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‘When does motherhood get easier?’

While it may not get any easier, trust me—it’s going to keep getting better.

‘When does motherhood get easier?’

My good friend Erin and I had our babies just three weeks apart—her first, my second. We texted frequently in those early weeks, commiserating about our lack of sleep and sharing pictures of our adorable babies. We texted on good days and not-good days, knowing we always had someone who would appreciate what we were going through. She asked me new-mom questions, and I tried to offer encouragement and reassurance whenever I could.


Until one day, when she texted me the question that every new parent has asked: “When does it get easier?” I don’t know if this makes me a good friend or a bad one, but rather than reassure her that it would get easier at 3 months/when she sleeps through the night/fill-in-the-milestone, I told her the truth: It doesn't.

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It doesn't get easier. Honestly, there is no phase easier than the newborn one (unless your baby has colic, in which case, I’m so sorry.) With newborns, you have one task and one task only: keep your baby alive. We make that task more complicated than it needs to be, of course, with debates over bottles vs. breast, cloth vs. disposable diapers, co-sleeping vs. crib sleeping. But really, it’s quite simple. Feed your baby something appropriate; diaper your baby with something that keeps them dry; clothe your baby in something comfortable; put your baby to sleep in something secure. Cuddle her, snuggle her. Keep her safe and make sure she knows she’s loved.

In the blink of an eye, she’ll grow up some. And you realize that keeping her alive is a lot more challenging once she can climb stairs. And jump off things. And run out into streets. And when she won’t eat anything except Goldfish crackers for days on end (the pediatrician says she won’t starve herself, but you Google, just to be sure).

Then she grows up a little more, and you realize that merely keeping her alive isn’t enough anymore. You also have to actually parent her. You have to teach her not to hit when she’s angry. You have to teach her to be kind to others and share her toys.

And when this phase happens, it dawns on you: You cannot teach her anything without demonstrating it first. Kids are sponges, and she's soaking you up all day long, every single day. If you want her to be kind, you must be kind. If you want her to be generous, you must be generous. If you want her to control her temper, you must control your temper. Parenting isn’t just about shaping her character—it’s also about shaping yours. And so you curb your language, and you drive a little more slowly and courteously, because you know she’s listening and watching. And you make sure to adopt a child who’s about her age from the Angel Tree at Christmas, so she can help you shop and learn about sharing love and kindness with everyone.

Then she grows up a little more, and you’re trying to help with math homework that you don’t understand. And the girls at school are mean to her and make her cry, and you are shocked at how much you want to hurt them for hurting her. Then there are first loves and first heartbreaks and learning to drive and going to college... and letting go.

So no, it doesnt necessarily get easier than those first few weeks. It might actually get harder.

But it does get better.

It gets better because you get better. Each phase of parenting feels overwhelming at first. You think, How am I going to do this? on good days, and Why did I want kids? on bad days. But then, little by little, you find your groove or a trick that works. You learn how she likes to be soothed, that she likes her sandwiches in triangles instead of rectangles, that she’ll open up and tell you what’s on her mind in the 15 minutes before bedtime every night.

And it gets better, because you realize you’re not alone in your struggles. Every mom who’s gone before you and every mom who’s standing next to you has felt what you feel. We are all bone tired, even the ones who look so put together. We are all terrified of getting it wrong, even the ones who make getting it right look effortless. And once you realize this, it gets better because a burden shared is a burden lightened.

There is no part of parenting that is easy. It starts at overwhelmingly difficult and only ratchets up from there. But you learn that “hard” is not synonymous with “bad.” And you learn to embrace the paradox of a job that gets harder the better you are at it.

It’s probably not the most comforting thing to hear when you’re just starting out on this journey of parenting (sorry, Erin!). But while it may not get any easier, trust me—its going to keep getting better.

This story was originally published on Coffee + Crumbs. Check out their book, The Magic of Motherhood, for more heartwarming essays about motherhood, love and the good kind of heartache.

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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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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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