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Double-Duty Baby Gear

Optimize space and baby purchases with these 6 double-duty baby products.

Double-Duty Baby Gear

While your little bundle will undeniably be the cutest, smallest roommate in the house, he’s also going to move in with a truckload of so-called must-haves that your city apartment may not have the room for. Thankfully, not every item pitched as a necessity deserves that label, so don’t let baby crowd your place just yet. If you want to attend to your child’s needs without breaking the bank, cluttering your home or forfeiting your furnishing style, it's time to make room for double-duty baby gear. Hybrid baby products get you more bang for your buck. They live longer and help you check off multiple boxes at once. Some of them may even keep your postpartum credit card bills on the low. From a stroller that moonlights as a high chair to a cradle that you can repurpose as a side table, here are 6 double-duty baby products that grow with your child, and then some. 1. BABYHOME SO-RO CRADLE A cradle is more of a nicety than a necessity. It’s compact and portable, but baby will outgrow it very quickly. That said, if you are feeling fancy (and have a weakness for midcentury modern designs), you may want to consider Babyhome’s So-Ro. Its shape creates a linear motion that soothes and comforts the fussiest of babes. Once your wee one is too big to cradle, the front-to-back rocker turns into an accent table. Flip it to its side, and you’ll add a soft Scandinavian touch to your home décor. The So-Ro is also available as a twin cradle and can spend its afterlife as a bookshelf. $240, Buy it here. 2. SIMPLE PARENTING DOONA Maneuvering baby’s travel system in and out of a car is quite the upper-body workout. If you want to give yourself (and your biceps) a break, you may want to get your hands on the Doona. With its integrated wheels, the Simple Parenting all-in-one car seat clicks right out of the car and unfolds into a compact stroller with just the push of a button. Thanks to the groundbreaking design, you now only have 16 pounds of baby gear to lift and no longer need to save half of your trunk space for a stroller. Not to mention, the Doona won't cramp your entryway as much. $499, Buy it here. 3. PHIL&TEDS ESCAPE The Phil&Teds Escape is packed with action. From advanced lumbar support that distributes your little one’s weight evenly to foot stirrups that maximize baby’s circulation, the child carrier boasts all sorts of features that will keep you and your tiny hitchhiker comfortable during all your family adventures. The trail-designed carrier also pulls double duty as a backpack and offers all the storage you need for your hiking and baby gear. What's more, the daypack detaches to help you and dad share the load. $249.99, Buy it here. 4. BLOOM LUXO CRIB Baby’s crib is a big-ticket item with a big price tag. So you may as well make it last. While on the expensive side, the Bloom’s Luxo is in it for the long haul. Converting from bassinet to crib to toddler bed, it will see your newborn through his first days of school. Bloom’s crib also does not require any assembly and features a folding design that makes it easy to store. And as if you needed more convincing, the Luxo comes with four lockable casters that allows you to wheel baby close to you at night. $1,400, Buy it here. 5. STOKKE CARE CHANGING TABLE Here's a stinky truth: once you become a parent, you can't escape dirty diapers -- at least not for a while. But once baby is out of nappies, what to do with the changing table? You could sell it or pass it down to a friend. Better yet, you can invest in a diapering station that does double doody... er, duty. The Stokke Care offers far more than just a safe space for you to wipe baby’s bum clean. Once your little pooper is toilet-trained, you can convert the brand’s changing table into a bookshelf, a kid’s desk and (with a conversion kit sold separately) a desktop that is big enough for you and dad. $500, Buy it here. 6. ORBIT BABY INFANT ESSENTIALS Orbit Baby’s Infant Essentials travel system is everything new parents need for their newborn: a car seat, a stroller and, as it turns out, a high chair. With the brand’s signature 360-degree rotation, you can dock the infant car seat onto the stroller base and swivel it sideways to bring baby to the dinner table while you finally have the opportunity to enjoy a meal with both your hands. Plus, that’s one less baby gear you have to buy – that is, until baby sits on his own and wants his first spoonful of solid food. $1,019.97, Buy it here.

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This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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Life

Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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