I'm terrible when it comes to self-care. Sometimes just seeing the word makes me anxious; it reminds me of yet another way I'm failing at life.

So I came up with a list of more attainable self-care goals for moms. All are based on my own exhaustive research.*

(*None of this is scientifically proven in any way.)

  1. Take 90 seconds to finally remove the remaining slivers of nail polish from the last pedicure you got, back in September. Go ahead—indulge yourself.
  2. Buy a "share size" bag of peanut M&M's and polish it off in the 7-Eleven parking lot.
  3. Take an online shopping break! Fill your cart with adorable clothes you won't actually buy. Because one of these days you'll have time to go to an actual store, without the children, and try on clothes in a leisurely manner. You will. Right?
  4. Sit on the toilet and have a good cry.
  5. Plan a girls' night out! Make sure to text everyone early in the day, when you can realistically fool yourself into believing you'll have the energy to leave the house at night. Revel in sweet relief when everyone inevitably texts to cancel, then fall asleep while reading to your children.

  6. Stop reading the Goop article about why you should be using face cream made with your own blood, and watch an old Gwyneth Paltrow movie instead. Be grateful that you never tried to emulate her Sliding Doors haircut. (Or, if you did, be grateful that it grew out before social media happened.)
  7. Fantasize. Feel free to go a little crazy with this one. For instance, imagine an episode of Paw Patrol in which the residents of Adventure Bay demand that Mayor Goodway create an actual police and fire department instead of leaving the town's safety in the hands of a 10-year-old boy and his dogs. Alternatively, imagine a world in which you never have to watch another Paw Patrol episode ever again.
  8. Grab a screwdriver and remove the batteries from every toy that talks, plays music, or emits other skull-piercing electronic sounds. Because if that talking puppy tells you to pat its tummy one more time, you cannot be held responsible for your actions. Feign surprise when your child tells you his toys have stopped working. Promise you'll try to fix them… later.
  9. Be more like Marty, the grocery store robot that doesn't actually do anything. Specifically, the next time someone spills something on the floor, just yell "Caution! Hazard detected!" and wait for someone else to come and clean it up. *Note: You may have to wait a long time (read: forever), but the yelling will be cathartic.
  10. Eat your kids' leftovers without guilt. Just spoon that creamy mac and cheese right off their plates and enjoy. Allow yourself the unfettered pleasure of scarfing the chicken nuggets your children suddenly no longer like. You deserve it.

  11. Cozy up with a good book… synopsis on Amazon. It'll tell you pretty much everything you need to know about the 400-page, multigenerational family saga everyone's talking about, and you'll be fast asleep before you can click "buy now."
  12. Do Start a crossword puzzle. Accept that you will never get to finish it.

Back when my husband and I were creating our wedding registry, it was a fun, low-pressure opportunity to select some new dishes and linens. After all, I knew a thing or two about stocking my home and making the "wrong decision" with thread count was the only thing that posed any risk to my sleep at night.

Fast-forward a few years to when I created a baby registry before the birth of my first child—and I found the experience to have a much steeper learning curve. Unlike those sheets, it felt like a bad swaddle or bassinet selection would be catastrophic. Unsure of what to expect from motherhood or my baby, I leaned heavily on advice from friends who already ventured into parenthood. (Starting with their reminders to take deep breaths!)


Now a mom of three little ones under the age of four, I'm happy to be in a position to pass along some baby registry wisdom.

Go shopping with a veteran parent

As first-time parents, my husband and I barely knew the difference between a bouncer and a swing, let alone what specific features we would want. So when a mom friend recommended we head to Walmart to build my registry together—because she found them to carry the trendy brands she loved AND make registering a breeze during her pregnancy—I leapt at the chance.

By walking through the aisles together and actually getting to see the products, I was much more confident in my registry selections. Thanks to that quick, in-store tutorial from my friend, I understood exactly how to match a perfect infant car seat with an extra base and stroller—which is something I would have been clueless about on my own.

Include items at a variety of price points

When it comes down to it, a registry is really a wish list. So, while I had a personal budget for a stroller if it had to come out of my own pocket, this was an opportunity for me to ask for the stroller of my dreams. And, wouldn't you know it? A few family members went in on it together, which made a bigger price tag much more manageable.

At the same time, it's nice to include some of the smaller ticket items that are absolutely essential. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to skip buying my own diapers for those first few weeks. (With super cute patterns, these are also surprisingly fun to give, too!)

Think about the gifts you would like to give

The first time I bought a mom-to-be a gift after my own child was born, I knew immediately what to look for on her registry: a diaper bag backpack, which I had come to have very strong opinions about after battling falling straps with my first diaper bag. This allowed me to feel like I had a personal touch in my gift, even if I brought one pre-selected by her.

I also appreciate it when my friends clearly incorporate their style into their registry choices, like with adorable baby outfits or nursery decor—and there's no sweeter "thank you" than a picture from a friend showing your gift in use.

Ask for things to grow with your child

Even though it's called a baby registry, there's no need to limit yourself to gifts to use before their first birthday. (To this day, I still have people who attended my baby shower to thank for the convertible bed that my oldest child sleeps in!) Knowing that, I would have included more options with long lifespans into my registry—namely, a baby carrier that can be used during the newborn months, baby months and well into the toddler years. A well-designed baby carrier would have saved my back from serious pain because it would have allowed me to comfortably and ergonomically carry my toddler as she made her way into the 25lb+ club. One brand that's designed to grow with your baby and accommodates 7-45 pounds (up to about four years old) and offers both inward and forward-facing positions is Ergobaby. With several different design and style options, you can easily find one that caters to your parenting needs. From an all-in-one carrier, like the Omni 360, that grows with baby from the newborn stages into the toddler years or a newborn-specific carrier, like the Embrace (and don't worry you can later upgrade to a carrier for an older baby, I recommend the 360 Carrier). The best part? All ergonomic designs are supportive and comfortable for both baby and parent, offering extra lumbar support with breathable, lightweight mesh styles. Everyone (even grandparents!) can get a kick out of babywearing, which is a nice and welcomed break for parents. Having one of these on my registry would have certainly made those first few years so much easier.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

This article was sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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How much time our kids spend in front of a screen is something we have almost always been “strict" about in our household.

Generally speaking, we're not big TV watchers and our kids don't own tablets or iPads, so limiting screen time for our children (usually around the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines) has proven to be a reasonable practice for us.

It wasn't until this past summer when I started working from home full time that I found myself stretching an hour to an hour and a half or allowing just one more episode of Pokemon so I could get in a few more emails quietly. (#MomGuilt)

I also realized that I wasn't counting when we passively had the news on in the background as TV time and that we weren't always setting a stellar example for our kids as we tended to use our phones during what should have been family time.

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