Let's face it, mamas: An apropos synonym for "mom" could be "lady who holds things." When you've got a baby, you're juggling bottles and pacifiers, diapers and wipes. But all that gathering of items doesn't end when potty training begins. No, you don't need a diaper bag anymore (and if you're like me, you were more than ready to say goodbye to yours!), but you still need a vessel to carry the many, many things that children need within arm's reach at all time.

Like my 5-year-old son, for example. He's allergic to nuts and gets wheezy if he's running too much, so I need an Epi-pen and inhaler with me at all times. But he's also a collector, asking me to hold the precious assortment of rocks he just gathered in a parking lot. And let's not forget the other stuff I'm carrying around! You know, the water bottles and the snacks and the crayons—and I'm not even counting my precious few items.

Point being, you still need a bag, just not a diaper version. And while I love me a tote, those things get heavy and weigh you down when they're full to the brim, which mine always is.

Enter: The mom backpack. Easily accessible and chock full of pockets, backpacks aren't just for students anymore. We love that these chic carryalls allow you to have all your stuff close by and have your hands free when you're traversing through the city or chasing kids around a playground. Not to mention the fact that the weight of the backpack is evenly dispersed across your back, whereas a tote or cross-body weighs down just one (aching) shoulder.

Below are our five favorite backpacks for all types of mamas:

1. For the Traveling Mama: Paravel

Why it's our fave: If you're headed on a family trip and want to have multiple bag options when you reach your destination, Paravel's Fold-Up Backpack is exactly what you need. Incredibly lightweight, the nylon backpack 13x16-inches in size when unfolded, but can be tucked into a 6x6-inch pouch when not in use. Beyond that, we love the bag's preppy color options, the white piping details and the thick adjustable back straps (that are also framed in cute white stripes!).

More to know: For an extra $15, you can embroider up to three initials on the backpack in eight different color choices.

$65.00

2. For the Daily Grind Mama: MZ Wallace

Why it's our fave: If you're on the hunt for a daily backpack that can take you through the entire school year and still look pristine come June, look no further than MZ Wallace's Metro Backpack. Made of a shiny, quilted nylon, the bag is ultra-lightweight and water-resistant… meaning you don't have to lose your mind the next time a sippy cup leaks and soaks your entire bag. The Metro has three exterior pockets (one zipped and two on the side that each fit a 21-ounce water bottle) and six pockets on the inside, in addition to an attached key ring strap and one detachable pouch. We love that no matter how much cargo you're lugging around the ultra-padded straps evenly distribute the weight and don't pinch your skin.

More to know: It fits a 15-inch laptop and comes in 10 colors, from the flashy graffiti (above) to a smoldering hunter green to a serene light grey camo. Oh, and it can be compressed into a tiny ball when you're packing it for a trip.

$245.00

3. For the Cozy Mama: Dagne Dover

Why it's our fave: It wasn't until we slipped Dagne Dover's Dakota Backpack onto our body that we immediately realized we need more neoprene in our live! Sure, we love that the fabric is hand-washable and quick to dry, but more importantly it's squishy and soft and oh my gosh, everyone needs this backpack. Luckily, the Dakota isn't a one trick pony. Comprised of a lot of storage—we're talking designated spots for your keys, phone, lip balm and your kids' muddy soccer cleats in a separate (but matching) shoe bag—the backpack has five outer pockets and a nifty interior sleeve that locks in a 13-inch laptop. Back to that neoprene though! Because it's such a fluffy, insulated material it is superb at absorbing and distributing the weight of your bag, making it the most comfortable backpack on our list.

More to know: The Dakota comes in three size (small, medium and large) and nine colors, from a bright yellow to a stately navy.

Prices vary from $135.00-$149.00

$135

4. For the Mama Looking for a Deal: Ev1 from Ellen Degeneres

Why it's our fave: We'd be lying if we said price wasn't a factor on this pick—at under $20, this backpack is a steal, mamas. The Ev1 From Ellen Degeneres Convertible Backpack can be used as a satchel thanks to the two top handles or worn as a backpack. Because Ellen knows we need options! Dual functionality aside, we love the crisp twill fabric of this bag and the cute, contrasting light blue faux-leather zipper. Comprised of four interior and three exterior pockets, this backpack is a bit more compact than the others on our list, but still offers lots of places to gather your stuff. (Like my son's ever-growing seashell collection!).

More to know: The backpack is currently on sale for $18 (it's regularly $30). Who loves a good deal? You do!

$18.00

5. For the Working Mama: Holly & Tanager

Why it's our fave: Equal parts luxurious and practical, The Professional from Holly & Tanager is comprised of beautiful soft leather and gold hardware that make the backpack hands-down the most elegant option on our list. But get this: It actually converts from a backpack to a cross body to a tote via removable straps! What's not to love about that?! Well, fear not, there's more to love because the Professional has five interior pockets, one bottom zip pocket (perfect for keeping less-needed items like charging cords separate from your essentials in the main compartment) and a travel sleeve to slip your suitcase handle through. Let us be clear: This is a splurge. But having tested the goods, it's one we feel confident in saying is 100% worth the investment.

More to know: The Professional can hold a 17-inch laptop and we're obsessed with the ultra-wide shoulder straps.

$550.00

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Things We're Loving

This long weekend is one of the best times of the year to score deals across various brands from your home to clothing for the entire family. Whether you're making an outing to the stores or you're curled up on the couch shopping online, we've rounded up the best deals to be on the lookout for.

Here's where to shop for the entire family this weekend:

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Kim Kardashian West has recently been in the spotlight for her home design—it's incredibly minimalist, with lots of white, bright (but barely there) details—and it got many mamas wondering: How do multiple kiddos live there? Because no matter how much we love minimalism, it can be hard to maintain when toys seem to pop up out of nowhere.

Well, she gave us a sneak peek into her kids' playroom today on Instagram Stories. "You guys always say my house is so minimal—well, you guys haven't seen my playroom," shares Kardashian West.



So now we get it. Among the super-cool details (hello, concert stage and movie projector), her four little ones do play with a ton of toys. Some toys, in fact, that our own kids play with!

Here are some of our favorite toys that we spotted in Kim Kardashian's playroom:

Melissa & Doug Wooden Grocery Store

melissa and doug grocery cart

One of Motherly mamas' favorite interactive play sets. Complete with a hand cranked conveyor belt, a beeping scanner and swipe machine. Plus, it looks beautiful in any playroom. (It was adorable watching Kim show us how it works.)

$175.10

CAT Construction Fleet Dump Truck

kids toy drump truck

Littles will love putting items in the back of the dump truck. Even better, it's great for both indoor and outdoor play (even works great in sand!).

$10.99

Sesame Street Big Bird Toy

sesame street toy

This super soft plush toy is a classic with a twist. Yes, it's Big Bird, your child's friend from Sesame Street, but with an artsy twist by Kaws. It's just a tiny detail in the toy's eyes that makes it different and so much cooler.

$100

Learning Resources Pretend Play Food

pretend play baked goods

With 15 pieces, kids have everything they need to bake cookies and cupcakes. Bonus points for working on their hand-eye coordination with the rolling pin, spatula and mixing bowl.

$17

KidKraft Lil' Symphony Guitar

kidkraft kids guitar

The Kardashian West kids might just take after their dad practicing their music skills with this wooden guitar. With nearly 400 positive reviews, this is a favorite for many mamas.

$22.49

LEGO Classic Box

lego classic

Kids can build and bring anything to life with this set—484 pieces total. Kim has the Legos organized by colors in her drawers, but we like this box to drop everything in.

$27.86

100-Piece Wooden Train Set

wooden train set

A gorgeous wooden train set for kids of all ages. This one comes with multiple tracks, bridges, buildings and vehicles to create the ultimate experience.

$42.99

Melissa & Doug Toy Shopping Cart

melissa and doug cart

We doubt Kim Kardashian does her own grocery shopping, but her little ones seem to love this pretend play grocery cart. It pairs perfectly with the grocery mart above!

$57.99

London Doll Pram Stroller

kids london doll pram

This gorgeous stroller is the sweetest accessory for kids who enjoy playing with baby dolls. It's big enough to fit all different types, from small Barbies to larger ones. Plus, the wheels don't swivel so it's easy for small hands to push around.

$55.99

Play-Doh Play Pack

play doh

This classic toy never goes out of style. Kiddos can create just about anything their imagination wants with the squishy and bright, non-toxic modeling clay.

$7.99

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The end of my twin pregnancy is around the corner and my skin is being put to the test. I previously shared all the products I use to keep my belly moisturized and (hopefully) stretch mark-free, but I've come across a new oil that happens to be one of Meghan Markle's favorite products from her pregnancy. So of course I had to test it out. I may not be royalty (or former royalty) but my skin deserves the best of the best.

Here's proof that at 35 weeks pregnant—but measuring more like 45 weeks—I'm keeping my belly glowing like a full moon, or so I like to think.


The stretch mark oil is made by Avishi Organics, a company that focuses on ayuverdic therapeutic skin care treatments. Their products are the culmination of years of research and are all made with certified organic ingredients that leave skin radiant and glowing. All of their products are pregnancy and baby safe, which was a key thing for me before I set out to test them.

Here is what I thought of it:

Intensive stretch mark oil

Avishi Organics Intensive Stretch Mark Oil

Compared to other stretch mark oils I've used in the past, this one has a much stronger scent. I thought that was going to put me off, but it's so good I find myself rubbing the leftovers on my hands and sniffing them throughout the day. The oil absorbs super fast and doesn't stain clothes. So far I've been applying once a day, however it's recommended to apply twice daily for 8-12 weeks to help existing stretch marks fade faster, which I'm planning to do when the inevitable happens.

So is it worth it? My skin has been super soft and moisturized since I started applying it regularly. I've also noticed my belly is less itchy than it was a week ago, which I take is all the nourishing products in the oil working their magic on my skin. The bottle is only 4 ounces, which makes the price a bit steep, but I've only needed two pumps of it to cover my entire belly so far, so I think the small bottle will go a long way.

Because I've seen changes in my skin already and also because the smell of it has turned into a pleasant surprise, I highly recommend this to other pregnant people with itchy and tight skin.

$38.50

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Road trips can be some of the most rewarding vacations for families. They are generally less rushed than plane trips, there is more room for open-ended exploration, and there is a certain sense of adventure that's hard to come by in everyday life.

But as memorable as they are for kids, they can also be a pain for parents. Countless bathroom stops, whines of boredom, and cries of "are we there yet?" can make any parent question why they decided on a road trip.

At the end of the day, you have to survive your time in the car and there's no judgement here if that means a little screen time. But I know some of my favorite childhood vacation memories are of time in the car when I had my parents' attention. Children can still have that today, that time when they're engaged not just entertained, it just takes a little planning and experimenting to find what works for you!

Here are 12 Montessori-inspired, screen-free items to help your children and you have a positive experience on your next road trip:

Nenos kids headphones

Nenos kids headphones

Audiobooks provide the same easy entertainment as tv, but without the screens. Child-safe headphones are great so you can listen to that perfect road trip playlist while your child hears their favorite story.

For young kids, audiobooks are often more successful if they are already familiar with the story, so you may want to read the story a couple of times before your trip.

$12.99

PlayMonster lacing + tracing

PlayMonster lacing + tracing

Lacing cards help young children develop fine motor and pre-sewing skills and are super contained, which is perfect for the car! From dinosaurs to Eric Carle characters, there are tons of options to match your child's interests.

$7.99

A. G. Smith train station sticker activity book

A. G. Smith train station sticker activity book

Stickers are some of the easiest art supplies to bring on the road and almost all kids love them! You can keep it simple with some travel stickers and a notepad, or try a reusable sticker book. These small ones are great for the car, especially for younger kids, if the big sticker books are overwhelming.

$1.99

WikkiStix rainbow pak

WikkiStix rainbow pak

Wiki Stix are another easy, no-mess creative activity that's perfect for the car. Kids can build all sorts of things but, unlike Play-Doh, you won't wind up with remnants of their creativity covering your car floor.

$3.60

Polaroid instant digital camera

Polaroid instant digital camera

For a slightly older child, introduce them to another road trip classic, Polaroids. This updated digital version is a bit of an investment, but is also something that can be enjoyed at home, not just on the road.

$89.97

Melissa & Doug water wow painting book

Melissa & Doug water wow painting book

While not as creative as open-ended drawing and painting, these mess-free books are perfect for road trips or restaurants. The chunky-sized water pen is easy for kids to hold and stores neatly right in the front cover, so it minimizes messes.

$4.99

Kenley Kids travel tray

Kenley Kids travel tray

A lap desk might be a wise purchase if you are taking a particularly long trip or plan to do multiple road trips over the years. It makes it so much easier for kids to comfortably use art supplies and simple games without dropping everything.

$29.97

National Geographic kids ultimate U.S. road trip atlas

National Geographic kids ultimate U.S. road trip atlas

With books, you have to know your child. Books can be a wonderful road trip activity, or they can leave everyone feeling car sick!

If your child can't handle looking at books in the car, an atlas is a perfect pre-trip or hotel room inspiration to get your kid excited about the journey.

$5.99

Wee Society travel diary + journal

Wee Society travel diary + journal

You can use a simple notebook and give your child prompts for ideas to draw or write about, or use a predesigned kids travel journal that comes with adventure badges to earn, stickers, places to keep photos and other treasures and postcards to send. Either way, your child will get great practice in recording what they see and will likely treasure the memories once they get home.

$13.49

Imagination Generation road trip travelling bingo game

Imagination Generation road trip travelling bingo game

Bingo is often played in Montessori settings for young children because it helps them practice visual discrimination while also working on relational skills and learning how to play a game. Road trip bingo is the perfect way to bring this on the road!

$12.99

Kid O Play glow-in-the-dark jumbo magnatab

Kid O Play glow-in-the-dark jumbo magnatab

This Magnatab is highly entertaining for little kids, engages them creatively, and lets them practice fine motor skills. This one also glows in the dark, which is perfect for a winter road trip when it gets dark early.

$25.65

Bestjing puzzle magnetic book

Bestjing puzzle magnetic book

This kind of activity is not only entertaining, but is great for problem solving and pre-math skills. The tangram is made of environmentally friendly material, which has no peculiar smell, soft texture and won't hurt children's hands, ensuring children's safety, and the bottom is magnetic, solid and durable.

$12.83

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