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Pete Buttigieg has a plan to support America's stressed-out mothers

[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

Research suggests American mothers are the most stressed out in the Western world. The women of this nation carry a heavy load, doing more than their fair share of unpaid labor and receiving less than their fair share for paid work.

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But America's women aren't just more likely than men to be doing the childcare and the housework, they're also more likely to vote. So it makes sense that those seeking the presidency recognize the issues the nation's women are facing and address them, and this week presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg did that, dropping his new "Women's Agenda."

He's committing to closing the wage and wealth gaps, advancing women's health, and ending the maternal mortality crisis. His plan for gender parity also includes "ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment to recognize women's equal rights in the Constitution, appointing at least 50% women to the Cabinet and judiciary."

It's a bold plan that highlights just how far America currently is from achieving gender equality and how it could become a leader on this front. No country in the world is currently on target to meet the UN's targets for gender equality. Buttigieg wants to change that and wants America to show the rest of the world how it can be done.

How does he plan on doing it?

So how would Buttigieg do what he is proposing? His full plan is laid out on his website, but here are the bullet points:

Affordable childcare + paid leave

In his plan to close the wage and pay gaps Buttigieg states that he plans to eliminate "the trade-off between career and family with affordable child care and paid family leave."

This is a good first step. We know America needs paid parental leave and that the cost of day care is almost as much as rent in some cities. Thanks to Motherly's second annual State of Motherhood survey we know that 85% of moms don't think society understands or supports motherhood and more than half of moms say they are discouraged and find it extremely challenging managing trade-offs between career and family.

We know that when American women have access to affordable childcare maternal workforce participation rates increase. After Washington, D.C. implemented free full-day preschool (which 90% of 4-year-olds and 70% of 3-year-olds attend) moms' participation in the workforce went up by 10%, according to the Center for American Progress.

Affordable childcare is going to be key in any plan to close the wage gap in America and so is paid parental leave for mothers and fathers. If we want the "motherhood penalty" (which costs moms about $16,000 a year) to go away we have to create a culture where all parents are taking leave. To equalize paychecks we have to equalize parenting responsibilities and we can't do that without paid family leave.

Buttigieg's plan also proposes growing women-owned business through $50 million in capital and he's also proposing "legislation to immediately make public the median pay gap, broken down by racial and ethnic groups, at every large company: for every dollar that the company pays to male employees as a whole, including salary and bonuses, how much does it pay to women employees?" This is similar to Britain's Equality Act, which sees companies with more than 250 employees report their gender pay gap figures at the end of every financial year.

Advancing women's health

America is facing a maternal health crisis and Buttigieg's plan recognizes that, building on his previous plan to address the wider mental health crisis in the nation. He's promising an affordable public health plan—"Medicare for All Who Want It." Families would be able to opt into Buttigieg's comprehensive public plan or stay on their employer-sponsored care.

And at a time when some states are making changes that limit access to abortion, Buttigieg's plan promises to "ensure that women permanently have access to safe, affordable, and legal abortions by codifying the right into law to protect women from state-level interference."

He also plans to reduce the closure of obstetric units through payment reforms and encourage medical providers to serve patients in rural and tribal areas by expanding and reforming the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and "diversify the health workforce and train our current health workforce to combat discrimination and bias–especially racial bias–when treating patients."

Building safe + inclusive communities

Buttigieg's plan to make American women safer includes addressing the intersection of gun ownership and domestic violence, ending the backlog of untested rape kits, passing the Equality Act to protect people from gender and sexual identity-based discrimination and reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, which allowed police to take guns from a woman's abusive husband or partner but which expired earlier this year. Buttigieg would renew the act, protect it from future expiry and expand it to include not only spouses but also dating partners, thereby closing the so-called "boyfriend loophole" that allowed some abusive partners to retain their weapons.

Power + influence

In an op-ed for USA Today, Buttigieg explained how he plans to increase the power and influence of women in America.

"I am committed to ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment during my administration to formalize women's legal equality. Because personnel is policy, I pledge to nominate at least 50% women to my Cabinet and to the judiciary. We'll put gender equity at the forefront of our policies at home and abroad. We'll pursue campaign finance reform that will make it easier for women to enter politics and create a more representative government. And we will push companies to increase transparency and make sure women and diverse leaders can rise to the top, because it is unacceptable that women make up 45% of workers at S&P 500 companies but just 5% of S&P 500 CEOs," Buttigieg explains.

It's a bold plan—and whether or not Buttigieg makes it to the White House it's a plan worth talking about.

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

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.

$30

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!

$75

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.

$40

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.

$120

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.

$30

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.

$100

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.

$40

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.

$121

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.

$100

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.

$45

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.

$179

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.

$100

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.

$33

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.

$88

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com 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 support Motherly and mamas.

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

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"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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