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It’s science: Playing with your kids is actually good for you, too

Whether they’re arranging their stuffed animals on the bed or running in circles outdoors, kids never run out of ways to play. According to a new report, we adults could learn a thing or two from our little fun seekers.


We know play is a crucial part of childhood development, but it’s also important for the health and wellbeing of adults. According to IKEA’s 2017 Play Report, you’re never too mature to benefit from play, and parents should set aside some time for playtime.

The report identifies five key benefits to play that apply to kids and adults. It helps us to:

  • Recalibrate and relax
  • Connect with each other
  • Escape
  • Explore
  • Express ourselves

“In fact some of the most beneficial play is when children and adults play together,” the report’s authors note. “They connect and strengthen intergenerational relationships and learn from each other.”

IKEA’s team spent eight months connecting with 300 people—from 2-year-olds to 90-year-olds—in Germany, the US and China. They found that while kids play as a way to comfort themselves and make sense of the world, adults play to seek power and creativity, to explore the world and feel liberated.

In a world where our lives are increasingly lived online, play is a great way to connect with our families, our friends and ourselves. More and more adults are turning to the games they played as kids when they need to unplug. “Our research has strengthened our belief that play is critical for a better everyday life at home,” says Maria Thörn, Range Manager for IKEA of Sweden.

When we get down on the floor and play with our kids, or bust out that board game, we’re allowing ourselves an escape from the stressors of adult live while giving our kids a chance to develop creatively while mirroring adult behavior.

Playing together connects families in a way no other activity can.“When caregivers and children play together, they’re actually making emotional connections,” says Yesim Kunter, a play expert and futurologist. “They are learning about each other. They are learning about who they are as well as about the other person, and they are exploring together. At the same time, they are learning how to observe things together and how to take risks together.”

Free-style play in a world of a child’s making is just one way parents can playfully interact with their kids. Mirroring play, building play, outdoor play; formal play (like board games); and “out-of-the-box” play (like dancing or coloring), are all ways for moms and dads to connect and explore with their little ones, but it’s not always easy for parents to do this.

IKEA’s report highlights several reasons that adults gave researchers for not engaging in play. Common themes include too much stress and responsibilities at work, and rigid daily routines. A lot of adults also just feel that play is only for kids.

"As adults, we get scared of making mistakes. Failure is frowned upon and, as a result, we forget how to play, we’re scared of taking risks, of asking too many questions and we often close the door on our own curiosity,” says Kunter.

If we want our kids to be curious, we need to allow ourselves to be. And whether that means throwing a football or playing pretend, we owe it to ourselves and our kids to try to play as much as possible.

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Usually when celebrities post swimsuit photos on Instagram they don't exactly look like your average beach-going mom, but former Bachelorette (and mom of two) Ali Fedotowsky posted a series of bikini photos on Monday that are both beautiful and relatable.

"This might be my most vulnerable post on Instagram ever," she wrote in the caption for the photos which show a postpartum belly that looks like a real postpartum belly.

"At the end of the day, I know it's important to be open and honest about my postpartum body in hopes that it helps even one person out there who is struggling with their own body image," Fedotowsky (who just gave birth to her second child in May) wrote.

In the first photo of the series she's wearing a sarong around her stomach, but in the second and third photos Fedotowsky reveals the kind of stomach many mamas sport: It's not perfectly taut, she's not showing off any abs, but it is definity beautiful.

"If you swipe to see the second photo in this post, you see that my body has changed. My skin around my stomach is very loose and stretched out, I'm 15lbs heavier than I used to be, and my cup size has grown quite significantly," Fedotowsky writes.

The photos are a sponsored post for Lilly and Lime Swimwear (a line made for women with larger busts) but that doesn't mean it wasn't brave. In fact, the fact that it's an ad makes it even more amazing because research shows that when advertising only shows us bodies that don't look like our own, women become "generally more dissatisfied with their body and appearance".

Ali Fedotowsky

On her blog Fedotowsky notes that a lot of comments on her previous Instagram posts have been followers remarking how slim she looks, or how much they wish they looked like she does postpartum. By dropping that sarong and showing her tummy Fedotowsky is showing other mothers that there is nothing wrong with their own.

"While I appreciate the positive comments, you guys are always so good to me, I keep trying to explain that I'm just good at picking out clothes that flatter my body and hide my tummy," she wrote on her blog.

"I bounced back pretty quickly after I gave birth to Molly. But things are different this time and I'm OK with that. I'm learning to love my body and embrace how it's changed. I hope I get back to my pre-pregnancy shape one day, but that may never happen. And if it doesn't, that's OK."

Ali Fedotowsky

It is okay, because our bodies are more than our swimsuit selfies. They the vessels that carry us through life and carry our children and provide a safe, warm place for those children feel love.

Loose skin is a beautiful thing.


Thanks for keeping it real, Ali.

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Amazon shoppers were anxiously awaiting the countdown to Amazon Prime Day, but when the clock struck one, er three, the website went down.

On Monday afternoon shoppers were trying to get their hands on the much-hyped Prime Day deals but instead of low prices, many users just saw 404 errors, continuously refreshing pages, or had issues keeping or adding items to their shopping carts.

CNBC reports shares of Amazon were down during the shopping glitch, and many shoppers took to Twitter and Instagram to discuss how all they could see on Amazon were the dogs who decorate the site's 404 pages.

As cute as the dogs are, shoppers are getting tired of seeing them, so hopefully Amazon gets things back up and running soon. Analysts had projected Amazon would rake in $3 billion dollars this Prime Day. Time will tell how much of that was lost during the great dog picture debacle of 2018.

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When we were kids, family photos shoots typically captured posed moments in a Sears portrait studio, but these days, professional photographers often encourage candid shoots with a more casual vibe.

Casual is hardly the first word that comes to mind when we think of the royal family, but newly released photos from little Prince Louis' recent christening prove why impromptu shots are so popular. Yes, there's still a time for a sit-down, studio-lit family portrait, but it's those fleeting moments of realness that mamas will really want to look back on some day.

Let's take a look at pics from the little Prince's big day.

The extended family sit-down shoot

It's a gorgeous posed photo (and it certainly captures Prince George's adorable smile) but this group pic still feels pretty stiff, even for the royals.

The smaller family photo

This one's a bit more natural, with Prince George flashing an even wider grin and little Princess Charlotte staring at the guest of honor (who appears to be napping) rather than the camera. Both Duchesses look stunning, as they do in all the photos.

Just the Cambridges

A similar pose to last year's Christmas card, this stand up shot of the family of five looks like it was captured just in time. Prince George may be preparing to bold, and Princess Charlotte is about to be lost behind her brother's christening gown.

Mother and son

A stunning outdoor shot, this pic shows little Prince Louis with his bright eyes wide open and his mama staring down at him. Definitely one for Kate to frame for the nursery.

A happy baby boy

That face! This beautiful shot of Prince Louis proves that candid shots can accomplish what posed, portrait studio pics often fail to: Those special, fleeting, moments when our children really show their personality.

Prince Louis, you Sir, are adorable.

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Jennifer Garner is always teaching us great lessons. Like, why we should have a "Yes Day" with our kids or how to make the perfect pizza dough. And this weekend, she offered another really sensible lesson on privacy and respect.

During an interview on CBS' "Sunday Morning", Garner talked about how the constant scrutiny and discussion of her divorce from Ben Affleck (who she shares her three children, Violet, 12, Seraphina, 9, and 6-year-old Samuel with) has been challenging. "I really feel the stress of it. I really, I could cry talking about it," she said during the interview.

We're used to seeing Garner smiling at us from movie sets and Instagram, but as positive as she is, constant divorce talk took its toll on her.

"Everyone says, 'Oh, you've had to go through this in public.' The public isn't what's hard; what's hard is going through it," she explains.

Of course, Garner and Affleck's divorce was scrutinized more than most due to their professions, but many mothers can relate to the stress of a separation. And whether you or your partner's private actions are being scrutinized by a small group of friends and family or by millions of followers, it hurts and can come as a bit of a shock.

"Divorce is a surprisingly public event," author Beth Joselow wrote in her book, Life Lessons: 50 Things I Learned From My Divorce.

According to Divorce Magazine, Joselow was divorced in the early 1990s, but her advice seems even more apt in the age of Instagram and Facebook. "You may find that people who wouldn't ordinarily comment on the private matters in your life suddenly feel duty-bound to tell you what they think of your decision, when, of course, you hadn't asked," she wrote.

Garner says that the overwhelming number of unsolicited opinions on her divorce taught her a lesson.

"What I think I've learned is that the scrutiny in your private life puts a pressure to make something happen," Garner says. "You feel a pressure to hurry up and get married, 'cause you think that'll end the 'Are they engaged? Are they not?'"

Garner felt pressured to get married because the press was constantly asking if she was planning to, but much less famous folks may feel this same kind of pressure from their families, friends or social circles.

"Marrying because you 'should' almost always comes back to haunt you in the end," Susan Pease Gadoua, L.C.S.W., co-author The New I Do, Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels writes for Psychology Today.

"I spoke with a woman recently who described the terrible ambivalence she had before tying the knot...Her gut told her not to go through with it but all pressure from her own head, her friends and family (and society) won out. She's now, nine years and two kids later, entering divorce proceedings."

We have to listen ourselves when it comes to starting a marriage or ending one. Garner's gut told her when it was time to not be married to Affleck anymore, and she's still able to have a successful co-parenting relationship with her children's father, as she proved with her public note to him on Father's Day.

In the end, when (and if) we choose to get married and when (and if) we choose to get divorced are personal decisions. And understanding when not to offer opinions is another great lesson from Garner.

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