My husband took over bedtime—and we ALL became happier

Watching you guys together (I can’t help but peek in to see the girls roar with laughter every time they tackle you in their mismatched PJs) makes me fall more in love with you every night.

My husband took over bedtime—and we ALL became happier

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

So, so true.

I have a saying, too. “The days are long and the dinner, bath and bedtime routine are even longer. I’m tired and want to relax and go to sleep.” ?

Seriously though—sometimes it feels like the evening schedule we have in our house can… well… take a while. But maybe that’s mostly because I’m with our kids all day and one day can often consist of school drop offs and pick ups, tantrums, work meetings, activities of all sorts, trying to shower, fitting naps in, deadlines, lots of coffee, meal planning, scheduling—the list can go on and on.


So, when the clock strikes “need to make dinner” time—it feels like I need an IV of caffeine to plow through it. ☕

And that wasn’t working for me anymore. I decided I’d do something about it: I’d gracefully bow out of the bath, pjs, book and bedtime part of the evening.

I’d make dinner—because my husband doesn’t get home early enough to do that—but then, I’d let my girls and my husband get some quality time together.

Here are 5 reasons why—

1. Science says it works

And, who am I to argue with research?

As Motherly Reporter Heather Marcoux recently explained, “According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, fathers who engage with their children through shared book-reading see a boost in their own parenting skills while also raising their preschooler’s school readiness and behavior.”

So, it’s beneficial for dads to do this part of the evening routine anyway? Win-win, mama!

2. He wants to do it

My husband works out of the house—leaving before the sun rises and getting home around dinner most nights. He misses his girls and wants to cram as much fun and quality time in with them as possible before they go to bed.

We usually have dinner together, and then they are off to their normal routine—bath, brush teeth, PJs, lots of laughs, books, then bed. He’s recharged in that loving goodness only your kiddos can give you and it makes us all really happy.

3. I can still be tagged in for bedtime snuggles

Bath time and the rest of their little routine before actually getting into bed usually takes about an hour or so. So, even if I am needed for laying down with one of our daughters, I still get about an hour or so to myself before I may be tagged in.

That little break, on nights I am needed for bedtime, helps energize me to get back into parenting mode. And it makes those snuggles and night time chats even more enjoyable.

4. It recharges me in so many ways

I am with my kiddos all day. Someone is always touching me, requesting something from me, needing me. And that’s all well and good—that’s called being a mom. But it can be too much some days—and I just need a moment to myself.

So, my hour (or more) of time to myself while my husband takes charge of bedtime gives me time to catch up on work emails, finish an article, be in my room with the door closed and music in my ears. It gives me a second to think clearly and remember I am a person with passions and goals and not just the snack getter or boo-boo kisser (although, I do love those jobs, too. ?)

I am able to wipe away any frustrations from the day, recharge the ol’ batteries a bit and regroup with my husband after he emerges from the girls’ room—unless he falls asleep in there in which case I have to go wake him up so we can hang out.

5. Its something we all look forward to

The hour or so before my husband gets home from work, both girls consistently ask “Is Daddy home?” “Will he be home soon?” “When is he getting home, Mom?”.

They then get sooo excited when they hear his car pull into the driveway. They love being allowed to open the front door and jump right on him. And—needless to say—he LOVES this enthusiastic greeting, too! (I mean, who wouldn’t?)

Seeing this excitement they all have for reuniting after a long day makes my heart just about burst.

So thank you, my dear husband.

Thanks for tackling our night time routine so seamlessly.

I know I don’t have to say that. I know you’re happy to do it. And I know it’s part of your job as my co-parent to do stuff like this.

But, basically, I just want to say it anyway.

The time I get to myself during the nighttime routine hour is refreshing—and important to me.

The bond you have with your girls is so heartwarming and makes me so insanely proud of you all.

Watching you guys together (because, yes—even though I’m supposed to be taking time for myself, I can’t help but peek in to see the girls roar with laughter every time they tackle you in their mismatched PJs you all picked out) makes me fall more in love with you every night.

Seeing you rock fatherhood has been an absolute joy.

You’re an amazing dad and we’re all lucky to have you—especially at the end of the day when the girls are most likely sick of me anyway. ?

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.


This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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