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4 ways to keep love alive as you become mom + dad

The transition from two to three is one of the most challenging and profound transitions of your life. 

4 ways to keep love alive as you become mom + dad

The transition from two to three...or four...or five, is one of the most challenging and profound transitions of our lives. We’re literally changing our family system with the addition. Everything in our lives shifts because of it, and even though so much of that is beautiful and exciting, it also provokes fear and doubt. It’s a major overhaul that has us redefining every role, relationship, and priority in our lives.


Soon enough our minds are consumed with questions, concerns, fears, doubts, and a whole lot of stuff we convince ourselves to keep to ourselves. One of the biggest fears we face is the loss of the couple and the loss of the self.

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How will our relationship change? Will we ever have time for each other? Will we just come to resent one other? How will we carve out time for just us? Will we ever have sex? Will my partner still be attracted to me? Will I ever have time just for myself? What parts of myself will go on the back burner, and will I ever get them back? Can I work...can I want to work...am I bad mother because I do?

The list goes on and on.

Truth is, the fears and concerns are real. You’ll be sleep deprived, sex will move to the bottom of your priority list, you’ll doubt your ability as a mother, your sensuality can redirect to your baby instead of your partner, and you won’t have time to do all of the things you love to do. Things will undoubtedly become challenging, but it doesn’t have to destroy you or your relationship.

So what do we do?

We talk. We talk openly, and we dig into our vulnerability. We share all of our fears with each other, and we create a space to be deliberate in hearing one another all the way through. This means carving out time every week to talk about concerns and fears at every point in the process.

Sometimes new fears will appear, and sometimes you’ll just keep processing the same ones over and over again. You see, we’re never actually expecting the concerns and fears to just disappear.

It’s not that we want or even need it to be a simple transition, it’s that we want to trust that we’ll be able to do it together...and that it won’t break us.

What we’re really looking for is security. It’s trusting that even though this might be one of the hardest things we ever go through, we’ll keep turning towards each other to get through it.

Here are some ideas to help through the transition:

1. Talk and then talk some more.

I know it’s not always easy to open up and share fears, but that’s exactly what you need to do. You’ll feel closer with one another when you sit in that space together. You’ll realize that you share a lot of the same concerns, and that can help join the two of you. You start to remember that you’re a team, and that your fears are not ridiculous.

2. Ask for help!

Sometimes people can step away from asking for help. Often times we want to feel like we can do it on our own. We worry that if we ask for help it means we’re not equipped. We fear how others will see us, and try to avoid being judged or criticized by them.

Truth is, it takes a village. There’s strength in asking for help. We’re not supposed to know how to do it all, and asking for help is better than avoiding fears and internalizing it. At the end of the day, we need help whether we ask for it or not. Have the courage to own it and honor it.

3. Prioritize alone time.

Make sure you carve out alone time...just for yourself. All others keep out. You are not a bad mother for stepping away for an hour or two. In fact, you’re sending a strong and healthy message that taking care of yourself is necessary in order to be the best version of yourself as a mother. If your ‘alone’ is depleted, your other roles will be impacted too.

4. Plan together time.

You need to make sure that the couple has time for itself also. There can be a lot of guilt around carving out this time, but it’s critical to plan out and prioritize each other every week. You can do small things every week, and then plan a date night every month. Schedule this in advance and put it on your calendars. We’re more likely to honor the time when it’s planned, and it also gives us something to be excited about.

We still want to look forward to doing things together, even if your calendar says “walk around the block 5 times together.” It really doesn’t matter what it is, it just matters that it’s something. Oh, and no baby talk! This time is for adults only. Leave the distractions at home. No cell phones. We need uninterrupted time together.

Remember, you are now carrying the ‘self,’ ‘couple’ and ‘family’ identity around with you. Each part needs to be nurtured in order for the other parts to function at their best.

So anytime you think you don’t have time for yourself or your partner, remember that you need to create that time so that you can show up as your best self in every other area of your life.

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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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

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11 products to help parents survive the 4-month sleep regression 😴

So you—and baby—can start getting more rest.

Ah, the 4-month sleep regression...unlike, say, your baby's first solid food or her first steps, the 4-month sleep regression isn't a milestone that many parents typically look forward to. Whether you're currently in the midst of the madness or just anticipating what might be ahead, odds are you have some questions—and some worries—about this much talked-about sleep (or lack thereof) phase.

But guess what, mama? The news is good! According to experts, sleep regressions aren't really a thing; they're more like transitions. And they're actually a good thing—they mean your baby is growing, changing, developing, + finding new ways to interact with the world around them.

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