When you’re the first in your squad to have a baby

My friends didn’t really get my new life as a mom. But could I really blame them?

When you’re the first in your squad to have a baby

For most first time mothers, in the beginning, motherhood can be overwhelming.

It’s this crash course into a whole new world—one you can never be prepared to enter.

I am shocked they don’t give you a “how to” guide on parenthood when you leave the hospital. The day we brought my oldest home from the hospital, my husband and I looked at each other as she sat in her car seat all buckled up and tiny, and said, “what now?” Neither one of us really had any experience with babies and knew we would, for the most part, be winging it. Of course we read all the new parent books and guides from the hospital but I swear, it all went out the window on day one.

As my hubby and I soon came to realize, every child is distinctly different. But even figuring that out took time! A lot of time! We had no time for anything else!

When I was pregnant, mothers would tell me they didn’t have time to take a shower or put on makeup or browse their favorite blogs, and I would think “why not?” But now, I completely understand. Motherhood is an extremely busy job. Before I had kids, I simply did not get it. I had no idea the amount of energy and effort it takes to be a mom, spouse and have a career.

One major aspect of my life to suffer were my friendships.

I was one of the first of my friends to have children, which was kind of brutal at first. I didn’t have many close peers to bounce ideas off of or ask questions or simply cry on an understanding shoulder. As a new mom, I found it very difficult to manage my previously healthy, happy friendships. There was barely any time for myself. My best friends live out of town so no one could just pop in and say hello or help around the house which also meant that they could not see the reality of motherhood firsthand.

They loved me, but didn’t truly understand the struggle of those first several months adjusting to this new life.

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I was used to talking to my bestie at all hours of the day or night. All of a sudden, I wanted to sleep any free chance I could get. We used to gossip about random things and engage in silly pop culture debates. Now, I wanted to talk about why my baby had acne and would it ever go away. We used to send pics of what to wear to events and get “approval” from each other. Now, I wanted to find diapers that didn’t leak when my baby had a blow out. She wanted my advice on all of her business decisions and I could barely keep a clean shirt on.

Clearly our priorities had changed—and therefore our relationship changed.

At first, it was hard to even make the time to call friends. While a fellow mother would completely understand, my single friends could not. They didn’t understand why I didn’t want to chit chat or why I was too tired to even think about anyone else, especially them. They were offended and felt like I was abandoning them. For me, I simply felt this new little life needed me more.

What I realized was I was very focused on being a great mommy, which is exactly what I needed to be at the time. I was breastfeeding on demand around the clock which was very time and energy-consuming for me.Mommy brain made me forget things often and I found it hard to hold long conversations.

In so many ways, my focus had shifted.

It took me a while to adjust and learn how to balance motherhood with other aspects of my life. It helped a ton when my daughter started sleeping longer stretches; when she began to develop a routine and I could begin to predict her patterns. I learned how to take moments for myself and my friends around her schedule. I also had very supportive friends, who although were unaware of the ins and outs of motherhood, were extremely patient with me and waited for me to find my rhythm.

My newborn baby was a major priority at that time because she needed me most of all and my friends had to understand that. It did, however, take me realizing that it wasn’t all their fault if our friendship was going to continue to grow.

It was up to me to introduce them into my new world and be more understanding of the world I had just left behind.

I started to include my friends on decisions I was making about doctors, diapers or making baby food. It didn’t matter how big or small. I also started to schedule more FaceTime talks with them during peak points like breakfast or dinner to include them in the mayhem. I invited them to visit for the day when they were in town. My bestie came to town, spent the day with us and at the end of the day, looked at me and said “I am in shock that you are responsible for feeding and taking care of all these people; I can barely feed myself some days!”

To the friends who who were more than willing and super excited to take the journey with me: Thank you.

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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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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

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

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