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How to Make Mama Me-Time

5 tips on making time for yourself from the founder of Solly Baby.

How to Make Mama Me-Time

Elle Rowley knows a thing or two about needing 'me-time.' A mama of 3 and the founder of Solly Baby, a super light and luxurious wrap for babywearing, Elle’s spent a lot of the past 5 years with lots of babies in very close proximity. As Solly Baby has grown since its birth in the little sewing nook of Elle’s Salt Lake City home in 2011, so has the team that depends on her, as well as the legions of mamas who look to her for babywearing, style and parenting inspo. Now that Elle’s pregnant with Baby #4, things are hardly slowing down. Solly’s latest collection included a whimsical wrap collaboration with Rifle Paper Co that sold out in a day (don’t worry, we’ve got one for you to win right here!). “It’s a lot of work bringing two brands together in a way that celebrates both. But it’s so rewarding getting through that process and sharing it with our community,” Elle says of the Rifle project collab with Rifle. “I’m excited to connect with our community in a very real way this next year as I’ll be wearing my own baby and to find new ways to support mamas in those first few months of postpartum.” Four pregnancies deep, Elle says she’s learned a lot about being efficient and letting go of the things that are not essential to the business -- or family. She once was plagued by severe anxiety because she wanted to do it all. She never took time off, and felt that work was her me-time. “My husband helped me recognize that it was not, and that was a real turning point for me in self-care,” she says. “As I have reconciled the fact that I will never do it all (and now I think to myself, ‘Why would I even want to do it all?!’), I am a much better mother, wife, and business owner.” If you want to build self-care back into your schedule, read on to get Elle’s 6 tips on finding mama me-time, and tune in on Well Rounded NY’s Instagram at 9 pm, EST (6 pm PST) today for a live chat with Elle on all things babywearing. We’re also celebrating World Babywearing Week with a special Well Rounded West Coast Tour featuring Solly Baby! Starting tomorrow, check out our Instagram every day this week for a flash giveaway hosted by one of our fave Solly-wearing mamas in 4 West Coast cities: Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego If you live in one of those spots, you’ll have a chance to win a wrap and meet that awesome mama for coffee (Babies optional. Hello, me-time!). Your city’s not included? This online Solly x Rifle wrap giveaway’s all yours, mama! Don’t worry, we’ll come visit you soon. And now, here’s Elle’s 6 tips to get some well-deserved mama me-time. 1. Date yourself! Jared and I take turns giving each other dates by ourselves. It’s so much easier than scheduling a sitter, and we both enjoy getting more one-on-one with our little ones while the other one is away. If you are parenting solo or your partner’s schedule doesn’t accommodate this, then I recommend swaps with friends or scheduling a sitter. I take the day off, purely to do nothing but things I enjoy doing by myself or with a close friend, once a month. And sometimes I prefer just having shorter weekly dates. I know this is about getting “me-time”, but I also feel like it's worth mentioning how helpful it is when I surprise my husband with a night off when he’s not expecting it. Right before dinner, I’ll tell him that I’ve got bedtime and he should go see the new Star Wars or go surfing or something. That thoughtfulness goes a long way with him, and I have found that when we are both looking out for the other (instead of keeping score to make sure we get our own time) then neither of us feel resentful. 2. Maximize on independent play. My sister-in-law with older kids told me years ago, if you give them 15 minutes of undivided attention then they’ll give you an hour. I really have found this to be true with my kids once they hit around two -- with some of my kids it’s been even younger. When I’m having an especially crazy day and I really need a break, but don't have childcare, then I go to my mental list of activities my kids will stay focused on for a while. For example, with my son, it’s Legos, my older daughter it’s making art, and my toddler loves her kitchen. I will play with them for 10-30 minutes, and then that will give me at least an hour of (almost totally) uninterrupted time. Of course that changes with every phase of childhood, but it’s good to take an assessment of what they’ll do independently so you can get a few minutes here or there to take a mental/physical break. 3. Set blocks of time for your to-dos. I don't schedule any meetings on Monday mornings because that's my time to catch up on emails. Just that little time to focus on work gives me more time throughout the week to focus on myself. I also try to wake up each day before my children. It’s so hard, but it’s the difference of easing into the day or having it hit me in the face. 4. Partner time is also me-time. When Jared and I go on date nights, I feel like I've also focused on myself. Our relationship is based on balance, and it's nice to reset that every once in awhile and catch up on our relationship outside of the business and parenthood. 5. Make the most of the in-between. I load up on podcasts and audiobooks so I can get the most of my drive time. I find myself making more and more trips to LA, which can be a 2-3 hour drive depending on traffic. If I'm prepared with a good audiobook, the time flies, and I can check another book off my list! 6. Find peace in the chaos. I have to say that there is something to the idea of “finding peace in the chaos.” My good friend used to teach a free yoga class each week where members of our church congregation and community could come with or without their kids and do an hour flow class. I would bring my babies, and often they would whine or crawl all over me while I was trying to workout. As I would feel my frustration mount, I would think, “WHY AM I EVEN HERE?!” But Erynn, the instructor, would say, “You can have a still mind and heart, no matter what is going on around you. Find inner peace, despite the chaos around you.” It really is a choice and, even though sometimes it is so hard, I have found my most important moments of “me-time” have come when I’ve been surrounded by people. Don’t forget to tune into Elle’s Babywearing Insta-chat today from 9-10pm EST on @wellroundedny and check in each day for a chance to win a Solly Baby wrap! Enter to win the Rifle x Solly wrap below. Photography by Max Wanger.  

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

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

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