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You are slaying the mental load of motherhood every single day, mama

I see you, mama. Brow furrowed, chewing on your lip. I hear you sigh. I see you staring off into space as you're pushing your cart through the grocery store or waiting to cross the street at a stop light.

Maybe, like me, you silently start mouthing words, mentally going through some of the tasks that are crossing your mind, shaking your head at the realization that you've forgotten to do a few things today.

You have a million things going through your head at all times. You are adding items to your to-do list all day.

Sometimes you're making mental reminders, sometimes you're adding to your daily planner, sometimes you're quickly pulling out your phone to remind yourself to take care of a task later that day. Those lists, seemingly never-ending, become daunting and discouraging. I know the feeling so well.

Late last week, I was feeling overwhelmed by everything I thought I NEEDED to do. Luckily my mother-in-law surprised me by taking the kids for a few hours (thank goodness for Grandma!) and I finally had a few hours alone to get some stuff done.

There were a few chores that have been sitting on my list—waiting, begging for my attention—for a couple of months. I was finally able to make some calls (a phone call without any little kids around is a mini-vacation), and get some work finished.

I even folded laundry which stayed neatly in their baskets rather than scattered across the floor due to a rambunctious preschooler with selective hearing (he can hear the word cookie from a mile away, but when I ask him to stop jumping on the clothes I may as well be whispering it from another country).

Completing these three tasks turned my entire day around. Being able to cross a few things off my ever-growing list took some of the weight off of my shoulders for a while. My kids were thrilled to have been able to spend the afternoon with one of their favorite people and came home in great moods. I think that's a win (not that I'm keeping score or anything, though).

I was revisiting my to-do list yesterday and noticed that the responsibilities were multiplying again. I could feel the stress creeping up on me, and the little nagging voice inside my head was telling me that I wasn't getting enough done. I jokingly said to my mother-in-law, while looking at the half-painted door frames, that I probably should have done more with my time the other day and taken care of those while she had the kids.

She told me that I take care of my kids daily and that I do plenty. I laughed it off at first, but I thought about it and, oh boy, was she right.

It's so easy to think that because I didn't cross something off of a tangible list, I didn't get anything done. However, I couldn't be more wrong.

I take care of my kids every day, from sunup to sundown. Mama, I know you do, too. Whether you're a SAHM, or you're dropping your child off at their caregivers, or you're off to work for the day—you're making sure your child is cared well for.

Although this looks different in every home, the desired outcome stays the same—we're creating stability and consistency for our children, day in and day out. Providing love and care for my children are necessities, not obligations, which play out in various ways. From ensuring they've had enough play time to making sure they've received enough of my attention, I'm constantly thinking of whether or not they're feeling fulfilled.

This often tips the scale of my mental load and I need to remember that ensuring my kids' well-being counts as getting things done.

I take care of myself and my happiness, too. This is not just for my mental health, this helps my kids too. That looks like me remembering to take my medication regularly or carving out a minimum of 15 childless minutes for myself.

It may not seem like much, but there are days when I don't feel like it, and I have to convince myself to get moving. It might look like I'm phoning it in by giving my kids cereal for dinner and letting them have more screen time than is recommended. But I'm up. I'm here. I'm trying. I get up every day and try again. And I'm crossing that off of my list.

Even when tasks on our to-do list remain for there for a week (or maybe a month) and it doesn't look like we're getting anything done, please remember this:

You are slaying the mental load of motherhood one day at a time.

We are always our own worst critics. As parents, we want what's best for our kids and our families. We're all doing our best, and we're doing a great job. So, add that to your list and make sure you check it off, Every. Single. Day.

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Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

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

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

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

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

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When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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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Because parenthood is challenging, we can sometimes forget how to just be happy in the midst of it all.

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