The secret stages behind planning a night out—when you’re a mom

Laughing over wine + apps in a dimly lit, cool restaurant sounds like a magical dream world you can’t wait to visit.

The secret stages behind planning a night out—when you’re a mom

Time with my friends is important and special to me especially since it’s pretty rare to come by these days. This busy season of parenting little ones means I’m mostly on my children’s schedule and I’m not able to be the spontaneous friend anymore. So when we finally get around to planning a night out, it always feels so necessary at the time. So exciting.

The thought of putting on a cute outfit, trying out a new lipstick and blow drying my hair to hang out with my girlfriends sounds extremely appealing.

Laughing over wine and apps in a dimly lit, cool restaurant sounds like a magical dream world that I can’t wait to visit.

But then eventually these feelings often turn to—why did I agree to this? I am exhausted. I don’t own “cute outfits” and why didn’t I know I was going to be tired tonight when I signed up for this three weeks ago? I have *so* much Gilmore Girls to catch up on on the couch post-bedtime. ?

For reference, here are a few stages one may go through when planning and then getting out the door for a child-free evening.

Yes, girl! We need to meet up! It’s been too long! When are you free?”

Okay out of those three weekends over the next five months that are free, you have these two nights free. Oh okay, you can’t do that date? Then this one it is! “See you all in 3.5 weeks! Can’t wait! ?”

While checking your calendar for upcoming reminders, you see the girl’s night in there. You get excited butterflies in my stomach at the thought of feeling like just “me” not “mom-me” for a few hours.

So you start perusing Amazon for a new top that will be on your doorstep in two days (thank you Prime gods) so you have it in time to wear. You need to look nice for your lady friends. ?

Your new shirt arrives and so does girls-night-out-day. Once afternoon strikes and no one has taken their naps, you want to join the cry fest your overtired toddlers are having at the thought of mustering enough energy to shower and put clothes on that don’t consist of your husband’s sweatpants and paint-stained sweatshirt.

You give yourself a pep talk.

You get your bum in the shower right now, woman. Youre 31 years old not 91. You need this. Your greasy hair needs washing. Your body needs to remember what wearing jeans feels like. You need to feel like a woman again. NOW PUT MOANA ON FOR YOUR CHILDREN AND MAKE. WAY. TO. THE. SHOWER.

After showering at lightning speed, you check on the kids before getting dressed. You tiptoe in, hoping to find two peaceful children snuggled up on the couch with their snacks singing along with Moana and Maui—your happy little cherubs.

Instead, you find your 19-month-old with her diaper off and she literally went to the bathroom on the ground. Your three-year-old found the flour from the pantry and decided to “bake treats” in the living room. Books and toys are all over the ground, and you are *thisclose* to texting everyone to cancel.

Instead, you pivot and text your husband. “Are you going to be home soon? I’m losing it.” ?

You force yourself to clean up one of the disasters, and then perform the fastest getting ready routine in history. You skip the blow dry, throw your hair up in a “cool” messy bun, slap some makeup on, throw on your new shirt (that, for the record, looks nothing like it did when ordering it on Amazon—but decide to keep it on because beggars can’t be choosers...) and are ready to head out that door.

Your husband is minutes away from getting home, and you’re minutes away from falling asleep. You decide—coffee. You wouldn't be able to go to sleep if you stayed home anyway (because bath time, and bedtime, so chugging some coffee and heading out that door is a really solid option. ☕

Its Friday night and youre going to have fun.

You kiss your little ones and your main squeeze and hit the road. You meet up with your friends, take a deep breath, and pat yourself on the back for making it to where you are.

After some seriously much needed catching up and hysterical laugh-till-your-stomach-hurts moments, you feel insanely happy with this girls night idea.

When saying your goodbyes for the night, you all hug and say how much fun you had. “We need to do this more often!” you all say to each other.

Yes, we do, you think. But, realistically, you probably won’t be able to schedule a girls night every Friday right now. It’s a busy time for everyone. But no matter what, you’ll still keep these very far in advance planned nights out on the calendar. And you hope you’ll always have the energy and determination to go.

Because investing in your friendships is worth it.

These women are a part of you. They remind you of who you are. They keep you sane. You love them, and are so grateful for them. No matter how tired you are.. ??

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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Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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