Disciplinary Decisions

Sometimes it takes a stranger to vocalize your own parenting fears...and help lay them to rest.

Disciplinary Decisions

When motherhood is upon us, the majority of us begin studying. We buy books, login to Babycenter, borrow registry lists, and have in-depth discussions with friends and strangers on subjects like nursing, potty-training, sleep-training, and the best pediatricians and preschools.

Why do we do all of this? Because deep down our biggest fear is messing up. When we sign up for the job of parenthood, we commit on every level to do the best we can, even if we don’t have all of the answers (and none of us do.) But at some point, we must all accept that no book can tell us how to do it.

During my son’s first year, I actually thought things were tough. Broken sleep and the struggle to produce enough milk for my growing boy definitely drained me. But I had no idea what was coming as he began walking, running and speaking. This little person was starting to develop, and with it came tantrums, demands, and moments that, frankly, I had not prepared for. Sometimes, the only option you have as a parent is to do you best you can in the moment….and with that, there’s no guarantee of the kind of job you’re doing.

I got a taste of this firsthand on my son’s recent birthday. Take note: your child’s birthday can feel highly significant to you--personally. It’s literally your BIRTH-day. So on my son’s third birthday, I celebrated with cupcakes, gifts and dinner at his favorite restaurant. I envisioned his day as joyful for all of us. But that was not the case.

Halfway through dinner, his happy mood inexplicably changed. It was like a switch went off. There’s a state that happens with toddlers when something goes off in their little minds to provoke them toward hyperactivity, defiant No’s, slapping hands and wiggly bodies. No threats of “time out” make a difference. They’ve crossed over to the dark side and there’s no getting them back.

Without going into the nitty-gritty details, let’s just say it was ugly enough for us to leave the table mid-meal. I threatened my son that we’d better make it home without any major issues, and that he must hold my hand or else….but just as the door of the restaurant swung open, he ran. And this boy runs fast.

On this particular night, it was dark and drizzly and my worst nightmare flashed before my eyes: my innocent (though misbehaved) boy getting hit by a car. I ran after him in a panic, screaming his name at the top of my lungs.

When I caught him I was so enraged, so irate that I did what I said I’d never do…. I hit him. Yup, there it is. The ugly truth. I grabbed him and hit him on the bottom hard enough for him to feel how angry I was and how much I needed him to understand that he cannot run away from me on the NYC streets.

And just at the moment--just as my son and I had hit our ugly rock bottom--a stranger walked by. And out of his mouth came the following horrid, haunting words: “Bad Upbringing!”

I felt my anger rise to my head. “Go Screw Yourself!” I yelled (yes, in front of my toddler, as if this moment couldn’t get better). Who did he think he was? What did he know about this moment and what had led to it? Still angry, and now even more crushed, I dragged my son back to our building where thank goodness, my husband had arrived home and took over.

For the first time since my son had been born, I did not snuggle him before bed nor give him his goodnight kiss. I didn’t have it in me. This alone made him hysterical and I realized was actually his punishment for disobeying me on such a grand level. But even after he had stopped crying and gone to sleep, I couldn’t shake my anger, my sadness at how the night had gone. And the words “Bad Upbringing” wouldn’t leave my thoughts.

I sat on the couch and let my tears fall. Why am I so affected? I asked myself. Bad Upbringing. It’s our greatest fear as moms, that our actions will mess our children up, that one spank or the wrong words will ruin their potential. That one day they will view their childhood as a fail. That on the therapist’s couch they will refer to their childhood experience as Bad Upbringing.

My fear was like a giant cut with lemon juice and salt rubbed in. I was desperately frightened that I was ruining my son, but there was no one to tell me the right way to do it. It was all me and my best guess. I could do nothing but sit with it and feel it. Someone’s poorly timed opinion vocalized exactly what I feared.

The next morning, when my son woke up, I went to his room, unsure of what our dynamic would be. He told me that he was sad and that he wanted to snuggle. So that’s what we did. He asked if it was still his birthday. I told him that it wasn’t but that there was still more celebrating coming his way. I could tell that he felt badly, and before long he told me that he was sorry for running away from me. I told him never to do it again and gave him a kiss.

There is no guidebook, that’s the one thing I know. And when we love this much, we also worry. I have no solutions but only some truths to share: trust your inner wisdom above all else, ignore people that don’t have a clue, and let yourself cry the tears that express your fears--there’s nothing better you can do with them.

Pre-order Motherly’s Becoming Mama Pregnancy Box today 🎉

A curated box of the pregnancy products you'll want.

We're extending the sale, but just a few days and supplies are limited! Preorder now.

The Becoming Mama Pregnancy Box

pregnancy box

The Becoming Mama Pregnancy Box is available for ordering—but supplies are limited and the preorder window is almost over. Order now so you don't miss out. Boxes will ship in just a few weeks. We will send you updates as the ship date gets closer.


We know just how profound the journey to becoming a mother is, and we want to celebrate and honor you through every step of the way. That's why we created the Becoming Mama Pregnancy Box—and we are thrilled to share it with you first!

Curated by the founders of Motherly, our resident midwife and our fabulous team of motherhood gurus, it's a swoon-worthy box full of items you will adore.

You'll find some of our favorite products to help you on your journey to becoming a mama. We focused on three key feelings of pregnancy: preparation, wellness and celebration.

Preparation: What do you need to prepare for becoming a mama? We've been in your shoes so we handpicked products that focus on you as you prepare for this chapter.

Wellness: Self-care during your pregnancy (and beyond) is so important—mama, you deserve it. That's what helped up select the most luxurious and beautiful pieces to help you embrace your wellness.

Celebration: We are excited for you, too! Keep the celebrations going with a few of our favorite baby items.

Supplies are limited and today is the last day to order!

Motherly's Becoming Mama Pregnancy Box FAQs

What's in the box?

The Becoming Mama Pregnancy Box is an exclusive set of products designed to help you on your journey to becoming a mama. We handpicked pieces to help you prepare, stay well and celebrate your anticipation. What's in the box is a surprise, and we know you are going to love it!

Psst: But check out a few sneak peeks here!

How much does it cost?

The box costs $125—it's valued at almost $300!

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The box will ship in 4 to 6 weeks. We will announce the official date when we launch the box.

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12 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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