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Real talk with Daphne Oz: On working motherhood and modeling happiness

"Motherhood is not like that. There's no prescribed, perfect way to do anything. I think you have to be comfortable in that feeling of doing the best you can every single day, and knowing that every day is a new day," shares Oz.

Real talk with Daphne Oz: On working motherhood and modeling happiness

She's making television, writing cookbooks, innovating in the baby food industry and raising three kids under four, but for Daphne Oz, having it all doesn't mean doing it all at onceand it certainly doesn't involve "bouncing back" right after having a baby.

The multifaceted mama welcomed her third child, daughter Domenica, in December, and has been very open about her postpartum experience, sharing her story (and swimsuit selfies) on social media in the hopes of helping other mothers be kind to themselves during their own fourth trimester experiences.

"I'm trying to have this conversation where it's like, 'look, the journey will be whatever it will be'," she tells Motherly. "It takes me close to a year to get back to a place where I feel like my body has rebounded, and I don't want to have to feel like I'm hiding in my house or hiding in a sack until that time."

For Oz, hiding was never an option because working makes her happy, and she says that questionwhat makes a mother happyis one that is often missing from postpartum conversations.

"Moms have a huge role. We have a huge role in setting the tone for our families and making sure our kids are looked afterthat's food and sleep and bath time and all the rest of itbut it's also about modeling for them what happiness looks like."

In her case, happiness means preserving the parts of her career that she was passionate about while also raising a family. But when you have multiple jobs and multiple kids, the to-do lists can get out of control quickly, especially when you're trying to do everything at once.

Being present

Oz admits that early on in motherhood, she did find herself worn out, due to a problem we at Motherly call "continuous parenting", the burnout-inducing practice of trying to be "on" all the time.

"That's exhausting, and you never feel like you're doing it right and you constantly feel like you're failing," Oz recalls. "I think where I was really tripping up was I was constantly trying to split my time wherever I was."

These days, Oz isn't trying to pull herself in two different directions and be all things at once. If she's at work, she's at work, and if she's with the kids, she makes sure she's present physically and mentally.

"I have to be able to live in the moment and enjoy whatever I've chosen to do that day and acknowledge that I'm making that choice because it makes me happy and be okay with that, especially or even if it means not crossing off every to-do list or responding to every email," she explains. "I'm constantly in search of this balance where when I'm out of the home or I'm away traveling for work or whatever it is, I'm 100% on, so that when I'm home I get to be 100% mom."

That means that some days, Oz is a better mother than colleague, or vice versa. Some days she's a better mom than a wife, or a better wife than a friend, but she says we can't define success in parenting the way we did in school: You simply can't get As in every subject at once now. We can't study because there is no right answer.

"Motherhood is not like that. There's no prescribed, perfect way to do anything. I think you have to be comfortable in that feeling of doing the best you can every single day, and knowing that every day is a new day," shares Oz.

For Oz, doing her best means trying to find that balance between work time and family time, while also being gentle with herself. The cookbook author has built a career out of cooking and eating delicious food, and she's not about to give up her love of food in a quest for a pre-baby body. Still, she says that while she's "no gym rat," she makes "health a priority, not an obsession," and makes healthy choices part of her routine.

She's having the food she loves, the career she loves and quality time with the children she loves. The key is not trying to have it all in the same moment, and not putting her body, or her happiness, on a deadline.

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In This Article

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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