Mom on a mission: I only have time for real, meaningful friendships

There is no such thing as grudges—no one has time for that! 

Mom on a mission: I only have time for real, meaningful friendships

Momming is rewarding, but it’s also hard and demanding. It requires me to prioritize and be present more than I ever imagined it would. My New Year’s resolution last year was to be present where I am at all times. (Much easier said than done, by the way.)

But the intent is, if I am being a mom that means my phone is away and work will have to wait—it’s family time.

If I’m at work, I’m hyper-focused on getting my job done and doing it well.

If I’m out with my friends or my husband, I am focused on being present for that, too—and want to fully enjoy the rare quality time we get together.


Being present has helped me feel more balanced in my life, and not like a hamster on a never-ending wheel. But in that pursuit of the proverbial “balance” I have found that it has forced me to assess all of the relationships in my life, including my friendships.

This uber-reflective time in my life called motherhood—toggling between being a mom of one and a mom of two—has brought me to the realization that I only have time for real, meaningful friendships in my life. And not in the way you would think.

What I’m not talking about are friends who I need to talk to every day.

Who are always accessible or who tell me how pretty I look. Who go to brunch every Sunday and for cocktails every Thursday night all dressed up in our cutest outfits. That’s not real life—at least not my real life.

These are the women that my son has given the distinguished title of “auntie.”

They support me, lift me up, tell me when I’m wrong. They are my sanity, my gut-check, my real in-the-flesh mama tribe. They are always a phone call or text away and I could not exist without them.

These are the women who would drop anything if I needed them.

But if we go weeks (or months) without seeing each other. We get it. We don’t judge. We understand and accept. We are all in the same boat—stay-at-home moms, working moms—we’re all just trying to keep all the plates spinning.

It doesn’t mean we value or need each other any less. It’s actually the exact opposite. I need them even more now to have a quick conversation about anything other than poopy diapers and bedtime routines. Or...sometimes about those exact things. (It depends on the day!)

These are the women I sometimes only communicate with via texting for weeks at a time.

But it doesn’t matter that these conversations are typically via text. The specific mode of communication doesn’t matter. These quick check-ins and small bites of encouragement mean the absolute world to me.

Sidebar: Thank you whoever invented texting—a mother’s dream mode of communication to connect with the outside world during those few rare minutes to myself, which are typically during a bathroom break.

These are the women who help me to be my best self.

The best wife I can be, the best mom I can be, and the best friend I can be to them, too. Most of them have known me since elementary school. Some I was lucky enough to meet later in life. They have seen it all and have been through it all with me. Love. Loss. Joy. Sorrow. Pride. Anxiety. You name it, they feel all the feels right alongside me.

There is no such thing as grudges—no one has time for that! These ladies are unwavering in their loyalty.

These are the women I have chosen as my family.

To these women—I value you, I need you, and I love you. Always.

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.


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


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.

Keep reading Show less

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play