Menu

How our editor created a schoolwork station for her kids

And it was way easier than I thought.

How our editor created a schoolwork station for her kids

When the pandemic hit in March, we panicked—in every possible way.

We were worried about everything, and I'll be honest: Our adjustment to having school happen in our home was far from ideal. Our school did an excellent job supporting us, but we were simply not prepared or set up for the challenge.

Our Experts Editor at Motherly describes it perfectly—it wasn't homeschooling or virtual-schooling, it was crisis-schooling.


That's exactly what it felt like in my house. Every day was chaos. We lost school items constantly, missed assignments, and there were many tears shed (myself included). And you know, all this happening amid the trauma of a pandemic.

So this weekend, my partner and I sat down and identified the pain points. What were some of the factors that made it so hard? Are there small but meaningful solutions we can implement? Because listen—this whole situation will never be easy, not even close. Still, I can still try to make it better, even if it's in small ways.

As we face the new school year, likely much of which will be spent in this house, I am determined to have it feel more organized. Part of that is designating work stations for each of my three kids. The work station is where everything school-related happens and stays. Zoom meetings, notebooks, pencils—they all stay in one spot.

This year, back-to-school shopping will be back-to-home shopping.

Here is how I am setting up a workstation for my kids.

Ikea desk

ikea desk

All good home projects start in Ikea. I love that the desk is designed to grow with your child, thanks to its three different heights. We opted for the slightly wider size so they could spread out more (which avoids needing to use the kitchen table for work).

$59.99

Storage box

pencil storage box

In an effort to corral pencils and crayons, I wanted to get a storage container that was minimal in design, but super practical. This box from Yamazaki meets all of those needs perfectly.

$33

Active chair

active chair for kids

My kids are super squirmy (aren't they all?) so I am really excited about our new Active Chair that encourages them to move around. They promote the natural movements of the body and can help improve spinal positioning and muscle stimulation—all this can help improve concentration.

$49.99

Mini bookshelf

mini bookshelf

Under each desk, we'll have a small bookshelf so the kids can keep their stuff organized and books off the surface of their desks when they aren't using them. The unique design of this book rack with upward-tilted design makes for easy access to books and notebooks.

$32.50

Lunch box

bamoo lunch box

I won't be packing lunches anytime soon, but that doesn't mean I can't get ahead of the lunch game and still pack them in the mornings! This will be especially helpful when I am in meetings as my kids start to get hungry (which is always). The Ekobo bamboo bento box has a removable divider that keeps food separated, and the top doubles as a plate when it's time to eat. The smart design is constructed of safe, sustainable bamboo fiber and is firmly held together with a silicone band.

$23

Happiness light

happiness light

We live in Pennsylvania so when winter comes, it gets dark and cold quickly—and we all feel the impact of it emotionally. I recently got to try out the Veriluxe HappyLight therapy lamp, and I am really excited for my kids to enjoy it this year, too. Like a sunny day, bright light exposure can support your mood, energy and sleep patterns. The non-UV light therapy lamp emits full-spectrum light that mimics sunlight on the days you need a little pick-me-up.

$50

Fun art

Having a workspace that I love to work in is so important to me and I realized that the same goes for my kids. I am letting them each pick out a piece of art to hang above their desk and help them feel inspired as they work.

$15.19

Planning notepad

planning notepad

We, er, missed a few assignments last year. 🤦♀️So we need a better way to stay organized. With the Mochi planning notepad, I can easily take notes, make to-do lists or plan our week. It's made with a sturdy backing and is easy to write on.

$23.96

Big Life journal

kids journal

Emotions have been running high of late, and I don't expect that to change when school starts. To help me help my kids process their big feelings, I am excited to use the Big Life journal. This science-based guided journal helps kids develop social-emotional learning and a growth mindset to face life's challenges with confidence. Through engaging activities and inspiring stories, they'll learn to persevere and believe in themselves even when making mistakes.

$25


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

14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

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

Shop

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.

Keep reading Show less
Life

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids—so here’s what I did

We asked our three most pessimistic friends who have kids whether it's worth it or not

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

Keep reading Show less
Life