Dear husband: Why becoming parents was the best thing that happened to us

I realized how to sacrifice for love and place someone else’s happiness and well-being before my own.

Dear husband: Why becoming parents was the best thing that happened to us

Yes, I sometimes think of life before our daughter arrived—and I long for it.

I long for time to myself, to develop my career, and to hang out with friends. I long for days when I didn’t have to worry about changing diapers or preparing the next meal.

But most of all, I really appreciate where having a child has brought us. And when I stop to consider the alternative, I don’t think my life would be any more interesting or better without our girl. Here’s why:

I discovered my calling – as a mother!

Because our daughter came into our lives when she did, I was able to experience a necessary transformation as a woman maturing into a mother. I am forever grateful for this experience!

I realized how important it was for me to be a mother–to nurture and love someone with my whole heart; to break my hard exterior and replace it with tenderness from within; to sacrifice for love and place someone else’s happiness and well-being before my own. These were all invaluable lessons I needed to learn.

You got a real job

You responded to the essential nudge that where you were in your career was not where you needed to be. So you found a better paying job, one that offered more than your previous positions. This gave you the opportunity to mature, to explore a different job industry (one that you now enjoy), and to take pride in supporting all of us.

My creativity skyrocketed

Since most of my time is devoted to staying at home, I have been given ample opportunities to express myself creatively through photography, blogging, and writing. The new subject of motherhood gave me a topic to discuss and document, and with that, I have developed my connections and my skills to further push me to improve and seek creative endeavors.

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Nutrition, health, and “green” thinking bloomed

It wasn’t until our daughter started eating solid foods that we really considered the importance of going organic. This sparked a new all-around lifestyle for us! We began thinking in terms of how our choices were affecting her now and would impact her in the future. Not only did we concentrate on the food we consumed but also on the cleaning products and health and beauty products that we used within our home. We also focused our attention on issues like sustainability, fair trade, local products and companies, the environment, natural methods of baby care (such as using cloth diapers or natural remedies for pain/sickness), etc., that we that we may not have considered as soon as we did.

We grew closer to each other as spouses

With our marriage being so new, we had to hold tight and place our trust and confidence in each other. We had to open up and be more honest about our feelings - especially given that the beginning of this journey was not so easy for us to accept. Through this, we also grounded ourselves in our faith, knowing that we had to trust God and his plan wholeheartedly.

Simplicity became the name of the game

Once our baby came along, all other priorities went out the window; or at least were given their proper place. In a lot of ways, what we wanted and thought we did (or didn’t) have to do became about what we needed to have and needed to do.

For instance, we needed to mature as people, we needed to find sources of income that would allow us to provide for our baby, and we realized that having material possessions wasn’t going to make us whole, let alone help practically.

In addition, I thought our family needed to live in a house in order for us to be happy. Although my original dream plan for us was to get married, buy a house, then have a baby, our beloved daughter showed us that life can be done out of order and that living in an apartment can still be a happy home environment. It isn’t about where we live, but that we are together.

Through this journey of parenthood, we have learned a lot of things about ourselves and our marriage. And we are continuing to grow and learn! It is such a gift to be able to become more knowledgeable and learn from our mistakes together. Becoming parents was the best thing that happened to us because it opened our eyes to life; especially a life outside of us and our desires. It opened our eyes to the joy of children and the beauty of our daughter.

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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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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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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