9 am on a Monday—Why the work of new moms can be so hard to measure

When my husband went to work, I felt jealous. 

9 am on a Monday—Why the work of new moms can be so hard to measure

Since the first day that I started working, 9am on a Monday morning has had a certain feeling associated with it.

Every inch of me itches to DO—I want to whip through some emails, write out my to-do list and cross something off of it, organize my calendar, sit down for a team meeting. It’s like I’m flooded with the desire to be productive and feel the sense of accomplishment. Often, this feeling would start creeping in on Sunday evening, as I’d start running through what the upcoming week would look like.

Fast forward to week four of maternity leave. My husband is leaving for work on Monday morning and as I kiss him goodbye, I say “I’m jealous.”

You see, while I know I will have my hands full all day long, I also miss the feeling of being able to tick things off a to-do list, and to even have the control of my own time to actually create a list to begin with!

There’s a deeply satisfying feeling that comes with getting down to inbox zero, and I have yet to achieve quite that same feeling, no matter how many diapers I change.

I start feeling a bit antsy and the FOMO feeling creeps in.

Raising a human being has got to be the most humbling, trying, rewarding, challenging and joyful experiences we can go through. I really do believe it’s the most important work that we can do, and that the impact will be deep and long-lasting. We are, literally, shaping the future.

However, the days can feel long, and often, our only immediate reward is knowing that the babe’s bum is nice and dry in his new, freshly changed diaper.

There is something incredibly humbling about knowing that you, your body, your heart, your presence, are all that the little human in your arms needs. It can also at times feel exhausting. You feel ON, all the time. Even when he’s sleeping, it’s hard to stop yourself from watching the monitor, or creeping into his room to check that he is indeed breathing, or pulling out your phone to take pictures of those sweet little eyelashes and pudgy knuckle dimples.

(And as I’m writing this, I may have just ran into my son’s room and done exactly that—see, I told you!)

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During this time of constant giving, it’s important to remember that we need to give to ourselves, to refuel and fill up our own tanks. As the days are long and moments of rest are few, treating ourselves can feel near impossible to do. These treats don’t need to be big or long though—what’s important is our intention behind them, and spending just a little extra moment on taking a breath and recognizing their purpose.

A few blissful treats that I have found that help me shift my energy are:

Light a candle and rest long enough to watch the first few flickers and smell the scent filling the air around you.

Pop that cold tea or coffee back into the microwave and sit down on the ground with your hands wrapped around the hot mug and having just one, delightfully warm, sip, feeling it fill your belly with warmth.

Put on lipstick—it’s hard to not feel extra alive and beautiful with a little red. Bonus: use natural, organic lipstick and when you kiss your babe and leave kiss marks on his skin, you’ll feel extra good about it.

Text a girlfriend, giving her the highlight reel of your day (if your day is anything like mine, it might be a series of poop emoticons!) and ask her for hers. You’ll feel a little more connected and a little less alone.

Step outside and breathe in the fresh air. If it’s raining and you have a private area, go outside in just your bra and underwear. It will feel riske and energizing and exhilarating. Rain drops on your body. If it’s sunny, ditto. Nature’s healing. Kinda like skinny dipping—either in the rain or in the sun, soaking it in. I recommend a cup of hot cocoa or glass of pinot gris after.

On your next walk with babe, pick some wild flowers or branches, and stick them in a mason jar with water when you’re home. Insta-transformation of your space.

I’m slowly realizing that this season too shall pass. But it’s a very demanding season, and a time of profound change and transition.

But I am buoyed by the deep sense that although it can be hard to measure, this work matters—more than anything.

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In This Article

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall 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 outside-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.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden 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.


    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective 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.


    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.


    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!


    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.


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

    Sunday Citizen

    I live in the Northeast and when I woke up this morning, my house was freezing. It had been in the mid 40's overnight and we haven't turned the heat on yet. Suddenly, my normal duvet felt too thin. The socks on my bare feet too non-existent. Winter is coming, and I'd been drinking rosés still pretending it was summer.

    I couldn't put it off any longer. It was time to do my annual tradition of winterizing my home—and I don't mean making sure my pipes and walls have enough insulation (though obviously that's important too). I mean the act of evaluating every room and wondering if it has enough hygge to it.

    If you've never heard of hygge, it's a Danish word that means a quality of coziness or contentment. And what better time to make sure you have moments of hygge all throughout your house than right now? As far as I'm concerned it's the only way to get through these dark winter months (even more so during a pandemic.)

    So I went room by room (yes, even my 4-year-old's room) and swapped in, layered or added in these 13 products to get us ready for winter:

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    Henry + Mila are moving up the list this year.

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    For some people, it's the easiest part of the journey to parenthood, but for others, naming a child is super hard. There are so many factors to consider when picking a baby name, and popularity is a big one. Some parents are drawn to names that will keep their child as ungoogleable as possible, while others don't want their kiddo to share their name with, well, anyone.

    But how do we know which names are going to be popular in our kids' cohort when most of their future classmates haven't been born yet? Well, the science of predicting the year's most popular baby names is actually pretty simple. You don't need a crystal ball—just previous years' data. just released its predictions for the top U.S. baby names in 2020. Check the list to see if your baby name made the cut (or if you need to cut it).

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