To my husband: You were born to raise a daughter

I may never know what comes next as a parent, but one thing I do: You will always be there to catch her.

To my husband: You were born to raise a daughter

I sit by the side of the pool and watch you twirl our 2-year-old daughter through the blue waves. Her delighted giggles shriek through the air, punctuated only by cries for, "Again, Daddy! Again!" As your own laugh accompanies hers, I can't help but feel a smile spread across my face.

I always knew you would be a good father. But I don't think I ever realized what a great father you would be for a daughter.

I can remember the first time we discussed children, lying on the couch, our fingers lazily intertwined, still in the hazy dating days when babies and our real adult future still seemed so far away. Truthfully, I can't remember who brought up the topic first, but eventually, the question came out, "How many kids do you want?"


Your answer was playful but tinged with a simple undertone that you most looked forward to having a son. I rolled my eyes, typical man.

Fast-forward years (or was it a lifetime?) later, rings on our fingers and my belly beginning to swell as we waited for the announcement as to whether our first child would be a boy or girl. I was secretly hoping that pink confetti would fly out, but a tiny, nagging doubt tugged at the corner of my mind: What if you were disappointed?

No sooner had the thought entered my mind when our friends set off a dozen confetti poppers, showering us in blush and gold paper. My eyes filled with happy tears and I turned to face you, searching your eyes for any signs of regret. My heart swelled when I realized your own eyes were shining as you grinned and whispered in my ear, "A daughter!"

Three years later, watching you play with our girl, I realize I should never have worried. Despite the trepidations, we both shared, "girl dad" is a role you have blossomed into.

Because you realize the importance of your example in her life.

I once said to you that you would set the standard for how our daughter would expect men to treat her for the rest of her life. That responsibility weighed heavy on you at the moment, and it has become a mantle I watch you carry to the best of your ability every day.

Not only do you make time for our daughter's smallest feelings, but you can often be found stooped to her level, intensely engaged in a game of pretend or simply listening to her ramblings for minutes on end. Every day, you teach her to expect respect, love, and loyalty from the people (but especially the men) she lets into her life.

Because you are my perfect partner in parenting.

If roughhousing with dad is really as good as they say, our daughter is going to reap benefits in spades. While our daughter still turns to me for soothing, cuddles, and singing Disney songs at full volume as we cook dinner—you are the playmate she craves when she's feeling a little wild.

You are the one who throws her high into the air, who pushes her on the swing with full gusto as she begs to go even higher.

You are the one who "forgets" to always remind her to be careful, instead encouraging her to see how far her own confidence can take her. I may hold my breath most of the time I watch you play together, but I've learned to embrace our different parenting styles when I see how your tactics foster the brave little girl I've always hoped to raise.

Because you open doors for her I would never be able to find.

The same way you and I make each other a more well-rounded couple, you expose our daughter to worlds I know nothing about. When she begs for you to take her to the basement to pound on your drum set or I catch her running through the house swiping at anything on the floor with her hockey stick, I'm reminded of how much she would miss out on without a father like you.

It is a joy watching you pass your own passions onto her—and a firm reminder that, despite any initial fears, you don't need a son to have a partner in crime.

Because watching you help raise our daughter is one of my greatest blessings.

While, as the full-time parent, I will always take on the lion's share of keeping our family running every day, it was clear from the start that you intended to be a hands-on dad.

While some of our male friends bragged about never changing a diaper or sleeping through the night without issues, you were always there to step in when you saw me crumbling under the stress of sleep exhaustion or frustration. As a result, you are a father that our daughter sees as approachable, accessible, and incredibly loving. It fills my heart daily to watch you reinforce this perception by holding yourself to an incredibly high standard of fatherhood.

All these thoughts and more run through my mind as I watch you continue to splash with our daughter, encouraging her to face her fear and jump off the side into your waiting arms.

I may never know what comes next as a parent, but one thing I do: You will always be there to catch her.

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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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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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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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