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This 5-year-old who is already over virtual school is all of us
Kara McDowell/Twitter

Can you believe it already mid-September? This isn't the back-to-school season any of us thought we would have, we're busy making appointments for flu shots and there has been a lot of hard to hear news this week.

Our kids are adjusting and so are we and we're heading into a stressful election season.

So let's take a break and take a look at some of the good news stories going viral this week.


This 5-year-old who is already over virtual school is all of us

Most kids only started logging on for remote school a few weeks or a few days ago, and already they have had it (and so have parents).

Virtual learning has been rough, in part because it takes one of the best parts of school away from kids: seeing their friends. But it's also frustrating for a lot of younger children, who don't have much experience using technology, and for kids who have trouble focusing for extended periods of time.

Mom of three, Kara McDowell, from Mesa, Arizona, perfectly captured the struggle in a now-viral photo of her 5-year-old son Graham. The photo, which McDowell snapped on Graham's third day of school in early August, shows him lying across his chair with his head dangling off the side. She shared the photo on Twitter with the caption "My Kindergartner on a 40 minute video call is a total mood."

The tweet has almost 9,000 retweets and more than 58,000 likes.

"Everyone thought it was funny," McDowell told Good Morning America. "I think if you're in school or working from home and doing anything over a long video, call you can relate to being totally over it."

Graham attends virtual school full-time, from 8 am to 1:20 pm. McDowell added in a later Twitter reply that, according to the official schedule sent home by the teacher, Graham is supposed to be online with no breaks from 8 am until 9:45 am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday, he doesn't get a break until 10:05 am. Parents responded with laughs and horror, because who can realistically keep a 5-year-old sitting in front of a screen for that long?

Parents and other Twitter users loved the tweet (or hated it?) for how relatable it was. One parent wrote, "I am experiencing this right this second with a third grader. And today's only a half-day."

Another said "This NEEDS to be a 2020 meme."

One thanked McDowell for sharing the image, writing alongside a crying emoji, "I always feel like a failure of a mom when my kindergartner shuts down during virtual class!!" To which McDowell responded, "NOOOO! This is no one's fault!!! It's a terrible situation without a good solution!"

Though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that students return to school in-person for the fall, many schools offered a virtual option. Others reopened only to have to close and move to remote learning after a spike in coronavirus cases. It's been tough for parents, teachers, and kids, and photos like McDowell's capture that.

She shared another tweet after the first one went viral with another photo of Graham smiling and holding a stuffed animal up in front of the screen. "I've gotta say, teachers are trying their best!" she wrote. "For balance, here's another pic from the same day. My Kindergartner happily sharing his stuffed animal during show and tell."

Remote learning hasn't been easy, and it probably won't get any easier, but everyone—including and especially kids— are trying their best.

Little girl announces mom's surrogate pregnancy with beautiful viral photo

Ariel Taylor is pregnant... but not with her own baby. Taylor is a surrogate, something she has explained to her 5-year-old daughter in a perfect, age-appropriate way.

Her daughter Scarlett is now going viral thanks to a photoshoot she participated in announcing her mama's pregnancy.

Taylor posted a picture of her daughter holding a letter board reading "My Mom is Pregnant But It's Not Ours".

"There are many things in my life that I am proud of, but being a surrogate is at the top of my list," Taylor explains.

Her daughter was only 18 months old when she gave birth as a surrogate the first time and Scarlett will be 6 when she delivers that baby's sibling next year.

"I am so proud of how loving and caring she is and I hope that by watching me grow these babies for others, it teaches her the many ways families can be created and that every journey to parenthood is beautiful and special. We are so happy for my Intended Parents who have their second baby on the way," she explains.

According to Taylor, "no matter how you become a parent; surrogacy, donor, step, adopted, foster or naturally, your family is beautiful and you are so deserving of love and happiness."

We 100% agree.

This WFH mama gets real about her CNN interview: 'Just so I'm being honest'

Gretchen Goldman is a scientist and a mom, and this week those worlds collided. She showed exactly why so many parents feel like ducks right now: Our heads look calm but the bottom half is paddling furiously to stay afloat.

As the research director for the Center of Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Goldman was called upon by CNN to discuss a controversial appointment to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

On TV she looked great. Totally professional. She wore a blazer and the wall behind her was worth of @RateMySkypeRoom. If she hadn't tweeted the behind-the-scenes chaos no one would have known that this mom of two wasn't even wearing pants yet and was literally surrounded by toys during her live hit.

Goldman posted a screenshot of her recent CNN interview alongside a wide shot of her Washington, D.C. living room while she was on air.

She tweeted "Just so I'm being honest."

In an interview with Deseret News Goldman explained that she and her husband are working while taking care of their 2 and 4-year-old sons during a pandemic and they're basically "just trying to put out fires" all day long (that explains the missing pants).

Her experience is so relatable and needs to be seen.

"I wanted to be honest about the situation that we are all struggling with now. It almost felt disingenuous to act as if I have this home studio and everything is great," she told Deseret News,

"So I think I just want us to be honest about the reality of the situation and make it more visible that parents are dealing with these challenges right now."

Hundreds of thousands of people have liked or shared the post because we get it.

Kristen Bell's husband Dax Shepard shaved half his head to match 7-year-old daughter ❤️

Last year Kristen Bell, Hollywood's most relatable mom, gave her daughter Lincoln, age 7, permission to get one of those cool undercuts where half the head is shaved.

"She just woke up one morning and was like, 'I need to shave this whole side right here,'" Bell explained at the time. "I was like, 'I've never been, nor will I ever be, that cool to shave the side of my head.' And she did it, and she rocks it and she loves it."

Well, now her dad, Dax Shepard, is rocking an updated version of the look, too.

The father and podcast host broke out the clippers this week and he now matches Lincoln.

Bell documented the process on Instagram, captioning the video: "I love this man so much. He wanted to twin with our daughter."

Jo Yurcaba is a writer and editor living in central North Carolina. They cover women's health, LGBTQ+ rights, and politics. When they're not writing, they're usually riding horses or eating lots of southern food.
https://twitter.com/JoYurcaba

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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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.

$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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Parents knowingly sent COVID-positive kids to school—and that's a sign society is failing families

Parents shouldn't feel as though they have no other choice.

Parents across the nation are adjusting to school being back in session during a pandemic. From converting dining rooms into virtual classrooms to totally derailing their careers, parents are finding ways to make it through this unprecedented crisis.

It turns out that there is yet another challenge to overcome: parents knowingly sending their COVID-19 positive children to school. Yes, it happened in Wisconsin this week.

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