Mother working at home.

In my professional life as a labor and employment lawyer, I represent workers. I represent all protected classes, including working mothers. I champion the rights of women to work during pregnancy, take adequate leave, and return to work. I fight against employers who deny women opportunities based on outdated stereotypes regarding motherhood and child-rearing.

I love the work I do, but after having my first child, I found myself wanting to step back from the workforce a bit. I had all the support in the world, and yet the work of being away from my son was too much for me sometimes.


I had (and continue to have) an incredibly supportive employer. I had received an adequate maternity leave paid at my full salary. I returned to my job with a flexible schedule that allowed me to work from home a couple days each week.

My boss was invested and interested in my role as an employee and in my status as a mother. She never made me feel guilty if I needed to work from home an extra day. She never questioned my dedication as a worker when I said I missed my son. She listened to my thoughts and concerns not just as an employer, but as a friend.

At home, I also felt supported by my partner and our families. As far as villages go, I certainly had mine. I had a supportive, egalitarian partner; an extended family unit always willing to help; and a gracious, accommodating employer.

My shift from work-outside-the-home mom to work-from-home mom was a gradual one. Schedules changed. Needs changed. I changed. Certainly, there were logistical issues that came into play. For instance, when my son started part-time daycare after a year of being in the care of our family during the day, I struggled at times with the changes that came with that.

I worried about safety. I worried about whether he felt loved. I worried about the things all parents worry about.

At some point, I began to realize it wasn't just affecting my heart. It was affecting my mind, too.

I pondered whether I was bringing value to my son's life being away from him. My worries grew. My anxieties grew. Over time, I realized I was no longer happy with our arrangement with me working outside the home. While I had seen friends flourish under similar circumstances, I realized that I needed to step back more. Just over two years after my son was born, I decided to switch status with my firm and drop down from full-time. My family and employer were incredibly supportive.

My partner, a physician who was still in training at the time, willingly absorbed the financial impact of my decision. My employer graciously extended to me a new role with the firm. I felt affirmed, and I knew my choice was the right one for me.

And yet, I still felt plagued with guilt.

I thought about all the working mothers I had represented—women who had lost their jobs because of their pregnancies. Women who wanted nothing more than to return to the workplaces that shunned them.

I thought of the generations of women who came before me who had fought for the right of women to participate in the workforce.

I thought of my lawyer mom friends who worked. I thought of the Working Parents Committee I co-chaired.

I thought about my future, wondering exactly where I would go from here once the dust of early parenthood settled.

I thought of all the employers who possess an anti-mom bias, and I blamed myself. "I'm the reason employers discriminate against working mothers: me, reducing my time in the workforce to be home with my son." I felt a lot of guilt in the months before and after my decision to reduce my work hours and stay home.

That was two years ago.

Since changing my work life, I've had twins and launched a writing career. I am still a member of my law firm. My partner recently completed his training and no longer must work double the hours to make up for my income. Life feels good. However, I still don't have all the answers.

Reconciling motherhood with career goals is a work of the heart.

Though I've worried that I've become the stereotype I and so many women have worked so hard to combat, I continue to follow my instincts and ignore the internal voices that insist I'm a professional failure. As a result, I've started to develop an entirely new professional identity—that of a mother who is a voice for all mothers. Through writing, I've found new opportunities to sharpen my advocacy skills and reach a wider audience with my message as a workplace civil rights attorney.

At the same time, I am the mother that I want to be to my children and that's what matters to me. We all have a different path we're intended to follow, and I truly believe I've found mine.

The work of finding your calling is no easy feat. It requires constant effort and is a true labor of love. Despite this, I will continue putting in the work to stay on the path meant for me—one that incorporates career and motherhood.

This story originally appeared on Apparently.

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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

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

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International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance (INARA)

It's 2020. The world is changing. It's hard to believe but the old decade is over, the new one is here and it is bringing a lot of new life with it. The babies born this year are members of Generation Alpha and the world is waiting for them.

We're only a few months into the new year and there are already some new celebrity arrivals making headlines while making their new parents proud.

If your little one arrived (or is due to arrive) in 2020, they've got plenty of high profile company.

Here are all the celebrity babies born in 2020 (so far):

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