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How Moms Can Make a Difference

8 ways a mama can show up, even when she can’t actually show up.

How Moms Can Make a Difference

In cities across the country, women and men spent this weekend marching for equality and justice. In Los Angeles, in Washington, in New York City, we held signs and held hands -- demanding better of our country and of its leadership. If the Women’s March has proven anything in the last year, it’s that we’re finished being quiet. We’re not taking a back seat to the hate and divisiveness that has plagued so much of our nation in the last year.

But maybe you weren’t at the march. Maybe your tiny one is just too small for big crowds, or maybe you have a kindergartner battling the flu. We get it. Momming is totally time consuming and sometimes we get so caught up in changing diapers, it’s hard to figure out how we can be a part of changing the world, too. One of our new year’s resolutions is to make a difference this year, and it’s not too late for you to join in. Here are 8 ways mamas can make a difference.

1. Vote. The most important thing we can do as activists is make our voices heard at the polls. #PowertothePolls was the Women’s March mantra this year. If you’re not happy with who’s leading our country or with your local elected leaders, vote them out. You could even host a voter registration drive in your neighborhood.

2. Better yet, Run! There’s never been a more important time to challenge the status quo and resources like Emily’s List are making office even more attainable for women (and moms). If actually running is overwhelming (We get it! No judgement!), find a mom who’s running and support her campaign -- either with your wallet, your time or your social media influence.

3. Call your lawmakers. Angry about all the gun violence in our country? Brokenhearted by the president’s plans for DACA? How about the fact that our government has been shut down for three days? Call your representative and let them know. Check out this website that does all the work for you, including looking up all of your reps and even preparing a script for you to read based.

4. Join a group. Maybe making calls at home with a baby draped over your shoulder isn’t your style. We feel that. Sometimes you just need a little extra motivation. That’s where groups like Moms Rising come in. The mamas involved in this group are active in the fight for better breastfeeding legislation, workplace justice and gun safety, among other things.

5. Make a difference in your community. Sometimes the best way to change the world is by changing your world. Find an urgent need in your neighborhood. Donate to the nearest food bank. Take blankets and coats to the shelter. Host a diaper drive at your workout group.

6. Use your spending power wisely. When it comes to spending power, moms are where it’s at. We hold the pursestrings here, so let’s use our money wisely. Invest in your community by subscribing to a CSA, or by shopping at a farmers market rather than a big box store. And if you can, give financially to organizations that speak to you.

7. Demand companies do better. When you do have to hit those larger retailers, spend your money on companies committed to reducing waste. Patagonia, Lush and Clif Bars are industry leaders in this fight, but there’s tons of small brands fighting the big fight too. Send letters or emails to your favorite stores or brands letting them know why you won’t be shopping with them until they get their act together.

8. Teach your children about activism. Involve your children in things they can grasp. Have conversations with them about current events. Take them with you when you vote, when you march, when you drop off canned food. Books about activism is a growing genre in kids books right now. Here’s a great list curated by NPR.

Photo by Nicole Adams on Unsplash.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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