Every mama needs her ‘thing’—going to Target by myself is mine 🎯

Thank you for always having just what I need—even if I didn’t know I needed it yet.

Every mama needs her ‘thing’—going to Target by myself is mine 🎯

Being a mom to young children is a season of being needed. Very, very needed. It's a season of narrowed focus—spending virtually every waking second planning around and predicting the needs of others.

It's not a season of indulgence or selfish desires.

Which is sometimes a good thing. It refines you and strengthens you in ways nothing else can, shoring you up to bear a family's worth of burdens and empowering you to be your children's hero. But it can also come with an overwhelming sense of being unmoored—not knowing exactly who or where you are in this new mom space-time continuum.


And then that magic moment happens where the stars align and I get to go to Target alone.

How do I describe the intoxication that is strolling the wide (no one bumping me! so luxurious!) aisles of Target solo?

Odds are, I don't need to paint you a picture—you too know the heady feeling of having time to examine every new piece of the Hearth & Hand spring collection without anyone whining about wanting a cake pop or trying to break a delicate green glass cupcake plate.

No doubt you too have basked in the exhilarating rush of thumbing through every single Universal Thread denim item before selecting your favorite 20 items and draping them dramatically around your empty dressing room—and actually trying them on! And looking at them in the mirror from all angles! Without accessorizing with a baby carrier!

Each of these moments gives me a pause in my world of selfless mothering and reminds me that I'm worth caring for too. And so, I want to thank you, solo Target run.

Thank you for reminding me that I am worth treating myself.

Target doesn't rush me when I'm alone. It lets me shuffle through each and every aisle of home décor, whether or not I actually need a new shower curtain or door mat. If I'm feeling especially decadent, I might even hit up the in-house Starbucks for a grande almond milk latte first. As I peruse throw pillows or storage solutions, I'll take comfort in my sumptuous cup, knowing that I will be able to drink the entire thing before it even hits room temperature. 🙌

Thank you for reminding me that I am so much more than “just a mother."

Sure, most of my days are a blur of reading my daughter books in pajamas and dreaming up stories for dolls on the living room floor, but just because there's no reason to get dressed in real clothes and swipe on some makeup doesn't mean I don't feel my best when I do anyway.

Target understands. With no husband or child in tow, I'm free to explore clothes and makeup that remind me of the attractive adult I still aspire to be. In a fit of wild spontaneity, I might even duck into the beauty aisles. I'll admire the newly expanded Natural Beauty selections and incredibly affordable ELF products before throwing an Acure face mask and a bottle of Kristin Ess's Rose Gold Temporary Tint into my cart—because moms like to get crazy, too. 😜

Thank you for always having just what I need—even if I didn't know I needed it yet.

I'm constantly focused on taking care of others, but on my solo Target run, it's hard to ignore the fact that Target wants to take care of me. Whether it's a shelf full of charming, oversized coffee mugs or a rack of cozy blanket scarves, Target has what I really want (even if I only came in here for some permanent markers).

I'll suddenly find myself in the office décor section and pretend to debate the chalkboard globe or the gold magnifying glass (it would make me look so worldly and studious!) before ultimately shrugging cavalierly and leaving with nothing—I already have the gold scissors and stapler anyway! 👏

Thank you for reminding me that I'm not alone.

Whether I check out with a $150 cart of new home décor and cleaning supplies or a $30 cart of mascara and sunglasses, my solo Target trip doesn't judge me (or text me from the car asking if I'm almost done yet).

Target knows that almond milk eggnog and a new quilt for the guest room are both necessities. Target knows that I've earned that SUGARFIX by BaubleBar necklace impulse buy. Target knows me and celebrates me, whether I'm just checking the price tags of everything in the new clothing section or coveting a gingham table runner we both know will spend most of its life in a drawer avoiding toddler splatters. Target makes me feel like the life I dream about only on Pinterest is maybe not so far out of reach.

And that's why going to Target alone is my 'thing'—the thing that makes me feel in control at times when life is anything but. It's a frivolous moment of decadence amidst so many other moments of decision-making and responsibility.

It's a moment of freedom and possibility that doesn't judge—in fact, encourages—my shopping in leggings and a comfy sweater that may or may not bear remnants of my daughter's lunch.

So, I thank you. For the escape, for the indulgence, for the affordable faux leather booties that are perfect for fall. As always, you're right on target.

You might also like:

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

Keep reading Show less

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.


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


Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

Keep reading Show less