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Mama needs help, but she's not going to ask.

Because she thinks she should be able to do it all.

Even though she's one person, she thinks she alone should calm all the temper tantrums.

Answer all the work emails.

Clean all the rooms.

Make all the deadlines.

Schedule all the appointments.

Organize all the playdates.

But the truth is, it's exhausting to manage everything on her plate. On average, mothers work 98 hours a week. Throw in the mental load of motherhood (she's solving parenting dilemmas in her sleep, too) and you have a recipe for serious burnout.

Motherhood is meaningful and beautiful, but it's exhaustingly unrelenting.

FEATURED VIDEO

Mama needs help.

Here are 50 ways you can lighten a mother's load. She might not ask for help, but if she did, this is exactly what she would want—

Partner with me

1. Be a true and equal partner

Women work more during the week (most of it unpaid home/ child-care work), do more chores on the weekend and burden more of the mental load of parenthood than most men. To my partner—please realize how much I am doing and find new ways to make this more equal for both of us. Even if you're away at work during the day, there is appointment-scheduling/item-purchasing/family management work you can do. Let's find more ways to be equal partners in this important mission of raising a family.

2. Be my village

Historically, women raised their families in the same homes and communities as their sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents and extended relatives. We had extra people, warm hearts and lots of helping hands to do all the work of raising a family. Today, many moms are doing it alone, far away from where they grew up. Please reach out to ask how you can help—even across the miles. We need lots of support and I'd love your help, but only if you ask.

3. Make schools more family-friendly

Please understand that every complicated homework assignment you send home that my kid can't complete on his own becomes one more task on my list. Please don't assume that class parents are “class moms." Please make meeting times more friendly for working parents so that more moms and dads can attend. Consider start times and dismissal times that account for realities of modern family life. The more you can do to recognize everything mothers already have on their plates, and how to encourage more participation from fathers in the school environment—the better. It will help moms, dads and their families.

4. Make churches + places of worship welcoming

My kids are squirmy. They squawk. They need to breastfeed in the middle of services. Please don't side-eye me. Please don't tell me you wish I didn't come. (True story: that happened.) Please offer a friendly smile, a “good job, mom" and family-friendly amenities (changing tables, kids services, accessible walkways). I need this time to center myself. Make sure we feel welcome.

5. Send me all the delivery services

My actual partner in crime? THE UPS GUY. I haven't met a delivery service I didn't love. Grocery deliveries? Done. Stitch Fix? I'm wearing it. Diaper subscription? Bought it. If there can be a delivery service for it, I want it. I'm basically never leaving home again. (Looking at you, Starbucks...) ☕️

Encourage me

6. Speak words of affirmation

This whole motherhood thing is so much harder than I thought it was going to be. (Mom, how did you make it look so easy?) When you say, “You're a wonderful mother" and, “You're such a patient parent" I feel like I'm on the right path—and your positivity becomes the encouraging voice in my head on the very hard days.

7. Acknowledge my workload

Ask about my recent work trip. Recognize when I'm up late finishing tasks to help my family. Commend me on getting my kids to school with their pants on. (Not always the easiest task!) Motherhood is long and hard and my work can feel invisible. You encourage me when you acknowledge how much work I'm doing for myself, my kids and my whole family.

8. Show me some affection

I might be touched-out but there's nothing like a sincere bear hug from someone who knows you, loves you, and thinks you're doing awesome. Hug me. Squeeze me. Mean it.

9. Send me a note

You know that happy dance you do when you get a little ray of sunshine sent in the form of a “thinking of you" note to your mailbox? Those thoughtful gestures make me feel loved and remembered—and remind me that there is a world beyond my messy, tiring house run by tiny people. Thank you.

10. Assure me everything is okay and my kids are normal

Sometimes it feels like I'm a one-woman ringmaster and my kids are the circus. Assure me that this hard work and sacrifice and chaos isn't just worth it—it's normal.

Give me a break

11. Surprise me with an hour/night/weekend/week off

Show up. Take the kids. Whether it's for an hour, a day, a weekend or a week—you'll be my hero—forever. It's not that I don't love my kids, it's just that the work of motherhood is never-ending. This surprise break will help me rest and be the mom I want to be.

12. Say 'I've got bedtime tonight'

No seriously—there are no sexier words in the English language. Take over bedtime tonight (and every night?) and I'll feel ready to go to bed earlier, be done with evening chores sooner, and wake up refreshed thanks to the bonus snooze time.

13. Buy me a pedicure/massage/hair treatment

Splurging on myself used to be my thing—but lately I have to pay for pediatrician co-pays, organic chicken, preschool tuition, sky-high childcare, clothes my kids outgrow every six months, developmentally-appropriate toys, a replacement car seat cover after #theincident, gymnastic classes, kids seats on the airplane and toothbrushes that mysteriously disappear. While I need wellness treatments more than ever, my budget isn't in alignment. Help a sister out?

14. Ask me to plan my dream vacation

Studies show that the mere act of planning a vacation can relieve stress. If the budget allows, ask me what kind of getaway would leave me feeling rejuvenated. Time to bond as a family? Time alone to sleep late and think deep thoughts? Either can work. Plus, it doesn't have to be a fancy getaway to the tropics—even a few days stay-cation without kids would feel like the life of luxury. But let a girl dream.

15. Better yet—just plan the trip for me

I have a ton on my plate. If you haven't noticed, putting myself first isn't exactly my specialty. If you could step in and plan a relaxing getaway, confirm it on my calendar, and take care of the childcare logistics to make it happen, you'll be my forever hero.

Clean all the things

Just going to leave my never-ending list here below. Studies say that EVEN WHEN MOMS WORK FULL TIME, they do more housework than their male partners. If you really want to lighten a mother's mental load, can someone other than mom clean something? Everything?

16. Laundry

It never ends. HELP.

17. All surfaces + floors

Why are they so sticky? Wait, on second thought—I don't want to know.

18. Fridge

Things just get lost in there, man.

19. Car

It's basically a coffee cup and Cheerios storage center

20. Email inbox, if you dare

^Enough said.

Notice *me*

21. Don't just ask about my kids

After you ask “How are the kids doing?" ask me how I'm doing, too. (Please.) Since becoming a mom, I feel like I've become a little bit invisible—like, “Meet Liz, the human who brought you this child."

22. Ask me about how I spend my days, not if I'm “'just' a mom"

If you know I work a job, ask how it's going. Inquire about the new project I'm working on or that new passion project I'm throwing myself into. If I'm a stay-at-home mom, ask me about how I spend my days and what I love to do outside of being a mom. Show me you're interested in who I am as a person.

23. Keep me company

Listen without trying to solve anything. Be present in my life, even without specific hangout plans. Be a warm body when I'm feeling lonely. (And new motherhood can feel REALLY lonely.) Be present for me physically.

24. Ask for my opinion about something other than my kids

Don't get me wrong, I love my children more than anything and have very strong opinions about my favorite toddler products, but I'd love to be asked about my life outside of motherhood. I have done a lot of reading recently on [insert important political topic here] and I'd love to talk with you about it. But I feel almost-invisible when I'm only asked about my kids. Hello, real life adult human person here!

25. Specific compliments go a long way

You love my dress? Thank you! I haven't felt like a fashionista since 2008 but it's so appreciated. Adore my parenting style? Let me know! It will encourage me during the hard days. I need to hear that I'm doing something right in this challenging day-to-day life—so your compliments are oh-so appreciated.

Nourish me

26. Drop a fully made meal off

I am a one-woman cafeteria staff. These kids want to eat all. the. time. Not to mention how often I long for the days when 50 dishes weren't piled in my sink at all times. If you ever drop a meal off for me, I'd consider it the best ring + run of my life.

27. Run to the grocery store for me

Heading to Trader Joe's? Text me and ask if I need anything. Chances are I'm running of that ONE THING and skipping a grocery trip is a dream come true.

28. Take me out to eat

Better yet, just take me out to dinner. No planning, no clean up, no dishes to put away. THIS IS MY FAVORITE OPTION.

29. Nourish me in other ways, like a favorite podcast

I don't just need to be nourished by food—I need to feel like my brain is firing on all cylinders, too. Inspiring messages help fuel me. If you have any amazing podcast, send it my way. (I love Oprah's Super Soul Conversations—so enlightening!)

30. Inspire me with an awesome article

Not to brag, but Motherly has more than its share of pick-me-up pieces to inspire moms through the hardest days. Did you read one and think of me? I'd love to see it.

Change the system

31. Paid maternity leave

The fact that one-quarter of women head back to work out of economic necessity within two weeks of giving birth is a profound tragedy. Dozens of studies prove that providing paid leave to new mothers benefits mother, child, family and society in the long run. Let's finally do it, America.

32. And paid paternity leave

Paid leave for dads isn't just great for that father-child bond, it actually helps mothers. “Fathers taking parental leave helps not just children but moms, too, by changing who changes the diapers and the whole culture around work and family," a government report found. And studies show that women whose partners can take paid leave actually benefit professionally, since those dads are more likely to take on household duties in general and support a woman's career.

33. Accommodate family-friendly practices like flex work

Just because your company has always expected people to sit in a chair and work 9-5 doesn't mean that it must be that way. It's time to accommodate flex schedules and remote work for men and for women. It makes economic sense, too—and will help me fulfill my goals at home and at work.

34. End the “mommy penalty"

It's time to change the narrative around working motherhood and stop punishing talented women for becoming moms. Mothers are offered, on average, 16% less pay than non-mothers, because of an assumption that they would be less committed to their jobs. Yet other studies have found that moms of multiple kids are actually the MOST efficient workers.

35. Support stay-at-home moms

Many stay -at-home moms are highly educated. Some stay home out of economic necessity. Still others are taking time off from work with the intention of one day on-ramping back. It's time to support mothers regardless of what choice they make surrounding work—with no judgment, only understanding and an empathetic ear.

Improve parenting culture

36. Say goodbye to guilt

Whether you're a SAHM or a working mom or somewhere in between, our culture burdens women with feelings of guilt for whatever they choose. Let's make this millennial generation the generation that ditches guilt for good. We're all doing the very best we can, choosing the right thing for our families.

37. Stop the mom shaming

Let's be the generation that ends mom shaming for good.

38. Use social media for good

Ever see an innocent Facebook thread devolve into criticism,negativity and judgment of another mother? We're over it. Let's use the power of social media to encourage and lift other moms up. Be the Facebook 'like' you want to see in the world.

39. Get dads fully onboard

Parenthood is a team sport. Let's empower men to step into spaces previously only occupied by women. Let's stop gatekeeping and start inviting men, even if they change diapers differently or dress kids in “unique" outfits.

40. Pat ourselves on the back

PARENTING IS HARD. But you already know this. Let's celebrate the days you get to school on time or get your kids to eat vegetables. Because even on the most average of days, moms are clocking in 16 hours of childcare or work. Parenting is a relentless task, for decades on end. You're doing AMAZING, mama.

Be my friend—or my lover

41. Be my mom friend

So many days, I feel super lonely. Even though we're all in this together, sometimes it feels like motherhood incredibly isolating. I might need you to reach out, to invite me to join your playgroup, or to meet you for lunch at Chic-Fil-A. I might need you to suggest we go out for drinks, or even to drag me to Barre class.

42. Introduce me to your mom friends

The next best thing to being my friend is to introduce me to your tribe. If you've already found a group of girls who just GET IT, I want in. Perhaps I've moved to a new place and don't have a social network. Maybe all my friends don't yet have kids. Letting me into your friend group is clutch—thank you for the book club, group date night, or post-dropoff hangout.

43. Support me from afar

Even if we don't live nearby, I so value the support I get from friends. Your long-distance texts to check-in, make me laugh, and encourage me mean THE WORLD. Even if I write back a day (or a week later), it makes me feel so loved to know I've got support coming in from all around.

44. Encourage my hobbies

These days, it seems like I don't have time for fun. I used to cook! Paint! Write poetry! Go running! But too often, I don't make time for the things that truly recharge me.

45. Date night

I know it's a cliche, but I still need date night. I need time to connect with my partner. I need a reason to feel like my sexy self again. I need WINE AND CHEESE and no screaming children nearby. I know it's expensive to go out. I know we're super busy. I know we're exhausted. But we need this.

Last but not least: Fuel me

46. Water

Gotta stay hydrated but I often remember to hydrate everyone but me.

47. Wine

CHEERS.

48. Coffee

Always.

49. Coffeeeee

At all times.

50. ALL THE COFFEE

Starbucks delivery please!

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Easter meals bring the family together in ways that few other meals can. Spring is finally in the air and the feeling of new beginnings and hope is all around. But we know it can be hard to find the time to make delicious meals, and even harder to find recipes your little bunnies will agree to eat.

But fear not, mama! We've searched around the internet and found some of the easiest, most delicious and, yes, kid-friendly recipes out there that will take your entire family from morning until night. So happy cooking and happy Easter!

Here are our 13 favorite easy + kid-friendly recipes:

1. Easter bunny waffles

easter_waffles

Fork and Beans

Waking up on Easter morning is a pretty magical experience as a kid. Add to the fun with these adorable, easy and actually kind of healthy waffles!

Ingredients:

  • frozen waffles
  • strawberries, sliced, for the ear, mouth and bow tie
  • banana slices, for the eyes
  • blueberries, for the eyes
  • raspberries, for the nose
  • shredded carrots, for the whiskers

Instructions:

1. Toast 3 waffles.

2. Slice one waffle in half and use it for the ears. Slice another waffle in half and use one part for the shoulders and then cut out two circles for the cheeks.

3. Add the strawberry slices and place them on top of the ears to fill in.

4. Assemble the face and bow tie.

Recipe from Fork and Beans

Baked French toast

french_toast

The Pioneer Woman

Breakfast meets casserole in this delicious make-ahead dish. It's perfect for prepping the night before a busy day, especially if you have overnight guests.

Ingredients:

French toast

  • Butter, for greasing
  • 1 loaf crusty sourdough Or French Bread
  • 8 whole Eggs
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract

Topping

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
  • warm syrup, for serving
  • butter, for serving
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, for serving

Instructions:

1. For the French toast: Grease the baking pan with butter. Tear the bread into chunks, or cut into cubes, and evenly distribute in the pan. Crack the eggs in a big bowl. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover the pan tightly and store it in the fridge until needed (overnight, preferably). Or you can make it and bake it right away—it's delicious no matter what!

2. For the topping: Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and some nutmeg in a separate bowl. Stir together using a fork. Add the butter and with a pastry cutter, and mix it all together until the mixture resembles fine pebbles. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.

3. When you're ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the casserole from the fridge and sprinkle the topping over the top. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture or for 1 hour-plus or more for a firmer, crisper texture.

4. Scoop out individual portions. Top with butter and drizzle with warm pancake syrup and sprinkle with blueberries.

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

Hashbrown egg cups

hashbrown_eggs

Life Made Simple

If you're craving something savory, these hashbrown egg cups will absolutely hit the spot. Just consider leaving out the cayenne for those littler taste-buds.

Ingredients:

  • 20 ounces refrigerated hash browns
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 tsp kosher sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk or half and half
  • 4 sliced cooked bacon, crumbled
  • chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Generously spray a standard size muffin tin pan with baking spray, set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the hash browns, 1/2 cup cheese, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne. Press the mixture into the bottom, creating a nest.
  3. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese, eggs, milk, and bacon. Pour into the baked hash browns, then return to the oven to bake for 12-15 minutes or until fully set.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before removing.
  6. Garnish with a pinch of salt and pepper and freshly chopped parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.

Recipe from Life Made Simpleife Made Simple

Cucumber sandwiches

cucumber_sandwiches

Cherished Bliss

If your littles will be off hunting eggs, these quick and easy to grab sandwiches will be just what they need to keep them going.

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of extra thin sliced bread
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ⅓ of an English cucumber
  • 3 tbsp finely shredded carrots
  • ½ tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
  • ½ tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp garlic and herb seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. With a bunny and Easter egg cookie cutter, cut out an equal amount of bread for each sandwich and set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, add cream cheese, shredded carrots, fresh chopped chives, fresh chopped parsley, and seasonings.
  3. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
  4. Cut an English cucumber in half and slice thin slices of your desired amount of cucumbers.
  5. Spread the carrot and herb cream cheese on both sides of a sandwich. When spreading the carrot and herb cream cheese on don't forget to do the mirror side of the bunny.
  6. Place your desired amount of cucumber slices on each sandwich and top with the other the matching bread cut out.

Recipe from Cherished Bliss

Ham and cheese crescents

crescents

Six Sisters' Stuff

This is the perfect recipe for a busy lunch. It only has three ingredients, and is so yummy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce) can refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 16 deli ham slices (you can use carved ham leftovers)
  • 8 slices cheddar cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Separate dough into 8 equal pieces (they usually separate into triangles).
  3. Place 2 slices of ham and 1 slice of cheese (folded in half) on the larger end of the triangle.
  4. Roll the crescent up with the ham and cheese inside, and place it tip side down on a baking sheet (you can use a baking mat, or line it with aluminum foil for easy clean-up, too).
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, until tops are golden brown.
  6. Serve warm.

Recipe from Six Sisters' Stuff

Bunny veggie dip

bunny_dip

The Nesting Corral

Eating veggies has never been so fun… or cute!

Ingredients:

  • Bread loaf

Dip:

  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 container (16 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 package Knorr Vegetable recipe mix
  • 1 can (8 ounces) water chestnuts, drained and chopped

Veggies for dipping:

  • carrots
  • cucumbers
  • cherry tomatoes
  • celery sticks
  • bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower

Decorations:

  • olives

Instructions:

1. Combine all ingredients and chill for about 2 hours.

2. Carefully cut out a circle from the top of the bread loaf for the bunny's head. Then, cut the opening bigger so that dipping was accessible.

3. Using your hands, hollow out the rest of the shepherd loaf so that it can hold the spinach dip. Save the chunks of bread that you pull out for chowing down on with your dip.

4. Cut the two ends off of a baguette and situated them as the bunny's ears.

5. For the face, used black olives cut in half as the eyes, and quarter a half of a black olive to make the nose.

6. Make the whiskers from thin strips of celery, and the mouth is a cross section piece of celery. Put a little dip on the back of each of the facial features to keep it adhered to the bread.

7. Pour the dip into the bread bowl, arrange the veggies, and serve.

Recipe from Nesting Coral

English muffin bunny pizza

english_muffin

Kid Friendly Things to Do

These little bunny pizzas are perfect for serving your kids while the grown-ups eat their fancier dinner (though we totally get it if the grown-ups decide they just want to eat these, too).

Ingredients:

  • English muffins
  • Pizza sauce (jarred is great)
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella shredded cheese
  • 2 black olive pearls, sliced olives
  • 1 piece of sliced pepperoni
  • 1 stick of mozzarella string cheese
  • 1 breadstick

Instructions:

  • Spread some pizza sauce onto the English muffin (a few tbsp should be enough).
  • Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the sauce.
  • Add 2 sliced olives for eyes.
  • Cut the piece of pepperoni into 1/4 pieces and position a piece for the nose.
  • Bake the breadstick according to the package directions.
  • Bake the pizza at 425 degrees F for about 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is turning a little golden on the ends.
  • When the breadstick and pizza are done, slice the breadstick in half.
  • Grab a plate and place the pizza in the middle, add the halved breadsticks for your bunny ears.
  • Pull some pieces of mozzarella off of the string cheese to make whiskers and serve

Recipe from Kid Friendly Things To Do

Instant Pot leg of lamb

leg_lamb

Simply Happy Foodie

Is there anything the Instant Pot can't do? The answer is a definitive no—including the fact that it can make your Easter dinner a complete (and easy) win.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cloves garlic, divided
  • 4 lbs boneless leg of lamb (or bone-in)
  • 3 tsp Kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup chicken broth, low sodium
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar

(Optional) to thicken, mix together:

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp cold water

Instructions:

  1. Slice 4 of the garlic cloves lengthwise. Pierce the lamb in several places and push the garlic slivers into the cuts. Then sprinkle 2 of the tsp of salt and the pepper over the entire roast.
  2. If the roast is coming apart from the bone being removed, tie it together with butcher's string.
  3. Turn on the pot's sauté setting. Wait for it to get hot, then add the olive oil. Place the lamb roast in the pot and let it brown for several minutes. Then turn it over and brown the other side. Remove it to a plate.
  4. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot, using a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the wine and continue to cook, still scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot (called deglazing).
  6. Add the rosemary and thyme sprigs, remaining teaspoon of salt, remaining clove of garlic (minced), chicken broth, and the red wine vinegar. Stir well. Then turn off the sauté setting.
  7. Add the lamb roast back into the pot.
  8. Press the pressure cook/manual button or dial. Then press the +/- button or dial to select 70 minutes (20-30 minutes for a rare roast). For a bone-in roast, select 85 minutes. This will yield a nicely fork-tender leg of lamb. If your roast is larger than 4 lbs, increase the time by 5 minutes.
  9. The pot will take a few minutes to come to pressure. When the cook time ends, let the pot sit undisturbed for 20 minutes (20-minute natural release, 10 minutes for a rare roast). Then turn the steam release knob to the Venting position to manually release any remaining pressure/steam. Turn off the pot.
  10. When the pin in the lid drops back down, open the lid. Carefully remove the roast to a platter and cover. Remove the herb stems from the pot.
  11. Skim the fat off the top of the liquid in the pot, or use a fat separator to defat the liquid.
  12. OPTIONAL: Return the liquid to the pot and turn on the sauté setting. Mix up a slurry of 1 tbsp cornstarch to 2 tbsp cold water. When the liquid is simmering, whisk in the slurry and stir until it thickens.
  13. Serve the roast sliced, with some of the defatted sauce over it.

Recipe from Simply Happy Foodie

Slow cooker ham with brown sugar glaze

ham

This Delicious House

Ham is, perhaps, the most quintessential of Easter meal choices. And with the ease of a crockpot, this recipe will become your go-to favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless ham
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Spray the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray. Remove ham from packaging and place in a slow cooker set at low heat.
  2. Make the glaze by combining the brown sugar, dijon, and vinegar in a small bowl. Pour over the ham. Cook ham at low heat for 5-7 hours or until thermometer reads 140 degrees F.

Recipe from This Delicious House

Brown butter garlic honey-roasted carrots

carrots

Rasa Malaysia

These carrots are so good you won't have to convince them to eat their veggies before dessert.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb baby carrots
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 dashes ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme or parsley

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Heat an oven-safe skillet and cook the butter on medium heat until it starts to form and turn into golden brown. Add the garlic and quickly saute before adding the carrots. Stir a few times, then add the salt, black pepper, honey and thyme or parsley.
  3. Transfer the skillet and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the carrots become tender. Serve immediately.

Recipe from Rasa Malaysia

Birds nest cookies

birds_nest

Dinner at the Zoo

These no-bake treats are the perfect easy Easter dessert (and oh-so-cute)!

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 12 ounces butterscotch chips
  • 12 ounces chow mein noodles
  • 36 candy eggs

Instructions:

  1. Place the milk chocolate chips and butterscotch chips in a large bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments until melted. Stir until smooth.
  2. Add the chow mein noodles to the bowl and toss until coated in the chocolate mixture.
  3. Spoon 2 tbsp of the cookie mixture onto a piece of parchment and shape into a nest; top with 3 candy eggs. Repeat the process with the remaining cookie mixture and eggs.
  4. Let nests set until firm, then serve. These cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Recipe from Dinner at the Zoo

.

Easter egg fruit pizza

fruit_pizza

Persnickety Plates

For a dessert that is delicious and healthy, this Easter egg fruit pizza checks off all the boxes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package sugar cookie mix (1 lb 1.5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted & cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup strawberries chopped
  • 3 cups fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries) sliced

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 13″ pizza pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the cookie mix, melted butter, and egg and mix with a spoon until a soft dough forms.
  3. Press the dough evenly onto the pan.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let it cool completely, about 45 minutes. Cut into an egg shape (I just used a butter knife).
  5. In a food processor or blender, add the softened cream cheese, ½ cup chopped strawberries, powdered sugar, and vanilla and pulse until fully combined and smooth.
  6. Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the cooled cookie.
  7. Decorate with the cut-up fruit.
  8. Slice with a pizza cutter and serve.

Recipe from Persnickety Plates

Easter chocolate lasagna

chocolate_lasagna

Oh My Goodness Chocolate Desserts

There's really no explanation needed here. It's chocolate layered with more chocolate. Done.

Ingredients:

Oreo crust:

  • 36 Oreo cookies
  • ½ cup unsalted butter-melted

Cream cheese layer:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter-softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup Cool Whip

Chocolate pudding layer:

  • 2 (3.9 oz.) packages chocolate instant pudding
  • 2 and 3/4 cups cold milk

Topping:

  • 2 cups Cool Whip
  • 1 ½ cups crushed Oreo
  • Peeps bunnies, Easter egg candies, and other fun toppings

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor, finely crush Oreo cookies into fine crumbs. If you don't have food processor, place Oreo cookies into ziplock bag and crush the cookies with a rolling pin.
  2. Using a fork mix crushed Oreo with melted butter, then press the mixture into the bottom of 9 x 13 inches dish. Place in the fridge to firm.
  3. Beat cream cheese, softened butter, sugar and vanilla until it's light and creamy. Stir in 1 cup Cool Whip. Spread the mixture over the crust and place in the fridge.
  4. In a medium bowl mix chocolate instant pudding with 2 and 3/4 cups cold milk. Whisk for a few minutes until the pudding starts thickening. Spread the pudding over the cream cheese layer. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  5. Spread 2 cups Cool Whip on top and sprinkle with crushed Oreo. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
  6. Garnish with Peeps and Easter egg candies.

Recipe from Oh My Goodness Chocolate Desserts.

Lifestyle

I have been pregnant for 245 days, and in the past 12 of those, everything I have come to know about how this baby will enter the world is on the chopping block.

It began when I walked into a lab three weeks ago to do an elective urine test to keep an eye on my proteins. It was two days before things became unglued in California due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and when I walked into the lab everyone was wearing masks and gloves. The woman at the counter pointed to the iPad to sign in.

"I'd rather not," I said hesitatingly, not wanting to touch the screen. "I just need to pick up a jug to pee in."

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As I waited for the lab to supply the jug, a man walked through the door with sad and frantic eyes. He went on to plead, "I see on the door it says that you guys don't have the tests and not to come in if you're not well... but I think I have it. I need the COVID-19 test and my doctor told me to find a place to do it. I don't know where to go!"

My stomach dropped and I instantly recoiled, feeling immediately vulnerable. I was standing there, not only pregnant but also with my child. I grabbed my daughter's hand, scared of the world in a way I hadn't ever been before.

Get me out of this room! I made a sharp turn for the door and went straight home. I haven't been out to a medical appointment since that day, and my whole paradigm changed at that lab.

California went on lockdown two days later. And with these snowballing changes, I began questioning what a birth at a medical facility would look like as thousands of people—sick people and healthcare workers—get hit by this pandemic in a place without enough resources to help them out.

There is no short supply of unsettling tales to lose yourself in. I have heard stories of mothers in Seattle giving birth in hallways because there are no beds left. There have been many stories of overcrowding due to the influx of COVID-19 patients. I've read accounts of women in New York being told they must deliver their babies without even one support person or partner in the room in an attempt to keep visitor numbers down and protect undersupplied hospital staff.

These stories replay in my mind as I float through day after day in quarantine at home with my 2-year-old daughter. "Can I kiss baby sister?" she asks innocently.

"Ohhh! Yes, baby," I reply to her as I snap out of my thoughts and into my current reality, smiling at her sweet face.

I am living in a world of two extremes. On one hand, it is intoxicatingly beautiful—we have been "forced" into slow quality family time with one another. But we're also living in anxiety about the fear around us. Thousands of people will need hospital care in California and I can't help but wonder how this will affect my baby's birth.

So this begs the questions I believe we must all ask of ourselves: What do I have control over at this time? What will my takeaways be when I look back and reflect on how these pages of my life were written? What are the things I find the most valuable and how do I retain those things so when I look back at how this all played out, I will still be in awe of the beauty within chaos?

For me, this experience has led me to deeply consider the idea of having our daughter at home as long as that is a safe option for me. After much research, I have found a midwife I trust. I have also started looking into my insurance options and playing out worst-case scenarios knowing that decision time will soon be upon me.

This change means facing my fears about pushing a baby out without the safety net of already being in the hospital should an emergency occur. This challenge means believing in myself, my baby and my midwife to work together in order to do something I feel I was made to do. This new potential birth plan means casting aside worried friends' and my OBGYN's judgments about my having a homebirth and instead, confidently believe in my own decision—should it be the one I make.

But quite candidly, deciding to "follow my mom gut" has been an exciting and freeing feeling from the stress of this pandemic. The idea of walking freely in my backyard while in labor, potentially sleeping in my bed the night of delivery and importantly, holding my husband's hand throughout the birth of our last baby gives me romantic feelings for a reason.

We enter this ocean of motherhood accepting an atmosphere of imperfection and uncertainty. Very quickly after giving birth, our bodies and natural instincts remind us that the world doesn't always feel safe enough for our perfect little babies. Our minds paddle over small waves of fear like surfers going out to sea—distracted drivers, chemical pollutants, too much screen time—we let the water break over our heads, emerging in the valleys of the waves. We see the beautiful break in the water in front of us and forgive ourselves for the fear, as our hair has become wet and our skin a little more wrinkly and sunkissed.

Our children are the future in front of us. We mothers are propelled to move forward and past fears by our innate love for them. When looking at the big picture in front of me—delivering a child at this very scary time—I am finding it more important than ever to remember I am still pointing towards my own destiny, no matter what decision I make.

Life

Have you found yourself already thinking, "Alexa, teach my children" or channeling your inner Ross Gellar saying, "I'm fine" when someone asks you how homeschooling is going so far?

I can assure you, mama, you are not alone.

In these unprecedented times, feeling overwhelmed is an understatement. And totally understandable. The world as we knew it has been completely flipped upside down. You now find yourself unable to go about your normal routine, potentially working from home full-time with your children as your new co-workers and on top of thathomeschooling too (for who knows how long).

You may be worrying like every other parent is likely worrying right now, "How will I make this all work?" or "How can I teach my children? I don't have a teaching degree!"

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Well, I hope I can assure you—in any small way—that you can do this. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, you are already an incredible teacher. You've taught your children to walk, talk, feed/dress themselves and have helped them with their math homework (even though it is completely different from how you learned in school—"borrow," "regroup"... potato, potahto).

From me, a teacher and fellow mother, to you, I want to emphasize that your family's well-being comes first. Academics are secondary at this time.

You may be thinking, "Why would a teacher be telling me not to worry about school?!" Well, quite frankly, because this is unchartered territory. I NEVER learned—in college or throughout my nine years of teaching—how to teach during a pandemic.

We, as in teachers, parents, caregivers and students, are making history and setting the tone for these unsettling times.

I am not saying to completely disregard academics, but just be gentle with yourself and remember you're doing your best. These tips might help you and your kiddo both feel more confident on this new-to-both-of-you journey of "distance learning."

1. Provide a predictable routine.

One that you can adapt to your family's situation. Maybe mornings are too hectic because you have conference calls to make, so the afternoons would make more sense to work on academics. Be realistic, flexible—and most importantly, gentle with yourselves.

2. Monitor and keep track of expectations given by your child's teacher.

Maybe it is completely digital, maybe your child has packets to work on—sit with your child when you are able to have focused time together (even if it's five minutes or less!) and create a plan in the beginning of each week. Maybe it's Sunday afternoon, or maybe it's Monday morning after breakfast. Whatever works for you.

This is a great time to teach time management skills—utilize checklists, sticky notes, a notebook—you may have some trial and error figuring out what tools will work best for your kiddo. Don't be afraid to reach out to your child's teacher for help or clarification.

3. Give your child the opportunity to have a say in their learning.

This'll give your little students a sense of autonomy and ownership. For example, ask them which subject they would like to work on first—math or reading. Little do they know, they'll eventually have to complete both! Even small things like giving them a choice to use a pen instead of a pencil can make a BIG difference.

4. You have two new BFFs: Google and YouTube.

Don't know how to teach something specific or you want to give your children some extra practice? All you have to do is type the grade level, skill and "worksheet" in the Google search bar and you'll get links to many different website options—even free ones.

YouTube has a plethora of videos to utilize, although I do suggest screening them yourself first. You can also use Safeshare.tv or Viewpure.com to take away advertisements before and during the videos.

5. Use this time to focus on life skills.

Cursive writing, reading and following recipes, writing a letter, taking care of a plant, completing a research project on a topic of their choice, doing laundry, how to write a check—now is the time to teach or reinforce these life skills (all of which have some sort of academic tie-in).

All in all, just remember this won't last forever.

Despite what any meme says on social media, we are not going to evaluate your teaching abilities—promise. Be patient with your children, their teachers and most importantly, yourself.

Have you ever heard yourself saying (or maybe just thinking) , "If I only had the time…" or "They grow up so fast, I wish I could…"?

Well, now can be that time.

So let them sleep in, wear their PJs all day, make blanket forts in the living room—those are the things they will remember most vividly.

Remember to give yourself some grace, mama, you're doing the best you can.

And know that we miss your (our) kids, and we're cheering you all on!

Love + Village

Expecting parents look forward to meeting their newborns and bonding in those early days of their infant's life, but the coronavirus has changed so much about giving birth in America, and for some mothers, this means they are separated from their babies to protect their infants from COVID-19.

Separating moms and babies is rare—it is only happening in cases where the mother has or is presumed to have COVID-19. We are not telling you this to scare you, mama, but rather to inform you about the way the maternity ward experience has changed in recent days so that you can prepare, protect and advocate for yourself.

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The CDC's Interim Considerations for Infection Prevention and Control of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Inpatient Obstetric Healthcare Settings states that in order to "reduce the risk of transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 from the mother to the newborn, facilities should consider temporarily separating (e.g., separate rooms) the mother who has confirmed COVID-19 or is a PUI [person under investigation] from her baby until the mother's transmission-based precautions are discontinued."

That means that when a mom has COVID-19 her doctors or midwives may recommend her baby be cared for in another part of the hospital temporarily.

For Missouri mom Veronica Batton, this meant four days apart from her newborn daughter, Theo. Batton developed a cough late in pregnancy and was tested for COVID-19, but her results were not yet back by the time she went into labor. As KSHB in Kansas City reports, Batton's test eventually came back negative for COVID-19, but not until after she'd been separated from her newborn.

"I saw her and felt her on my chest for like maybe three to five seconds," Batton told KSHB. "And they took her over to get cleaned up and everything, and after that, I didn't see her out of the room and I didn't see her again until [days later]."

Batton was thrilled to finally be reunited with her daughter, but calls the experience "heartbreaking" and hopes that her case can help hospitals determine better practices for keeping moms and babies safe without separating them unnecessarily. The hospital, St. Luke's East, has reportedly already made changes to make testing faster and hospital representatives say delays in testing are unfortunately beyond their control. Batton hopes the different levels of America's health care system can work together to address the delays in processing tests.

"The last day was really, really hard...That was the day I felt like I lost all hope," Batton said, adding that the nursing staff at St. Luke's East Hospital were great.

"They were so kind, they took pictures on their phone and brought it to me. They even used my husband's phone and took it up there so we could FaceTime with her," she explains.

Batton and Theo have been reunited and are at home with Batton's husband and the couple's 5-year-old son, who is finally able to be a big brother. "It feels amazing, like all the stress is gone," Batton told KSHB. "I don't have to wear a mask. I don't have to wear gloves."

Batton is holding her baby now and most moms giving birth in America this week are able to do that sooner than she was. Again, separation of newborns from mothers is not happening without careful consideration.

The CDC says that when it comes to separating a mother and baby due to COVID-19 concerns, the risks and benefits should be explained to the mother and that "if colocation (sometimes referred to as 'rooming in') of the newborn with his/her ill mother in the same hospital room occurs in accordance with the mother's wishes or is unavoidable due to facility limitations, facilities should consider implementing measures to reduce exposure of the newborn to the virus that causes COVID-19."

Basically, separating a baby from their mom is not the only option to protect the baby, depending on the severity of the mother's illness.

If you are concerned about your hospital's practices, discuss this with your doctor or midwife.

If you are healthy now, take care to maintain self-isolation and practice social distancing to avoid COVID-19.

If you do fall ill and your hospital recommends separating you from your baby, know that you are a decision-maker and can advocate for yourself. Ask questions, and if you determine that you should be separated from your child know that you can still pump to provide breast milk. Ask for a pump and frequent updates on your baby.

If you are able to room-in with your baby while recovering from COVID-19, the CDC says it is okay to breastfeed as long as you are wearing a face mask and washing your hands before each feeding.

Again, this is not happening to every woman giving birth, but it is one of the ways in which hospitals are trying to keep babies safe from COVID-19.

News

We're in a moment of huge change for families. With schools closed around the country, millions of children are adapting to online learning right now—and there's a lot more screen time in our children's futures than many of us planned. But there's more to streaming education the right way than just pressing play or downloading an educational app.

Fortunately, the internet is brimming over with high-quality recorded and live media that invite children to grow, learn and interact from home.

Here's how parents can get the most out of the huge wealth of digital educational resources online:

1. Get those bodies ready before screen time starts

Kids can't learn if they're not feeling good in their bodies. After breakfast, see if you can make 10 to 20 minutes of exercise time happen before you start learning time. That might mean riding a scooter around the neighborhood or doing a family yoga video together. Then settle into a comfy place where learning can happen, whether that's the kitchen table or a desk.

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2. Have a daily game plan

Your child's days in school are guided by predictable rhythms and routines. Your days at home need their own learning rhythms, too. When it comes to creating a daily learning routine, experienced homeschool families have lots to teach us.

Think about how you want to incorporate screen-based learning in your child's daily rhythm so that it's balanced with other kinds of learning.

Perhaps your family sets a goal to create four hours a day of learning, in 30 minute blocks. Give each block a name just like the school does and post it on the fridge. Some of these blocks can incorporate screen-based learning, while others can be totally offline. For a preschooler, screen-based learning time might mean including blocks like:

  • Circle Time: Have a FaceTime chat with another family, where you sing a song together and share something each person is grateful for. Play a game of Roses and Thorns with other families from your child's class—parents can participate, too!
  • Nature Learning: Watch a video about your favorite animals and then talk about a few things that they have in common.

Elementary school blocks might be modeled after your child's real school day with structured time for science, math, language arts and D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read!). Or, you can be more fluid, like some homeschool parents, and let the learning emerge around daily tasks like cooking (lots of math opportunities) or gardening (which incorporates both science and art).

Don't forget to leave time in between for snacks (very important!), physical breaks and of course, lunch.

3. Look for variety + interaction

There's a lot more variety in educational media than you might think. Screen-based learning can take lots of formats and it's best to vary them throughout your day. There's a hierarchy of online learning, and the stuff that's interactive or includes real world activities is definitely on a higher level than passive screen time.

How can you spot a passive video? If your child watches it without interacting in any way (aside from maybe laughing, or—less good—drooling) then that's a red flag. In general, a lot of the educational videos you'll find on YouTube are passive, although there are gems out there. Passive media isn't "evil," but it shouldn't make up more than a small part of your child's screen-based learning time.

Educators who are trained in learning media design know about building shows from curriculum and engaging young viewers effectively. Parents of 2- to 6-year-olds should beeline to Sesame Street (episodes streaming on Hulu, HBO, and PBS Kids) and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood (episodes streaming on Amazon Prime and PBS Kids), both great examples of interactive educational media for kids.

In every episode of Daniel Tiger, the beloved little guy in the red hoodie frequently looks right at the viewer and asks a question that has to do with the curriculum behind the episode—and he waits a moment for the answer, because kids love to talk back to TV characters. That's not just a cute moment of dialogue—ot's a design decision by the writers and educators behind the show that makes the viewing experience more interactive, and better for learning.

Here are more types of strong educational content to look for:

Digitally interactive: Some media involves interactive back-and-forth, like solving math problems or answering quizzes where the software helps you progress. You might already know about great mobile apps such as Endless Alphabet or Elmos's ABCs that do this. Looking for more? Common Sense Media has a terrific educational media section that reviews these apps in detail.

Physically interactive: Some digital resources involve movement, making art, mindfulness practice, voice/language practice or creative writing prompts that ask you to pause the video and do something in your real space at home. YouTube has so many art, dance and music channels in any medium your heart desires, and podcasts offer storytelling and meditation. You know you've found something really special when there's a joint engagement factor—when parents and children collaborate on the work instead of just plugging the kids in to go it alone.

DIY + maker-focused: Lots of screen-based resources help you make something to use in the real world, and then take that thing outside—like a special paper airplane or a grid called a quadrat for studying the life in your backyard. Sometimes the making is all virtual, like beginner coding games featuring Anna and Elsa, or, yes, Minecraft. Try the activities with a buddy family. What if you both did the activity and then had a video call to share your work?

4. Co-view

There's only so much energy a parent has to help out with alphabet practice and video science projects. When you are using passive video streaming as a solution, research shows that co-viewing (another type of joint media engagement) leads to much stronger outcomes for kids and their understanding of ideas. There's lots of ways to co-view:

  • Pausing the video to ask a question
  • Pointing things out that are interesting
  • Simply being there, beside your little one.
  • Siblings count! Can your older child take time out from what they're doing to watch a show together?
  • What about setting up a watch party? You and another family could tune into the same programming at the same time while you're on FaceTime or Skype. Use the mute button to avoid audio feedback and take breaks to share laughs or ask each other questions.

5. Report out

When an online activity is finished, circle up with your children and find out how it went. It's important to get feedback about the day that's richer than the usual tired-preschooler response, "It was good."

Questions to ask to start a conversation:

  • What was that video about? It seemed interesting but can you tell me more?
  • Was there anything new you discovered?
  • Would you recommend this video to your friends? What do you think so-and-so would learn from it?
  • Did the video give you any feelings? Did it make you happy, frustrated, bored, excited? Tell me about why you think that happened.
  • Do you want to try anything you saw in the video (singing the song, giving a hug, calling a friend)?

Based on their feedback, you can make an even better plan together for tomorrow's learning. Good luck! You've got this.

Learn + Play
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