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Going from working professional to SAHM was a real eye-opener

I went from a working professional to an amateur mom throwing pity parties for myself at the kitchen table.

Going from working professional to SAHM was a real eye-opener

I was never in a rush to be a mom. I always knew it would happen eventually, but I didn't feel the need to make it an immediate priority—I figured it would come later. But life doesn't always go according to plan, and I got pregnant at 24. I quickly went from attending boozy weekend brunches with my friends to planning for the biggest shift in my life.

And I also had another huge thing to think about with my now-husband: should I keep pursuing my career or become a stay-at-home mom?

I was three months pregnant and left to make a huge decision about my future. My career in journalism certainly couldn't generate the income I needed to cover childcare, but where would that leave me emotionally and mentally?

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I worked so hard to land that local TV news reporting gig and had plans of moving up into a top 25 market in the following years. The thought of giving up this climb to success as well as my financial contribution to our household scared me.

But, two weeks later, I quit my job. And regret soon hit me like a good, old-fashioned punch to the stomach.

After my son was born, guilt followed. It implanted itself somewhere between childbirth and breastfeeding, and made me feel like I wasn't doing enough in my new role as a mom. Society had me believing I needed to be at work, breaking glass ceilings and furthering women's rights in the workplace. And in some cosmic way, I felt like I was letting down an entire generation of women who made it possible to dream big.

It didn't help that my entire identity had changed.

I went from a working professional to an amateur mom throwing pity parties for myself at the kitchen table. It was tough making that transition.

I had to let go of the burning ambition I once held onto so tightly because I didn't feel as though I could hold that and a crying baby at the same time. I think most mothers wrestle with similar fears at some point—stay-at-home moms and working moms alike.

Many working moms probably worry if they're depriving their kids of valuable mommy-time. Or maybe they feel guilt while dropping them off at daycare. And many stay-at-home mothers, like me, worry if we're failing at our job. If our college degree was a waste of time and money. It was a constant internal battle for me.

It wasn't until my son was almost 2 years old when I began to fully accept my life as a stay-at-home parent. Was I earning an income like my husband? No. Was I contributing to my household? Yes. I was running the household. I was the boss. I was getting my tasks done, doing what life asked of me, and raising my family. And you know what? I never took a day off.

I'm at the tail end of my 20s now with two boys, and I've learned that whether we choose to work from an office building or from the four walls that make up our home, we're all on the same journey.

We're all taking calls in the middle of the night for a glass of water or for a goodnight kiss.

We're all scrambling around the kitchen making lunch after lunch after lunch each day.

We're all running around the house trying to find matching shoes, and we're all wiping away the tears after a big fall.

We're all mothers, and we're all the most important people in our kids' lives.

There are still times when I wonder where I'd be today if I had chosen to keep my career. But as life goes, things happen when they happen. Life doesn't fit into any one plan, and sometimes you need to trust the timing of it all.

I used to regret being a stay-at-home mom, but motherhood is a choice you make every day, whether you're at an office desk or the kitchen table. It's messy, demanding, and selfless. We are raising the next generation, and there's no harder (or more rewarding) job than that.

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My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school 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 summer-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.

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.

$30

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

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective 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

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden 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

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

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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