Netflix + bedtime? 40 binge-worthy shows you'll devour in one sitting

Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, etc. are all my co-conspirators in why I stay up way past my bedtime.

Netflix + bedtime? 40 binge-worthy shows you'll devour in one sitting

Raise your hand if you've ever been personally victimized by Netflix or another streaming television service.


Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, etc. are all my co-conspirators in why I stay up way past my bedtime. After a long day of answering 5,000 questions and 6,000 requests, not to mention driving, here, there and everywhere, once the kids are asleep and my husband and I have eaten dinner—I want to zone out on the couch watching TV.

And in those early days of marathon newborn breastfeeding sessions, you could find me on the couch binging a highly entertaining show that typically had nothing to do with diaper changing or exhaustion or nursing or baby blues. Sometimes my daughter would eat for like 30 minutes on each breast—what else was I going to do?!

During the 3 am feeding wake up calls, I have gotten used to grabbing my phone and headphones and hooking them up while I rocked and shushed my baby girl in our rocking chair. I needed to escape into another world for a little while, and I also needed something to keep me awake so I didn't fall asleep.

When I was super pregnant and couldn't sleep due to high discomfort levels, my shows were there for me in a way no one else could be. I couldn't really flip on a light and read a book when the rest of the house was sleeping. I didn't have the energy at that point to work on projects around the house or fold laundry or prep meals, etc. I basically had to watch TV.

Each of my three pregnancies had their own end-of-pregnancy binge-watching show. For baby number one, it was Pretty Little Liars (I'm into teen high school dramas, what can I say?). For baby number two it was Hart of Dixie. For baby number three it was Nashville. Each time I think of those shows, I am reminded of that very special moment in time where I was getting ready to meet each of my daughters.

I love television. I love rich characters who eventually feel like friends. (Pathetic? Yes, yes, probably, but whatever…) I love being entertained. I love shaking up the monotony of our daily lives with a killer theme song and a good story.

So without further ado, here are 20 shows I have watched that I have become (likely unhealthily) obsessed with while I was watching them:

1. Friday Night Lights (#TexasForever)

2. How I Met Your Mother (Legend….wait for it…ary)

3. Orange Is The New Black (have your tissues on hand for the end of season four, just sayin')

4. Insecure (*SO* good)

5. Parks and Recreation (#Treatyoself)

6. The Office (I still don't even understand how Steve Carell can so beautifully play someone so awkward, so flawlessly)

7. Riverdale (#TeamBetty)

8. Jane The Virgin (you will fall in love with Jane Gloriana Villanueva)

9. Homeland (warning: you may find yourself holding your breath the WHOLE episode)

10. Shameless (the Gallaghers will make you feel good about your life's choices)

11. Scandal (you can handle it)

12. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (the musical numbers are hilarious)

13. Catastrophe (I wish the seasons were longer)

14. Parenthood (be prepared to feel all the feelings)

15. Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce (If Donna Meagle is in it, well you can count me in, too)

16. Ozark (Laura Linney and Jason Bateman are sooo good)

17. Divorce (SJP is a genius and I will watch anything she is in)

18. Hart Of Dixie (you will want to move to the south if you don't live there already)

19. Stranger Things (#WinoForever)

20. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (WARNING: Only one season so far—we binged this so fast and then were sooooooo sad when we didn't have any more episodes to watch #TheStruggleIsReal)

And here are 20 shows that have been recommended to me to watch:

1. Empire

2. Handmaid's Tale

3. Blackish

4. Polkdark

5. Call The Midwife

6. Longmire

7. Superstore

8. Nurse Jackie

9. Queer Eye

10. Schitt's Creek

11. The Sopranos

12. Breaking Bad

13. Mad Men

14. The Mindy Project

15. Bloodline

16. UnREAL

17. Scrubs

18. The Crown

19. Big Love

20. Prison Break

We just finished Friday Night Lights. I need to know—which of these (or another one!) should I binge watch next?

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This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

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

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

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

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!


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.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


21 questions to ask your partner instead of, “How was your day?”

2. If you could do any part of today over again, what would it be?

After a long day of doing seemingly everything, when our partners get home it kind of becomes a habit to ask, "How was your day?" In between prepping dinner, handing off the kids, finishing your own work, we don't exactly get much value from this question. Sure, it may open up the opportunity to complain about that awful thing that happened or excitedly share that presentation you killed at work—but it usually stops there.

I could do a better job of really talking in my relationship. After 12 years and two kids, sometimes all we can come up with post bedtime routine is, "You good? I'm good. Fire up the Netflix."

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