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What does it mean to be Motherly? A quick google search reveals, "of, resembling, or characteristic of a mother, especially in being caring, protective and kind."

For a new generation of women—the most educated, digitally-savvy generation in history—the time has come to redefine what Motherly means. Because "caring, protective and kind" doesn't begin to scratch the surface on what and who this woman is today.

Motherly is running an online business from home to have more flexibility for family life.

Motherly is choosing to stay at home, giving up alone time, adult time, anything time, to gain years with your children.

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Motherly is continuing your education after an unplanned pregnancy.

Motherly is taking care of yourself, eating well and exercising to feel your strongest and be active with your children.

Motherly is waking before the sun rises to start work early, in order to make time for a quiet, smartphone-free evening with your family.

Motherly is holding on to your core identity and being true to yourself as you evolve with motherhood.

Motherly is digging deep to live up to what's demanded of you—and what you demand of yourself.

Being Motherly means being a modern woman—and a mom.

You are Motherly.

You—the mom Googling how to handle your 9-month-old's sleep regression.

You—the mother posting hilarious anecdotes from the front lines of toddler life.

You—the mama tweeting articles advocating for paid maternity leave.

You, the working mom.

You, the stay-at-home mom.

You, the don't-label-me mom.

We mamas are Motherly, together.

And yet, despite our digital connectivity, so many modern mothers talk about feeling isolated and overrun by debates over what it means to "have it all."

The same was true for me. Before having children I had an illustrious career in consulting advising senior government officials and impacting strategy as the highest level. I was confident in who I was and the value I brought to my profession. When I met someone new, they always asked what I did as my career and I was proud to share my work.

But that all changed when I became a mother.

While I continued to work, I found that the world no longer saw me as an accomplished professional—before anything, I was a mom. Now I was asked what my husband did as his profession, not me.

I felt lost—as if I was missing a core piece of my identity and had been put in a box that just didn't fit.

Why was it that society saw the characteristics of motherhood as nurturing, loving and caring, without acknowledging that women who are mothers can also be ambitious, driven and confident?

These attributes appeared to be viewed as contradictory but that didn't align with my truth.

And through co-founding Motherly with Liz Tenety I've seen that beyond the fight over women and work and life, we are a new generation of women who don't want to argue but simply desire support to help us live the lives we've imagined.

And so, the time has come to redefine motherhood and with it, Motherly. Being Motherly today is about recognizing that motherhood is an opportunity to nurture—not lose—one's true sense of self.

As modern women and mothers, we can be caring and powerful, protective and ambitious, kind and strong. That's Motherly.

Portions of the article are excerpts from the intro of This is Motherhood: A Motherly Collection of Reflections + Practices.

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You are rocking this new-baby learning curve, mama! Even if you never changed a diaper pre-parenthood, you can probably now do that with one hand, in the dark and still half asleep.

While these early days can feel like you're just going through the motions of feedings and diaper changes, take heart, mama: You and baby are developing a strong, special bond—as those early smiles go to show. (Did you have to pick your heart up off the floor when your baby cracked a grin for the first time?)

As your baby continues to adjust to life outside the womb, you might start feeling more confident with this new chapter in life, too. Making the transition to "mama" for the first time is full of sweet moments, and you really should take heart that you are doing an incredible job.

As you continue to adapt to parenthood, here are some of the items we swear by (for you and baby) for the 2-month mark:

To introduce nursery naptime: Infant Optics video baby monitor

baby monitor

You know that nursery you designed and decorated during pregnancy? It's probably been sitting unused while baby is bunked up in your bedroom per the AAP's recommendation. If you're now ready to put them down for naps in their nursery crib, a good video monitor can help ease your mind.

$165.99

To free up your hands: Infantino 4-in-1 carrier

baby carrier

As you and your little buddy get into a comfortable rhythm, a carrier that is also comfortable for you both is priceless. We love carriers that allow babies to face inward for snuggling and snoozing while you take care of things around the house, or outward as they get older and want to observe.

$29.99

To take on tummy time sessions: Fisher Price play dome

Fisher price on the go dome

Now that your baby is awake for longer stretches of time, a colorful and comfortable play space is a must-have. Make it even more fun by getting down on baby's level to serve as a cheerleader during tummy time sessions!

$59.99

To look and learn: High-Contrast Books Cluck and Moo

baby books

During the first three months of life, infants have an easier time focusing on shades of black or white and can only see a few inches beyond their faces. That makes a high-contrast book that you can read with them a perfect source of visual stimulation.

To soothe with lullabies: Hatch Rest sound machine

Hatch Rest

It's no coincidence your little one drifts off to sleep better when there is some soothing background noise. After all, they spent months and months listening to ambient noise in the womb!

$59.99

To keep it comfy + stylish: Ingrid + Isabel postpartum leggings

postpartum leggings

Simply put, high-waisted leggings are a gift to postpartum mamas during that limbo period when maternity clothes are too loose and pre-pregnancy clothes aren't quite right. We are so grateful to live in an era when leggings are considered stylish, no matter how long you choose to wear them.

$34.99

To help the nursing mama’s wardrobe: Ingrid + Isabel nursing tanks

nursing tanks

For breastfeeding mamas, feeding baby requires some easy access to the milk supply. Our pro tip is to stock up on nursing-friendly tanks and tops so you can feed your baby without halfway undressing.

$24.99

To get a sharable diaper bag: Eddie Bauer backpack

backpack

Where baby goes, so too should supplies—even if it's just a neighborhood stroll. We're partial to backpacks that are roomy and comfortable to carry.

$64.99

To give yourself a little TLC: Honest Mama soaking salts

honest mama

Put an at-home spa session on your schedule, mama. Draw a bath, add some aromatic soaking salts and an eye mask—and enjoy this important moment of self-care.

$14.99

To put a little pep in your step: A New Day sneakers

new day sneakers

When life means constantly balancing all the things, slide-on sneakers are both practical and super cute. We'll take a pair in each color!

$24.99

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

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