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9 Instagram Moms Who Keep It Real

Instagram can be a double-edged sword for moms. There are so many posts of perfect families and filtered pictures, it can be hard to relate when you’re scrolling through images of perfection as you're nursing your newborn while your toddler is using you as a jungle gym, haven’t showered in 3 days, and your house looks like a war zone (clearly, I know from experience). Raising kids is NOT easy, and it doesn't have to seem to be on social media. I love a real parenting moment just as much as the next mom. That's why I've rounded up some of my favorite moms who don't shy away from sharing the difficult and hilarious aspects of motherhood.

Follow them for a good laugh and a reminder that you're not the only one with baby poop in your hair.

1. Megan Harper, @girlgonechildinnyc. Megan is an active, busy mama who appeals to the urban mom. She keeps it 100% real with a lot of funny, sometimes outrageous, things her kids do -- usually in public because why would they do them anywhere else?

2. Sophie Jaffe, @sophie.jaffe. Sophie owns multiple businesses and does a podcast with her husband; and she practices what she preaches. She’s all about connecting, mindfulness, wellness, yoga, superfoods, and living in sunny California. She is very raw and honest in all aspects including the way she raises her kids. She owns all of her emotions and encourages her kids to do the same.

3. Nyesha and Samantha, @twomommiesandababy. Nyesha and Samantha have been married for 4 years and welcomed their first daughter last year. They wrote a children's book about two women of color and their journey to starting a family. With this first book and throughout their feed, Nyesha and Samantha continuously explore family equality, along with women of color's place in the LGBTQ community. They also gift us with a refreshingly raw peek at their everyday adventures with their little one.

4. Leticia, @letoto3. Leticia is a Miami based mom of 4. She's got serious boho vibes and focuses a lot on health and wellness. She often posts about her kids at the beach or skateboarding. Leticia is very warm and puts a lot of love into her posts and you can feel her positive energy throughout -- her captions are a big breath of fresh air.

5. Andrea Drinen, @supermommyof123. Andrea is a mom of three and letter-board enthusiast who's accessible and easy to relate to. With Andrea, there's no picture-perfect mom life -- just a lot of "WTF" parenting moments. And her posts (her letter-board posts in particular) allow you to laugh the highs and lows of motherhood. She's expecting baby number 4.

6. Deirdre Maloney, @deirdremaloney. I started following Deirdre Maloney after reading an article she wrote here on Well Rounded. She is the quintessential NYC mom, and her girls are dressed way cooler than most adults could dream of. In her posts, you can feel how much she loves her family, and I love her sense of humor. I also always tune to her Story for sweet, funny moments with her kids and to see how #momboss she is.

7. Charmaine D, @charmsie. This mom of 1 is naturally a knockout. She does YouTube videos, and her Instagram feed recounts her life with her little one, Zen, in vibrant colors. Just looking at her pictures gives you a boost of energy. She and her family travel often, and her witty captions are always on point. I also enjoy her reviews on beauty products, most of which are very affordable!

8. Ashley, @mom_uptown. Ashley is a Connecticut girl who lived in England for some years and had her daughter there before moving to the Big Apple. Ashley is a master chef and shares a lot of pictures of the foods that she makes for her family. But what I may love even more is that she keeps it real about toddler life, whether it's about potty training or the struggles that can come with living in the big city.

9. Aimi, @earthsignmama. Aimi, pronounced Eye-Me, is a San Diego-based mama of two darling little dudes. Her Instagram feed is part wellness, part beauty, part fitness and, of course, part family adventures. If you want to peek at what #momlife looks like in San Diego, she's your girl! And with her Stories, she shares her day-to-day and the mess that comes with it, and it's refreshingly retable.

10. Mary Rogevich, @marynycmom. This mama of two big kids just might be the nicest person on Instagram. She always has a kind word to say, and her support to other moms is just off the charts. I love the fact that her kids are older. It gives me a sense of what I'll be able to do once my little ones are older!

Erin McInerney is a native Brooklynite living in San Diego, CA for the past 8 years. She and her boyfriend Ryan have two sons, Bryson and Christian. She spends her time modern mommying and practicing and preaching wellness. 

After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.

$200

Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

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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

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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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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