Being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t make me a superhero—or a failure

Staying home with my little boys in this season of life is gratifying and humbling. . .but it doesn’t define me.

Being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t make me a superhero—or a failure

We've spent the day snuggled under blankets, watching sparkling snow add layer after soft layer, stretching as far as we can see.

We've played trains and built towers and watched a little Mickey Mouse, too.

And that great big piece of my heart that is carved out for being a mama is filled to the brim.

But while sometimes it feels like motherhood fills every corner of my heart, there are other spots, too.

And when I woke up this morning, I caught this hint of excitement that can so easily get glossed over if I'm not careful.

As snow continues to fall and I look ahead to the new year, my heart feels cleaner and ready for whatever is coming.

I want to dream and I want to create and I want to fill the canvas in ways I haven't even thought of yet.

I'm in that stage in my life when I have a lot of friends having babies and raising little ones and making that never-easy decision of staying home or working outside the home.

I just want to encourage you who are doing this little thing called mothering: You're wired for such a time as this.

And that time you spend investing into little ones and worrying over decisions and making lists of pros and cons?

It matters.

Your big and small acts of mothering reverberate well into eternity.

We sacrifice in different ways and bend in ways that we never thought possible, but we're stronger than we know and we never break.

And you know what we're not reminded of enough?

That we don't have to follow a script.

We don't have to fall into cliché characters and repeat the motions.

We don't have to be frazzled stay-at-home moms or disconnected working moms or whatever stereotype in which we think we've been cast.

We have the power to flip the script.

We can wear yoga pants or rock three-inch wedges. (But, um, probably not at the same time.)

We can create art or love running or take gourmet cooking classes or pursue a new language.

What works for her might not work for you, and we should celebrate that. For me?

Staying home with my little boys in this season of life is a privilege.

Not everyone has a career field or a spouse's schedule that makes freelancing possible, and I'm grateful.

Staying home with my little boys in this season of life is a sacrifice.

I stepped back from my career, and we made things work on one income—and I'm humbled.

Being a stay-at-home mom doesn't make me a super woman or a failure, both of which I've felt at different times.

Staying home with my little boys in this season of life is gratifying and humbling and it's a big part of my life, but it doesn't define me.

What defines me is the way my eyes crinkle when I laugh and the way my voice shakes when I take a stand.

What defines me is the love that pours out of my heart and my desire to trust that the best story of all is still being written.

So, fellow sisters in the motherhood tribe, let's go let snowflakes fall in our eyelashes and make snow angels and revel in fresh starts and new beginnings.

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10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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