My mom friends are my rocks—here are 5 essential qualities I look for

There is no one else, not even my adoring partner, who understands the emotional roller coaster that is daily life with small children.

My mom friends are my rocks—here are 5 essential qualities I look for

Finding mom friends is just like dating. You have to figure out exactly what it is you're looking for. Then you must scour the earth for someone who meets your needs and awkwardly ask them on a play date with all of the anxiety of a pubescent teen.

I have never needed friends so much as now—as I am knee-deep in laundry and my dining room table coated with a distinct layer of yesterday's oatmeal. There is no one else, not even my adoring partner, who understands the emotional roller coaster that is daily life with small children.

My mom friends are my rocks and I cling to them through the storms of parenthood.


Through trial and error, through growth pains and additional children, I have whittled down the qualities that I think are most important in a great mom friend. Although these attributes are not uncommon, they are hard to find all in one, perfect mommy package.

1. Can you participate in a lively discussion?

I don't need you to agree with me, but I want you to challenge me. If I have an opinion and you think I'm full of it, call me on it. I desire to engage in dynamic debates about today's issues because to be honest, sometimes I need to talk to someone about something important and adult. My days are filled explaining why Oscar the Grouch lives in a garbage can or discussing the value of clean underwear.

I am still a person. I need to ask my own questions—what do we do about the heavier topics, like consent and gun safety? What are the pros and cons of vaccinations? How do you brave the fits of a fiery toddler? And most importantly—the man with the yellow hat from Curious George—where is he always running off to?

2. Are you non-judgmental?

I want you to be forgiving in your judgments of my parenting abilities. You'll learn in time that I have the best intentions but that intentions are sometimes left by the roadside when you are trying to push three little children out of the door. When I show up to our play date with one kid dressed in pajamas, one with a knot in her hair the size of Texas, and the other wearing a Ninja Turtle shirt that is a size too small, I need you to recognize that some days it is incredible that I left the house at all.

I'm not perfect. And that's okay.

3. Are you into food?

My world revolves around snacks. If you show up to my house with food, we're going to be friends. If you suggest we grab a burrito on our way to the park, we'll get along fine. Do you lose your temper when you haven't eaten? Do your kids melt into puddles when they haven't been fed? Us, too.

I once saw a friend open her purse and it was like the light from heaven was shining directly in there—it was filled with snacks that she had prepared just for us. She brought homemade hummus. And sourdough! Sigh. Some friends are rare gems and you gotta hold on to those suckers tightly.

4. Do you have a great sense of humor?

This might be the single most important quality to find in a mom friend. I need someone who can laugh at the pitfalls of parenthood alongside me. When I come to your house wearing two different shoes and I've attempted to dye my hair at home—I need you to laugh with me over a glass of wine. You will say things like, “The orange hair compliments your eyes," or, “It is better when I look at you with sunglasses on," and we will laugh.

If I drop a reference from The Office, I expect you to pick that up. When I describe letting go of my gynecologist and use the phrase, Bye Felicia, that better register deep within you.

(I once had an entire texting conversation with my bestie using only GIF's. You cannot manufacture that kind of chemistry that is required for that kind of tête-à-tête.)

5. Can you be honest with me?

I don't want a friend who will placate me. When I ask a question, I want a sincere answer. This can be really hard for some women but I crave an honest opinion. You have to tell me if my breath stinks or if my 3-year-old I having trouble pronouncing the letter “r". I am counting on you to set me straight.

And don't worry—I will reciprocate. When you ask if your 2-year-old daughter has a mullet I will gently, but surely, assure you that she does. I will suggest that you skip going to swim lessons and take her straight to the hairdresser instead. (Priorities, am I right?)

Eventually someone is going to come along and just like falling in love, your pulse will race and your palms will sweat.

You may see her feeding her kid food off of the grocery store floor or sweetly singing Gangsta's Paradise to her baby while pushing him on the swing. No matter where or how you connect, hold that mommy friend close.

The good ones are different.

They are special.

And they are worth the wait.

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.


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


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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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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