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I love having kids close in age—here are 10 unexpected reasons why

6. It has forced me to let go of some unnecessary control.

I love having kids close in age—here are 10 unexpected reasons why

Having kids really close in age is...hmmm...there are so many ways to end that sentence. It's exciting. It's scary. It's interesting. It's intimidating. It's helpful. It's honestly wild—but also very, very cool.

Giving my children the gift of siblings, and particularly ones that are similar in age, has been magical to watch. It's definitely not always perfect (not even close), but it is our reality—and even though it's super busy—I really love it.

I love watching them communicate with one another in what is basically their secret language. I adore listening to them make each other laugh. And I feel confident that this is what my motherhood path was meant to be.

It reminds me of growing up with my four siblings, all close in age—my mom had five kids within eight years. It was always hectic growing up, but I loved having a sibling to play with who was usually interested in the same stuff I was. And now that we're all adults, we're still super close and I guess that gives me hope that my kids will always be close too.

I'm 36 weeks pregnant with baby number three, and will soon have three under four. If that sounds overwhelming to you, it's because...well, it is. But it's our overwhelm. And I've personally found many pros to deciding to have our kids close together.

1. They have a built-in best friend.

They have a strong bond already. They teach each other things. They always have someone around to play with. Their chatter before bed, when we leave the room, is probably one of the cutest things in the world. And they're very protective of each other.

2. They are on similar schedules for awhile.

For the most part, we are all on the same routine/schedule. They wake up around the same time as each other in the morning. We eat meals at the same time. They bathe together. And sometimes, they even nap at the same time. (Those days are golden!)

3. I've been in the baby/toddler parenting groove for a few years now.

I have been in the baby/toddler phase since the start of 2014 and haven't left yet. Won't for a while. So everything we're doing and going through is the "norm" for me right now. I'm still in the mindset of caring for children who aren't yet fully independent.

4. They share similar interests.

They typically love the same TV shows and movies, the same toys, books and activities—and the hand-me-down clothes stay in style when you don't have a big gap between wears.

5. I have an excuse for feeling a little out of it.

Things are just downright wild some days. I work from home, am managing the kids and house and various other things—it's just wild. But I have an excuse for feeling like I'm losing my mind. My close-in-age kids! (Though I'm pretty sure I'd feel this way with three kids spaced out too.)

6. It has forced me to let go of some unnecessary control.

Things can't be perfect. The house can't look perfect while the kids are behaving and listening perfectly while I'm also getting the exact perfect amount of work done while cooking the perfect meal. That's not going to happen with one kid, with multiple kids spaced out, and it definitely isn't going to happened when you have children who are close in age. You're needed too much for everything to be perfect.

7. I am able to be more spontaneous than I used to be.

Because my kiddos are on the same schedule and things are often pretty busy, I'm forced to make decisions quickly and just go with it. So, that's what I try to do—pivot when necessary and redirect when possible!

8. I know how to ask for, and accept, help.

I was so proud as a new mom—I wanted to do everything by myself, in my own way, on my own terms with my oldest daughter. Now, with a 3-year-old, a 1-year-old, and soon, a newborn, too—I ain't got time for pride! I can admit when I'm overwhelmed or when I could use help. And I accept that help with grace and gratefulness.

9. I am a bolder, more confident woman.

I need to speak up more. Because, as I've recently noticed, people aren't shy about commenting on how many children I have or how completely shocked they act when you tell them your kiddos (similar) ages or how many times you hear, "Boy! Your hands are going to be full huh?!" as they look from your children to your big baby bump. Yes, they already are THANKYOUFORNOTICING.

10.  My heart is bigger and more open than I could have ever imagined in my life.

My heart is big, full and wide open. I am constantly learning from this dynamic we have going on and they're always keeping me on my toes every single day. My kids are making me a better human.

14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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5 brilliant products that encourage toddler independence

Help your little one help themselves.

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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This viral post about the 4th trimester is exactly what new mamas need right now

"We are alone. Together. You are surrounded all the other mothers who are navigating this tender time in isolation. You are held by all of us who have walked the path before you and who know how much you must be hurting. You are wrapped in the warm embrace of mama earth, as she too settles into this time of slowness and healing."

Artist and teacher Catie Atkinson at Spirit y Sol recently shared a beautiful drawing of a new mom crying on a couch—leaking breasts, newborn baby, pile of laundry and what we can only assume is cold coffee, included. Everything about the image is so real and raw to me—from the soft stomach to the nursing bra and the juxtaposition of the happy wallpaper to the palpable vulnerability of the mother—I can almost feel the couch underneath me. I can feel the exhaustion deep in this woman's bones.

My heart feels the ache of loneliness right alongside hers. Because I remember. I remember the confusion and uncertainty and love and messy beauty of the fourth trimester so well. After all, it's etched in our minds and bodies forever.

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