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True life: I'm going to stop apologizing for my messy house now

I sit here typing this late at night in my bed, still unmade from this morning. Nursing baby in one arm, with my laptop on my lap, attempting to get some work done after another long day. The dishes from dinner are still sitting on the counter and I'm thinking to myself that it might be time to (finally) invest in a dishwasher.

My house is a mess, and I'm not going to apologize. At least, I'm trying hard not to.

Like most, our household is a hectic one. Our kids are non-stop, high energy children, affectionately nicknamed "Turbo One" and "Turbo Two." 😉 No matter the season, the dogs or the kids are running in and out to play in the backyard dragging in grass, wet snowsuits, or all sorts of toys in the process.

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And if we're not home, we're working, shuttling the kids to their sports games and extra-curricular activities, or meeting up with friends.

If I'm expecting company, I'll make sure we tidy up the toys and try to run the vacuum over the carpet. If a guest drops in without notice, I can be heard sheepishly apologizing for the clutter and assuring our guest that the chaos before them is neither my fault or doing. I don't judge my friends when they proclaim their homes are a mess and in turn, I know they feel the same way. But still—I feel embarrassed when there is any apparent disarray in my life.

Earlier today, after a few rounds of my kid playing "the floor is lava" which quickly turned into a game of "stop hitting your sister," I noticed the disastrous state that had resulted around me. There were toys strewn across the living room floor. Clean clothes were overflowing from the laundry basket. Cushions piled up on the side of the couch because of my son's immediate and, in his opinion, necessary, need to make a fort for the dog to sleep in.

The mess happens so fast.

Between the nights I've stayed up late working and the teething baby's interrupted sleep, cleaning the bathroom or reorganizing the living room has been the last thing on my mind. Looking around at the mess I started to worry about the way my house looked and how I thought it made me look and how I wished it could just always be clean and perfect and tidy. If that were the case, I would never have to apologize to anyone, right?

Then I realized just how silly that was.

I made the decision a long time ago to stop being judgmental of others and to try my best to live and let live. So now I just need to be better of extending that sentiment to myself, including our house.

The cleanliness of my house isn't something I need to be ashamed of and isn't something worth belittling myself over. In fact, my messy house has a direct connection to my sanity. When it's just the kids and me during the day, I usually have to let something slide to get something more meaningful done.

So, if you're at my house for a playdate, or you happen to drop in, and you notice a mess, I want you to remember a few things.

The sand you might have stuck to your feet isn't because I forgot to clean my floors. It's because I chose not to. It means I spent most of the beautiful, sunny day outside with my kids instead of cleaning up inside. Rather than worrying about my kids making a mess, I played with them in the sandbox. And we all brought remnants of our fun time inside with us.

While the bathroom might not be sparkling clean, part of the mess is the result of my son confidently, albeit not accurately, taking himself to the bathroom solo. After the potty-training struggle we endured, I'm trying to remember to be proud of him rather than frustrated.

I'll get to it as soon as I can. Better yet, I'll teach my son one of my Grandpa's favorite sayings. "If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie, wipe the seatie."

The breakfast dishes will still be on the counter at lunch and will likely stay there until the rest of the family is home to help out. After a day of taking care of my kids, going to and from school, working, and running errands, I decided that putting the time and energy into making food for my kids to eat was more important than immediately cleaning up after it. Sometimes the time or energy is there for one or the other, not both.

And sometimes I let things slide in order to take care of something more important—which happens to be me. Some days it's vital that I get to sit on the couch, watching the morning news and drinking my coffee while it's still hot. Other days, it's necessary that I get to spend the 30 minutes it might take me to put the laundry away on exercising or going for a walk instead. Sometimes self-care trumps tidiness.

If I didn't have time to clean my house from top to bottom before our playdate, just know that I will still have snacks for the kids and I know they're all going to have some fun together—regardless of whether I dusted or not. (By the way, the laundry pile on the floor also doubles as a landing pad when my kids playfully toss each other off the couch. So, I'm actually thinking of their safety.)

So, to my family and my friends, if you decide to drop by please know my house might be in a state of disarray. And, honestly? I'm sorry, but I'm not sorry.

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By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+â„¢ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown'sâ„¢ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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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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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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