5 steps to face new parenthood—together

Have the courage to ask to be heard, and lean towards each other through the process. 

5 steps to face new parenthood—together
couple, love, walk, hold hands, 

“I have no idea how to bring this up to you.”

A client of mine spoke those words to her husband in session. He sat there and listened.

She continued, “I know we’ve been playing with the idea of having kids soon, but I’m so scared.

I’m scared that I won’t be a good mom, that we’ll fall out of love with each other. Gosh, what if we can’t stand each other? What if we’re awful parents?”

It took him a minute.

We sat in silence and let the emotion fill the room. He looked at her and quietly said “I’m scared of the same things.”


These moments in therapy don’t surprise me anymore. You see, most of us share in familiar fears, it’s just that we’re afraid to voice them and start the discussion. We worry that we’re alone with our thoughts, that if we bring something up it won’t get heard, and that our fears may either get invalidated, criticized, or just straight out rejected. These are all reasonable concerns to have, but we still need to tap into our courage to get to the other side.

Without communication there is no opportunity to hear and understand each other, and without it there is no opportunity to join together and conquer the fears as a unit.

If there’s ever a time to communicate, it’s now. As you embark on one of the most rewarding and challenging times of your lives, you will see how important it is to be able to trust in each other. To trust that you’ll both share when you need to, that you’ll work at it to understand, and that you’ll lean towards one another when it gets tough instead of shutting down and turning away.

You will strengthen as a couple when you are deliberate with your words, and when you commit to creating emotional safety and security as you move forward in this process.

As you consider having children, the fears and concerns can come flooding in from all different directions. “Do we have enough money?” “Will I have to give up going to the gym?” “Will I ever sleep again?” “Will we be able to provide for them in the same way my parents were able to provide for me?” “Can I still work after I have the baby?” “What if we can’t get pregnant?” “What if it’s my fault?” “What if we do everything correctly, and our child still turns out to be an awful person.” “Will we stop having sex?” “Will we hate each other?” “Will I have the Baby Blues or PPD?” “Will you love our child more than you love me?” Question after question after question.

Fear after fear after fear. This doesn’t stop (sometimes ever) unless we give ourselves permission to talk about this with our partner.

So this is what we’re going to do. We’re going ask our partner if they’ll carve out an hour either during the week or over the weekend (maybe both!) to talk about fears/doubts/concerns. Schedule the time and put it into your calendars. We are more likely to honor our commitments when we write them down.

Before each ‘meeting’ you’re both going to share one thing that excites you about the idea of having a child/starting a family. It’s so important to remember and honor the joy even when the fears may be flooding in. Start off by reminding each other why this decision is still a joyous and exciting one in which you’re both invested.

Prior to each meeting you will both separately write out your lists/answers to each question below. Commit to only one for each meeting. Honor the time allotted, and remember not to do too much all at once.

1. Write a list of fears you have for yourself. (Not about your partner! Let them own their own ones). Share these fears with each other by using “I” statements. For example: “I’m afraid of failing as a mother.” “I’m terrified that you’re going to hate me if I come home from work tired and can’t help out as much as you need me to.”

2. Write out the qualities of your caretakers that were positive. Split your list into however many people cared for you. This may include a grandparent, or even an older sibling. Maybe it was a family down the road that your mom dropped you off with while she was at work. Include anyone who had an important role in your life.

So many of our fears stem from our own experiences with our caretakers. We question if we’ll be able to recreate the positive and improve on the negative. Maybe we even declare “you have to be better to our child than my father was to me.” The relationships with our caretakers so deeply impact our wants and desires for our future family. You don’t need to understand it all right now, but shedding light on those relationships is a critical piece to understanding your fears.

3. Write out the qualities of your caretakers that were negative. Same guidelines as #2.

4. Write out your favorite family traditions that are important for you to keep with you while you build and begin your own family.

5. Identify what messages you will need from your partner to feel supported and uplifted through this all? What can they say/do to communicate their love, understanding, and connectedness throughout it all.

This is just a starting point. There are so many more questions to consider and layers to understand, but it’s a beautiful way to get the ball rolling and to start working towards building the emotional security you will need throughout this process.

Have the courage to ask to be heard, and lean towards each other through the process.

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.


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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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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