Menu

Why some moms feel ‘touched out’—and how to fix it

I couldn’t take a single second more of anyone being in physical contact with me. I was touched out.

Why some moms feel ‘touched out’—and how to fix it

I’d heard moms talk about being “touched out,” and I’d certainly seen it portrayed on TV—the exhausted new mom, wincing as her husband reaches out to touch her, harshly telling him that she just needs some space. But I didn’t really understand what they meant until I had my first child.


When my husband would arrive home from work, I was desperate for some conversation that wasn’t just me narrating the millionth diaper change to my adorable but nonverbal baby. I’d talk his ear off, sharing all the thoughts and questions I’d had all day, not noticing he wasn’t even in the room anymore.

But at the same time that I wanted that interaction, I craved physical space. I wanted to shake my hands out, stretch my neck, and feel the lightness of my arms without the weight of my baby.

At times this feeling was overwhelming, and I couldn’t take a single second more of anyone being in physical contact with me. I was touched out.

Why does this happen to moms? We’re human beings—hardwired to want contact with other human beings—so it makes little sense that we’d get so overwhelmed by touch.

And come on, it’s not like we’re squeezed into an overcrowded bus in July and desperate for a little breathing room…we’re spending our days holding adorable, tiny, delicious smelling babies. How could that possibly be too much?

It can be too much because it’s not actually about the physical touch. It’s about the neediness.

Newborns are entirely dependent on us for survival, particularly during the first few months of life. During pregnancy, moms provide it all involuntarily. We notice it in our insane fatigue and seemingly insatiable appetite, but it doesn’t really take any extra work on our part to meet our baby’s needs.

After birth is a totally different story. You are on-call 24/7, working tirelessly to care for your baby. There’s no other time in life that someone is so dependent upon you, and their neediness is just so intense.

So when you feel touched out, it’s actually not your body saying “I need the touching to stop.” It’s your body saying “You’re reaching your limit here. You need a break.” It’s a warning sign to you that it’s time to recharge.

So, what should you do when you feel touched out?

Engage in some self-care, whatever that looks like for you. It might involve alone time, if that’s what feels right to you. But don’t let feeling touched out push you away from others, if connection is something that energizes and restores you.

Physical contact can actually be a good way to heal from being touched out, as counterintuitive as that sounds, when the physical contact is focused on caring for yourself.

Get a massage, accept a hug from your partner, even cuddle with your baby in a way that isn’t connected to caretaking but is done just for fun and enjoyment. The important thing is to make sure that whatever it is that’s happening is focused on caring for yourself for a bit.

Perhaps even more important than figuring out what to do when you feel touched out, is learning how to prevent it from happening in the first place.

If being touched out is your body’s warning system that you’re over-extended, how do you keep yourself from getting to that point while still being a present, engaged and nurturing mom?

You prevent it by building time for yourself into your routine and viewing that time as essential to your ability to function as a mom and partner. You prevent it by making sure you are caring for yourself—getting as much sleep as you can, making sure you’re eating well and drinking enough water, and spending a few minutes outside each day.

You prevent it by accepting help whenever it’s offered, and speaking up when you need even more help.

So next time you feel your skin start to crawl at the mere thought of someone touching you for a single second longer, or you tell your husband that you’re going to need something bigger than a king sized bed because you can’t stand it when his feet accidentally touch yours, remember that it’s not actually about the touch.

It’s time to care for yourself, and you’re a phenomenal caregiver.

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

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

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
Life

10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less
Life