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Reward Yourself!

Your Friends

Host a girls' night in.

Once a month, Maria Swanson gets together with a few girlfriends for wine, dinner, and catching up. "We take turns being hostess," she says. "We all have kids, jobs, and plenty of other obligations, but it's something we never want to miss."

Shop solo.

A shopping trip without the kids is well worth the planning it's sure to take. You'll be able to dish freely and try things on without having to worry about your toddler crawling into the dressing room next door.

Lend a helping hand.

What's easy for you isn't always for someone else, so find out who loves what. Call a friend tonight and offer to have her kids over for dinner (what's another box of pasta?) if she'll make her famous brownies for the preschool bake sale tomorrow.

I'll take those (and a glass of milk) over a trip to Hawaii any day.

  Charlotte Latvala is the author of Baby's First Year Workbook and the mom of A.J., 5, and Mathilda, 8.