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What the woman out on maternity leave wants everyone back at the office to know

Your colleague just went out on maternity leave. Maybe she’s your boss. Or your direct report. Or a teammate on one of your big projects. You saw it coming, as her belly grew bigger or her adoption dreams came true, but now she’s out of the office, has a baby and has emailed you the baby pics to prove it.


Chances are, your new-mama colleague would love to tell you what’s going on in her life right now, but she’s probably a bit all-consumed at the moment. So as a coach for new mamas, I’m here to help you get a glimpse into her reality and relay some of her sleep-deprived thoughts to you:

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This keeping-a-small-human-being-alive business is the most physically demanding work I’ve ever done.

Nothing about this leave is a vacation, and labor was short compared to the marathon of feeding, waking, rocking, cleaning, burping and soothing a new baby. I’m in love with my cherub. And I’m exhausted. Anyone whose body was turned inside out and whose sleep gets interrupted approximately every two hours and 12 minutes for weeks and weeks on end would be. I know it’s hard to imagine (it certainly was for me), but even managing to take a shower is a Herculean challenge.

If you don’t hear from me, it’s not because I’ve forgotten you or because I don’t care about my job.

Things are a bit of a haze in the new-baby world. I still care about you, my career and our relationship. And I promise to reconnect when my leave is over. For now, though, I’m focusing on the home front.

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If you’re inclined to give a gift + don’t know what to get, please send (don’t bring) food.

People have given me about 50 baby blankets already. Flowers are nice, but I’ll feel bad when I can’t manage to take care of them. But I’m hungry. My husband is hungry. And we don’t have time or energy to cook. Please just send over some food, or drop it off on our doorstop and text me to let me know it’s there. While I’d love to see you in person, if you come to visit with the food, I’ll get stressed out by the state of my house, the crankiness of my baby and my own appearance. Please save me from that stress.

I’ll bring my baby to the office to visit when I’m ready.

I promise. I know many of you are dying to meet the little munchkin, and I am equally excited to share the amazing cuteness with you. I’ll let you know when I’m ready to come, but don’t expect me to be able to predict my arrival or departure times. My new little boss has a mind of his own about timetables.

I love my baby. And my career. I’m not conflicted about loving both.

This isn’t a zero-sum game, folks. You know how you can start loving someone in your life without losing any love you had for someone else? Same thing here. Yes, I’m now pulled in more directions than before, but it doesn’t mean I’ve given up my passion for the work I knew and loved before baby arrived on the scene.

My dear boss, I’m learning some new skills with this motherhood thing that are going to make me an even more amazing employee than before.

No, it is not true that I’ve somehow lost value to you. While you may not see it yet through the bleary eyes or ponytail, I am and will be a leader in your organization. I anticipate the needs of others (clients, screaming babies) in ways you’ve never imagined. I now prioritize like nobody’s business. I will prove to be more efficient than anyone on the team. And I have a newfound superpower of connecting with people thanks to this fundamental thing many people do called having children. If you thought I had some of those qualities before, you haven’t seen anything yet.

My dear direct report, hang in there.

I’m excited for you to be a leader, and I know you will grow in my absence. While I may have been nervous to let go of the handlebars a bit as I exited, I know you will thrive while I’m gone. You’re smart and you have good instincts. Trust yourself and know you are learning new skills. Let’s block time for some good conversations when I’m back in the office so we can figure out our respective paths moving forward. Just because I did something before I went on leave doesn’t mean I necessarily need to take it back upon my return.

To all my colleagues: I want you to believe in me for the long haul.

My transition back to work is probably going to be rough. I’m going to be a different person than when I left, and I’m going to need a few months (okay, make that about a year) to navigate this new world of juggling work with motherhood, interrupted sleep, caregivers, bottle washing and kiddo sick days. Cut me some slack the first few months, and please, please grant me some flexibility. I won’t be sleep-deprived forever (or so the experienced parents tell me), but for the moment I am.

Be kind.

Ask about my child. When my baby gets sick, tell me to take care of her first. And mean it. Don’t expect me to return unchanged by motherhood, but do expect me to continue to be an amazing, talented, intelligent and thoughtful employee.

Keep me around and engaged in the work that’s going on. I promise you won’t regret it.

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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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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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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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