As moms, we love to give our kids good gifts.
It’s part of the natural maternal instinct, for sure! But there also usually comes a time in every mom’s life when we realize: this child has TOO MANY TOYS! Whether a family member has gone overboard or whether we’ve found one too many great deals we can’t pass up, there comes a time in every mom’s life when she realizes her kid owns more toys at two years old than she ever owned in her life—and that it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.
Well, I’ve got good news for you, Mamas. Science agrees with you that your kids has too many toys. And not only that, but a study done on Infant Behavior and Development proves they are also HAPPIER with fewer toys!
For real! Moms, you can totally save your hard-earned money for more practical needs! In a study of toddlers ages 18-30 months, scientists found that those placed in a room with just four toys played longer and more happily during a 30-minute time period than those placed in a room with sixteen toys. The study showed that the kiddos in the room with only four toys used their creativity to play with the same toy in multiple ways, which is great for brain development!
Researchers also said that the toddlers with fewer toys to choose from showed more genuine interest in each toy they played with. “This suggests that the other toys present may have created a source of external distraction, provoking the participants to abandon play with a toy at hand to explore another,” the study says. In other words: too many toys make a toddler’s short attention span even shorter! So giving your child fewer toy choices will also increase their aptitude for paying attention. Now that sounds like a win to me!
I don’t know about you, but I feel like this is a great reason to return to a simpler way of play for our kids, saving up money for educational outings like a trip to the zoo or to the children’s museum, rather than on gobs of toys. Of course a few great toys are important for a child’s development, though. I love “pretend” toys that relate to real life such as play kitchens, food sets, and tools to really get a toddler’s imagination growing.
No matter HOW many toys your kiddo has, remember that just having three or four to choose from at a time is a better way to play. Give it a try and see if it makes a difference in your baby’s playtime!
Being a single mom has its unique challenges, but also very unique rewards. Though few of us start out dreaming of raising kids on our own, the truth is that the trial by fire of single motherhood can teach us just how strong and amazing we truly are. Here are some quotes from warrior single moms who’ve been there, done that, and continue to inspire other single moms who are in it to win it.
1. “When you’re a single parent, you’re often lonely, let seldom alone. There is no backup…it is mothering without a net.” - Amy Dickinson
2. “Being a single mom is is not a life full of struggles, but a journey for the strong.” - Meg Lowrey
3. “Some days, she has no idea how she’ll do it. But every single day, it still gets done.” - Unknown
4. “Single moms: You are a doctor, a teacher, a nurse, a maid, a cook, a referee, a heroine, a provider, a defender, a protector, a true superwoman. Wear your cape proudly.”- Mandy Hale
5. “A single mom tries when things are hard. She never gives up. She believes in her family, even when things are tough. She knows that above all things, a mother’s love is more than enough.”- Deniece Williams
6. ”Being a single mum is twice the work, twice the stress and twice the tears but also twice the hugs, twice the love and twice the pride.” – Anonymous
7. “Because your child is your first priority, you’re more selective, so in order to let someone into that world, they have to be really special. You cut out the bull that you might fall for if you didn’t have responsibilities.” - Helena Christensen
8. “She has to have four arms, four legs, four eyes, two hearts, and double the love. There is nothing single about a single mom. - Mandy Hale
9. “I would say to any single parent currently feeling the weight of stereotype or stigmatization that I am prouder of my years as a single mother than of any other part of my life.” – J.K. Rowling
10. “A single mom keeps going, even when things are at their hardest. She never gives up. Because a mother’s love is stronger than any love there is.” - Unknown
Yes, single mamas, you are up for a huge challenge, but, the truth is: you were made to be your child’s mother, and you can both thrive together. Don’t give up! You may be single, but you are in no way alone.
Single Mom Graduates Harvard at Age 24, Says “Let’s Keep Beating All the Odds”
By Jenny Rapson for TMSF
Photo Credit: Briana Williams on Instagram @lovexbriana
Atlanta native Briana Williams seemed to be unstoppable. The first of the six kids in her family to graduate from college, she did so well in her undergrad Legal Studies major at St. John’s University (magna cum laude!) that she got into the renowned Harvard Law School. Truly, a dream come true.
Unlike many of the students whose families can afford to send them to Harvard Law, Williams didn’t have the luxury of concentrating solely on her studies. She worked as a server and bartender to support herself while hitting the books as hard as she could. All her hard work paid off, and in her third year at Harvard, she was the communications director for the Harvard Black Law Students Association.
Then, when she could see the light at the end of the law school tunnel, with graduation so close she could taste it…she got pregnant.
Williams faced the reality that she was going to have to finish her last year at the toughest law school in the nation as a single mother, without the support of a partner.
Photo Credit: Briana Williams on Instagram @lovexbriana
Like everything else in life, she buckled down and did it—and did it exceedingly well. In an Instagram post on her account @lovexBriana” she captions a photo of herself and her one-year-old daughter Evelyn on her Harvard graduation day with the inspiring story of her journey. She says,
“I went into labor in April- during final exam period. I immediately requested an epidural so that my contractions wouldn’t interfere with my Family Law grade. And, with tears in my eyes, I finished it. This “biting the bullet” experience is quite quintessential of my time at Harvard. To say that my last year of law school, with a newborn, and as a single mom was a challenge would be an understatement. Some days I was so mentally and emotionally fatigued that I did not leave my bed. I struggled with reliable childcare. It was not atypical to see me rushing through Wasserstein to the Dean of Students’ office with Evelyn in her carriage, asking DOS can they keep her for a few until class was over. If not, she’d just have to come with me to class. Evie attended classes often.
So I’m going to be honest with you guys.. I didn’t think I could do it.
I did not think that, at 24 years old, as a single mom, I would be able to get through one of the most intellectually rigorous and challenging positions of my life. It was hard. It hurt. Instagram can make peoples’ lives seem seamless, but this journey has been heart-wrenching. However, I am happy to say that I DID do it.
Today, Evelyn in my arms, with tears streaming down my face, I accepted my Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. At first, I was the anomaly of my [marginalized] community. Then, as a single mother, I became a statistic. Next, I pray that, for the sake of my baby, I will be an example.
Evelyn- they said that because of you I wouldn’t be able to do this. Just know that I did this BECAUSE OF YOU. Thank you for giving me the strength and courage to be invincible. Let’s keep beating all their odds, baby.”
Photo Credit: Briana Williams on Instagram @lovexbriana
Williams’ story is a perfect example of the saying, “When a child is born, a mother is born also.” Some would think that an unplanned pregnancy at this point in Williams’ journey would be the end of her life. But in reality, it was the beginning of two new lives: Evelyn’s as a beautiful soul entering this world, and Briana’s life as a mother, in which she has already proved she is more powerful and stronger than she ever was before.
To the single moms struggling today: you may have a huge challenge in front of you. It may be more or less daunting than Harvard Law School, but one thing is for sure: your status as a mother doesn’t make it less likely that you will overcome this challenge. It makes it MORE likely that you’ll have the strength to conquer it.
To the Young Single Mom During the Holidays
By Jenny Rapson for the Mustard Seed Foundation
Dear Strong Mama,
It’s the “most wonderful time of the year,” or so the song says. And I truly believe it is. But, I realize that for a young mom like you taking care of her children on her own, it can also be a thousand kinds of hard. Maybe you feel pressure to make everything “Merry and Bright” for your child when you are worn out at the end of a long day. Perhaps you feel like “How in the world am I supposed to make things magical when I am just trying to get by?” Or perhaps you feel like you wish you could give your child a “picture perfect” family for Christmas, and worry that you are not enough.
Beautiful Young Mom, this is what I want you to know this holiday season.
You are not incomplete, and your family is perfect.
One of the natural joys of being a mother is that you were made for your baby and your baby was made for you. The two of you are a perfectly formed family and have been since the beginning. As time goes on, your family may grow, but even if it doesn’t, the two of you are enough for each other. Truly, surely, meant to be.
Comparison will steal your joy.
You are uniquely you, and your story is 100% yours. Do and be the best that you can be, and don’t worry about what someone else is doing. Comparing your journey to others is simply a waste of time. Keep your gaze on your little family and strive to give them your best. Don’t worry about the opinions and actions of others, and don’t let someone else’s achievements take away from your victories, big and small.
More stuff doesn’t equal a happy child.
Moms always want to give their kids the world. You are not alone in this. Every mother feels this way when it comes the holidays. But the truth is, more doesn’t equal better. Don’t worry or beat yourself up if you can’t give your kids all the material things you would like to this holiday season. Focus every day on giving them a mother that will love and support them through anything. That is truly the very best gift you can give your children…and one they will never outgrow.
Single doesn’t have to mean lonely.
You don’t have to be alone and lonely just because you are parenting without a partner. You do have people in your life who love you and who are cheering you on. Reach out to your community of family and friends and embrace your community this holiday season. Open your heart and share your little family with another young mom looking for someone who gets what she is going through. The holidays are about giving, and when you spend time with your community you are giving and receiving in the best way. Loving others costs nothing, and adds everything.
Mama, more than anything this holiday season, I want you to know you are loved, and so is your child. You are seen, you are admired, and you are valued. Rather than feeling stressed and overwhelmed this holiday season, I pray you feel treasured. You are your child’s whole world, and you were made for this. You are enough…at this and at any time of year.