Our weekends as a family changed when we made time for unscheduled, unregulated FUN

That day of fun made me feel so recharged, so refreshed, so ready to take on the week.

Our weekends as a family changed when we made time for unscheduled, unregulated FUN

Is it only me, or does anyone else feel like they need an extra day built into each week?

On any given week it feels impossible to fit it all in.

Monday through Friday is an inevitable blur of breakfast making, lunch packing, school drop-off, racing to work, taking an infinite number of calls, rushing for pick-up, getting dinner on the table, tubby time, book reading, bed time, some quality time with my husband. Then lights out!

The work week feels like a never-ending list of schedules and deadlines to meet—and this isn’t only for work! It pains me to have to say “no” to one more game of Paw Patrol, or hide-and-seek, because we are going to be late for school.

Most days, I feel like I’m in a tornado of obligations, running around just to keep the wheels in motion.

When the weekend comes, I hope that it will be filled with family time and play. But most of the time the weekends are more packed than the weekdays. Filled with the things that we didn’t get to during the week—grocery shopping, cleaning the house, swim lessons, soccer, family events, birthday parties.

Where is the time for fun? If I’m craving it, I know my toddler does too.

Sure there are kid’s birthday parties and family get togethers and playdates, which are all fun, and swim and soccer lessons, which are great for confidence and skill building. But I think balance is key, as with anything in life. And I find myself craving unscheduled, non-obligated, non-regimented FUN.

I have always been one to say yes. Yes to ALL the things. But as I get close to the end of my pregnancy and the time of saying NO is very near, I began to think.

Why can’t we carve out a day (or part of a day) for fun, with no schedule or requirements or racing around?

This past Sunday we tried it. We had no plans, it was a rainy day—and it was perfect. We stayed in our pjs all day. We played, really played. With every toy we had (so much so we were able to take on a little decluttering by purging the toys with missing pieces—win, win I’d say).

We indulged and watched TV. We ate all three meals together, seated, as a family, and talked to each other. We baked muffins. We did crafts. We decorated the house for Halloween. We napped...we all napped. We ran–literally ran–to the park after dinner to catch that last bit of play before it got dark. Not because we were trying to fit it into a schedule, but because it was fun.

That day of fun made me feel so recharged, so refreshed, so ready to take on the week.

I also learned a good lesson that I will need to remind myself about as each birthday invite arrives or text message comes in for a play date. It’s okay not to say yes to every invite you get. It’s okay to have a day where we can just be, without “scheduled fun.” We need time to be together as a family and to just be with each other, and reconnect.

I realized that I don’t need an extra day in the week. I just need to find time within the seven days we are given to be without a schedule and let fun develop naturally, the way it was intended to be.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Our Partners

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?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

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

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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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