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Mother Essentials: Bridget Garsh of NeighborSchools

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

As the co-founder and COO of NeighborSchools, Bridget Garsh has made it her mission to make sure little ones, their parents, and their caregivers are taken care of. Through its intuitive online platform, NeighborSchools (founded in 2018) helps families find trusted at-home daycares and preschools in the neighborhood, and assists early-childhood educators with the vital small business tools to successfully launch their own in-home practice. When she’s not busy trying to disrupt the childcare industry, Bridget is raising her own two young sons—Hudson, 3, and Brooks, 3 months (you can read about her birth-during-covid story here). Below, the champion for working moms everywhere gives us the rundown on her own Mother Essentials.

A Kids Book About Racism. “I used to think Hudson was too young to understand big concepts like racism, but Jelani Memory helped me see that children as young as 2 use race to reason about people’s behaviors. I need help talking about racism in terms he’ll understand, and this book is the perfect way for both of us to learn.” A Kids Book About Racism, $19.95, A Kids Book About

Drop the Ball.After Hudson was born, I felt completely overwhelmed by all the things I had to do and the short amount of time I had to do them. Plus, I was perpetually annoyed at my husband for not doing things my way. After reading Tiffany Dufu’s brilliant book, I learned how much happier I can be doing less and delegating more.” Drop The Ball: Achieving More By Doing Less, $6.98, Bookshop and Amazon.

Sea Salt Spray. “Most mornings, I barely have time to shower, let alone blow-dry my hair, but my amazing stylist Kitty McMahan introduced me to this Davines Sea Salt Spray. It gives my fine hair texture no matter what.” Sea Salt Spray, $28, Amazon

Postpartum Recovery Kit. “No one really talks about how hard postpartum life is on your body, especially those first few days after birth. Thank god for Chelsea Hirschorn, founder and CEO of Frida Mom. I never would’ve survived without the brand’s witch hazel foam and genius upside-down peri bottle. I almost forgot about the pain long enough to think about having another!” Frida Mom Postpartum Recovery Products, $12.99 and up, Amazon

Back-To-Daycare Book. “I’m really stressing over the transition back to daycare and how Hudson’s going to adjust since he’s been home with us for so long. We’ve been reading this sweet story at bedtime to help him remember that even when mama’s not there, we’re still connected by the love in our hearts. Over at NeighborSchools, we put together a list of books for kiddos to make the transition just a little easier.” The Invisible String, $5.79, Bookshop, Amazon, & Target.

Strictly No Elephants. “I was constantly teased when I was little, so I really want to teach my boys to welcome every kiddo with open arms. This book tells the story of a little boy who’s turned away from pet club because his pet elephant doesn’t fit in. Luckily, he finds a whole group of kids who also have unique pets, and they form a new club open to everyone. Gold star for having a diverse set of characters, too!” Strictly No Elephants, $12.03, Bookshop, Amazon, and Target.

Salt Sunglasses. “I was at a friend’s wedding at the Terranea resort in Palos Verdes and forgot my sunglasses, so I desperately needed a pair. I stumbled on these in a tiny boutique. Their polarized lenses are the best I’ve ever seen (pun intended).” Pratt Sunglasses, $460, Salt.

Postpartum Belly Support. “After my first son was born, my core was really weak and I had a ton of back issues. I had never even heard about Diastasis Recti (when your abs don’t come back together after birth) until I read an article with Kelly Rowland in Shape. It was like this ‘Aha!’ moment. For my second pregnancy, I started wearing an Afterband starting on day 2 after birth. It’s helped me feel stronger and heal quicker, which is quite a feat given that I now have a 30-pound toddler to carry around in addition to a newborn.” The “Afterband” Postpartum Belly Band, $32, Ingrid & Isabel.

Banwood Balance Bike. “With the warm weather finally here, I can’t wait for Hudson to start riding his first bike and practice for the real thing in a year or two.” Banwood Balance Bike, $189, The Tot.

Overnight Eye Masque. “This eye cream was recommended to me by another mama, who’s also a co-founder and knows what it means to nurse a newborn through the night and then get on a Zoom call at 8 a.m. It must be magic, because even I look bright-eyed after only 3 hours of sleep.” Tulasāra Wedding Overnight Eye Masque, $55, Aveda.

Gigglespots. “It takes a while for a baby’s vision to fully develop, but they love high-contrast colors and designs very early on. I can’t remember where I first discovered these cute cards with black and white designs, but Brooks can’t take his eyes off of them. It feels like I can see him thinking as he gazes at them from his carseat or during tummy time.” Gigglespots, $11.95, Amazon.

Paddywax Candles. “With two kids under 3, finding time for self-care can feel like a real challenge. Just lighting these candles, listening to Brandi Carlile, and taking a few deep breaths before I brush my teeth each night has made a world of difference.” Paddywax Candles, $20 and up, Paddywax

The Perfect Backpack.Trying to wrangle two kids out the door in the morning is hard enough, let alone dealing with a tote bag sliding off my shoulder. I first spotted this bag at a She+ Geeks Out event, and it’s brilliant because it keeps my hands free and fits my laptop. Bonus: the bags are vegan and eco-friendly!” Vignelli Style Vegan Leather Backpack, $165, Mat & Nat.

Mixtiles. “We have an entire wall in our house covered with these photo tiles. Every time I walk by them, I take a minute to enjoy some of our favorite memories. I can’t wait to swap some out and add a few pics of our new baby.” $36 and up, Mixtiles.com.

Mrs. Patel’s Lactation Treats. “Now that I’m back at work full-time with NeighborSchools, I feel like I’m constantly pumping. I’m devouring these nutrient-packed bars to try and keep my supply up, plus they’re pretty tasty!” Mrs. Patel’s Lactation Treats, $33.99, Amazon.

Indoor Play Equipment. “I first discovered this climbing structure at one of our NeighborSchools home daycares, and now I’m obsessed. It’s great for Hudson to burn off some energy on those rainy days.” Little Climber, $199.95 and up, Lily & River.

Parenting Inspo via Jennie Monness. “I love following this inspirational, real-talk mama and learning all of her creative ways to use everyday items in your home for play. Think tossing pom-poms in a salad spinner!” @momommies on Instagram.

Veggie Sausages. “I’ve been a pescatarian for over a decade, but I still worry about getting enough protein. These vegetarian sausages are so delicious that even all of the meat eaters in my family adore them.” Field Roast Italian Sausages, $6.69, Amazon.

Moana. “This was the first movie Hudson ever watched, and he’s been obsessed ever since. He asks me to sing ‘You’re Welcome’ at least once a day, and my feminist heart almost cried when he said he wants to be Moana for Halloween.”

For more Mother Essentials, peep our past columns with Les Gamins founder Veronique Nguyen, Lonny editor Angela Tafoya, Wiley Body founder Vanessa Wade, DockATot’s Roma Patel, designers Anna Wallack, Cynthia RowleyRebecca Atwood, and Dana Haim, Olympian Alysia Montano, cookbook author Hetal Vasavada, model and muse Slick Woods, children’s author Serena Minott, clean living expert Kristian Henderson, Oakland retail queen Sherri McMullen, wellness influencer Joanne Encarnacion, author LaTonya Yvetteand many, many more!

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