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6 ways to model self-compassion for your kids

There's a lot of talk these days about self-care. And while we're all for mamas treating themselves in whatever way they need—be it a mani-pedi, a long run, or simply a morning where you actually get to sleep in as much as you want—we think it's even more important for mamas to practice regular amounts of self-compassion.

Think about it: You're constantly practicing empathy for those around you, whether it's sending solidarity vibes to the fellow mama at the store with the tantruming toddler or getting on your kid's level after he's had a rough day at kindergarten. And while modeling empathy for others is one of the best ways to raise children to be empathetic themselves, we would argue that it's just as important to set the example when it comes to self-empathy and compassion.

So where's a selfless mama to start? Here are six simple ways to model self-compassion for your children from clinical psychologist and co-founder of Harmony in Parenting, Dr. Azine Graff.

1. Give yourself two minutes

When our to-do lists feel longer than the number of hours we have in a day, it can be easy to fall into a pattern of rushing from one responsibility to the next without taking time for ourselves. Our expert's tip? Start with two minutes.

"What would be different if you gave yourself two minutes in the car before entering your home? What if you could spend those two minutes to reflect on what you want the rest of your day to look like?" Graff says. "Two minutes gives us the time to prepare ourselves for what is next rather than rushing and diving headfirst into challenges that can lead us to lose our cool."

Try this: Instead of rushing ahead to that next to-do, take a minute to clear your head. Try a deep-breathing exercise, sneak a healthy snack, or simply close your eyes and enjoy the (oh-so-rare) quiet.

2. Fuel yourself as nutritiously as you do your children

We've all succumbed to the 2 p.m. sugary snack trap—and lived to regret it. But for most of us, it's easier to turn our children to healthier choices because we believe a simple truth: It's better for them. Show yourself the same love by viewing your food as fuel and eating what you really need to sustain yourself.

Bonus: Setting the example will make your child a lot more likely to follow suit when you're not there making the choice between carrot sticks or chocolate for them.

Try this: Craving something sweet? Skip the candy and opt for a probiotic-rich dairy free yogurt drink from Califia Farms. It will satisfy your sweet tooth while also providing the right balance of healthy bacteria for your gut.

3. Take off the perfection pressure

Forgiving yourself for mistakes—or simply giving yourself permission to make them—is not just showing yourself kindness. It's also a great way to cut down on stress. "Being kind to ourselves can also reduce the pressure that creeps into our children leading to lack of self-worth, anxiety, and fear," says Graff.

Try this: Made a mistake? Don't beat yourself up. Instead, remind yourself (and your child) that no one gets it right every time—next time, you'll take the lessons you learned to do better.

4. Say "no" more

You would never force your child to take on more than they can handle. And while it can be difficult to decline invitations, opportunities, or extracurriculars, leaving no room for balance is a quick way to deplete yourself—as well as your children. Take a cue from Graff: "Finding that balance between boredom and active allows our brains to meet a combination of our needs."

Try this: Until you get comfortable saying no when you need to, "schedule" a free day every week in your calendar. That way, if you get any invitations you're not ready to handle, you can honestly tell them that your day is already booked!

5. Embrace hobbies and projects that make you feel like "you"

Especially when children are young, it's easy to set aside our own interests to focus on our children's needs. But by modeling the importance of doing what we enjoy (and maintaining a strong sense of self), we model what taking care of ourselves looks like. "As a result, not only are we a positive example for our children, but we feel more whole as a person by incorporating the activities that keep us inspired and engaged," Graff says.

Try this: Think about what you used to do before kids for fun. If you loved working with your hands, check your local library for a free art or gardening class. Fan of the outdoors? Book a sitter and plan a long hike or bike ride to get yourself a little sunshine. Love spending time in the kitchen? Use nap time as dinner prep so you can enjoy the process, or involve your kids in preparing simple, healthy snacks you can both enjoy.

6. Validate your own feelings

Just like our children, adults often have feelings that are difficult to cope with. "If we can acknowledge our own anger, disappointment, sadness, fears or frustration, for example, we are more likely to take ownership of these feelings and practice coping to address our feelings," Graff says. Plus, it's a great way to model healthy expression and reflection of difficult emotions for our little ones.

Try this: Make time to talk about the not-so-pleasant feelings with your kids too. Try saying, "Sometimes things don't go the way Mommy planned, and that makes me frustrated. Do you feel frustrated sometimes too?" It's a great way to open the conversation and raise both of your emotional intelligences.


This article was sponsored by Califia Farms. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly + mamas.

12 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

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.

$30

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!

$75

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

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.

$100

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

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

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.

$100

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.

$45

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.

$189

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.

$100

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.

$33

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.

$88

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14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

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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Two weeks. I cannot believe that it has been two weeks since my second son was brought into this world. Two weeks since my husband and I welcomed baby Simon, the final piece of our little family.

But, here is the whopper: It has been two weeks since I have been the mom of a toddler and a newborn. I am now responsible for taking care of two tiny humans.

It absolutely blows my mind how much my life has changed in the last two weeks. It's definitely not all rainbows and unicorns around here, but things are going pretty well. This is me being cautiously optimistic.

What I have done is learned a lot about myself, my kids and my new life in the last two weeks.

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