for togetherness and strengthening relationships.

8. Talk to a professional

Counseling, which helps you identify the connections between your thoughts, feelings and behaviors, can be extremely helpful for the winter blues (especially when you are also experiencing anxiety or stress). A counselor can assist you with identifying and honoring feelings, replacing negative messages with positive ones, or shifting behaviors. A counselor may also help you indulge into winter as a time of retreat, slowness, planning, and reflecting. You may choose to use the winter to get clear on what you'd like to manifest in spring.

The opposite of the winter blues is not the absence of the winter blues—it's taking great pleasure in the unique contribution of a time of cold, darkness, retreat, planning, reflecting, being cozy and hibernating. Nurturing yourself and your relationships can help you move toward winter joy.

Weary mama,

You are incredibly strong. You are so very capable.

Keep reading... Show less
Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.