This Easy-to-Clean Play Mat Was the Smartest Nursery Move I Made
I'm an anxious person. Not in the "Oh, I hope I don't miss my flight so I better get to the airport early" type of way, but in an actual medically diagnosed way. As a first-time mom-to-be, I knew it would be important to create a nursery that was not only pleasing to my child but also calming for me (and easy to clean). I'd be spending many middle-of-the-night hours in the baby's room, after all. I wanted to like the way the room made me feel. And not worry about the various messes happening inside of it.
Some of that would have to do with my own headspace, sure, but a lot would have to do with the decor. I was against gender-normative colors from the start, so we settled on the theme of monochromatic zoo (it sounds absurd every time I say it). I underestimated the power that a gray-toned compilation of elephants and octopuses would have over me. It put me in a zen state every time I went into the nursery, and our play mat, surprisingly, was the heart of this mental bliss.
Rather than getting a brightly colored option that I knew would aggravate me or a neutral-toned rug that would almost surely get ruined with spit-up and other unidentifiable newborn slop, we went with the Little Nomad Roam Free Play Mat ($99, originally $119). It not only warms up the room, but it's also nontoxic and a breeze to clean with soap and water. I've spilled hot coffee on it more than I want to admit, and I've left it sitting on the mat for hours before returning to clean it. The mat has never stained, which I'm so thankful for. One fewer thing to worry about!
Granted, the Little Nomad is significantly pricier than most mats (I could probably get a nine-piece set for under $20), but it's the trifecta of baby gear: it's soft, easy to wipe down, and chic. When people come over to visit and want to look at the nursery, they ignore the towering diaper pail and dirty clothes and just stare at the mat.
I know bright primary colors help with a baby's brain development and stimulation, but we have plenty of red, yellow, and blue toys to go around. The rug doesn't have to follow suit!