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Gentle sleep training saved my marriage

We knew that if we wanted to give our kids the best parents they could get, they needed well-rested parents that poured into each other.

gentle sleep training

Our 2-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son race upstairs to start their bedtime routine, excited for their daily bubble bath, story reading and snuggles with prayer. Friends who have witnessed this tear-free ritual are astonished. Our children wish them goodnight as well, and off to bed they go, not seeing them again until morning.

No, this isn't a dream or made up, but collected moments of dedication to bring them to this point. You see, although not a common practice or widely-accepted parenting method, we "trained" our children to love bedtime.

It saved our sanity and our marriage.

Both of our children were colicky. Our first outgrew it by month three, but our second didn't stop crying until she was 7 months old. We became exhausted, irritated parents. If the stresses of work weren't enough, let's throw a baby into the mix.

Our marriage became very rocky and tested through this new season. Our evenings were miserable— especially for me as the nursing mother—and I had gotten to a point where I dreaded the timeframe of 6 pm-9 am.

Something had to give.

As they got older, we did research and found gentle ways of sleep training both of our babies. As time passed, they learned those bedtime routine cues and fell asleep on their own.

We gained our sleep back, as well as that one-on-one time together in the evenings. We started to like each other again. We had that time back to invest in our marriage. We knew that if we wanted to give our kids the best parents they could get, they needed well-rested parents that poured into each other.

Listen, mamas, it's okay if you cherish sharing the bed with only your husband. It's also okay if you would prefer your child to be in bed with you every night. If you're like me and need daily one-on-one time with your husband and a tear-free bedtime routine, it's also okay to sleep train your tiny humans. Please don't let the guilt take you over from strangers on the internet and/or family and friends.

Focus on your family and ask yourself these three questions: Are they healthy? Are they happy? Are they thriving? Then you're doing okay, mama.

Want to create a bedtime routine your little ones look forward to? Here are some of our top picks that can help.

Pleni Naturals apple + broccoli hair and body wash

Pleni Naturals apple + broccoli hair and body wash

This all-natural kid friendly hair and body wash make a pre-bedtime bath a fun and relaxing ritual. The rich, creamy bubbles are naturally scented with sweet orange essential oil and vanilla fruit and cleanse gently but thoroughly.

$17

Slumberkins slumber sloth snuggler

Slumberkins slumber sloth snuggler

Developed by a therapist and educator, Slumberkins snugglers and stories use research-based techniques to teach little ones important skills. Slumber sloth and their story helps create positive attachment, mindfulness and progressive muscle relaxation that make bedtime more enjoyable for everyone.

$44

Rookie Humans underwater love kids' bedding set

Rookie Humans underwater love bedding

Silky soft and undeniably fun, the Underwater Love bedding set from Rookie Humans makes their big kid bed the coolest place to be. The breathable sateen weave is crafted without harmful chemicals and keeps little ones cozy without overheating.

$180

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Sunday Citizen

I live in the Northeast and when I woke up this morning, my house was freezing. It had been in the mid 40's overnight and we haven't turned the heat on yet. Suddenly, my normal duvet felt too thin. The socks on my bare feet too non-existent. Winter is coming, and I'd been drinking rosés still pretending it was summer.

I couldn't put it off any longer. It was time to do my annual tradition of winterizing my home—and I don't mean making sure my pipes and walls have enough insulation (though obviously that's important too). I mean the act of evaluating every room and wondering if it has enough hygge to it.

If you've never heard of hygge, it's a Danish word that means a quality of coziness or contentment. And what better time to make sure you have moments of hygge all throughout your house than right now? As far as I'm concerned it's the only way to get through these dark winter months (even more so during a pandemic.)

So I went room by room (yes, even my 4-year-old's room) and swapped in, layered or added in these 13 products to get us ready for winter:

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Micuna: Innovative and stylish baby gear that grows with them

Since 1973, Micuna has been perfecting the art of sustainably handcrafted baby furniture. Made from wood sourced from the north of Spain and Germany and manufactured in sustainable certified sawmill companies only, their modern and minimalist high chairs are perfect for families who don't want to sacrifice their aesthetic for function. What's more, they hold themselves to the strictest of European and American safety standards, resulting in only the best for parents and their littles.

Habbi Habbi: The easiest way to expose kids to a different language

Created by two best friends as an expression of their effort to be intentional parents, Habbi Habbi Reading Wand & Bilingual Books are the easiest way to start your kids bilingual learning without the screen. Their innovative and engaging play-based tool brings language to life through a tech-enabled wand and "tappable" books that give kids instant feedback, from vocabulary and phrases to musical tunes. The content is as intentional as the books are beautiful highlighting topics like emotions, female role models and diversity.

Countdown to Mama: 14 mama-tested, mama-approved presents to get excited about a new baby

Founded by a mama who came up the idea at the end of her own uncomfortable pregnancy, Countdown to Mama is the only advent calendar-style mama-to-be gift box out there. With a range of "niceties to necessities," she made it her mission to curate a collection of mama-loved products that thoughtfully usher her through the biggest transformation of her life.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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If the feeling you get when you snuggle a baby could be bottled and sold, this world would probably be a better place—research basically proves. Between the way those snuggles release heartwarming oxytocin to the benefits they have on babies’ growing brains, let’s all agree there really is no such thing as loving on your baby too much.

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