#MomFails Might Be Good for You

One mom shares 5 standards that she loosened up on after experiencing motherhood.

#MomFails Might Be Good for You

I went into this mama thing armored with a detailed list of standards. I would cook, clean, work full time, raise my child and do it all while advocating for the environment as well as my child (not to mention all done with a smile on my made-up face). And then my son was born and just like that I was confronted with a choice: him or me. Those things I’d been so intent on before baby weren’t always attainable. Rather than wallowing in guilt, though, a simple switch of perspective brought freedom into our lives.

Here’s 5 standards I loosened up on after becoming a mom.


  1. The Paci is for Quitters. I wanted my baby to learn how to self soothe, so we were a pacifier-free house. This lasted all of a few days -- our first doctor's’ visit revealed that maybe, just maybe, a paci wasn’t such a bad idea. Aside from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggesting babies under 1 sleep with a pacifier in order to reduce the risk of SIDS, my son was born tongue-tied and the doctor felt it would help strengthen his tongue. So paci during sleep it was! Luckily for me, 4 months out he was done, but his safety would win over my ego any day of the week.
  2. Only Cloth Diapers Would Grace that Cutie-Patootie. I wanted to be a cloth diapering mama, I really did! But the truth is, not a single cloth diaper has ever been slapped on that heiny. (They do, however, work wonders as burp cloths!) The idea of adding an additional load of laundry to the nightly routine was just too much. And while I experimented with countless “environmentally-friendly” brands, they just did not hold a candle to the absorbency of Pampers (there, I said it!). So yes, I add to the landfill, but when faced with a child who was constantly sitting in wet clothes, it was a no-brainer, that tushie won.
  3. The Boob or Go Home. I was going to be that proud mama who whipped it out anywhere my baby needed me to. Wearing my newly engorged boobs like a badge of honor, the idea of providing my child nutrients straight from my body was a blessing. The problem arose when my health started to deteriorate and he was no longer receiving the nutrition needed to keep him growing and thriving. Watching my baby lethargic made the decision really easy. With many tears, I let go of the idea of being a nursing mama and made the switch to formula. Within minutes, I knew the decision was the right one to make.
  4. Organic Shmorganic. At home we live fairly organic, but when it came to my baby, the list of foods-that-would-never-enter-his-mouth grew leaps and bounds. Only the purest, most natural would nourish that little body. That is, until it came time to actually feed him solids. The first few months were a cinch, making pureed foods that I could whip up in a jiff. But once the days of being fulfilled by goop were over, I could be bound by my rules, or we could live freely. While we try to practice limited sugar and gluten at home (I’m absolutely astonished and appalled by the list of beginner baby foods that are recommended), creating a limitation on where we can go out to eat was a battle I was not willing to ensue. To me, putting such strict limitations would teach my child the inability to be able to just flow. Easy peasy, baby.
  5. There IS life after TV. I went back and forth, but after weighing the potential pros and cons I decided to give TV a shot. To be honest, it’s really nice having a 30-minute break. We snuggle, throw on PBS and spend quality time watching something that is aiding in his development. He interacts, laughs, oohs and aahs, points when a character comes on that he likes, dances, claps at the end of a song. It's also a practice in time management -- for both of us. At 2:30 every day, he grabs the remote, knowing that it’s time for us to watch that big glowing box. And once the show is over, we go back to our regularly scheduled activity. To shield him from a tool that could be used effectively due to my fear of it becoming something we too heavily rely upon, in my opinion, would not be honoring his development. So… yeah, we watch TV.

If you told me prior to having my son that these would be ideals I broke, I would have laughed. But being a mother, the most important lessons I have learned are: plan for everything; expect nothing, and sometimes put my beliefs aside for both of our benefits.

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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.


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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It’s science: Vacations make your kids happy long after they’re over

Whether you're planning a quick trip to the lake or flying the fam to a resort, the results are the same: A happier, more connected family.

Whether you're looking for hotels or a rental home for a safe family getaway, or just punching in your credit card number to reserve a spot in a campground a couple of states over, the cost of vacation plans can make a mom wince. And while price is definitely something to consider when planning a family vacation, science suggests we should consider these trips—and their benefits—priceless.

Research indicates that family vacations are essential. They make our, kids (and us) happier and build bonds and memories.

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My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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