Every mama needs her ‘thing’—the shower is mine

Thank you for being my source of relaxation.

Every mama needs her ‘thing’—the shower is mine

As a mama of a toddler currently on maternity leave, I really don't have much (ahem, any) time to myself. I am a food source to a growing infant, a changer of diapers, a finder of lost toddler toys, a snack provider, baby soother and a boo boo kisser.

I spend my days covered in breast milk and spit-up. I likely did not put on any makeup today, or brush my hair (dry shampoo, I adore you.)

I attempt to do laundry and prep dinner with a baby strapped to me in a super cute sling. Then my 5 p.m. tornado hits.


Time for quality time with my older son. Getting dinner on the table. Bedtime routines. All while continuing to breastfeed my infant every two hours.

This is where you come in, sweet shower of mine.

You’re the provider of much more than soap and water. You are my safe space. My “thing.” I go to you when I need a break, when I need some silence, when I just need to be alone. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a mother to two, it’s that every mother needs (and deserves) their “thing,” their safe space.

You give me the only 20 minutes of self care I get a day.You drown out the world outside. I can't hear crying, whining or requests for one more book. It is just the two of us, for these few brief moments. But even in those brief moments, you give me so much.

So, I want to thank you.

Thank you for being my source of relaxation.

As I listen to the water trickle, I close my eyes and am worry-free for the moment. I know my husband is with both boys and I can really enjoy this time. I am transported to a meditative state. I let the hot water hit my back and shoulders in hopes of easing my aching muscles from a day of never-ending breastfeeding and baby wearing.

Thank you for being my therapist.

You allow me to just cry without judgement. And sometimes that's all I need. Shedding a few tears helps me rid myself of the stress and regrets from the day. And wash it down the drain along with the copious amounts of dry shampoo that have saved me from washing my hair for five (or maybe it's six ??‍♀️) days.

Thank you for helping me with self-reflection.

Was I a good enough mother today? Did I have enough patience? Is the baby getting enough to eat? Did I let my son watch too much TV? I need time to sort out my thoughts. Decide how I can do better tomorrow. And move on. Without all of the outside noise. I need to have a clear head to tackle the sleepless night ahead.

Thank you for the gift of self care.

My shower time often allows for an extra minute for a deep conditioning treatment or body scrub. This helps me go the distance that’s required in motherhood. I can say that I did something for myself today. I can look at my hair (that I now have to blow dry...immediately regretting the decision to actually wash it) and feel good about how I look. Even if it's only me or my husband who see it

Thank you for helping me be a better mother.

You help me restore my sanity. Allow me to take a much needed mental and physical pause. To emerge not only cleaner—but also clearer and lighter, without the regrets and burdens from the day. I am a new woman, hear me roar!

You have given me the time to remind myself why I’m doing all of this. Why every tantrum and every late-night nursing feed is worth it. You allow me the time to remind myself why I love this wild and wonderful life. I’m forever grateful my time with you during this rollercoaster season of motherhood. Thank you for being my safe space when I need it most.

I am renewed. I am restored. I am ready to take on a new day. So, bring it on. ?

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.


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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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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