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What *really* happens in a parent's bedroom after the kids go to sleep

It's been a long day.

I shuffled the kids to and fro. I changed dirty diapers and sheets and remembered to flip the laundry. I picked clothes up at the dry cleaners, and I dropped my kiddo off at school. I made three different meals for dinner and finished all my emails and edits for work.

There's only one thing I want to do when my tall, handsome man walks through that door.

Only one thing I desire.

Only one thing that will make me feel more amazing than anything else could in the world at this very moment.

I want to take all my clothes off. And get in the shower. And wash this emotionally draining, physically exhausting day off.

Then, I want to crawl into bed and feel the soft sensual touch of my… sheets. And the warm, satisfying embrace of my… comforter. And, truthfully, I just want to hit that… pillow.

And pass out. As fast as I can.

The mom life can be a tiring life that's for sure. (#Preach.)

But then there are the non-exhausting days. Those come around once in a while. They're called unicorn days. And on those days, you want to celebrate with your partner at the end of the day.

You decide to turn the TV off a little earlier than usual those nights. You take the extra precaution of using mouthwash after you brush your teeth for the night, and you crawl into bed—ready to make some magic.

But then, before you even get to second base, your 2-year-old breaks the party up with some very loud crying. So, you get up and check on her. She needs water and goldfish, STAT. You oblige because you'd like to get back to your party next door.

You bring her some water and three goldfish. You figure—that's enough to fulfill her request but also not enough to cause any damage. She eats them, you say goodnight (again) and go back to your room to get back to it.

Oh but then, she calls you back in.

The cries don't sound as intense this time, and it crosses your mind to maybe just ignore them for a little while, because…well...it's been awhile. But let's be honest—you can't focus while hearing someone say "MOOOOM! MOOOOM! MOOOOM!" over and over and over again. (No one wants to hear that name at this kind of party…)

Your husband goes in this time instead. He calms her down by finding her lost pacifier under the bed and singing one song. You hear 'Frère Jacques' from next door and, honestly, if you were a listening-to-music-while-you-have-sex kinda person, you'd probably prefer the soulful croons of John Legend versus a French nursery rhyme (if we're being honest, which...we clearly are).

Okay, so he officially got her back to sleep, and you're both back in bed.

It's now about one hour after this party started and, it's kind of at the point where you're just staying to stay, but you're really, really tired and should go home. The party was fun, and there was a lot of excitement initially—but it's waned a bit because, well, you had a few crashers that weren't supposed to be there.

You and your husband have a quick chat and weigh the pros and cons. It goes something like this: Ugh, we really want to do this and know we should do this, but dang! We're tired, and we have to be up in five hours. I love you. You're hot. So, rain check!

Then you both laugh and fall asleep in about .03 seconds. 😴

Marriage after kids is funny and intense. You two are growing up together. You're learning how to take care of tiny humans who need a lot of things together. You're learning what one another needs in relation to how hard it can be to raise a family—how you can support each other. And sometimes knowing when to sleep—and encouraging one another to do so—is incredibly important. Like, incredibly.

Because you know you love each other beyond measure. You know you're attracted to each other like never before. And you know there are times in your sex lives where there's a lot happening, and times when there's, well, not as much happening.

And that's cool with me. Because I'll never doubt the love this man brings to the table. And I'll never want to do this life with anyone else.

You know the Spice Girls classic, "2 Become 1"?

Well, sometimes—sometimes that's about becoming one with your bed. And not one with your spouse. And that's okay.

(And also, it's okay to have created a Spice Girls Spotify playlist that you listen to in private which is why the song '2 Become 1' came to mind. They have some really catchy songs and remind you of your youth, and there's nothing to be ashamed of, and I hear they're getting back together anyway, and...I think we're onto another essay for another day…)

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

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When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


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