A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

A fidget spinner that gives kids lead poisoning? A game that your child can choke on? A party decoration that will suffocate young guests?


If you’re not careful, these toxic toys might end up harming your kids this holiday season. That’s the message of California’s Public Interest Research Group’s 32nd annual Trouble in Toyland report. If previous years are any indication, CALPIRG’s report will be the next big scary story on your local television news broadcast.

The report opens with the assertion that “toys are safer than ever before,” followed by a metaphorical “however” in the form of pages and appendices devoted to this year’s killer toys, which CALPIRG’s researchers found on store shelves between October 2016 and October 2017. CALPIRG’s report does suggest room for improvement, but it should not change parents’ approach to holiday shopping. Here’s a run-down for the toys on their naughty list:

Lead-contaminated fidget spinners

CALPIRG’s report includes two fidget spinners contaminated with lead, which they suggest is in violation of the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s lead standard.

Two fidget spinners purchased at Target contained lead. The Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Metal had parts that tested for 550ppm and 1,300ppm lead. The Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass had parts that tested for 22,000ppm and 33,000ppm lead. Both spinners are well above the 100ppm standard required of all the “accessible parts” in children’s toys.

The lead contained in these two toys is not illegal. The age listed on the packages is “14+,” and the CPSC’s lead standards apply only to products designated for children aged 12 years and under. Because the spinners are not designated as children’s products, they’re not held to the same lead standards as children’s toys. CALPIRG reasons that fidget spinners be categorized as children’s toys so that they will be held to the lead standard.

CALPIRG is currently declaring victory on its homepage, cheering Target’s decision to remove those two fidget spinners from shelves. Their analysis, however, should not make parents fear fidget spinners for two main reasons:

First, this report lacks scale, which heightens the sense of danger. We know only that the researchers bought “several” fidget spinners at “local stores.” We don’t know how many fidget spinners they purchased. We don’t know how much lead – if any – was detected in those spinners. We don’t know how many different spinners were available for purchase at those stores, meaning that we’re left with no real sense for what percentage of the spinners were contaminated.

Second, the report provides few details about the investigation that discovered the lead. We know that the researchers used a CPSC-approved lab and lead testing method. However there are a few details left out of the report, namely that paint and base metals should be tested separately. CALPIRG’s report does not offer separate lead counts for the paint and base metal.

The lead testing method is intended for use on “accessible parts,” but CALPIRG’s researchers have not asserted that they tested only accessible parts or even how they’ve chosen to define “accessible.” We would need a great deal more information to determine that the toys were dangerous, even if the lead counts were accurate.

Games with unlabeled choking warnings

The same kind of methodological problems exist in CALPIRG’s study of unlabeled choking hazards. We know that three wooden peg games purchased by the researchers did not have printed choking warnings.

This choking “hazard” suffers from the same problem of scale as the fidget spinners. We know that the toys were purchased at The Dollar Tree. We don’t know what percentage of wooden peg toys these purchases represent. Without a denominator, we cannot know how many of these toys could be classified as dangerous.

It’s also unclear whether the toys are dangerous to begin with. It’s true that the toys do not have choking hazard warnings, and that the small parts included in those toys fail to pass the CPSC’s cylinder test. But they also do not have any listed age range. A more responsible report would indicate that the toy should include an age range, not that toys are being marketed to young kids without appropriate choking warnings.

Balloons marketed to the wrong age group

CALPIRG opens its section on balloons by labeling them “the most serious choking hazard to children in the United States.”

While it is true that balloons do cause more suffocation deaths than any other children’s product, that information is both true and misleading, as the overall number of non-food choking deaths is generally under 10 children per year. The report makes balloons seem particularly dangerous, and the sellers of those balloons guilty by association. In this case, the balloons sold by the Dollar Tree, most of which are in full compliance with CPSC standards, are portrayed as negligent.

The problem here is not that balloons are being unsafely marketed, it’s that they are being labeled according to competing standards. This suffocation warning is required to be included on all balloons:

CHOKING HAZARD – Children under 8 yrs. can choke or suffocate on un-inflated or broken balloons. Adult supervision required. Keep un-inflated balloons from children. Discard broken balloons at once.

The researchers found that many packages also included a small parts warning, which is required for all children’s products:

CHOKING HAZARD – Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.

There is nothing nefarious here. Balloon manufacturers are making sure to include both warnings in order for their products to be kept in compliance with federal standards. This is less an issue of “safety” and more of streamlining: it would be reasonable for the CPSC to revisit the standard for balloon packaging in order to streamline its message, but the double messages aren’t in themselves posing a direct danger to children.

CALPIRG’s report identifies clear opportunities for improvement, such as labeling entire products as toys and re-wording confusing product labeling. These reasonable suggestions, however, should not make parents concerned about hidden toy dangers. If this report is representative, Toyland isn’t very troubled at all.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

Subscribe to get inspiration and super helpful ideas to rock your #momlife. Motherhood looks amazing on you.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

Dear Jeff Bezos and all who have anything to do with Amazon Prime Day,

I just want to start by saying—I know you are trying to be helpful. I love you all for that. I honestly do. But, you are kind of making me feel a lot of pressure today. Like, in a good way, but also, in an anxious way.

Let me explain…

On any given day, as a mother to three children, I have a certain level of anxiety. While it's not constant, I do have my anxious moments. Why? Because there are various versions of the following: Me asking my two older daughters to get their shoes on what feels like 500 times as I am changing my 9-month-old's very, very, very messy diaper while I am trying to figure out what I can throw on to wear in about five seconds while I am repeating brush your teeth, brush your teeth in my head so I, in fact, don't forget to brush my teeth.

Not even to mention the mental load that weighs on my mind every single day. Remember to flip the laundry, fill out the school forms, cancel that appointment, reschedule this appointment, order more diapers, figure out what we're having for dinner, squeeze in a shower, lock the basement door so the baby can't get down the stairs, find better eczema cream for my middle daughter, get more sunscreen...the list goes on and on and on.

But then you Amazon Prime Day me and I'm having a lot of feelings about that.

Because you're reminding me of things I need to order, to think about, to be on top of more.

The little potty that's on sale reminds me that I need to step up my potty training game for my 2-year-old. That super cute dollhouse reminds me that I need to think about my daughter's first birthday in two months (WHAT!). That face mask reminds me that I need to remember to wash my face before bed because I forget waaaay more than I remember which is terrible.

But then I realize, these deals are going to save my mental load by fixing my life. Right?

Like, I never knew I needed an Instant Pot until you told me it was only $58. Now I am scouring Pinterest for meals I want to prep in my own. THIS POT IS THE TICKET TO GETTING MY LIFE IN ORDER.

Do we need more plates and cups for the kids? I mean really they only probably need about two plates and two cups each but YES. Yes I do need more cute kids kitchenware. THESE PLATES ARE THE TICKET TO BEING A GOOD MOM.

What would I do if I had five Echo Dots? I don't know, but let's find out because they're only $29! THESE DOTS ARE THE TICKET TO EFFICIENCY.

If I order a Vitamix at 30% off, I know I'll lose the baby weight. Think of all the smoothies I'll mix up! I mean, I just lost a pound even thinking about the smoothies that thing can whip up. THIS VITAMIX IS THE TICKET TO A SEXY BOD.

Buying this trendy, floral dress will step up my mom style significantly. THIS DRESS IS THE TICKET TO KEEPING MY COOL.

Okay, then after I add all the fixers to my cart, I realize… I have 99 things, but necessity ain't one.

I mean, I have everything from waterproof band-aids to bras to dresses for myself and my kids to an alarm clock and books. I basically feel like Oprah—You get an Audible subscription! You get an Audible subscription!—but instead of these products magically being paid for by Queen O herself, the money is coming from my bank account, which is a lot less fun of a game, TBH.

And if I am being honest, I don't need much help with my order-things-from-Amazon-and-pretend-it's-being-paid-for-with-Monopoly-money game as I am quite often coming home to an Amazon package wondering what it could be, opening it with the enthusiasm of a kid on Christmas morning—even though I am the exact person who ordered whatever is inside of that Amazon box.

But today, on Amazon Prime Day, you tempt me with all the deals. And yes, my anxiety, blood pressure and adrenaline rise. And yes, my bank account might temporarily decrease—BUT if we are being fair, with the savings I'm getting on things I would buy anyway, I am basically making our account increase overall. Right?

And while these things aren't going to make me skinnier, or cooler, or more put together—I'm okay with that. I am doing a pretty good job on my own. But some of them will actually help my life in a few different ways at a reasonable price, and I am grateful for that—for real.

Now, Bezos, please end this 404 error nonsense and let me purchase all the things!

Thank you for all the savings and excitement,

Mamas everywhere

You might also like:

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.

You might also like:

  • Tia Mowry's honest post about her post-baby body is what every new mama needs to see 👏
  • Hilary Duff shares how pregnancy changed her body–and her confidence
  • J. Crew's new line with Universal Standard is size-inclusive—and we're here for it 🙌

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.

You might also like:

"Say you're sorry!"

"Go apologize and mean it."

"You don't sound like you're sorry to me."

"She won't want to be your friend anymore if you don't apologize right now."

Sound familiar? This is a hot topic for many parents. We want our kids to have good manners, to truly feel and show compassion for another, to want to apologize from a heartfelt and authentic place—yet when we tell them to say they're sorry, what are we really communicating?

I think:

  • I need you to apologize so I can feel better about what just happened...
  • This is how we fix problems...
  • I need you to do what I say ...
  • You need me to tell you how to feel and behave...
  • I'm in control...(bigger and stronger wins)
  • Integrity is secondary to apologies—what you do doesn't have to be aligned with how you feel or think... just do it anyway.

Whew. Maybe not the message we really want to give.

Yes, manners are important and apologies are necessary. But, encouraging the growth of this from within—a genuine desire to (re)connect and show compassion, being in our integrity—is essential for healthy relationships.

Think about it. How might you feel if, after being hurt deeply by a friend they brushed you off with a cursory, "I'm sorry" or after a tearful yelling match with your teen that left you feeling raw, your spouse said, "How could you lose it like that?! You need to go apologize to him!"

I'd venture to say you might feel more hurt, maybe misunderstood and alone, or even mad.

Often, situations our children are in that we catch ourselves telling them to apologize are defined by just the same kinds of feelings. Hurt whether they are the one doing the hurting or being hurt; frustrated and mad that their favorite toy was grabbed, a cool idea rejected, some other injustice experienced; misunderstood because their feelings and thoughts weren't respected, because the adult missed all that led up to the conflict, because they weren't listened to; alone because they are misunderstood, not listened to, hurt on the inside, feeling rejected; MAD because they really didn't like what their buddy did and their feelings overflowed.

Having your child say "I'm sorry" is going to do very little for a child to grow an understanding of how they feel, why they feel, what they can do with all these feelings—all precursors to compassion.

The words I'm sorry" are more often about our need, not our child's. So what can you do to grow the genuine, integrity based, heartfelt ability to apologize?

1. Role model, always

Be genuine with your own apologies. Voice compassion for your child, others, and their situation.

2. Name and affirm feelings of all parties involved.

Just think, if your spouse, following the tearful yelling match with your teen, had said, "Honey that was really tough. Let me hold you for a minute while you pull yourself together," how might you now feel? How might that change the next step you took? I bet you'd feel connected, understood, cared for, and in a better position to now re-connect with your son and apologize for losing it. And it would have come from a genuine place within you.

3. Give choices or ideas.

"What can you do to help him feel better?"

"When you are ready to let her know you feel sorry, she'll appreciate it."

"Can you use your words or would you like to show her you feel sorry?"

Words, smiles, pats, sharing a toy, playing next to—these are all authentic ways kids can show they are sorry.

4. Notice what your child chooses or does on their own to express their apology and their feelings and name it.

"Thank you for offering your special stuffed guy to your friend. You wanted to help him feel better. What a nice thing to do to let him know you felt sorry."

And now you are helping your child learn a bit more about what healthy, caring relationships look like. Genuine apologies are on their way. It takes time to grow a child who can tap into their inner selves and respond with compassion and honesty in a difficult situation. Time, patience, and gentle guidance... trust this. "I'm sorry" will follow... and be truly meant.

Relationship building all around.

Originally published on Denali Parent Coaching.

You might also like:

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.