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My perfect summer day involves cleaning out our closets—no, really

For me, self-care means a guilt-free day to purge my head + home and make room for summer

My perfect summer day involves cleaning out our closets—no, really

Coffee in hand, it's very early in the morning. My husband's just left with the kids for the day. And. I. Am. All. Alone. 😃 You'd think I'd have planned a girls' day or taken this opportunity to pamper myself, go shopping, go out with friends, or go back to bed.

Nope.

I am cleaning out closets and drawers and cabinets and cupboards.

It's not just a physical purge, either. While I work, it is a mental sweeping of half-baked thoughts and hunches, all of which need time to ferment and process, and none of which get their chance with the constant interruptions that come along with minding a household and three littles.

Don't get me wrong: I am not complaining. But I'll tell you this: I am relishing.

What I really love (and need) is this guilt-free day…

… to clean out a few closets so the doors can shut.

... to tackle the things that have been taking up space in my mind for months, always creeping in to tap me on the shoulder and remind me that I have unfinished business, not letting me relax and be in the moment.

... to carve out some mental space, where I can complete a thought and assess where I am right now.

… to rejig priorities, set things up and put things in motion, so I can enjoy the summer with my muffins without the uninvited gremlin of nag shadowing every step and stealing my presence and joy.

I am doing this chore for myself. And. I. Am. LOVING. It.

I can work in my head, and I can rest in my head. Just being able to put two thoughts together satisfies a hint of the old me that is always there, waiting to be noticed and fulfilled.

This isn't about not loving my life and kids. This is about loving myself.

When I clear out the junk—in my house and in my head—I can focus more on what really matters most to me. Everything is in a better light. And it's okay if what matters to me at this moment is a little organization that helps me manage the constant "need-to-do" list that crowds out the present and prevents me from setting my full attention upon the little loves who mean the most to me in the whole world.

So, I look forward to a day like this. When my husband says he wants to take the kids—without me—I say, "Absolutely!"

That's how I find myself... knee deep in abandoned stuffed animals, broken or unused toys, worn out t-shirts and singleton socks.

That's how I find myself... reorganizing the bookshelf, adjusting books by size and titles to appeal to the ages my kids are now, and getting rid of the rest.

That's how I find myself... cleaning out my pantry of rejects and past-dues so I can see better what ingredients are available for dinner.

That's how I find myself... rooting through the bathroom drawers, eliminating used dental floss and cotton swabs (ew), empty toothpaste tubes and broken hair-ties.

I know it sounds silly. But, that's how I find myself.

At the end of the day, I am spent from tossing things and laid flat by decision fatigue. I have not snapped at anyone, no one's gotten into their "special box" to undo all that I've done, and I feel like I've run my course.

I'm ready for bed and the full night's sleep that I've so earned. And I sleep well, knowing that the rest of these days of summer can be met with an eager heart, a patient soul, and a manageable task set that won't crowd out what summer is really all about—fun, connection and memories.

Some mamas are much better than me at prioritizing, focusing or changing gears. They can manage all that their lives hold for them, every day and in every way. But this is what works for me. Acknowledging that and accepting it as my reality also works for me.

Self-care is as individual as each mama, and every mama needs to find what works for her.

We put others ahead of ourselves all the time. And in doing so, we can lose a little of ourselves each day that we don't carve out space to remember we are someone, too. We are worthy and important—we deserve to do what it takes to be our best self, and our children deserve it, too.

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Create a school-ready capsule wardrobe for your kids

Dress for success whether virtual learning or in the classroom!

Tina Meeks

Going "back to school" this year may be less of a literal statement than in years past—but there is just as much reason for your kids to celebrate moving on to new grades. Just like in every new school year, a big part of the fun is refreshing your kids' wardrobe with clothes that allow them to express themselves.

Even if finding back to school clothes this year doesn't include a trip to the mall, you can still make an event of it by shopping H&M's kids collection from your computer. Pull up another chair for your shopping buddy and get the cart started with these fave capsule wardrobe options we've already scouted.

Here are our favorite picks:

A t-shirt made for play

H&M t-shirt

Call them essentials, not basics. A graphic t-shirt aces the test when it comes to being perfect for school. And because your little student will probably want to wear something that expresses their personal style as often as possible, it's great to know the shirts can stand up to school time, playtime, downtime and everything in between!

$4.99

Dressed-up casual shorts for total comfort

H&M boy shorts

Whether pulling up a chair for a virtual meeting with the class or heading back to the school for in-person learning, some comfortable, yet stylish, shorts will help your kid focus on the real tasks at hand: learning—and having fun while doing it!

$19.99

Layers for when seasons change

H&M sweatshirt

When it comes to feeling comfortable at school, layers are the MVPs. Whether the AC is blasting or the day started off cool and is warming up quickly, having a unique sweatshirt to shed or add will help your kid look cool while staying warm.

$9.99

A bit of flair with distressed denim

H&M distressed jeans

A school staple for generations, denim is both classic and continually fashionable with updates like distressing and new wash colors. If you're shopping online for jeans this year, take note of H&M's generous return policy—your kids can try on the orders at home and return anything that doesn't fit without a trip to the store.

$24.99

A fashion statement piece

H&M girls skirt

What's better than expressing yourself through a stylish outfit when school is back in session? Still feeling perfectly comfortable and ready to tackle anything the day holds while looking so good. With so many fashion-forward looks available at budget-friendly prices, H&M's children's collection means every kid can find an outfit that speaks to them.

$14.99

Some comfy kicks

H&M boys shoes

A sure way to put a little pep in your child's step this year, cool and cozy shoes are a staple on all back-to-school shopping lists for good reason. (Plus, it's fun to compare them to last year's shoes to see how much your kid has grown!)

$19.99

Anything-but-basic blouses

H&M girls blouse

Whether in the classroom or showing up for a video call with the class, a styling blouse or button-down shirt is a great way for your student to comfortably dress up the day. Better yet? Style doesn't have to come at the expense of comfort with so many made-to-move tops designed just for kids.

$14.99

A shirt ready to go whatever the day holds

H&M boys shirt

With "going to school" meaning anything from showing up in the classroom to doing a virtual session, it's important to have clothes that are perfect for anything the day holds. A classic, cotton shirt with a fashion-forward design is a great way to keep your student feeling ready to start the year with an A+ attitude.

$9.99

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

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