The one thing moms need most this summer: A BREAK ☀️

Who needs a summer vacation the most? Moms. (No kids allowed.)

The one thing moms need most this summer: A BREAK ☀️

My husband is sending me away for a summer vacation.

I’m going away for a long weekend—all by myself. Flying away on an airplane. Without kids. Without a husband. I’m heading off to a hotel room all my own—and nobody to wake me up at 3 am for a class of water. No baby to nurse. No barely-there booboos that “NEED!” a bandaid. No Cheerois to pick up off the floor (again). No toddler skirmishes to break up. No bills that need to be paid. No work emails to answer.

Just me, a quiet place, and some desperately-needed alone time.


I’m going alone, without our kids, because my husband is a good man and he knows that the one thing I need this summer more than anything is a break.

Summer can be particularly hard for moms. We get camp forms and doctors appointments set up months in advance. We buy bathing suits and the right sunscreen and shuffle our kids and their shifting schedules from activity to pool to birthday party.

We interrupt our normal routines to accommodate the slowness of summer—but for moms, it can often feel like summer is the hardest time of all.

And for working moms, summer can complicate a barely-held-together patchwork of childcare.

Summertime can really make moms sweat.

And if a mom does take a summer “vacation” with her family, it can easily become more of a summer “doing all the things I normally do in my crazy momlife, just in a place with more sand.”

Summer can be exhausting.

Momlife can be exhausting.

So why is it so hard for us as moms to give ourselves permission to take a break?

Schools have summer break to give kids a rest from the physical and psychological demands of school.

Its time for us moms to declare that we need summer break, too. An actual, restful, guilt-free break from the constant demands of motherhood.

And this 24/7 job of motherhood? It might require that we take more rest than any job we’re ever going to have.

So I’m going away. I know I need it. But, confession time: I don’t really want to go away without my kids. I actually feel guilty for being away from them.

I feel guilty, even though I know that I need a break. I feel guilty, even though I deserve it. I feel guilty, even though I know that it’s good for me—and therefore, will benefit my children. I feel guilty, even though I know that my kids will be 100% fine. I feel guilty, even though my husband has his own solo-trips planned this summer.

I’m going on vacation despite the guilt. Or perhaps because of the guilt. Motherhood is all-encompassing. It should be. It has given me a sixth sense, a depth of love I can’t describe, and three wonderful little humans. But the guilt—well, I wish I could send the guilt on vacation, too.

Plus, it’s science: Research shows that we build resilience—the grit we need to make it through the exhausting nights and demanding days of motherhood—NOT by “toughing it out,” but by giving ourselves quiet, intentional time to recharge.

Here’s how Harvard Business Review put it in a very telling column on rest in the modern age—

The key to resilience is trying really hard, then stopping, recovering, and then trying again. This conclusion is based on biology. . . .When the body is out of alignment from overworking, we waste a vast amount of mental and physical resources trying to return to balance before we can move forward. As Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz have written, if you have too much time in the performance zone (Editor’s note: AKA, BEING A MOM), you need more time in the recovery zone, otherwise you risk burnout. . . The value of a recovery period rises in proportion to the amount of work required of us.

In other words, the more demanding your life is (and ahem—is there anything more demanding than motherhood?), the more you need deliberate, and intentional time to recover.

When we work work work and give give give at motherhood—and don’t ever take the time to rest, we suffer. And a burned out mom isn’t good for anyone.

So we don’t make it through the hard days of motherhood by always just “toughing it out,” but in taking the time we truly need to slow down and recharge.

Maybe you can take a vacation this summer. But if you cant, I hope you can try to. . .

Swap kids with a trusted friend for a weekend so you can be alone in your house for 48 hours (and return the favor)

Bring the kids to grandma + grandpas so you can sleep

Hire a babysitter and give yourself permission to do some fun, adults-only activity (work does not count)

Go to the beach with your girlfriends and watch the waves crash on the shore

Put your phone down post-bedtime to let your brain rest (Read more on how your phone stimulates your brain and prevents you from recharging)

Join a gym with childcare and use the full allotted babysitting hours to move your body—and read a magazine once your done

Go for a long walk or hike in nature and leave your phone far, far away

Set a summer work schedule and take Friday afternoons off—it helps you ease in the weekend (and honestly, it’s unlikely anyone will notice)

Pat yourself on the back when you do something to care for yourself—and tell mom guilt to take a hike

Volunteer to help another burned out mom out: Maybe you don’t need a summer break, but you know a single or military mom who really does. Research shows that performing acts of kindness for others can actually make us feel better than if we always heaped those gifts upon ourselves

For me, I know it’s time for a break. The last time I was away without my kids for more than one night was 2015. A whole baby ago. More than 800 days ago. It’s time for mama’s summer vacation.

A quiet, peaceful hotel room awaits.

Let’s do this, summer break.

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.


Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.


I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

Keep reading Show less

Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

Keep reading Show less