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Chores are a huge part of our parenting philosophy

These kids, a 5-year-old and a 2.5-year-old, were born on a farm. They have never not known what it's like to live among animals. They learned how to crawl in the kitchen next to an orphan piglet and they cuddle with newborn baby goats in their bed instead of stuffed animals.

Chores are a huge part of our parenting philosophy

There is no more hopeful person than a mother who has just created a chore chart.

Like, seriously.

Our first chore chart was a BIG deal. About a week before making one we started talking about chores with the kids, "What do you think you would like your chores to be?" "Would you like to track your progress with stickers or stamps?"

The day of the chore chart was exciting for everyone. We went to the craft store and picked out poster board and stamps. I let the children make all the decisions for what the chart should look like in hopes they would be more inspired to complete the tasks.

And then it came time to write the chores down.

These kids, a 5-year-old and a 2.5-year-old, were born on a farm. They have never not known what it's like to live among animals. They learned how to crawl in the kitchen next to an orphan piglet and they cuddle with newborn baby goats in their bed instead of stuffed animals. They've witnessed birth and they've witnessed death; they are equally intrigued by both.

"Feed the baby goats their bottles!" Isadora shouted.

"Drive tractor!" Banzai chimed in.

Farming, for them, wasn't a newfound passion like it was for their dad and me. Farming is their life.

As farmers, and specifically owners of a goat dairy farm that makes artisan cheeses,Matthew and I spend a large portion of our day working, and most of this work (with the exception of what occurs in the cheese making room) happens with our children right alongside us.

At 5 years old Isadora is capable enough to do work that is not only helpful, but also necessary.

She can bottle feed baby goats, corral goats for milking, prep udders for milking, actually milk goats, haul hay to feed her horse and the llama, cart food to the pigs in her little wheelbarrow, muck barns, steer the tractor and clean up our event space.

Her brother, Banzai, is right beside her, learning and growing, every step of the way. He picks up the strings left over from the bales of hay, carries his own Banzai-sized flake of hay for the horses, pushes the wheelbarrow his sister has filled with dirty bedding into the field, preps udders, and pulls weeds (we're still working on identifying what's a weed and what's not).

(Now I know why farmers used to have so many children!)

At one point in their short little lives, Matthew and I took a step back and asked ourselves, "Are we robbing our children of the magic of childhood by asking them to step up and do real work?"

We watched our children closely for a week looking for clues to see if we were slowly killing their beautiful little spirits with the asks involved in manual labor.

On the contrary, we saw two children flourishing under the work of a farm.

This farm is shaping these children into incredibly strong, driven individuals. They care about this farm not because it's where they live, or because it's where their food comes from, but because they see it as their farm.

These tiny humans walk around the farm and see it not only as a playground (don't worry they still play) but as something they are responsible for. They will often come running to us with frantic observations.

"The baby goats are out of the pasture and they're eating the garden!"

"A peacock just had babies!"

"The pigs peed in their water!"

Immediately, they will start offering solutions.

This farm has taught them that their opinion matters, and, on an ever-larger scale, that they matter.

But what happened to the chore chart?

Hilariously enough, it fell behind the refrigerator never to be seen again.

I had put so much energy into inspiring them with a chore chart I lost sight of the fact that the farm, in and of itself, empowered them.

Introducing a formalized system was about trying to nurture children who saw just how important their actions were to the success of their village. It was about them working right alongside their parents, modeling hard work and determination, and in the process, learning the strength of their own bodies and their own mental fortitude.

Turns out they already knew all those things.

Watching these children blossom, from infants being toted around the farm while we do chores, to tiny little humans who can outwork most adults, has been an incredible journey. Everyday chores with children gets a little easier. We repeat ourselves less. We don't have to remind them of the steps to complete a task. They start to learn their roles in a specific job and become experts in it.

In my opinion, chores haven't made their childhood less magical, they've made it more magical. Chores have given these children a purpose and sense of belonging that will root them for years to come.

The other day as we were delivering cheese to one of our customers the vendor asked Isadora, "Are you helping your Mommy deliver her cheese today?"

"No," she replied, "I'm helping my Mommy deliver OUR cheese."

And you know what? She was right.

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An expectant mama's to-do list can feel endless… but here's the good news: A lot of those tasks are actually really exciting. Planning your baby registry is especially thrilling: You get a say in what gifts friends and family members will buy for your new addition!

But it can also feel a bit overwhelming to make sense of all the gear on the market. That's why we suggest mentally dividing your registry into two categories: items you need to prepare for your baby's arrival and items that sure would be nice to have.

Here at Motherly, our editors have dozens of kids and years of parenting experience among us, so we know our way around the essentials. We also know how mama-friendly the registry-building experience is with Target, especially thanks to their recently upgraded registry and introduction of Year of Benefits. Just by creating your baby registry with Target, you'll snag a kit with $120 in discounts and samples. The savings keep coming: You'll also get two 15% off coupons to buy unpurchased items from your registry for up to a year after your baby's expected arrival. Change your mind about anything? The Year of Benefits allows for returns or exchanges for a full year. And as of August 2020, those who also sign up for Target Circle when creating a baby registry will also get the retailer's Year of Exclusive Deals, which includes ongoing discounts on baby essentials for a full year.

Here are 10 items we agree deserve a spot in the "need" category on your registry, mama.


A crib to grow with your baby

Delta Children Farmhouse 6-in-1 Convertible Crib

First-time mamas are likely creating nursery spaces for the first time, and that can get expensive. Adding a quality crib to Target registry gives friends and family members the option to join forces to make a large purchase through group gifting.

$269.99

A safe + convenient car seat

Safety 1st OnBoard 35 LT Infant Car Seat

The list of non-negotiable baby essentials is pretty short, but it definitely includes a car seat. In fact, most hospitals will not allow you to leave after delivery until a car seat check is performed. We recommend an infant seat, which can easily snap into a base in your car.

$99.99

A traveling nursery station

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

It's hard to beat a good playard when it comes to longevity. This item can be baby's sleeping place when they're sharing a room with you for the first months. Down the line, it can function as a roving diaper change station. And when you travel, it makes a great safe space for your little one to sleep and play.

$99.99

A swing for some backup help

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

A dependable swing can be a real lifesaver for new parents when they need their hands free (or just a minute to themselves). Because many babies are opinionated about these things, we appreciate that the mamaRoo has multiple modes of motion and soothing sounds.

$219.99

An easy-to-clean high chair

Ingenuity SmartClean Trio Elite 3-in-1 High Chair - Slate

Our best registry advice? Think ahead. It really won't be long before your child is ready for those first bites of solid food, at which point you'll need a high chair. We like one that transitions to a booster seat atop an existing dining room chair.

$99.99

A diaper bag to share

Eddie Bauer Backpack - Gray/Tan

When you're a mom, you're usually toting diapers, wipes, clothing changes, bottles, snacks, toys and more. You need a great bag to stash it all, and if you're anything like us, you'll choose a backpack style for comfort and functionality. Bonus: This gender neutral option can easily be passed off to your partner.

$64.99

A hygienic spot for all those diaper changes

Munchkin Secure Grip Waterproof Diaper Changing Pad 16X31"

We can confidently predict there will be a lot of diaper changes in your future. Do yourself a favor by registering for two comfortable, wipeable changing pads: one to keep in the nursery and another to stash elsewhere in your house.

$29.99

A way to keep an eye on your baby at night

Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor DXR-8

Feeling peace of mind while your baby sleeps in another room truly is priceless.That's why we advocate for a quality video monitor that will allow you to keep tabs on your snoozing sweetheart.

$165.99

A comfortable carrier to free up your hands

Petunia Pickle Bottom for Moby Wrap Baby Carrier, Strolling in Salvador

A wrap carrier may be about as low-tech as baby items come, but trust us, this product stands the test of time. Great for use around the house or while running errands, this is one item you'll appreciate so much.

$39.99

A full set of bottles + cleaning supplies

Dr. Brown's Options+ Complete Baby Bottle Gift Set

Whether you plan to work in an office or stay at home, breastfeed or formula feed, bottles are a valuable tool. To make your life as simple as possible, it's nice to have an easy-to-clean set that is designed to work through the first year.

$39.99

Target's baby registry is easy to create from the comfort of your own home. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with the Year of Benefits featuring exclusive deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With fall 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 outside-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 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 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.

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Cameron Diaz on having a baby at 47: 'You really have to work hard for it'

"The only pressure for me now is I have to live to be, like, 107, you know? No pressure!"

This is the decade that saw the face of first-time motherhood change. The number of first-time mamas under 30 is shrinking, while more and more women are becoming moms after 40.

Cameron Diaz is one of them. The actress and businesswoman, now 48, became a mom in January at the age of 47. In a new episode of Naomi Campbell's YouTube series, No Filter, Diaz opens up about what it's like to become a mom in your fourth decade.

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