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8 sources of joy to keep any mama feeling nourished

#4. Quiet time. We are soooo in.

8 sources of joy to keep any mama feeling nourished

How do

you prioritize joy in your life?

Quiet time.


I am an

introvert at heart and need a lot of quiet time to be in my element. It helps

me reflect and connect to what I truly need.

Sometimes

it's meditation, other times it is a peaceful 10 minute walk between meetings

at work or in the evening while my husband gets my son ready for bed.

A

relaxing yoga class can also help, and I am intentional about blocking my

calendar at work for quiet chunks of time when I can think in silence.

My husband.

Finally,

I can't tell you about the sources of joy in my life without mentioning my

husband. He truly fills my bucket.

We eat

dinner together most nights and we make it a point to share special times

together, including lunches, hikes, journaling, fulfilling conversations, and

simply being together to experience the big and small parts of life as a team.

Nature.

There is

something about tall mountains, fresh air, and the smell of redwood trees that

really grounds me. Perhaps it's a reminder of how vast and majestic nature is. It

puts my presence and my life in perspective.

We try to

camp a few times a year and hike a few times a month. But, sometimes all I

really need is to walk in the park for 5 minutes after waking up to hear the

birds chirping or to pause for a minute and watch the sunset on my way back

from work to remind myself I am not that

busy.

Reading.

I love to

read and am so grateful to have access to the public library.

I make

time to read during car rides and on most nights for a few minutes before bed. My

son doesn't like me reading around him as he wants me to read his books to him

at that time, so bed time reading together can be a challenge! ?

When I

don't have time in my schedule to sit down and read, I also love audio books

and a few minutes every day add up fast!

Favorite people.

I am

incredibly blessed to have amazing friends and family with whom I share such

rich relationships.

Often, a

simple text message or phone call will make my day, but I also make it a point

to schedule time on my calendar with them.

It may be

a 6am Sunday hike, a spa date two months out, a weeknight dinner, lunch at

work, a quick phone call on my commute, or having my favorite friends and their

families over for a Friday night dinner. I also love scheduling time in the

park or the zoo with my friends who have kids.

Although

this doesn't happen every day, it means I get to catch up and connect with my

favorite people every week if I plan well in advance.

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Writing.

I rarely

dedicate long chunks of time to writing and my blog posts are often written in

chunks of 15-20 minutes.

I

remember once sitting in the car writing, waiting for my husband to finish a

bike race so I could cheer him on… my little one was napping in the car, which

makes things so much simpler sometimes!

Sticky

notes help and I try to carry a journal in my bag (of course, a phone works,

too!).

In my

experience, sometimes scheduling time for a personal passion, such as writing,

means turning down social plans on Friday night in order to wake up early on

Saturday to make time for it!

“You must

be so overwhelmed—you have so much on your plate. How do you find time to do

anything besides work, house, and little ones? I bet you have no leisure time.

How do you find time to read or exercise? Wait, you even get a massage?"

I get

asked this all the time. I have a feeling I'm not alone. Am I right, mama?

For a

long time before I had my own child, I thought my life would be like

this—chronically overwhelmed, sleep deprived, and exhausted with no time to

call my own or do anything outside of work and family.

Yes,

there are days when I can barely get through work. We order unhealthy take-out,

I only get a few thousand steps on my tracker, I have a few minutes (maybe

grumpy ones) with my husband, and I squeeze in a few exhausted minutes with my

child.

But, fortunately those days are rare.

Lately, I find most days to be

rich, bright, and joyful. Most days are also exhausting and require a lot of

planning to make sure I can schedule the time I need to keep my days efficient,

yet bright.

I have realized that work, my child, sleep, and the basics (i.e., food and shower) usually fit in, but if I don't schedule other joyful moments, they tend to slip by.

At the risk of falling into the common “My

life is boring, overwhelming, and exhausting" trap, I have learned to proactively schedule

and prioritize joy.

Here are

the 8 sources of joy I prioritize to keep my soul nourished.

Exercise.

I may not

be able to exercise for an hour every day, but I can make it to a 1 hour class

once or twice a week (even if it is at 6am) or squeeze in 10 minute Barre3 workouts on

my iPhone, which I loooooove.

For

impromptu exercise while I am out and about, I may try to do a few push-ups at

the park while my son plays in the sand (although lately he exclaims loudly, “Mama,

no exers!"), a family hike, walking

for 20 minutes to pick up my son from school, or a 10 minute walk in the

stroller after school.

It's also

fun trying to squeeze in a few minutes throughout the day. I try to take the

stairs at work, walk between meetings, and when I have a few spare minutes (or

while I am waiting for my hot chocolate), I walk.

Having a Fitbit with

awesome friends to hold me accountable works wonders.

Giving.

Giving back

has a huge impact on my own well-being and yet is something I often

procrastinate doing…

Sometimes it's the small things—a thank you note, baked cookies for loved ones, or a box of food for a neighbor—that fill my heart (and hopefully the hearts of others).

Sometimes

we may feel an inner pull to give back even more. Right now, I am feeling

incredibly passionate about the 10K project and a fundraiser that I am organizing.

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As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!


A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.

$239.99

A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.

$219.99

A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.

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A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.

$29.99

A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.

$99.99

A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.

$15.99

A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.

$79.99

A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.

$99.99

An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.

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A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.

$59.99

And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

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

Our Partners

Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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