5 Reasons Saying No Will Make #momlife Better

What if saying "no" could actually make you a happier mama?

5 Reasons Saying No Will Make #momlife Better

Saying “yes” is very important. It can mean the difference between accomplishing something difficult or sitting it out and possibly missing an opportunity. It means putting positive energy out into the world and taking life by the horns. Saying “yes” is fantastic, and you should practice it regularly. But what about when you say “yes” too much?

When we become parents, many aspects of our lives become at risk for set-back and genuine missed opportunities. Over the last 9 years of having children, this fear of missing out prompted me to say “yes” to almost everything. I found myself running several side projects and several businesses, on top of several kids social and academic schedules and my actual life and marriage. By the time I reached the end of 2015, I was burned out. It was time to take some of the load off.

So in 2016, I decided to start saying “no” -- a dramatic life change for me. This gave rise to a couple of small changes that ended up alleviating the daily pressure I was feeling in a big way. So if, like me, you’re guilty of saying “yes” too much, here are 5 simple ways you can begin to say “no.” You may find that saying “no” to even the smallest things can give you more space for more meaningful opportunities and joy.

1. Say No To Overbooking. Is your life full of kids classes and practices and birthday parties? Perhaps, you’re just busy? Remember that it doesn’t have to be that way. In many parts of the world, taking time to do nothing is actually very practiced, not just a concept! One of the first initiatives I made in saying “no” was to free up more of our weekends. I began to decline invitations to birthday parties in favor of time with family and friends; I limited weekend activities as much as possible so that we could have one weekend day to do literally nothing. I realize this will not last forever and as they grow into middle and high school, so will their commitments. But for now, this has been a huge relief.

2. Say No To Rushing. To some extent, we are all guilty of rushing through our day: making lunches, schlepping to school, rushing through work calls, eating quickly… But what if we could choose one thing, and do that one thing slowly, with care, every day? For me, it’s my late morning coffee. I work from home three days a week and usually don’t get to eat or drink anything until after 10 am once I’ve gotten everybody where they need to be. I get home and make an espresso in my 18 year old stove-top espresso maker and get to just stand there for 10 to 15 minutes, doing nothing but putting time into something I know I will enjoy simply because of the care I took in making it.

3. Say No To Whatever Keeps You From Connecting. If you have friends over for dinner, don’t do the dishes until your guests are gone. If you’re working at the school fundraiser, don’t take on every responsibility that comes your way. And if you’re feeling disconnected from your partner, try to just hang. During the week, I usually cook dinner, something I truly enjoy. But I sometimes found myself rushing through the process of cooking and eating because the finish line of getting three kids in bed still seemed so far away. So, instead of spending the rest of the night cleaning, we’ve begun to clean up by clearing everything, quickly rinsing and disposing of all food, and leaving dishes and pans in the sink for the morning. It was a huge breakthrough for our relationship when we realized we could take that extra chore literally off the table, at least for an evening. And now, we get to hang out with each other instead of cleaning up.

4. Say No To Hovering. Sometimes it’s important to have hours where nothing is planned, and the parents aren’t the ones dictating what happens (or doesn’t happen). Let your kids loose on the playground with other kids; let them mess up their room, let them use the paints. Hovering over them or worrying about the mess you’re going to have to clean up can prevent them from having independent and meaningful experiences, which can spark not only true creativity, but also courage and empathy. My youngest son, who comes with me to drop off our older daughters at school, will do things on his own, like get a glass of water or find a book to look at, when I set my daughters up in their classrooms. Though it may be the product of being the third child, I like to think that it’s also because I let him do things by himself.

5. Say no to Limitation. While I think it’s important to say “no” more often, saying “yes” to personal limitation is my huge exception. I know parents who forgo experiences, travel and self-care because it’s just too hard to do it all -- it gets expensive, the kids may freak out; and who knows if they’ll even remember anything, right? But if these things are important to you, then it’s crucial to share them with your kids. After all, if you always worry about the distance, figurative or actual, you’ll never go anywhere. So take the leap to do whatever you love, be it running a marathon, traveling the world or finishing a New York Times crossword puzzle. For me, it’s taking my kids on as many trips as possible so they can experience the people, the food and the beauty of many different countries. The best byproduct of saying “no” to limitations is that your kids will ultimately see your efforts and know that they too can accomplish anything, too.

In This Article

    How one company is making a huge difference for LGBTQ youth

    Take notes, all you other brands, this is how it's done

    Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

    This article is sponsored by H&M. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    We spoke to Chris Bright (he/she/they), Director of Public Training at The Trevor Project, who works closely with H&M. Chris shared with us the Trevor Project's important mission, and what all brands should do to best support LGBTQ youth today.

    1. For those that do not know, what is The Trevor Project's mission? What is it all about and its impact on society?

    The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, and LGBTQ youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight or cis peers. Our mission is to end suicide among the estimated 1.8 million LGBTQ youth under the age of 25 in the U.S. who seriously consider suicide each year.

    Founded in 1998, The Trevor Project launched TrevorLifeline, the first 24/7 national lifeline supporting LGBTQ youth in crisis alongside HBO's broadcast of the Academy Award-winning short film Trevor. The first calls were answered that night. Since then, we have grown from reaching several thousand LGBTQ youth per year to becoming the preeminent resource for LGBTQ young people in crisis, directly serving over 200K LGBTQ young people in the last fiscal year alone. We work tirelessly to save young lives by providing support through our free and confidential crisis programs on platforms where young people spend their time — online and on the phone. In addition to TrevorLifeline, we offer 24/7 digital crisis services including TrevorText and TrevorChat, as well as TrevorSpace, the world's largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth.


    H&M + The Trevor Project

    2. Can you describe the nature of the relationship/partnership the Trevor Project has with H&M?

    Our collaboration with H&M has been remarkably successful, with H&M driving awareness of The Trevor Project and our services among its audience while also demonstrating its strong support of LGBTQ young people. H&M first partnered with us in December 2020 during our "Every Single One" holiday campaign, where they donated $250K in matching funds for Giving Tuesday. This helped The Trevor Project have our best-ever Giving Tuesday moment.

    Our work together has had extensive impact, allowing H&M to engage employees, customers, and community members in conversations about LGBTQ Allyship through Trevor's resources and mission. We're thankful for H&M's support, which helps us continue to operate and improve our 24/7 life-saving crisis services so we can serve more LGBTQ young people.

    3. Why was H&M the right company to partner with?

    H&M is an established yet relevant brand that has the attention of young people, and we're always so thankful to partner with youth-facing brands that can not only spread messages of love and support, but also can increase the awareness of our crisis services and resources. We know that H&M genuinely cares about creating a better future for LGBTQ young people.

    4. What do you see as the biggest challenge or struggle for LGBTQ kids today?

    LGBTQ youth are incredibly diverse, with so many intersecting identities and unique experiences — making it difficult for me to pinpoint what might be the single biggest challenge or struggle for all LGBTQ youth today.

    What I can say, however, is our research reveals numerous challenges or struggles that may be more prevalent across the board for LGBTQ youth. According to our 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, which captures the experiences of nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth ages 13 to 24 across the U.S., nearly 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. Over 94% of LGBTQ youth reported that recent politics negatively impacted their mental health and more than 80% of LGBTQ youth stated that COVID-19 made their living situation more stressful.

    What's clear is that while there is no single biggest challenge or struggle for our LGBTQ youth today, it's critical that we find ways to uplift and support each and every LGBTQ young person that we can.

    5. Since it's back to school time, are there stressors or situations that are uniquely heightened for LGBTQ youth, other than the standard new school year jitters, that people don't necessarily know about?

    Our research has found that LGBTQ youth who reported having at least one LGBTQ-affirming space had 35% reduced odds of attempting suicide in the past year, with LGBTQ-affirming school environments having the strongest association with reduced suicide attempts. Since the onset of COVID-19, the volume of youth reaching out to us has significantly increased, at times nearly double our pre-COVID volume. Feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anxiety have been heightened as a result of the pandemic, further emphasizing the need for LGBTQ youth to have access to spaces that affirm their identities, such as gender-neutral bathrooms, trans-inclusive sports, and positive extracurricular activities such as Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs).

    LGBTQ youth who reported having at least one accepting adult — whether it be teachers, coaches, or counselors — were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year. The Trevor Project created the Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention, which includes requirements for teacher training, mental health instruction for students, and policies and procedures for suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. Now, more than ever, it is crucial that as in-person learning returns, schools provide LGBTQ students with safe learning environments where they can feel empowered, supported, and accepted by their peers and educators.

    H&M + the Trevor Project

    6. In what way is the support that The Trevor Project provides crucial to LGBTQ youth, especially as it pertains to suicide prevention?

    The support that The Trevor Project provides is so crucial because suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people — and LGBTQ youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight or cis peers. LGBTQ youth reach out to Trevor because we are LGBTQ-affirming and a trusted provider of crisis services. All of our volunteers are highly-trained to answer calls, chats, and text from LGBTQ youth 24/7 when they are feeling suicidal or need a safe, non-judgmental place to talk.

    Almost three-quarters of youth stated that they either would not or were unsure if they would have another service if The Trevor Project did not exist. We aim to be there for every young LGBTQ person in crisis with a clear message: you are loved, your life has value, and you are never alone.

    7. What do you think the responsibility is for brands to be involved in pro-social, activism-related work?

    Everyone can play a role in creating change and building progress in our society. Brands — especially those with large platforms and influence — have a responsibility to fulfill that role as well. We recognize H&M and our other brand partners for helping spur progress on important issues, and we encourage others to follow suit. Beyond the essential financial support that brands can provide to nonprofits like The Trevor Project, there's also a direct benefit for the community when brands are loud about their support of Pride; we've found that more than half of youth said brands who support the LGBTQ community positively impact how they feel about being LGBTQ. Finally, it's important to remember that Pride doesn't begin and end in June — the opportunity to support Pride is 365 days a year. We are thrilled to have H&M as a year-round partner for The Trevor Project, demonstrating their authentic support for our work.

    8. What is one of the biggest impacts or positive results you have seen come from the partnership between The Trevor Project and H&M?

    We wouldn't be able to do the work we do and make the progress we've made without our brand partners like H&M. The Trevor Project has experienced significant growth in the last few years with the implementation of our five key program areas: crisis services, peer support, research, education and public awareness, and advocacy. Since 2019, we've been working to scale our volunteer training to increase the number of crisis services counselors on a yearly basis. In addition to original, intersectional monthly research briefs, our research team launched the world's largest survey of LGBTQ youth mental health in 2019, and has released a total of three national, annual reports. We've ramped up Trevor's advocacy work on the local, state, and federal levels to protect the rights of LGBTQ people, including bills to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy that have been in introduced in 40 states. H&M's partnership helps us advance this work by raising significant funds and awareness for our mission. During June 2021, when H&M served as one of our key Pride Partners, our crisis counselors served over 19,500 crisis contacts with free, confidential support via phone, chat, and text.

    9. How important is it for LGBTQ+ youth to see allies in popular culture, be it a celebrity or high profile person, mainstream brand, etc.?

    LGBTQ representation in the mainstream media is extremely important as it makes LGBTQ youth feel seen, validated, and confident that they are not alone. Over 80% of youth said that celebrities who are LGBTQ positively influence how they feel about being LGBTQ, and more than half of youth said brands who support the LGBTQ community have a positive impact on their LGBTQ identity. As we continue to see increased visibility for marginalized communities in popular culture, diverse images will become normalized, which in turn creates a safer, more accepting world for all of us.

    10. For people who want to get involved with a cause like The Trevor Project, what is the best way to make a difference?

    There are a number of ways to get involved with The Trevor Project – from making a donation (TheTrevorProject.org/Donate) to applying to be a volunteer (TheTrevorProject.org/Volunteer) to spreading the word about our resources.

    Affirming spaces and support systems work to save young LGBTQ lives. People can be active in their communities to ensure that more safe, affirming spaces are available and thriving. Even making an effort to respect someone's pronouns and encouraging those around you to do the same can make a huge difference. Our research has also found that LGBTQ youth who report having at least one accepting adult were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt. If you get the opportunity, be that one person for a young person in your life.

    If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project's trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678678.

    Our Partners

    This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

    One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

    I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.


    Honestly, it's no wonder. Originally designed as a better blanket for luxury hotels and engineered with textile experts to create this uniquely soft fabric, it has made my bed into the vacation I so desperately want these days.

    The comforter is made up of two layers. On one side is their signature knit "snug" fabric which out-cozies even my most beloved (bought on sale) cashmere sweater. The other, a soft quilted microfiber. Together, it creates a weighty blanket that's as soothing to be under as it is to flop face-first into at the end of an exhausting day. Or at lunch. No judgement.

    Miraculously, given the weight and construction, it stays totally breathable and hasn't left me feeling overheated even on these warm summer nights with just a fan in the window.

    Beyond being the absolute most comfortable comforter I've found, it's also answered my minimalist bed making desires. Whether you opt to use it knit or quilted side up, it cleanly pulls the room together and doesn't wrinkle or look unkempt even if you steal a quick nap on top of it.

    Also worth noting, while all that sounds super luxe and totally indulgent, the best part is, it's equally durable. It's made to be easily machine washed and come out the other side as radically soft as ever, forever, which totally helps take the sting out of the price tag.

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    Here is my top pick from Sunday Citizen, along with the super-soft goods I'm coveting for future purchases.

    Woodland Snug comforter

    Sunday-Citizen-Woodland-Snug-comforter

    The bedroom anchor I've been looking for— the Snug Comforter.

    $249

    Braided Pom Pom Throw

    Because this degree of coziness needs portability, I'm totally putting the throw version on my list. It's washable, which is a must-have given my shedding dog and two spill-prone kiddos who are bound to fight over it during family movie night.

    $145

    Lumbar pillow

    sunday-citizen-lumbar-pillow

    What's a cozy bed without a pile of pillows?

    $65

    Crystal infused sleep mask

    sunday citizen sleep mask

    Promoting sleep by creating total darkness and relaxation, I've bookmarked as my go-to gift for fellow mamas.

    $40

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

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    Motherly created the flexible online birth class moms need

    The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

    Taking a birth class is a pregnancy milestone. Whether you've been excited to take a birth class for a long time or have just recently decided that you wanted to take one, sitting down for that first lesson feels big—spoiler alert, this is really happening! But finding time for a birth class isn't as easy as it would seem.

    We know new parents are busy (hello, understatement of the year). Between diaper changes, pediatrician appointments, healing from birth and the general adjustment to #newparentlife, the days can fill up quickly. But a lot of people are caught off guard by how busy pregnancy can be, too! That first trimester is so often full of symptoms—like nausea and fatigue—that can make previously easy or simple tasks exhausting. The second trimester begins and (usually) we start to feel better. But then our days get filled with planning out baby registries and deciding on questions like, "Where will this tiny new human sleep?" And before you know it, it's the third trimester—and, well, then you're in the home stretch. Plus there are so many appointments!

    All this to say that we get how busy you are—and how hard that might make it to fit in a birth class.

    And that's why we created The Motherly Birth Class. The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.


    Think you'll want to watch each lesson a few times over? Great!

    Due date's next week and you need the option to take a birth class very quickly? No problem!

    Like everything at Motherly, we designed this class with you in mind.

    Taught by Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding (who also wrote "The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama"), this class is broken into 12 lessons—and you get to control how and when you watch them. We'll teach you about what your (amazing) body is up to in labor, how to decide when it's time to head to the hospital or birth center (or when to call your home birth midwife), what your options are for coping with pain and so much more.

    When you sign up for The Motherly Birth Class, you'll get access to a downloadable workbook and meditations. Plus, you'll be invited to join our supportive private online community (where you can chat with the class instructor!)

    Oh, one more thing: Your insurance or flexible spending account might even able to able to cover the cost of this class.

    Pregnancy is wonderful—but it's a lot. You deserve a birth class that works for you and empowers you to have your best birth. Because vaginal or Cesarean, unmedicated or medication, birth is incredible. And you are the star of it all.

    You've got this.

    Sign up for The Motherly Birth Class today!

    The Motherly Birth Class

    pregnant-woman-looking-at-her-belly

    Take our completely digital birth class from the comfort of your living room. We'll help you have your best birth—because you deserve it.

    $79

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    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

    So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are 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 indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


    Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don't think it will be put away too often!)

    $139

    Secret Agent play set

    Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

    This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    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.

    $40

    Stepping Stones

    Stepping-stones

    Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.

    $99.99

    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.

    $30

    Sensory play set

    kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

    Filled with sand or water, this compact-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.

    $19.95

    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.

    $121

    Foam pogo stick

    Flybar-my-first-foam-pogo-stick

    Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

    $16.99

    Dumptruck 

    green-toys-dump-truck

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.

    $22

    Hopper ball

    Hopper ball

    Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

    $14.99

    Pull-along ducks

    janod-pull-along-wooden-ducks

    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.

    $16.99

    Rocking chair seesaw

    Slidewhizzer-rocking-chair-seesaw

    This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

    $79.99

    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.

    $79.99

    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.

    $24.75

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    4 Montessori floor bed options we love (and our best advice on how to use them)

    We asked a Montessori expert for tips on how to help your little ones have a fun bedtime and safe sleep with a floor bed.

    KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

    If you're a parent of a baby or toddler, you've probably spent a lot of time researching sleep questions: How to get your baby to sleep, how to manage naps, and of course, where they should sleep! In all that googling you have likely come across the option of Montessori floor beds and wondered if they might work for your family.

    Floor beds are by no means new. They've been used around the world and in other cultures for centuries, but have gained popularity in recent years in the U.S. as more families are opting to Montessori at home. Dr. Maria Montessori advocates for freedom of movement starting at birth, and this includes where a child sleeps. In her book, The Secret of Childhood, she describes the developmental significance of the floor bed—something low to the ground that allows your child to develop their independence and encourages freedom of movement.

    "One of the greatest helps that could be given to the psychological development of a child would be to give him a bed suited to his needs and cease making him sleep longer than necessary. A child should be permitted to go to sleep when he is tired, to wake when he is rested, and to rise when he wishes. This is why we suggest that the typical child's bed should be done away with as has already been done in many families. The child instead should be given a low couch resting practically upon the floor, where he can lie down and get up as he wishes. Like all the new helps for a child's psychic, a low bed is economical."

    – Dr. Maria Montessori, The Secret of the Childhood (p. 74)

    But practically, in the year 2021, what does that look like? Although Dr. Montessori's understanding of child development through the lens of a scientist, the world has changed in the last 100 years. That being said, it is still very possible to follow this piece of the Montessori method if it feels right for your child and your family. If the idea of going the non-crib route comes with a lot of concerns and questions, you are not alone.

    Here are the answers to some common questions when deciding if a Montessori floor bed is the right choice for your family.


    What is a Montessori floor bed?

    The concept of a Montessori floor bed is almost all in the name. A floor bed is truly a bed that is placed on the floor, or low enough to the ground so that a young child can safely climb in and out of it on their own. This can be as simple as a crib mattress placed directly on the floor (for children under the age of 2 a firm crib mattress should be used), or a mattress in a bed frame specifically designed as a Montessori floor bed. How you choose to set up the floor bed and which option is best depends on the space you are setting it up in, as well as the age of your child when first beginning to use it.

    Is a Montessori floor bed right for me?

    In determining if a floor bed will work for your family, it's important to consider your child's current sleep habits. Some families choose to start using a floor bed right when their child transitions into their own room for sleep. In this case, it's important to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep recommendations.

    Although it is more traditional in Montessori practices to start using a floor bed in infancy, other families choose to begin using a floor bed when a crib is no longer working for their child. Just like any big transition, if you decide to move from a crib to a floor bed know that there will be a learning curve for all (yes parents, you too!). Maintaining a similar sleep environment and routine to what you were using while crib sleeping can help with the transition. Also, some have found that starting with naps can be a slightly lower-stakes option. Keep in mind that if your child is having frequent wakings and trouble sleeping, it's unlikely that switching to a floor bed will solve this. Beginning with a strong sleep routine and foundation will make the process smoother for everyone.

    How do I set up my child's room and bed?

    It depends on your child's age. Just like any other room in your house that you are using the Montessori method with, you want to have the space set up for your child's needs at their developmental stage. If you are using a floor bed before your child is mobile, it helps to get down at the floor bed level and see what your baby will be seeing from their view. A floor bed allows a pre-crawling infant to observe the world visually without looking through the slats of a crib, but you want to ensure the space isn't cluttered or overly stimulating.

    It's also important to secure all furniture to the walls, and hide all electrical cords even before your child is mobile. If you're setting up a floor bed for a toddler it's likely the room will need some significant changes from the traditional nursery setup. Remember that everything left in the room is "fair game" to use once you've closed the door and said goodnight—it's best to start with as little in the room as possible and slowly add more back in if needed. Having a small bookshelf with a few options and 2-3 toys available is enough at the beginning. Even more so than with an infant using a floor bed, ensuring the room is baby proofed is essential for those curious toddlers.

    How do I get my baby or toddler to stay in bed? Won't they roll out?

    When a baby is first starting out on their floor bed, they may roll out a couple of times. Having the bed on a plush carpet helps with this, but it is also important to remember they are close to the ground for this reason. After rolling out a few times they will learn where the edge of the bed is and what it feels like. This is cause and effect, a skill they will be spending many months learning. If they continue to roll out, or it is causing worry, placing a pool noodle under the sheet around the edges can help them identify where they are.

    For an older child who's capable of crawling or walking out of bed it can be impossible to imagine why they would choose to stay in bed. And the short answer is, they may not, or at least not at first. Allowing a child freedom of movement and choice around sleep means they might not rest exactly on your schedule, but instead may play with the couple toys available for them until they have tired, then will fall asleep on the floor or return to their bed to nap. They will eventually learn to listen to their body and know that the floor bed is where they can take themselves when they are ready to sleep. A floor bed takes trust and flexibility on the parents' end, but it will help build a child's independence and maturity.

    Here are our favorite picks for Montessori floor beds.

    Montessori Floor Bed

    Sprout Montessori Floor Bed

    The Sprout floor bed is one of the most popular options on the market, and thanks to its sleek style and conversion options it isn't surprising that is the case. The frame is made out of baltic birch, can hold up to 250 lbs, and comes in twin, toddler, or full size. One reviewer said, "The minimalist style is crafted so beautifully, and it assembled in about 10 minutes with no screws or tools. Ben loves climbing in and out by himself and we love being able to sit close to him to play or read stories before bed."

    Sprout
    $349

    Tent Bed

    West Elm tent bed

    A statement piece by West Elm, this tent shaped frame is Greenguard Gold certified and available in twin or full size. Created in collaboration with Pottery Barn Kids you can find a whole line of furniture to go with this piece, or have it as a stand alone item. The high quality frame will last years, and can support a box spring to grow with your child through adolescence.

    $699

    Toddler Yellow Solid Wood Platform Bed

    Harper Orchard Solid Wood Platform Bed

    This affordable option from Wayfair can be purchased in toddler or twin size, and can be easily customized to go with your child's bedroom decor. The house-style frame tends to be a hit with the toddler crowd; add a few string lights or pom poms to the frame to make it their own. Minimal assembly is required, and the mattress must be purchased separately.

    $165

    House Bed

    Coco Village House Bed

    This fun and simple design by Coco Village comes in a variety of colors to add a fun pop to your child's room. Available in twin or full size this fame is a great option. Coco Village uses eco-friendly paint and varnish and is made from premium quality pine. It can support up to 500 lbs, allowing parents and children to share the space together.

    $319.99

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    Manager's viral post about flexible working hours is making moms feel seen

    Because life happens whether you're on the clock or not.

    LinkedIn

    If there's one thing we've all learned during these past 18 months, it's that we're capable of being a lot more flexible than we probably ever thought we could be. Because, well, we've had to be. Primarily when it comes to work.

    We've all learned the importance of being a little more understanding, and one manager is hitting the nail on the head about being flexible at work in a LinkedIn post that has gone viral. And it's resonating with working moms, big time.


    Raise your hand if you're a woman and you've found yourself apologizing to your colleagues and supervisors about having to duck out of work or call off because your kids are sick. How about going into immense detail to "justify" why you need to take time off for your family? Yep, I see you've all got your hands raised!

    Though employees, women in particular, have basically been conditioned to do these things, this LinkedIn post basically gives us the validation that it's OK to not be a machine—because life happens.

    Megan Witherspoon, the Vice President of Communications at Altria, wrote about flexible working hours from a manager's perspective and it quickly went viral. Why? Well, it's a must-read. So go ahead and dive in.

    "I DO care that your daughter is home with yet another ear infection," she writes. "I DO NOT care that you'll be offline for 2 hours this afternoon for her doctor's appointment."

    Since we're all in for an anxiety-ridden school year when it comes to sicknesses—even the common cold ignites panic in most of us now—this line is especially validating to read.

    "I DO care that a bus driver shortage means you don't have reliable transportation for your son," she continues. "I DO NOT care if you need to get back to me in an hour after picking him up from school."

    Witherspoon also talks about the importance of taking vacation time and prioritizing your mental health, because a healthy employee is a happy employee. And happy employees stick around—because they want to.

    She concludes her post by reinforcing the idea that, as a boss, she cares about the things that are happening in the lives of her employees. And that as long as your work is done and done well, it shouldn't matter how or when you do it. Especially now, amid an ongoing pandemic that impacts our lives in ways both big and small every single day.

    Life happens. Flexibility is a valuable currency—at home and at work.

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