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You don't have to look like Kate Middleton after giving birth to be a queen 👑

I see in her the same beauty that I see in every woman who has just done the work of bringing a child into the world.

You don't have to look like Kate Middleton after giving birth to be a queen 👑

Duchess Kate Middleton and Prince William welcomed their third child on April 23, 2018, and the world was ready to celebrate.


To date, the announcement Tweet from Kensington Palace has been retweeted over 42,000 times.

In addition to the notes of congratulations and well-wishes, the comments are full of women noting how gorgeous she looks just hours after giving birth—often putting themselves down in the process.

"That's EXACTLY how I looked after giving birth… not."

"Wow, it's been three years since I had a baby, and I still don't look as good as she does."

When the Duchess, or anyone in the spotlight, gives birth we find ourselves at once happy for them and comparing the many ways in which they are different from us, often with an underlying message of self-criticism.

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Now, this is not about putting Ms. Middleton down—hardly. She is a remarkable woman, and yes, she is exquisitely beautiful.

But mama here's the thing: So are you.

Yes, her hair is done, and her dress is adorable. But her beauty is much deeper than that. I see in her the same beauty that I see in every woman who has just done the work of bringing a child into the world—vaginal birth, cesarean birth and adoption included.

It's the look of having just fallen in love.

It's the look of a new level of confidence—and a new level of fear.

It's the look of fatigue that comes from doing the hardest thing you've ever done.

You have those same looks—I haven't met you, but I know. It's what happens when you become a mother.

It's the tie that binds us. Ultimately at its core, the beauty of motherhood has nothing to do with our make-up and hair—and Instagram photos and Pinterest worthiness of our days—and everything to do with our intent.

The intent to give our children the best lives we can.

We all strive for that, but the cards are stacked against so many.

Every new mother, royal or not, represents the current state of motherhood around the world. And quite frankly the state is not doing well.

Kate doesn't deserve any less attention than she is getting— it's just that other women deserve more attention than they are getting.

According to a new report from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, more than 40% of women do not go to their postpartum visit—even more for low-income women of color. They cite lack of transportation and the staggering fact that one out of four women in the United States return to work ten days after giving birth. Self-care for mothers is just hard, especially when resources are low.

The issue runs way deeper than logistics though. We live in a culture that has steadily engrained the message that some women are less-than.

We feel it when we silently put ourselves down when we see how beautiful Kate looks leaving the hospital. Why can't I look like her?

We feel it in the disparities in our maternal and infant child care system, in which black infants are twice as likely to die as white infants.

We feel it when we put each other down to bring ourselves up.

It's rampant. And it's time for a change.

Change comes from the top—for example, Linda Villarosa wrote in the New York Times that "only about half the states and a few cities maintain maternal-mortality review boards to analyze individual cases of pregnancy-related deaths." This means that we are not looking into the individual and systemic issues that are contributing to "[reduce] preventable maternal deaths."

Change comes from policies and practices that allow women to take more than 10 days off from work, so they can heal, bond and embody the message that being a mother is as valuable as bringing home a paycheck.

Change comes from quality healthcare that is a given, not a luxury.

Change come from us—shifting the dialogue and culture to one that is inclusive of all parents, that tells all parents that they are important and worthy.

And change comes from within. Believe it or not, the very act of looking at your postpartum-self in the mirror and saying, "I am beautiful," is a revolution in and of itself.

So yes, Kate is beautiful. But mama, the same light that shines from her eyes shines from yours—from every woman's. No light is brighter or more valuable. It is our responsibility as citizens to mother each other.

It starts with ourselves.

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My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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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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