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Motherhood is: Continuing to give, even when it feels like you have nothing left

This stage of motherhood is overwhelming and chaotic and wild. It takes every ounce of you and then more. Even when you feel you have no more to give.

Motherhood is: Continuing to give, even when it feels like you have nothing left

Hey there mama,

I see you. I see that we share the same look in our eyes. That look of wonder and adoration and gratefulness, and also of absolute bone-crushing exhaustion and fear.


It's a funny thing, really, to feel so many opposing things at once. To wait with anticipation in hearing that little voice in the morning, eager to walk into their dimly lit room and see their round face, bright-eyed and beautiful, while at the same time dreading the many small battles the morning will bring.

You know why we feel this way? It's because we're in the thick of it, friend. Our little humans require all of us, and then some. And oftentimes, it can feel like there's no more to give.

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I see that you've mastered that super skill we're granted once we become parents: the skill of pretending. We become great pretenders. We pretend that it's always okay, that we're always fine, that it doesn't feel like our lives are a whirlwind of chaos.

We pretend that days don't feel like an endless cycle of cooking, cleaning and laundry. We pretend that we're not existing in a constant state of exhaustion so pervasive that no amount of coffee could fix it. We pretend that the moments are all beautiful, filled with giggles and sunshine and Instagram filters.

We pretend that we're okay with having no time, not one moment, to ourselves. We pretend that we're not falling apart, terrified that we won't make it through another day. We pretend that we can handle another ear infection or stomach bug or tantrum, with grace, without feeling like screaming, too.

We pretend. We cry. Then we pretend again.

I feel you, mama. And you don't have to pretend. Not with me. This stage of motherhood is overwhelming and chaotic and wild. It takes every ounce of you and then more. Even when you feel you have no more to give.

But look at you.

Despite feeling completely empty some days, you somehow find that little bit more. You push through, day by day, sometimes minute by minute. We all do, and we all will.

Because we're mothers—we're the strongest people around.

Whether we are swimming or wading or trudging through these trying times (and even though it can feel like we're drowning), we are all going to make it through the thick of it.

I'm still here with you, mama. Surrounded by moments when things feel all too intense. Whether we have one or two or five littles, we're all in the same place. Our children require all that we are and all that we have which can leave us feeling depleted and confused. Because we know there's beauty in the disarray, but sometimes that beauty can be so hard to find.

But you and I both know it will get better.

We know that one day they will need less and we will have more. Slowly, what can feel like an all-consuming chaos will become less-consuming. The haze of sleepless nights will dissipate and as it clears you will see that on the days when you felt like you accomplished nothing, you truly did so much, just by getting through, just by giving what you could.

That's all you can do, mama.

And that's the real beauty in this adventure. It is challenging and frustrating and exhilarating and so, so, extraordinary. And it is forgiving. So hang in there. Just one more minute. Just one more day.

There's a break on the horizon, and you're going to get there.

In the time being, find little moments to center yourself, to remember yourself. A 20 minute walk outside after dinner, alone. Thirty minutes of guilty-pleasure TV at the end of the day. Find a small way to escape, even if it means making your before-bed shower five minutes longer.

Anything that will give you a moment of mental quiet will suffice. Sooner that you know, these moments will become longer and more pronounced, and this time, as trying as it is, will be a memory, locked away, the chaos drowned out by the beauty of it all seeping to the surface.

So soak in what you can and always remember to be gentle with yourself—always.

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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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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

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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