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To the stranger who told me 'it goes by so fast,' I hear what you're really saying

My oldest child is only 3 years old, but I find myself wanting to blurt these words to other mothers every day. You are seeing me in the same rearview mirror I sometimes look through. Even with so much still ahead of me, I get caught looking backward.

To the stranger who told me 'it goes by so fast,' I hear what you're really saying

First of all, you're right. It really does go so fast. Minutes after listening to your child recount his day at school, Facebook blasts you with a memory from the newborn days, sending you down the where-did-my-baby-go rabbit hole. And for a moment (or an hour), you are soaked in the nostalgia of the early days.

Not necessarily the newborn days but simply, the days before today. The days when something—newborn snuggles, diapers, light-up sneakers, a beloved lovey—was every day, and then, without warning, was never again.

So when you see me on bended knee negotiating with my toddler with a baby strapped to my chest, or pushing a rickety shopping cart while frantically doling out snacks, your voice says, "It goes so fast" my heart hears, "I have been there, it was hard… I miss it."

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I am like the Facebook memory tugging your heart back to the days before today. The faces of my children may not perfectly resemble yours but their innocence, tears and giggles do.

When you say, "Blink and you will miss it. My daughter is graduating from college this week, you should savor these moments," what I hear is, "These days don't last, I wish I could go back if only for a moment."

I hear this because while you see yourself in me, I already see myself in you. My oldest child is only 3 years old, but I find myself wanting to blurt these words to other mothers every day. You are seeing me in the same rearview mirror I sometimes look through. Even with so much still ahead of me, I get caught looking backward.

I overhear a hopeful mother in the coffee shop. And I remember the journey, the needles, the prayers for a positive pregnancy test, the absolute beginning. Every first kick and smile just waiting to be discovered. And without speaking, I think, I have been there. It was hard. And even, tucked in a tiny corner of my heart, I miss it.

I hear a newborn crying in a store. A cry so distinct, it is likely the mother is not fully healed from delivery, yet she just had to get out of the house. I see her shushing her newborn while fumbling with a nursing cover. I remember the days when this brand new life required every last drop of you, a reality that offers both joy and hardship. And while I can relate to the overwhelm that threatens to suffocate her, I want to whisper, "I have been there. It was hard…I miss it."

I see a mama resting one hand on a burgeoning belly while juggling a toddler, sippy cup and dinosaur with the other. And I remember the days of holding one sweet boy in my arms and the other in my belly. Somehow dedicating my outer body to one child and my inner to his brother. And when I see her, I can't help but think, I have been there, it was hard…I miss it.

So when you tell me "it goes so fast," I hear what you are really saying. Because while my today is your yesterday, I already see it as another mother's tomorrow.

I know that your lenses are not colored by roses, but by motherhood. And while you do remember the challenges, the joys are more vibrant, the wonder of those moments more clear, and you are trying to help me capture it. Because just like those newborn snuggles, once they are gone, they don't come back.

As the saying goes, babies don't keep. We can't freeze time, we can't turn back the clock. So when you see me in your old shoes, you say what you can. The four words that you desperately hope will convey that these days—that feel like years—will slip right through my fingers.

But, don't worry. Whether I'm belly laughing with my boys or breaking a sweat managing a parking lot tantrum, I know that these moments are magic in its purest form. And I, too, know that I will wake up tomorrow missing today.

Because it really does go so fast.

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    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

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    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

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    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

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

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    14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    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

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    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

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    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

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    $120

    Sand play set

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    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.

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    Water play set

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    $100

    Mini golf set

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    Vintage scooter balance bike

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    Croquet set

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    Wooden digital camera

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    Wooden bulldozer toy

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    Pull-along hippo

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    Baby forest fox ride-on

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    Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

    When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

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    Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

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