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When life gets tough (and it will), I’m always here for you, baby

You can talk to me about anything—no matter how hard, scary or tough it may be.

When life gets tough (and it will), I’m always here for you, baby

It’s pretty wild to picture my kids as preteens and teenagers. They are 3.5 and 20 months right now, so it feels like light years away. Even though, to be honest, 3.5 years seems to have zoomed passed me faster than you can say ‘threenager’.


It’s wild to think about, but I feel like it’s also necessary in order to reflect on the goal I have as a parent—to raise capable, kind, independent adults. How can I achieve this goal? Am I modeling these characteristics? Am I doing enough every day?

Most days, I think I am doing these things, but then some days I have no clue. And then I think—there’s really only so much we can do, anyway. We’re working hard now and doing our best, and then one day they will be out in the world—under other people’s influences and making their own decisions.

Sure, it’s scary—but it’s also life. We’re giving them the tools they need to thrive and we have to trust in them, and in the process of how we’re parenting them. We have to believe in ourselves just as much as we believe in them.

One thing I’ve been thinking about recently is that I want my kids to know that life isn't perfect and not everything is going to go as planned or as expected all the time.

There will be times that they will disappoint me.

There will be times that they’ll disappoint themselves.

There will be times that they will fail.

There will be times that they will make mistakes.

There will be times in their lives when the world will feel like it's crumbling around them.

But I so desperately want them to know that I will be there throughout these scary and confusing times, just as I will be during the happy and exciting times.

I want to shout: NOTHING IS EVER TOO MUCH TO COME TO ME WITH.

Kiddos, I am your mom. I always will be. I gave birth to you. I love you, no matter what. Please believe this with your whole being. And please let me be there.

Because I will be there to comfort you.

I will be there to guide you.

I will be there to listen.

I will be there to help.

I will be there to voice my opinion.

I will be there to protect you.

I will be there to cry with you.

I will be there to give you space.

I will be there to hold your hand.

I will be there to raise you up.

I will be there to support you.

I will be there to hug you.

I will be there to remind you of your light.

I will be there to love you, unconditionally, with my whole heart.

The fact is—our kids are going to grow up. That’s the goal. I want them to thrive as amazing adult human beings in this world and help make it a better place.

But, they will also always be my babies. No matter how old they are, I will always remember the way they felt sleeping on my chest. I’ll always remember the proud look on their face when they took their first steps, the sound of the voice when they first said, “Mama,” the outfits they wore the day they went off to school for the first time.

These memories will forever be apart of us. They are ingrained in us—in our hearts, our minds, our souls.

So nothing will ever be too big, too scary or too upsetting to come to me with. My hope as a parent is that my husband and I are working to create open, honest relationships with our kids now that will always be filled with trust, acceptance and love. This way, I pray that they will come to me with the good stuff, the bad stuff, the happy stuff, the confusing stuff, the scary stuff and the amazing exciting life-changing stuff, too.

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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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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Talking to kids can come so easily. They have thoughts about everything and stories for miles. They see the world in a completely different light, and could ask enough questions to fill an afternoon.

But sometimes finding the right words for talking to kids can be really, really challenging. When choosing how to respond to the marker on the wall, or the seemingly unending why-can't-I battle, or in simply keeping healthy communication open with kids who don't want to talk, the words don't seem to come so easily.

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