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To my love—can you believe this life we’ve built?

We're in the world of parenting young children together. A crazy, magical world—one I'm so glad to share with you.

To my love—can you believe this life we’ve built?

My love—

It’s been five years of marriage. How did that fly by so fast? Sometimes I still feel like the girl with the crush on the quarterback in college.


But then one of our daughters (I won’t name names) puts her hand down her diaper and gets poop on her fingers or the other one (again, keeping names confidential) continually asks, “Can we watch a show? Can we watch a show?” and I remember, I am now married to you and we live with tiny little amazing maniacs whom we created and love deeply and basically what I’m trying to say is...were not in college anymore.

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We are in the world of parenting young children together. A crazy world. But also a very a magical one. A world I’m so glad to share with you.

Since college, where we fell in love, our relationship has grown and changed and deepened over the years. It has challenged us and it has saved us. It has been one of the greatest gifts of my life. ?

I am lucky to love you.

I’ve loved you through the good times and the not so good times. The fun times and the difficult times. The happy and the sad. We’ve been through so much, and our love has been there through it all.

I have loved you when this was all brand new.

And every moment, every touch, every look was exciting. The butterflies! The anticipation! The passion! Our love blossomed quickly and it surprised me. I loved you almost immediately, and I don’t even know if we were ready for it, really. But thankfully we accepted it with open arms.

I have loved you long distance.

When we both needed to pursue our own post-graduate adult life goals. You in Pennsylvania and me in Chicago. I thought I might die without you. I knew that if we could make it through the distance, we could make it through anything. (Which has been proven now since we battle tantrums together and being scolded for our pitch on “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” on the daily. ?)

I have loved you when we were trying to figure out how to adult.

When we both started working “real” jobs and started paying back our student loans and living in our own apartments and trying our hand at being responsible. We made it through figuring out how to balance jobs and friends and each other. We were clinging to our youth but also so excited to “grow up” and move things along with our relationship.

I have loved you when we committed to forever.

Oh getting engaged was exciting! We were over the moon and in love and ready to plan the party of the century. We got through all the details and planning and spending and family-merging weddings involve and came out *relatively* unscathed. It was the best day. A ceremony filled with love. We were so grateful, so proud of ourselves.

I have loved you through my first pregnancy.

Navigating being pregnant is crazy! Trying to wrap our heads around the concept of becoming parents was exciting and nerve wracking and very scary. But we did it. Together. We had each other’s backs.

I have loved you through becoming homeowners.

Through figuring out where we’d settle down. What our budget was. How we were going to pay for anything. What color we’d (OK, OK...you’d) paint our walls. The stress. The choices. The moving. The excitement. What updates we would make. Prepping the room that would transform into our babies nursery.

I have loved you through new parenthood.

When we looked at our daughter together for the first time. When we were very, very sleep deprived (I mean...we still are, and I still love you.) When we were trying to figure out how to swaddle. When we marveled at this human we created together. When we couldn’t soothe her properly. When we thought our hearts would burst with how cute she was. ?

I have loved you through growing our family.

By another daughter, and another daughter...

Through watching you turn into this amazing, thoughtful, caring, FUN father. I always knew you could be the best dad in the world, but watching you prove it to me has been an honor. I have loved you through my panic attacks about whether I could do this, whether I could manage three kids—you are always there to reassure me and keep my spirits up. You’ve helped me believe in myself like no one else ever has.

I have loved you through planning and dreaming about our future.

Through dreaming about our “perfect” next home and how we’d like to decorate it. Through talking about what our hopes are for our daughters. What vacations we want to take one day. How we want to parent our children. What we want to accomplish professionally, and how we can make it happen by supporting one another.

We’re in this together—every single day. We’re both in the trenches of parenting young children and tending to a young marriage and all the dreams we have. It’s hard and demanding but it is worth it with every fiber of my being.

You are my rock, my inspiration, my best friend and my heart.

It’s been one heck of a ride so far, my darling. Here’s to more adventures together!

Love always,

Your wife

PS: I still have a crush on you. ?

These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com 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.

Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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