It certainly feels like we have been going 100MPH since school started. New drop off procedures, different pickup times and the extra curriculars… oh those extra curriculars. By the end of the week, I am ready for some “mom juice” and a quiet night (or 2) in with my kiddos. Don’t get me wrong, we love a shopping, nails, dinner out night too, but when you’ve had a long week and maybe looking to save some money (and some time), there is nothing better than a fun Mom’s Night In!

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Cozy season is finally upon us, and I would love nothing more than a family movie night under snuggly blankets, but if you can’t get your kids to agree on a movie, baking together is the next best thing. My girls love it, there is a job for everyone to do when we bake and free reign to be messy. Best of all, there’s a yummy reward at the end! Plus, I get to teach them life skills in the kitchen, including cleaning up after yourself. They get so proud of a job well done….and delicious. Pro Tip: don’t get caught off guard with no supplies in the house.  During the week, we will check out some cookbook recipes, watch a dessert video on IG, and decide what we want to bake. We like setting it up like a cooking show where all the ingredients are pre-measured, and everyone gets their own station. Letting them have some freedom on a few of the ingredients, toppings, or decorations is another fun way to keep them engaged.

Spa Day is also a fan favorite. Who doesn’t need to be pampered a little? Plus, fun drinks are encouraged! We whip up a “welcome” beverage like a green juice or strawberry banana smoothie (shots optional for mom) to set the atmosphere and then pick out our nail color, face mask, and hairstyle. Small plastic bins with some hot, sudsy water and a healthy layout of towels in front of the couch get us started. Pro Tip: use this time to pop on a family favorite playlist or do round robin picking songs to create your own. There are also great calming spa playlists on all the major music apps. I keep a variety of face masks on hand either from freebees, on sale at the store, or the good stuff I bought. Either way, your face will love the extra attention. Have a kiddo who doesn’t want their toes painted or goop on their face? Foot masks are fun to do too! Paraffin, gel, or even little booties can be found at most drug stores for feet and hands. I love a cute dry style from my 5 y/o. She gets to pick up to 5 things to put in my hair and has a blast. Silly pics are a must on Mom’s Night In.

Find a new Lego set they HAD to have while you were running errands? Haven’t made it around to the latest Tinker Crate or STEM subscription? Get that box opened up and put the screens down.  A Mom’s Night in can mean building something together, literally. I know, I know, you probably got it for them to get 10 minutes of peace but, believe me, it can be fun to watch their problem-solving skills develop and participate in their sheer joy of finishing or getting it “right”. We have done science experiments and crushed an entire Lego instruction book at the table with not a single request for their phone or tablet. Pro Tip: read the instructions all the way through or check the age recommendation on the box. It will tell you what you are in for so you can prep your patience.

Another old faithful for Mom’s Night In is board games! Let everyone choose a board game and set the number of times you will play in advance. Some games take longer than others and the sore losers like to have another crack at it! We pop popcorn and each make a “candy dish” with our favorite assortment of gummy candy or chocolate treat to snack while we play. We might be slightly competitive, but we love our score keeper journal, AKA a spiral notebook that tallies everyone’s wins on game night and keeps the bragging rights in check. Find games that cater to all the age levels of your family and be sure the younger kiddos can play on a team if needed. Some of our favorites are Apples to Apples Family, Candy Land, Sleeping Queens, Rat a Tat Cat, Trekking the National Parks, and Say Anything. With the ages from adult to teen to toddler in our house, we have a fun mix of games on our night in, just nothing with a noise please!

Mom’s Night In doesn’t have to be anything fancy or cost a lot of money, if any. And whether it’s planned, spontaneous, or cobbled together, they will never know the difference. You will get your Mom’s Night In and they will love the fun, quality time they get with you!

Born in New Hampshire and raised in Florida, Rachel got to Texas as quickly as she could. She has spent the last 20 years in this amazing city as a student, wife, mother, friend and professional. She met her husband, Jonathan, here in Austin and the two share all things Longhorns, as well as a love of football, traveling, and being amateur foodies. When not carpooling the social butterfly, Claire, or watching the world through the eyes of a toddler, Diana, you can find Rachel researching, planning, and booking their next travel adventure. She is an unapologetic Patriots fan and a firm believer in self-care; eat clean, train dirty, and never under estimate the power of a fresh mani/pedi.


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