To my husband: You make me a better mother 💜

Keep calm and watch SportsCenter. You deserve it. 

To my husband: You make me a better mother 💜

I'll admit it: Though I'm trained in early childhood education and naturally fluent in baby and toddler speak, at times, I'm not right.

Shocking I know, but it is true. From time to time I must submit my knowledge to a special teacher of mine: my husband—the father, no, the Daddy, to my two radiant little people.

As an ode to my him, an ode to the Dads out there who are really doing it—I want to say: thank you.

So here are few lessons I've learned from my husband that make me a better mother.

1) Say it directly.

When my daughter, our second, was an infant, our relationship had a rocky moment.

Some resentment that went both ways—not very healthy. Despite complete sleep deprivation, I remember one moment distinctly. My husband had recently walked in from a day at the office, I had spent the day doing all the things mom does in a day (and probably was longing for some time at an office), he walked through the kitchen to our room to change clothes or something, and I snarkily remarked something to the effect of “Well I guess since you aren't going to wash the dishes, I will."

He looked me right in the eye and firmly and briskly said Don't do that.

Don't do that. Don't say it like that. It's so annoying. Just say what you want. I would much rather you say, Please fold the laundry, as opposed to something passive and angry.

I thought about getting offended. I decided instead to engage in a discussion. I let him know that I try not to bark orders, because that makes me feel like a demanding nag. He assured me it was much better to speak up and say clearly what I need, and further, that he wants to be helpful but honestly didn't see the house and the tasks in the same way I did. We ended up doing an exercise where we went from room to room describing what we saw.

Turns out, in each room, we saw a different scene. His eyes didn't scan for all the details. He wasn't thinking about packing lunches for the next day, and the spit up probably still left on the wall, and the phone call I needed to make, or any of the rest of it. He wasn't worried about the list running through my head. He was just glad to be home.

Over time, we've learned to meet in the middle here. I try to look away from the piles, and only feel the wholeness of the room, and he has developed a sense of what needs to be done without asking. And when he isn't seeing what needs to be done—I no longer feel badly about asking for it. It's a much healthier balance - for both of us.

Say what I need and don't feel guilt for it.

2) Let go of control.

It might not be done my way, but that doesn't mean that it was done the wrong way.

I once made sure I laid out our children's clothes, attempted to teach my husband which bucket held what toys, and checked in if I was out.

Now, I don't care.

My husband is taking care of them while I do something else. I'm grateful. The end.

I used to interject to tell him how to respond some of our children's questions. I mean, I had the education and the expertise of being with them 96% of the time. Luckily I quickly realized I was doing more harm than good by micro managing their relationship. Does Dad answer or connect the same way I do? No. He does it Dad's way, and that's a really special thing. I waste precious time and energy attempting to be in charge of every detail. And my kids have a wonderful relationship with the most important man in their life. I'm happy to stay out of it.

3) It's OK to tune out at times.

A parent doesn't always have to be on.

My husband wakes up and takes a shower first. He doesn't worry immediately about the kids. Partly because he knows I am doing it already, but partly because he firmly feels that he is more help if he takes care of himself first. And you can bet he doesn't feel a speck of guilt by not jumping up to help the kids immediately.

I, on the other hand, end up scrambling around to brush my own teeth before leaving the house, because I've been jumping at all the kid requests from the time I woke. He leaves the house a lot less frazzled than I do.

He might be on to something.

Additionally, he watches sports and tunes out. Completely. Zones out. Literally doesn't hear the kids “Dad! Daddy! Daddy!" And yet, I hear the tiniest of whispers “Mommy?!" Why is that?

I often feel over extended, trying to accomplish a few feats of magic in my world, constantly interrupted by Mommy? My husband has no intrinsic feeling that he must answer every request for his attention. He is perfectly content to zone out and answer when he is good and ready. He doesn't waste time feeling badly about this. He doesn't question himself Do I give them enough attention? Seeing as how I am with the kids more often—I'm thinking I should cut myself some slack here and there for some zone-out time.

4) How to make proper Star Wars sound effects and race car noises while playing.

Well. Let's be honest. I still get criticized (by my children) for my lack of talent in this department.

Which is fine by me, because I thoroughly enjoy having places where Dad is the expert—when a question or request comes in, I can sit back and say “Oh gosh. I don't know about that. Go ask Dad how many Stormtroopers are on the Imperial Star Destroyer. I don't have any idea."

5) To appreciate myself.

One day a year or so ago when I was feeling overwhelmed, tired, uninspired, all of it.

I was voicing my frustration to my husband, and I said something about how I was tired of feeling on—that it felt like a lot of pressure at times to have two little beings watching every move I make, and then copying that move, and pretty much learning to walk through their world by watching how I walked through mine. He looked at me, kind of in disbelief that I had said that and said, “Well, yea. But who better for them to learn from? If there were a fantasy draft (think fantasy football) for who I would want my children to copy in this world, you would be my number one draft pick." This was a high compliment from a sports fanatic. And since he had used his own love language to express it to me, I knew it was real. I took a moment to let that sink over me, and now have to remember it from time to time. I don't have to be 'on' all the time. I just have to be me. I mean, I'm his number one draft pick.

So, dads out there, thank you. Thank you for all you do and for reminding this mom to relax.

In This Article

    The HATCH Mama collection is everything your pregnant body needs right now

    Their oil is the only thing that stopped my belly from itching as it grew bigger.

    Conz Preti

    Let me start by saying I'm not a fan of moisturizing. I hate being wet and sticky and after applying product to my body, I have to stand around awkwardly until I'm fully air-dried—a practice that is not compatible with having three kids under the age of 3. However, as someone who has carried three children in her body, I also know how much your belly needs hydration as the baby grows.

    This was especially true with my second pregnancy. My belly popped way sooner (a thing that happens with subsequent pregnancies) and on top of that, I was carrying twins, which meant I became super pregnant super fast. My belly was itching constantly from the skin stretching (I checked with my doctor to make sure I didn't have Cholestasis) and there was no scratching in the world that could ease my discomfort. My doula recommended the HATCH Mama belly oil and changed my life. The oil is nourishing—but more important to me, quick-drying—so I could apply it all over my planet-sized twin belly and get dressed immediately after without having my clothes ruined nor stuck to my body. Because of how much I loved the oil, I tested other products, and let me tell you, they're all equally amazing.

    Curious about the HATCH Mama collection? All of their products are non-toxic and mama-safe, designed to help pregnant people overcome the challenges unique to pregnancy. As their website claims, "from stretch marks to thinning hair, to sleepless nights, we're helping you tackle every prenatal and postnatal beauty issue head-on so you can continue to feel like the best version of you." I'm here for all of this. For the entire Hatch Beauty collection click here.

    Here are my favorite products from HATCH Mama:

    Belly oil


    Intensely hydrating + fantastic at reducing the appearance of stretch marks and scars, this will be your favorite through pregnancy + beyond.


    Belly mask

    HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Mask Set

    Not only does it help to minimize the appearance of stretch masks + scars during pregnancy + postpartum, but there is a little non-toxic wink (and that's to you, mama.)


    Nipple + lip ointment 

    HATCH COLLECTION  Nipple + Lip

    Calming + soothing, this magic sauce is lanolin-free & made of tropical butters and super fruits. I'm not lying when I say you will not want to stop using this, even way after birth.


    Belly tattoos

    HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Tattoos

    A very rock and roll way to honor your bump. And non-toxic + plant-based at that!


    This article was originally published in March 2021. It has been updated.

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


    Motherly created the flexible online birth class moms need

    The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

    Taking a birth class is a pregnancy milestone. Whether you've been excited to take a birth class for a long time or have just recently decided that you wanted to take one, sitting down for that first lesson feels big—spoiler alert, this is really happening! But finding time for a birth class isn't as easy as it would seem.

    We know new parents are busy (hello, understatement of the year). Between diaper changes, pediatrician appointments, healing from birth and the general adjustment to #newparentlife, the days can fill up quickly. But a lot of people are caught off guard by how busy pregnancy can be, too! That first trimester is so often full of symptoms—like nausea and fatigue—that can make previously easy or simple tasks exhausting. The second trimester begins and (usually) we start to feel better. But then our days get filled with planning out baby registries and deciding on questions like, "Where will this tiny new human sleep?" And before you know it, it's the third trimester—and, well, then you're in the home stretch. Plus there are so many appointments!

    All this to say that we get how busy you are—and how hard that might make it to fit in a birth class.

    And that's why we created The Motherly Birth Class. The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

    Think you'll want to watch each lesson a few times over? Great!

    Due date's next week and you need the option to take a birth class very quickly? No problem!

    Like everything at Motherly, we designed this class with you in mind.

    Taught by Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding (who also wrote "The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama"), this class is broken into 12 lessons—and you get to control how and when you watch them. We'll teach you about what your (amazing) body is up to in labor, how to decide when it's time to head to the hospital or birth center (or when to call your home birth midwife), what your options are for coping with pain and so much more.

    When you sign up for The Motherly Birth Class, you'll get access to a downloadable workbook and meditations. Plus, you'll be invited to join our supportive private online community (where you can chat with the class instructor!)

    Oh, one more thing: Your insurance or flexible spending account might even able to able to cover the cost of this class.

    Pregnancy is wonderful—but it's a lot. You deserve a birth class that works for you and empowers you to have your best birth. Because vaginal or Cesarean, unmedicated or medication, birth is incredible. And you are the star of it all.

    You've got this.

    Sign up for The Motherly Birth Class today!

    The Motherly Birth Class


    Take our completely digital birth class from the comfort of your living room. We'll help you have your best birth—because you deserve it.


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


    This post is sponsored by BABYBJÖRN. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

    So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are 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 indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Secret Agent play set


    This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


    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.


    Stepping Stones


    Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.


    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden 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.


    Sensory play set


    Filled with sand or water, this compact-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.


    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.


    Foam pogo stick


    Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.




    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.


    Hopper ball

    Hopper ball

    Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.


    Pull-along ducks


    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.


    Rocking chair seesaw


    This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.


    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.


    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.


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


    Extended breastfeeding just happened for me—and I'm in no rush to end it

    My son is two and a half and still nursing, and it's what makes sense for us.

    eclipse images/ Getty

    When I became pregnant with my first child, I assumed that I would breastfeed. I also assumed that I would pump and give bottles. I even had all the bottles, a bottle warmer, and a bottle drying rack all ready to go. I made sure I got my pump before the baby came, so I was ready. But then, I actually tried pumping a couple of times and hated it. It was tedious, time-consuming, and not as effective, so nursing was the standard between my two children. It came naturally for me, and I found it the easier of the two options since I stayed home with them anyway. I was always there when they needed it.

    I was able to breastfeed my first until she was two and a half, at which point, I was seven months pregnant with her brother. Between the hormones, being touched out, and being uncomfortable, I decided to fully wean her. It had been coming for some time because the clock was ticking on getting her to sleep on her own before the new baby came since we had been co-sleeping up to this point.

    I cut night feedings first, moved her to her own bed, and then weaned her completely as I went along in my pregnancy. She still wanted to nurse to sleep, but I had to stop eventually because I was so uncomfortable. My body and brain could not take it anymore, but I'm proud I made it that far with her and that I nursed that far into pregnancy.

    When my second child came around, my son, breastfeeding was not only easier, but I found myself here: extended breastfeeding.

    He recently passed two and a half, which is where my daughter stopped, and he is still co-sleeping. He still nurses quite a bit, because his tummy hurts because of constipation issues. He still uses it to soothe and help him go back to sleep at night. He's getting too big to stay in our bed much longer, but I'm in no rush to wean him completely until he's ready.

    Being able to stay home with them has definitely fostered the breastfeeding relationship. Cuddling is a huge part of it, too, and I'll continue to breastfeed until it makes sense to stop.

    While my husband doesn't always agree with that philosophy and tells him that he's a big boy and can be done having milk, it's ultimately not up to him. I told my son that we would work through it together.

    It is still an emotional connection thing, and at the same time, it still has benefits for him. He's still getting nutrients especially designed for him. He's still getting supplemental nutrition while he doesn't want to eat as much otherwise if his stomach is hurting.

    My body has been doing this for a long time. I'm used to it. While I get touched out some days, I also know how helpful breastfeeding still is to help him settle down and how much he still appreciates it. I don't feel the need to cut him off quickly—both for his sake and mine.

    I'm also painfully aware that this is probably my last baby. My breastfeeding journey, over five years in the making, will soon be over. As long as he is still getting the benefits and I'm not stressed over it, I'll let it continue on a limited basis. I know it will end soon—it has to. He will be growing up and entering the next stage before I know it. But until then, I'm going to cuddle my baby boy a bit longer. I'm going to let him nurse at certain times and in certain situations.

    I never intended to do extended breastfeeding with either of them, but it just happened naturally. And that's okay. You need to do what makes the most sense and do what your intuition tells you is right for your family.