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Today's mothers are entering this stage of life from a new perspective than generations past. Many of us are college educated, older, and have a lot more life experience prior to motherhood than our grandmothers' generation.

In many ways we are more prepared for the responsibility of motherhood—I mean we have run companies, taught students or run marathons prior to becoming mothers.

In other ways, however, waiting longer to become mothers may also make the transition to motherhood more challenging. Most of us are used to interacting with co-workers all day, intellectually challenging assignments, and controlling our own schedules.

Add a newborn to this lifestyle and your world can be turned upside down for a while. Your well-designed productive schedule is suddenly thrown out the window. For those of us who choose to stay at home with our kids, this transition can be equally shocking. Suddenly we have hours at home with no set schedule and a newborn who requires constant attention.


Having made this transition from working full-time to staying at home with kids, there are a few ideas that I wished I had known when I started—

1. Find your village.

It may take some time to find the moms that you click with, but once you do, you will know it. They are the ones that don't care if your kid throws a tantrum at a playdate, they understand what you feel like when you are really sleep-deprived. For me, as an introvert, it took years for me to find other moms that I could really feel comfortable around. Once I did, however, the world of stay-at-home motherhood just opened up into something more fun and life-enriching.

Although our culture treats motherhood like it's an exercise in sole proprietorship, historically it's always been a communal activity. As women, we crave that interaction with other moms. Finding your tribe of moms that “get" you will ease the challenges of motherhood and be a wonderful source of friendship for your kids.

2. Know that it's okay to mourn your former identity.

For all of us, becoming a mother inherently changes our identity. Becoming responsible for another little person somehow makes you see yourself differently. It opens up vulnerabilities you never knew you had. If you are moving from a professionally employed role to stay-at-home mom, I think this identity shift is even more dramatic. Even if we don't intend to, we all get develop some of our identity from our professional jobs. Now, as a stay-at-home mom, this identity is altered. Let's face it, even in today's world, being a stay-at-home mom (especially a college-educated one) isn't exactly highly valued by the outside world.

After dealing with this identity shift for a year or so, I finally gave myself permission to sort of “mourn" the passing of my professional identity. That didn't mean I gave up on ever returning to my work-related goals or endeavors, but it meant coming to terms with my season of life. By doing this, I felt that I could more fully embrace my stay-at-home mom identity instead of making excuses (that I didn't believe myself) for why I did not return to work.

3. Ditch comparison.

We all know the stereotype—a group of moms meet up for a playdate but the underlying dialogue is one of comparison. Whose kid is walking first? Which mom looks more “put together?" We know this happens on social media all the time. Someone posts a picture of their latest fabulous beach vacation and it makes you feel inadequate. In fact, at least one study has shown that social comparison via social media is related to lower life satisfaction and depressed feelings among mom

One simple phrase has changed my mindset on this: “comparison is the thief of joy." We all compare ourselves to one another, but if it starts to dominate your feelings or steal your joy, then a mind shift is essential.

Finding your true “mom tribe" helps enormously with this. Your true tribe doesn't compare, they support. They don't tear down, they empathize. Aim to treat yourself with that same type of compassion.

4. Include your child in activities you enjoy.

Once you emerge from the cave of the newborn phase (congratulations), your baby will start to become more interactive. Over time, she might enjoy going out in public more and seeing new sights. Take this opportunity to introduce her to things you enjoy. Baby story time is great, but let's face it—it's not exactly intellectually stimulating. Do you enjoy reading? Then take baby on a stroll around your favorite bookstore. Are you a fan of hiking? Grab a baby carrier and hit the trail.

Continuing to participate in activities that you enjoy is essential to sanity as a stay-at-home mom. This does get a little more challenging as your child enters toddlerhood and beyond when they suddenly have an opinion on the day's activities. I have found the best solution is to try to find a balance. If you would like to go on a hike, maybe you can end up at a nice playground. Or if you enjoy shopping, then maybe there is a kid's play area at the mall. Kid-focused activities can be fun, but your whole schedule does not have to revolve around the next story time or mommy-and-me class.

5. Realize self-care is essential.

Motherhood, especially the early years, is an exercise in selfless love. We give of ourselves in almost every way--sleep, body image, meal times, and emotions. Some scientists believe that it is actually this act of caregiving that bonds us to our babies, possibly even more than the genetic connection. It is a beautiful phase of development.

Over time, however, this intense caregiving can take a toll on moms. Caring for yourself is essential to long-term thriving. Parenthood is a marathon, not a sprint. I have found this through personal experience, but also through reading research. We know now that being overly sleep deprived is similar to depression in how you and your brain react to situations. Having a hard time being patient with your toddler? It might be all those years of sleep deprivation catching up with you.

In order to care for those little ones, taking some time to care for yourself needs to be on the to-do list. It does not have to be a big production. Maybe you need a nap a few times a week or a couple of hours one day to go shopping alone or get a pedicure. Whatever makes you feel refreshed and rejuvenated is the key component.

6. Embrace change.

Once you've gotten your “sea legs" in this phase of stay-at-home motherhood, it will undoubtedly change. Kids change quickly in the first few years of development. Just when you think you've gotten that two-nap-a-day schedule figured out, your baby will decide to drop a nap and you have to adapt. Just when you think you've gotten babyhood figured out, your child will start walking and now you have a very mobile and energetic toddler on your hands. For better or worse, your life as a stay-at-home mom is an odd combination of routine and constant change. At times it may seem like all the days run together, but then one day you realize your child is completely different than she was just a few months ago.

The beautiful thing about this incremental change is that you get to be witness to the lovely, unique developmental path that makes up your child's early years. You get rare insight into their little minds and what makes them tick. You understand that early toddler language like no one else. You know what each cry means and when a nap is way overdue.

Research has shown us that development is actually kind of stressful for kids, but in a good way. Each new stage of development requires a bit of stretching—both emotional and physical—and this builds coping skills and resilience. So too I believe is the journey of stay-at-home mom. Each stage your child goes through requires a bit of growth and stretching on your part too. So grab your diaper bag and hang on for roller coaster developmental ride.

As with any major life transition, the move from professional work to stay-at-home mom can have its challenges. Allowing yourself the same patience and compassion that you give your baby will help ease into this new role.

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Babies come with a lot of stuff. And when you're out and about, a roomy, comfy diaper bag is the place for everything you need to be prepared for whatever the day throws your way. But is a cute, trendy diaper bag that doesn't scream, well... DIAPER BAG, too much to ask? It's not, mamas.

We've rounded up our favorite diaper bags that don't actually look like diaper bags, but instead like the cute, super stylish bags you might have carried before the days of finding crushed up puffs at the bottom of your purse.

These bags prove you can get the job done, mama—and look darn good while doing it.

Freshly Picked City Pack

Freshly Picked City Pack

This simple, modern backpack can easily take you from a day at work to dinner with the kiddos. We love the hardware details, the lightweight design, and the hidden back pocket.


Vogshow Waterproof Bag

Vogshow Waterproof Diaper Bag

A sleek look, plus a padded laptop compartment, anti-theft and insulated pockets and magnetic buttons instead of zippers. 🙌


Skip Hop Travel Bag

Skip Hop Travel Bag

With a large zippered main compartment, there's plenty of room to keep all of the things. We love the adjustable straps—you can wear as a backpack, cross-body, messenger bag, or attach to the stroller.


Companion Quilted Backpack

companion quilted backpack diaper bag

Are you off to sit on the beach for a few hours, or taking your toddlers to the zoo? No one will be the wiser, mamas. We love the quilted look, padded straps, and roomy interior.


Mommore Diaper Backpack

Mommore Diaper Backpack

With a water resistant exterior, wet clothes pocket and a main compartment that completely opens up, you'll love having this to tote around.


JJ Cole Brookmont

JJ Cole Cognac Diaper Bag

As stunning as it is functional. It has 15 pockets and a removable liner on the inside so you can easily clean up messes in no time.


Little Unicorn Boardwalk Tote

If you're looking to keep things simple + stylish, mamas, this is the bag for you. It's versatile, functional, and will get tons of use well past the diaper days.


Presidio Vegan Leather Diaper Tote

Presidio Vegan Leather Diaper Tote

This stunning tote would make the perfect on-the-go bag. It comes with a changing page and a couple pockets on the inside to keep everything organized. Don't forget to personalize it!


Ticent Tote

Ticent Diaper Bag

With nearly 500 reviews, this one has incredible ratings. It offers multiple pockets, including an insulated one for snacks or bottles. The waterproof cotton material is ideal for those inevitable spills.


Fawn Design Original

Stylish and versatile, this bag can be worn as a cross body or as a backpack. It's roomy without being bulky, and has a total of 10 pockets for awesome storage.


Skip Hop Greenwich Backpack

No one would ever know this bag is packed full of baby's items. 😉


Rosie Pope Highbury Hill

Highbury Hill Diaper Backpack

If you're looking to up your style, this chic backpack will help you get there. Lots of inner pockets and zippered compartments make it simple to organize your stuff, and the top flap and wide opening make for quick + easy accessibility.


Babymel Robyn

Babymel Robyn Diaper Backpack

We love everything about this effortlessly stylish faux leather backpack. It's easy to wipe down, converts to a cross body bag, and even comes with a changing pad and drawstring bottle holder.


Petunia Pickle Bottom Pathway

Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Tote

This two-tone canvas bag could not be prettier. We love that it easily stands upright when set down, and that it's super functional as a diaper bag yet super stylish as an everyday purse.


Skip Hop Duo

Skip Hop Duo Diaper Bag

The timeless stripes on this 11-pocket bag means it will never go out of style, and the durable cotton canvas means it will stand up to years of use.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Frustrations and emotions were at an all time high for both us. I was worried that my lack of patience would get the best of me, leaving her feeling let down and frustrated with me on her new journey of becoming a “big girl." And selfishly, I was tired of washing wet underwear. For her part, my daughter was tired of being asked for the hundredth time if she needed to use the potty.

We both were feeling a little defeated in this new adventure.

I have found too often as a mother that I expect my child to respond new things, like to potty training, as fast and as close to the last blog post, book or opinion I heard or read. What I have learned is that no two children are alike and the moment I release my expectations for where mine should or should not be, we are both brought back to peace and patience.


So maybe a break was all we needed to start fresh the next day. We headed to our favorite spot by the lake and had a picnic. My daughter munched on popcorn and chatted away about the weather and pinecones, and listened for the sounds of helicopters—which you hear quite often living on an aviation military base.

Sometimes in the daily struggles of motherhood I have noticed that I can forget who I am and the strength we possess as mothers. It may not come easily at first, but I grow with each new day. Even potty training—this mundane human activity that is emotional and (quite literally) messy, teaches me much about the meaning and purpose of motherhood.

Potty training has taught me a huge lesson on patience. Patience to be present, to pay attention to what is right in front of me. To be encouraging, to not rush the process, to not place expectations on timing or play the comparison game we often play as mothers.

Patience is needed in every area of parenting and potty training is just one way where we can see as parents where our patience is wearing thin.

I have found that it's when I come from a place of patience and presence that I can then glean wisdom from those messy, mundane, time-consuming tasks of potty training, and find that the waiting, sitting and hours of time spent in the bathroom gives me an opportunity to be present in my child's world.

Whether it be the grocery line, a traffic jam, or cleaning up wet bedding, I learn the art and joy in the small and big moments in motherhood. Giving our children space to fail and try it again as many times as it takes encourages them that they too can cultivate the gift of patience in there own tiny lives.

My daughter speaks to me everyday, inviting growth that sometimes feels really hard and frustrating, she provokes patience to be felt and sensed through every minute of the day. And for this I am grateful. Because to truly live and be present in my child's world means “I learn from her, and she learns from me." Even in potty training.

Our children have so much to offer to who we are as individuals and they have so much to teach us. In fact, I have come to live for these exhausting, beautiful, and downright messy moments in time. When I push myself to embrace them, rather than just find them frustrating, I stretch and grow and evolve. I become the mother I hope to be.

And to you mama, whether in the midst of sleepless newborn nights or toddler tornados or the midst of potty training, may you find strength as a mother, as a wife, and as a person to let go of any expectations or judgements you place upon yourself.

May love and gratitude fill our hearts and peace be with all of us on the journey that motherhood is.


A good kid's winter coat needs to do a few basic things really well: be incredibly warm, water-resistant, easy to clean and a classic style so it can look good bundled over any other clothing they're wearing. For this reason, I usually avoid coats with heavy branding or patterns so that any winter outfit I put my son in "goes" with his jacket.

Primary is always one of my go-to brands for their super simple classic styling, so I was happy to see that Primary is currently having a sale on their solid-colored and high-quality winter gear. This kid's winter puffer coat caught my eye because it's on a steep discount (more than 50% off!), fits all my criteria above and even has a few bonus features I didn't know I needed but now totally love.

Kid’s winter puffer coat

I'm loving this jacket because it's fleece-lined, has thumbholes (so helpful in making sure my toddler doesn't lose his gloves) and comes with an "I belong to" ID label so that his coat won't get mixed up in the sea of other winter jackets at pre-school. Plus, it comes in six great colors and has a five-star rating.

As one reviewer put it, "This coat prompted my first review because it's perfect! Warm enough without being restrictive, easy zipper for my 5-year-old to manage himself and easy to clean! He loves the thumb holes!"

Originally $68.00


Mamas expecting babies this month are a special bunch—and not just because it's statistically unique to have a birthday during the shortest month of the year.

Science shows babies born in February already have advantages with everything from physical growth to creativity to even presidential elections. (It's no coincidence that President's Day is this month!)

Here are six reasons why February birthdays are so special:

1. They may be bound for the NBA

According to a 2006 study from Harvard researchers that examined data from 21,000 children around the world (including the southern hemisphere), those born in February were taller and weighed more at the age of 7 than their friends who were born during other times of the year. (Further proof: Michael Jordan celebrates his birthday on February 17.)


2. Or on their way to a doctorate

The same study also showed winter-born babies performed best in a series of intelligence tests. As the researchers concluded, “The overall pattern of findings is that winter/spring babies are both 'bigger' on the anthropometric variables and 'smarter' on the selected neurocognitive variables."

3. They also have artsy sides

February babies are either born under the Aquarius or Pisces star signs—which are linked to the traits of originality and creativity. But even if you aren't one for astrology, a study complied from the United Kingdom's Office for National Statistics found that people born in February are more likely to be artists.

4. Which may set them up for stardom

Speaking of the zodiac, one study published in the Journal of Social Sciences found a disproportionate number of celebrities claim the Aquarius star sign. That includes everyone from Bob Marley to Jennifer Aniston to Shakira. It's also one of the most popular star signs for American presidents—including Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Ronald Reagan (February 6).

5. Or, at least, satisfying careers

But don't feel bad for babies born in the latter half of the month: A survey from found Pisces adults were among the “most satisfied" with their jobs. (They also have legs up on the competition if they ever find their way into a presidential election.)

6. They may have the rarest birthday of all

Babies on their way this year are out of luck. But, come 2020, a special group of newborns will have the distinction of being born on Leap Day, February 29. Sure, they won't get to mark their birthday for another four years, but they do get a prime pick of perks when that day does roll back around!

Snuggle up with that newborn while you can, mama. Once your February baby gets going, they'll be hard to stop.

[Originally published February 2, 2018]

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