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The Call of the Suburbs

How do you know when to call it quits on the city?

The Call of the Suburbs

It doesn’t happen right away. You have your baby and adapt to your new life in the city: lugging strollers on subways, feeding and changing anywhere you can, running around to playdates and classes--all while exploring this awesome city with your little one in tow.

But, then things start to change. Maybe it’s all of the running around or the second child, (or in our case the third child) that pushes you over the edge. Things are wonderful and amazing, but also so hard. You think about space and convenience. Before you know it, you are researching the suburbs, figuring out these other towns that are near-ish to NYC, learning about new schools. And then it’s done. You moved to the burbs!

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As born and raised New Yorker, I never imagined that I would live in the suburbs. It wasn’t really part of my childhood, except for a few summers at sleepaway camp and visits to see family every now and again. Childhood was playing on stoops, in local parks, and hopping on the train whenever we wanted to get anywhere.

When I first had my daughter, there really wasn’t any talk about leaving. I adapted in this new terrain as a mother, and I loved rediscovering NYC through her eyes. When I had my second daughter we moved to a new space: a 3-bedroom apartment, which was a major score in our Brooklyn life. The girls shared a room and we adapted again.

But soon things started to change. With our third baby, everything just got really hard. I found myself constantly running from different classes to different schools, shuffling and lugging. All of those things at home we once overlooked--like no dishwasher and or washer/dryer--was becoming a burden. I struggled to keep up with the day-to-day, even with a work-from-home schedule. That is motherhood, I suppose, but there had to be an easier way.

We thought about moving within our neighborhood, but it was shocking how quickly the rents had risen since we arrived. Plus, we were starting to think more about the future for the girls. Did we want to stay in Brooklyn forever? I wasn’t so sure anymore.

The more and more that we thought about it, the more I realized that Brooklyn life wasn’t for us anymore. And while we were nervous to leave our community and the life that we had grown to love, it was time for something new.

For us, the suburbs was a no-man’s land. I knew a few people that had made the move, but I no idea where to go or even where to start. We only knew we needed a location that was close to the train to make commuting easy. We didn’t have a specific timeline for when (or if) we would move. Then one day my husband saw a listing in Westchester, so we loaded the girls and went.

I fell in love. It wasn’t a huge house or anything fancy, but it was just what we needed. There was space, a backyard and front yard, storage, a play area for the girls and an office for me. There was a dishwasher and a washing machine. After some contemplation and some quick research on the town and the school district, we decided to go for it. A few days later, we embarked on this new adventure together.

It’s been just a few months, and I don’t know why we didn’t do this sooner. The community has been incredibly welcoming, and the girls have made friends and quickly adapted. Our house is also close to the town that I can walk to the train, local stores and library. I love having a quiet space during the day and being surrounded by trees and nature. Having been in the city my whole life, these pleasures feel luxurious.

The day-to-day with 3 kids is still crazy and busy, but I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. It’s amazing to see the freedom that the girls have now. They both are constantly telling me how much they love living here. The transition has been harder on me. Since it’s more of a driving culture, I have found it harder to find moms to connect with, which is a little reminiscent of the feelings of being a first-time mom.

Do I miss Brooklyn? Yes, of course. But we have it nearby and it will always be a place that is close to all of our hearts.

Finding the right suburb is challenging and incredibly scary. You have to be ready--both mentally and emotionally--to embark on this exciting change. The best thing is to do your research, visit the towns and learn about the schools. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section!

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

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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?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

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

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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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