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What I want my daughters to learn from watching the Women’s World Cup

I don't know if my girls will end up being soccer players, or even athletes at all. But I do know that representation matters, and that the example of a team of strong, confident women will be increasingly important to my daughters as they become aware of gender imbalances.

What I want my daughters to learn from watching the Women’s World Cup

My daughters are both too young to remember this year's World Cup, but part of me wishes they were able to understand the significance of what we're witnessing on the soccer field. As I write this, the United States women are one game away from repeating as World Cup champions—something, I might add, that the men's team has never accomplished once. It's a tremendous example of what women can do, even when the playing field isn't equal.

While my oldest cheers "U-S-A" at the TV and the little one kicks her chubby legs in celebration, I've been reflecting on what we can teach them from watching this tenacious United States team on and off the field.

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Here's what I've got:

1. Women's bodies are powerful

As the US women readied themselves to take the field, I was nursing my daughter in our living room. I know this sounds cliche, but at that moment, the incredible range of what the female body can do wasn't lost on me.

Women can nurture and grow our babies inside our bodies; we can deliver them into this world, and we can provide food for them. Women can compete at the highest level of sport, training their bodies to do unbelievable things (did you see those headers? that footwork? that save?!) and pushing themselves to their physical limit.

I hope that we can teach our daughters to be confident in their abilities and to appreciate all that their bodies can do.

2. Women should always stand up for what's right

All 28 members of the USWNT have filed a lawsuit against their employer, the United States Soccer Federation, for paying them less than their male counterparts. Women in offices across the country are all too familiar with this scenario—completing the same work with more success and yet receiving less compensation.

We plan to teach our daughters to advocate for themselves every day, but especially when they feel like they are being treated unfairly.

3. Be a good teammate

This part is obvious, but it bears repeating. The US women's team consistently operates as a unit, communicating with each other throughout the match and working to find an open teammate on the field. It's clear that they are in this together; when one of them succeeds, there is an eruption of joy from the entire squad. Look no further than goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher's epic save in the game against England, when her teammates mobbed her in celebration instead of running down the field. Their reaction was so incredibly genuine; you could hear it in their screams and see it on their faces.

It's something that we'll be teaching our daughters as well—how to work together, help each other out, and lift up their teammates in their moments of triumph.

I don't know if my girls will end up being soccer players, or even athletes at all. But I do know that representation matters, and that the example of a team of strong, confident women will be increasingly important to my daughters as they become aware of gender imbalances.

Ever since they were born, we've read them books about trailblazing women like Rosa Parks and Malala Yousafzai. This weekend, we'll tune in as these American women write the final chapter of their own story.

And no matter the score, we have a lot to learn from them.

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After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

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The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.

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Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

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Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

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This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

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With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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

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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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