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*Written by WHITNEY HARRIS (This is a piece I was interviewed for.)
Whether your design aesthetic is modern minimalist or shabby chic, it’s helpful to create a calm and peaceful retreat for your baby’s room. You’ll spend countless hours in there feeding, changing, playing with, and soothing your little one, so why not fashion a space that creates a smidge of sereneness for both of you?
We asked a panel of design experts to share their best tips for creating a nursery that soothes both baby and mamma alike—when the munchkin isn’t wailing like a siren, that is.
CHOOSE A CALMING COLOR
There’s a reason people often turn to soft pastels when decorating a nursery. Muted tones are best for soothing baby, and neutrals like whites and grays or soft shades of a single color are particularly calming, say Melisa Fluhr and Pam Ginocchio from Project Nursery, a site featuring DIY tips and advice to help parents design gorgeous rooms for their babies. When it comes to finding that one optimal hue, Pam says to follow your intuition. Each color has an underlying meaning—she says blue is serene, green is about health and renewal, yellow is warmth and hope, orange is inspiring and fun, pink is creativity and nourishment, purple is exploration, and light browns or beiges are nurturing. She warns to avoid red because it can be over-stimulating—save that for the playroom.
KEEP IT AIRY
Choose furniture in lighter finishes and let the rest of the room be open so light can bounce around, say Melisa and Pam. Empty space is a must for serenity and also encourages baby’s exploration, explains Bailey Gaddis, author of Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childhood and Motherhood. She recommends pushing the crib against a wall only if it’s directly behind the baby’s head, which can help promote energy circulation. She also suggests adding air-purifying plants to the room, like her favorite, the peace lily.
I love being out in the world. I love connecting with people. I love getting out of my head and tuning into my heart: it lights up when I’m with people who make me smile.
But after awhile, I don’t love it, and I need to reset.
After I burst my introverted bubble and observe myself with others, questions begin to percolate into my awareness as I step out of the socializing: “Why did I say that to this person? Why do I feel nervous in those situations? I wonder what that person thought when I said this thing? Why am I such an awkward hugger?” Ugh.
My time in my nest, my time for resetting, isn’t really about answering those questions, but letting them flow through and out of me. Sure, I could sit for days analyzing every social situation I flubbed, but that much time in my head makes me nervous.
So, I let those questions do their thing, I avoid human interaction for a few hours (maybe days), and I reconnect to myself. For me, that reconnection looks like writing, meditating, staring at my Christmas tree lights (happy holidays y’all!), watching TV shows that do nothing for my intellect but are so yummy, napping, playing with my son (who could care less how smart or witty I am), and engaging in other fail-safe activities for my soul – and ego!
After a solid period of hibernation, I crave a flight out of my coop.
I used to resist this hibernation. I used to have difficulty enjoying my alone time. I used to think that avoiding humans made me a less functional member of society.
But, hibernation actually makes me better at being a human who interacts with other humans. My well runs dry when I try to push too much socializing out of myself.
I’m starting to find my balance, and it feels really nice: I’m working with who I am, instead of who I think I should be.
What about you? When does your “socializing well” run dry?
Maybe it happens after an hour of small, medium and big talk at a party. Maybe all your wells fill up when socializing and you could do it all day er’ day. Maybe you can only handle a few minutes at a time.
Let’s honor our individual limits and care for our authentic selves, instead of trying to fit into that one-size-fits-all “model self” society has fashioned for us.
P.S. Have a child? Begin noticing when their little well runs dry and let them cozy up in their nest to refuel: the tantrums (for all of us!) usually start to fade when we honor our boundaries.