Time away from my kids is the best thing I do for myself + my family

Mommy needs a time out, to rest and recharge. And she deserves it.

Time away from my kids is the best thing I do for myself + my family

Anyone who’s heard the song ‘Hard to say I’m sorry’ by Chicago is unlikely to forget the opening line:

“Everybody needs a little time away, I heard her say, from each other.”

For me, this 80’s ballad is top of mind.

I’ve taken a road trip for work, and as I write this, I’m perched in a hotel room located just a few hours away from home. It’s nothing flashy, just a standard space with the basic amenities. And it feels incredible.

Usually when I travel to headquarters, it’s a day trip. I get up at 5 a.m., drive three hours, put in a full day, drive home, and walk in the door around 10 p.m. Yep, it’s a mission—but it’s logistically easier with the kids, and cheaper than booking myself a hotel.


On this particular occasion though, I’ve purposely booked a hotel room. And, not just for one night, but two.

Why? Because I need some time away.

This may sound unimaginable to some—even selfish—but spending time away from my family is an absolute must for me.

Even when it’s weaved into a work trip, I jump at the chance for some ‘me’ time.

I didn’t always feel this way though.

Back when I was a new mom, my loving husband sent me away for some R&R at a beautiful retreat. There were yoga and archery classes, books and log fires, restorative body treatments and deliciously prepared meals.

It was heaven on a stick. But, at the time I couldn’t get over the feeling that I’d ‘abandoned’ my daughter, so I was flooded with guilt for three days and found it impossible to relax because I was convinced my husband couldn’t cope without me.

Fortunately, on the retreat I received some great advice.

Two lovely (and more experienced) moms shared with me their conscious decision to take time out for themselves regularly.

It was “a necessity” they said; vital to their wellbeing, and to managing their multiple roles with renewed energy and perspective.

I’ve never forgotten this conversation, and now with some parenting under my own belt, I fully appreciate the value of it.

Ideally though, we shouldn’t reach ‘maximum stress’ before taking time out. We should prioritize our needs by scheduling it routinely, and try to build simple moments into our days to facilitate the balance. It doesn’t have to be an expensive or elaborate escape.

For me, choosing to live with less has opened up a lot more time, space, energy and freedom on a day-to-day basis. Occasionally though, I still descend into domestic martyrdom before planning some respite (at my husband’s behest), but I am getting better at recognizing the warning signs.

What I’m also getting better at, is having confidence in the belief that I deserve it.

Generally speaking, there’s always a level of guilt associated with putting ourselves first, which is frankly, insane. Because as I’ve learnt, when we continually forge ahead in a vacuum of busyness and ignore our basic needs, what we’re actually doing to ourselves, and our families, is a disservice.

Proactive time out (from any kind of pressure) is an investment in our health, and ultimately, an investment in our loved ones. As my family and I now both understand, ‘time out for me will also benefit them.

And, when we chose to spend ‘me time’ in our own company, we’re also cultivating a connection with one of the most important relationships we’ll ever have: the one with ourself.

Inward reflection is essential to improving our self-awareness and learning what makes us tick. In turn, this helps us to understand others, build more meaningful relationships, and subsequently create a happier outer world for ourselves.

And that’s certainly how I felt when I returned home to my family a few days ago.

Happy, on every level.

A version of this article was originally published on Sweet Simplicity.

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I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

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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.


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Parents knowingly sent COVID-positive kids to school—and that's a sign society is failing families

Parents shouldn't feel as though they have no other choice.

Parents across the nation are adjusting to school being back in session during a pandemic. From converting dining rooms into virtual classrooms to totally derailing their careers, parents are finding ways to make it through this unprecedented crisis.

It turns out that there is yet another challenge to overcome: parents knowingly sending their COVID-19 positive children to school. Yes, it happened in Wisconsin this week.

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