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Photo by Lifei Ruiz 

Dear mama who wants to do it all,

As I sit, my youngest is a bit sick and sleeping against my chest in her sling and my oldest, 3 and a half, is out with my mother. I have a moment of silence and the scene outside my window with empty streets that are damp from the quickly melting flurries is as still as my home.


What are you doing right now? Are you letting someone help you?

My heart has been working through the pride that I carry as a mother, a wife and a woman in this world. Our society seems to glorify women (and men) who can do it all.

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We raise our families (which is a huge load of action built into such a minimal phrase), some of us work outside the home, others within their home, we support our extended families, love our friends, try to cook nutritious meals, maybe care for a pet or two and this list goes on as does our candle wick that burns and burns 24 hours a day.

We battle sleep regressions, tantrums, pee all over the toilet, hunger strikes, pet hair everywhere, partners who are not always home because they are working as hard as we are. Our minds are ever cycling through the list of what is to do, what needs to be said and who needs to be paid.

It is exhausting as we all know. We are expected to know how to do it alone and then to just do it. And I want to.

So far none of this is new information to any parent. But here is what I am learning dear mama:

You were not designed to do this alone.

The job is too big, the responsibility too great. But you want to say you can do it. Your heart is intent on being the one to raise your children, the one to have the most influence and the one working hard enough to earn the title of Mum, Mom, Mama, Mother. But you are already worth that title, because of who you are.

This is a sign that you were meant to be a part of a community. A community of human beings raising the next generation. Don’t get me wrong, we have a responsibility for the children in our personal care but many civilizations, groups and nationalities understand the importance of reaching out and accepting the help offered…it often isn’t even a question.

Step back and see how beautiful the phrase ‘it takes a village’ truly is.

Let it sink deep into your heart.

A group of people linking arms, your baby in the middle. Everyone sharing with your precious child their individual gifts, their personal expertise. Your family benefiting from their knowledge, their caring of your children, and their passions that can open otherwise closed doors to the ones you love dearly.

And please hear me! It does not take an ounce of respect away from you, the mother, who utilizes that village to help you and your family. Shut out the stigma that you have to do it all and that you have to plan, host, have all the answers, time and patience for full time parenting. We all know that is BS so it is time to call it out and do something about it.

Your babies will always be yours despite them spending time with others. Your babies will call you mama no matter if they have a day or two a week outside of your care and YOU ARE WORTH the title of mama even if you accept those days when they come knocking.

You are a superstar for wanting to provide for every one of your child’s needs and maybe you are succeeding…maybe you are failing terribly. Either way, let go a bit.

Acknowledge things are better with others.

Acknowledge the world is huge, bigger than just us in our individual homes and that this world is filled with people who, despite us thinking we know it all, know more than us.

Let go of the fear that we if we can’t or don’t do it all we won’t be worthy of 'mama.’

And you! You my dear, will have a moment. A quiet moment. A still moment. It will be yours to do with as you wish. Or you will have peace knowing you are not standing alone when problems surface as they often do.

You will have a network to connect with when needed, whether it's for a quick hour of childcare or just to have a question answered by someone you trust.

There is no shame in forming your own village. Create it. Use it. Love it. and then pay it forward and link arms around another family.

Love and community,

This mama

Back when my husband and I were creating our wedding registry, it was a fun, low-pressure opportunity to select some new dishes and linens. After all, I knew a thing or two about stocking my home and making the "wrong decision" with thread count was the only thing that posed any risk to my sleep at night.

Fast-forward a few years to when I created a baby registry before the birth of my first child—and I found the experience to have a much steeper learning curve. Unlike those sheets, it felt like a bad swaddle or bassinet selection would be catastrophic. Unsure of what to expect from motherhood or my baby, I leaned heavily on advice from friends who already ventured into parenthood. (Starting with their reminders to take deep breaths!)

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Now a mom of three little ones under the age of four, I'm happy to be in a position to pass along some baby registry wisdom.

Go shopping with a veteran parent

As first-time parents, my husband and I barely knew the difference between a bouncer and a swing, let alone what specific features we would want. So when a mom friend recommended we head to Walmart to build my registry together—because she found them to carry the trendy brands she loved AND make registering a breeze during her pregnancy—I leapt at the chance.

By walking through the aisles together and actually getting to see the products, I was much more confident in my registry selections. Thanks to that quick, in-store tutorial from my friend, I understood exactly how to match a perfect infant car seat with an extra base and stroller—which is something I would have been clueless about on my own.

Include items at a variety of price points

When it comes down to it, a registry is really a wish list. So, while I had a personal budget for a stroller if it had to come out of my own pocket, this was an opportunity for me to ask for the stroller of my dreams. And, wouldn't you know it? A few family members went in on it together, which made a bigger price tag much more manageable.

At the same time, it's nice to include some of the smaller ticket items that are absolutely essential. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to skip buying my own diapers for those first few weeks. (With super cute patterns, these are also surprisingly fun to give, too!)

Think about the gifts you would like to give

The first time I bought a mom-to-be a gift after my own child was born, I knew immediately what to look for on her registry: a diaper bag backpack, which I had come to have very strong opinions about after battling falling straps with my first diaper bag. This allowed me to feel like I had a personal touch in my gift, even if I brought one pre-selected by her.

I also appreciate it when my friends clearly incorporate their style into their registry choices, like with adorable baby outfits or nursery decor—and there's no sweeter "thank you" than a picture from a friend showing your gift in use.

Ask for things to grow with your child

Even though it's called a baby registry, there's no need to limit yourself to gifts to use before their first birthday. (To this day, I still have people who attended my baby shower to thank for the convertible bed that my oldest child sleeps in!) Knowing that, I would have included more options with long lifespans into my registry—namely, a baby carrier that can be used during the newborn months, baby months and well into the toddler years. A well-designed baby carrier would have saved my back from serious pain because it would have allowed me to comfortably and ergonomically carry my toddler as she made her way into the 25lb+ club. One brand that's designed to grow with your baby and accommodates 7-45 pounds (up to about four years old) and offers both inward and forward-facing positions is Ergobaby. With several different design and style options, you can easily find one that caters to your parenting needs. From an all-in-one carrier, like the Omni 360, that grows with baby from the newborn stages into the toddler years or a newborn-specific carrier, like the Embrace (and don't worry you can later upgrade to a carrier for an older baby, I recommend the 360 Carrier). The best part? All ergonomic designs are supportive and comfortable for both baby and parent, offering extra lumbar support with breathable, lightweight mesh styles. Everyone (even grandparents!) can get a kick out of babywearing, which is a nice and welcomed break for parents. Having one of these on my registry would have certainly made those first few years so much easier.

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.

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


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