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I miss having personal space

My once quiet area, free of distraction and interruption, is now the communal space for all child activities.

no personal space during coronavirus quarantine

Over the last three years, I have been blessed to work for a remote company that supports working mothers and understands the constant pressure of balancing both work and family responsibilities. Being able to work from home has consistently given me the opportunity to be present for pickups and dropoffs, family mealtimes and after school hugs without having to sacrifice my career goals.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I had found a pretty good rhythm between my work routine and family life. I would make breakfast, get the kids ready for school, drop the older ones off, come back, hand off the younger ones to our nanny, kiss my husband on his way out and start my workday in my home office.

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I would occasionally emerge from my cave throughout the day to see what the kids were up to or lend a hand while our nanny did nap time, but for the most part, I got a good solid chunk of uninterrupted work time throughout my workdays.

I am basically a veteran work-from-home mom, so once the coronavirus forced us all to quarantine, I naively thought the adjustment wouldn't be that difficult.

I was wrong.


Homeschooling our children, trading off childcare duties with my husband and trying to maintain the same level of work with all six of us under one roof 24-7 is incredibly difficult. And despite having a decent sized home, what has become most impossible is finding a semi-quiet space for myself to get work done. Or to have a moment of alone time.

My once living room has now been taken over with Legos and coloring books.

My once well-lit space with a nicely designed backdrop for conference calls has been replaced with the headboard in our bedroom.

My once comfortable chair and adjustable standing desk have been replaced with my lap and a bunch of pillows stuffed behind my back.

My once quiet area, free of distraction and interruption, is now the communal space for all child activities. And given the proximity of our bedroom to the living room, I hear every single noise.

Every argument, every screech, every tantrum, every request for snacks, every meltdown over the chosen snack, every nap struggle, every laugh, every question asked and every word from whatever movie is streaming. And the same goes for everyone else during my calls and meetings.

I have become the master of mute, speak, mute, speak, mute, speak. I have become the person who texts my husband from the other room to, "Keep it down, my client just heard you ask our toddler if he is getting all the poop out."

I have become the person who takes calls from the closet, in the car, in the bathroom (not while using it!), in the garage, in the nursery… basically whatever area isn't inhabited with children at that moment.

I have become the mom who swore she would never allow video games or screen time as a distraction, and well, here we are. Thank you Sesame Street and Fortnite for an extra 30minutes of sanity today.

While I understand that our challenges are minuscule compared to those dealing with much bigger issues, and I am grateful I have a job right now, it doesn't make this any less hard.

I am not a veteran work-from-home-during-a-pandemic mom. I'm not sure of the "right" way to do this. I am the mom who is doing her best to survive and I'm doing what I can do to push through this, all while trying to be a teacher, wife, salesperson, chef, housekeeper and peacemaker.

So, to the moms taking calls in your closet, I see you, I am you and this is hard.

You're allowed to feel overwhelmed because you're not getting your work done.

You're allowed to wish you were in an office.

You're allowed to feel frustrated when your calls are interrupted by children who barge in the room and don't understand what's going on exactly.

You're allowed to because this is an impossible burden to carry and we are all feeling the weight. But we will get through this.

So, from my closet to yours, mama, remember—this is new, this is *a lot*, and we are doing our best (which is all we can do.).

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

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.

$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

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.

$40

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.

$120

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.

$179

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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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

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