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True life: I plan my life around my baby’s nap schedule 😴

I don’t remember my first baby’s last nap. I don’t remember the last time I pulled down her blackout blinds, gave her some milk, lay her sleepsack-clad little body down in her crib and slipped silently out of the room, blinking into the sunlight with two blissful hours to myself ahead of me.


I only know that—like so many things in motherhood—there was a last time, and I didn’t recognize it when I saw it.

Because, shockingly, just as I was at my sickest and most exhausted with her baby sister in my belly, my firstborn gave up her afternoon naps. There was no warning, and suddenly, afternoons stretched endlessly ahead as my cranky toddler struggled to make it to bedtime.

At first, I refused to believe it was happening. But no matter what I tried, she would not go to sleep in the daylight hours. For a while there parenting got a lot harder, and oh how I missed those precious hours of silence in the middle of the day!

When my littlest was born, naps became my obsession. Yes, I am that mom. The one who plans her life around baby’s nap times.

It’s not always easy, especially when there’s a preschooler and her activities to factor into the mix. In fact, it can be downright restricting. In the early days when the baby was napping three times a day, we were all but housebound for several months.

I’m always planning—making sure to smooth the way for her hours of rest. I say no to playdates, coffee dates, lunches and visitors during nap times. And I’m planning even when it’s not nap time—I won’t take her too far in the stroller when I don’t want her to fall asleep, and I avoid lengthy car rides or leaving her in front of the TV in case she drifts off when she’s not supposed to. We opt to play in the park or the garden or go swimming instead.

As I said...obsessed.

But the truth is, whether we openly admit it or not, nap time is actually a lifeline for a mom. It’s essential for our sanity. In these days we spend in the trenches of motherhood, nap time is a refuge.

When they’re tiny babies it’s a time to recover—physically and emotionally—from what our bodies have just gone through.

As they start teething, nap time is a gratefully guarded respite to recoup from the often sleepless hours of the night before.

As they grow and start toddling around, it becomes a kind of “water break” in the madness—a much-needed hiatus from the constant go-go-go of parenting this wonderful and extremely active human being.

No, it’s not always convenient. But convenience doesn’t even come into play when it’s necessity we’re talking about.

When other people need things from me that I’m not able to deliver because I’m prioritizing nap time, I feel guilty. When I can’t join in when friends invite me places, I feel torn. When my preschooler begs me to take her to the park but I can’t because her little sister is sleeping, I feel wretched.

And yet—nap time prevails.

It’s only now, as my littlest approaches the age my eldest was when she gave up her naps, that I feel the ache of another milestone slipping through my fingers and am reminded how truly short this season of parenting is.

I’ve started taking extra notice of our nap time rituals—the way her head fits perfectly into the gap between my shoulder and my jawbone as she drinks her milk beside me and her hair tickles my nose. The way she hooks one leg over my body and clutches her pink rabbit close. The way she sleepily murmurs, “Night, night, Mommy” even though it’s still daylight outside and the way her thumb automatically finds its way to her mouth as she turns to her side to fall asleep.

I will miss all of these things as much as I will miss the silence in the house and the time to myself when nap time is a thing of the past.

I know the day is coming. But until it does, I’m hanging on to nap time—and to my sanity, TBH—while it lasts.

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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.

$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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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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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