If you're more burnt out than ever, you're not alone

These are the warning signs that you might be burnt out—and 10 science-backed ways to feel better.

burnt out woman on bed

Maybe the sitter has canceled last minute and ruined long-made happy hour plans. Perhaps your supervisor asked you to lead another early-morning meeting after another sleepless night with your newborn, or 5 pm looms and your partner bursts into your home office asking, "What's for dinner?" As if you have even had time to think about dinner. Every mother, at one point or another, has found themselves stressed out by the demands of parenting, especially as they remain responsible for much of household labor. According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, mothers in the U.S. spend about four hours a day on unpaid household work compared with about two and a half hours for fathers. Meanwhile, a study from UrbanSitter found that less than one-third of parents surveyed said that childcare was split evenly among both parents. Add to that the ongoing pressure and societal expectations put on parents to be nothing less than perfect in all aspects of child-rearing and the situation is front-loaded for stress.

The pandemic has only added to parental responsibilities. Between keeping children engaged in "Zoom school" while juggling their own professional and personal workloads and needs, any mother can get overwhelmed to the point of parental burnout.

What is parental burnout?

In a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, parental burnout is characterized by three aspects that echo the characteristics of professional burnout while differentiating from them because of their relation to parenting:

  • Physical and emotional exhaustion
  • Emotional distancing from one's children
  • A sense of incompetency in one's parenting role.

The pandemic has only magnified the potential for this already serious concern.

Of course, no one goes into motherhood envisioning a situation where they feel burnout. So, how did we end up here? More importantly, how can we enhance our ability to weather stress, curb burnout, and avoid derailing our ability to nurture both ourselves and our children?

What are the warning signs of burnout?

Burnout results when the burden of perceived stress exceeds our resources to cope. Given that, there are warning signs for when our ability to cope effectively is waning.

For instance, ask yourself:

  • Are there changes in your spending?
  • Are you eating more, less or differently?
  • Have you seen changes in your exercise? In your sleep?
  • Have you become more or less social?
  • Do you get more easily agitated by things you can usually tolerate?
  • Do you find yourself scrolling social media more?

The earlier we can recognize our warning signs, the more proactive and preventative we can be about safeguarding our well-being and preventing burnout.

What is resilience and how can it help with burnout?

We are all different and operate within our own unique set of circumstances. As always, it is important to acknowledge that our identities and the groups we belong to have an impact on our context and what privileges we are afforded, as well as our internal and external stressors.

Like most things, stress is nuanced. Not all stress is bad. Eustress or "good stress" is when we have the resources to effectively manage our stressors. This is actually motivating and invigorating. However, when we don't have the support or resources to handle demands, we see it turn into distress or "bad stress," which, if not managed, can lead to burnout.

My colleague, Dr. Sharon Okonkwo-Holmes, an internal medicine specialist and REACH (Reflection, Education, Assessment, Coaching, Health, and well-being) coach for first-year medical students at the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine (KPSOM), describes a concept shared with students called the ABCs of resilience: adversity, beliefs, consequences. These include understanding that:

  • Adverse events/triggers don't lead to how we feel/react. We must first interpret and explain the trigger before our brain constructs our emotional reaction.
  • Although we cannot control adverse or positive events, we CAN choose which beliefs to focus on and thus influence more useful emotional and behavioral consequences.
  • People with a resilient mindset don't stay stuck in "thinking traps." They can challenge and change how strongly they attach to a belief.
  • Our beliefs are the words we use all the time to interpret or explain events around us and they shape how we feel or behave. Resilient people don't attach as much to destructive beliefs and learn to attach more strongly to useful or empowering beliefs.

How can I be more resilient?

The good news? We all have the ability to be resilient. And we are typically more resilient than we think.

There are some common behaviors people with a resilient mindset share. They tend to have an optimistic outlook and a growth versus fixed mindset. Those with a fixed mindset believe that their intelligence, skills and abilities are static and strive for success, avoiding failure at all costs. Those with a growth mindset, in contrast, view challenges as an opportunity for development and expanding their abilities. This is additionally important because it plays into our capacity to think from multiple perspectives and learn from past experiences.

Resilient people cultivate and maintain healthy relationships. This includes enacting boundaries in order to manage relationships. Resilient people are curious and they find the humor. Children tend to naturally have both of these. As we enter into adulthood, these behaviors tend to decrease. Studies show that children laugh an average of 300 to 400 times per day versus 20 or less for adults.

Because resilience is a skill, there are accessible tools we can utilize to help build and strengthen our resilience. It just requires some intention and self-reflection.

Strategies for cultivating a resilient mindset and preventing burnout

Practicing mindfulness, moment-to-moment awareness of one's experience without judgment, is key and often gets lost when we are stressed or overwhelmed. It's important to remember that you can do anything mindfully.

As the Health and Well-Being Program Manager at KPSOM, I work with our medical students to create a personalized well-being plan that utilizes a holistic approach. The following are some of the strategies and techniques I use when helping people find ways to incorporate well-being into their lives:

1. Belly breathing

When we are stressed or anxious, our breathing tends to be quick and shallow. A strategy I recommend is diaphragmatic breathing, deep breathing or "belly breathing." Belly breathing allows us to fully engage the stomach, abdominal muscles and diaphragm. Doing so fills our lungs more efficiently versus shallow breathing centered in the chest.

If you aren't sure you are breathing this way, you can place one hand on your upper chest and another on your belly. Breathe in (counting to 4 helps!) through your nose and exhale (count to 4 again) through your nose, holding for a pause between. The hand on your stomach should be the only hand moving. This technique helps lower stress and reset your heartrate. It is a strategy you can easily employ when you are feeling overwhelmed and out of balance. You can also teach the technique to your children and practice together.

2. Meditation

Even if just done briefly, meditation is extremely helpful and an example of a mindfulness practice. Another colleague, Dr. La Tanya Hines, an obstetrician and gynecologist who also serves as a professor of Clinical Sciences at the school, plays a short video for patients who come in feeling overwhelmed that teaches them how to meditate. "It talks them through a one-minute meditation and shows them that in just 60 seconds quieting your mind will help you re-establish focus and accomplish whatever it is you think you want to do," said Dr. Hines.

There are many free apps, like Insight Timer, that provide a range of guided meditations.

3. Exercise

Exercise, or simply adding some movement into your day is a great way to mitigate stress and tend to your well-being. You can even incorporate your children in appropriate-level workouts and bond with them at the same time. While experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week (which you can break down any way you'd like), this may feel daunting or unrealistic. However, any amount of movement during your day makes a difference. This can include walking your dog, doing some yoga poses, going for a bike ride, or having a dance party with your kids. There is also a ton of free workout content online.

4. Pay attention to your spiritual, mental health and financial well-being.

Take time to figure out what nourishes you. A little honest self-care check-in goes a long way. How are you really feeling? What's working and what's not? Are there things you can change or improve? What do you need? What are you proud of? What can you let go of? Once you have checked in with yourself, you can readjust accordingly.

5. Practice sleep hygiene

Most adults do not get enough sleep. For many of us, this is the norm, but sleep deprivation (six hours or less per night) has become the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease outside of genetic predisposition according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Your body needs sleep to recharge and perform optimally. And, getting sufficient sleep, both in quantity and quality, is essential for stress management and overall well-being.

Here are some ways to improve your sleep hygiene:

  • Eliminating electronics in the bedroom or bed
  • Keeping your room at a comfortable, low temperature
  • Creating a cozy and inviting bed
  • Maintaining a dark room
  • Developing a bedtime ritual or routine

6. Spend time in nature

Studies have shown that 3 to 5 minutes in nature helps alleviate stress. Even if you can't work a hike into your routine, sitting outside, gardening or even just looking out the window helps.

7. Write it down

When you see a therapist, the mere practice of saying aloud what is bothering you, getting it out of your mind and body, is helpful for self-reflection and perspective-taking. Journaling can have a similar impact.

8. Cultivate healthy relationships

Pay attention to how you feel after social interactions. Do you feel nourished or depleted? Do you need to create or modify your boundaries?

9. Practice self-compassion

The person you speak to most is yourself. And the things we say to ourselves are not always kind, helpful or even true. Identify self-affirmations that you know are true, which can be something as simple as, "I care about my family." By focusing on self-affirmations, we actually change the way we narrate our lives.

10. Be realistic

Be realistic, but also find joy and let yourself laugh. Reflect on what you can realistically fit into your day to reduce stress and enhance your well-being. When can you take a break, do something you enjoy, and find balance? What makes you laugh? Maybe it's a quick meditation, listening to a podcast, or chatting with a friend.

Building resilience takes practice and intention. Just like learning any skill, it is not a linear process, but rather one that ebbs and flows. I advocate taking a scaffolding approach, in which one skill builds on another. This could be trying five minutes of yoga this week and building to 10 minutes next week or starting to journal. Little things go a long way.

If attempts to manage your stress are not working as effectively as you would like, you may need additional external support. Help-seeking behavior is healthy, and this may be the time to find a support group or perhaps a professional to work with one-on-one. Psychology Today can be a helpful place to start.

Remember, it is all about finding what works best for you and creating well-being practices that provide moments of balance to your day. Some days you will feel better than others in managing the many stressors of parenting and your life. While easier said than done, it is important to not put extra pressure on yourself to always "get it right." After all, superhuman moms are human too.

In This Article


    When you ask any two mamas to share their experience with breastfeeding, you are bound to get very unique answers. That's because while the act of breastfeeding is both wonderful and natural, it also comes with a learning curve for both mothers and babies.

    In some cases, breastfeeding won't be the right path for everyone. But with the right tools, resources and social support systems, we can make progress toward the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation to continue breastfeeding through the first year of a child's life. After all, breastfeeding helps nourish infants, protects them against illnesses, develops their immune systems and more. Not to mention that mothers who breastfeed experience reduced risk for breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

    With National Breastfeeding Awareness Month this month, it's a great time for mamas (and expectant mamas!) to gather the supplies that will support their feeding journey—whether it looks like exclusively breastfeeding, pumping or combo-feeding.

    Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

    Designed for regular use, this double electric breast pump allows mamas to customize the cycle and vacuum settings that work for them. The 100% SoftShape™ silicone shields on this pump form-fit to a wide range of breast shapes and sizes—which means more comfortable, more efficient pumping. And every pump comes with two complete Dr. Brown's Options+ bottles, giving you everything you need to go from pumping to feeding.


    Dr. Brown’s™ Breast Milk Collection Bottles

    There's no need to cry over spilled milk—because it won't happen with these storage bottles! Make the pump-to-feeding transition simpler with Dr. Brown's Milk Collection Bottles. The bottles adapt to Dr. Brown's electric pumps to easily fill, seal and transport, and they work with Dr. Brown's bottle and nipple parts when your baby's ready to eat. (Meaning no risky pouring from one bottle to another. 🙌)


    Breast Milk Storage Bags

    With an extra-durable design and double zip seal, your breast milk will stay fresh and safe in the fridge or freezer until it's needed. Plus, the bags are easy to freeze flat and then store for up to six months, so your baby can continue drinking breast milk long after you are done nursing.


    Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump with Options+™ Bottle & Bag

    Here's something they don't tell you about breastfeeding ahead of time: While feeding your baby on one side, the other breast may "let down" milk, too. With this one-piece Silicone Breast Pump, you don't have to let those precious drops go to waste. The flexible design makes pouring the milk into a bottle stress-free.


    Dr. Brown’s® Manual Breast Pump

    No outlet in sight? No worries! With this powerful-yet-gentle Manual Breast Pump, you can get relief from engorgement, sneak in some quick midnight pumping or perform a full pumping session without any electricity needed. With Dr. Brown's 100% silicone SoftShape™ Shield, the hand-operated pump is as comfortable as it is easy to use. Complete with Dr. Brown's® Options+™ Anti-Colic Wide-Neck Bottle, a storage travel cap and cleaning brush, consider this the breastfeeding essential for any mama who has places to go.


    Options+™ Anti-Colic Baby Bottle

    With the soft silicone nipple and natural flow design of these bottles, your baby can easily switch between breast and bottle. Clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to the vent, your baby can enjoy a happy tummy after feeding sessions—without as much spit-up, burping or gas! By mimicking the flow and feel of the breast, these bottles help support your breastfeeding experience.


    This post is sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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    7 hacks for simplifying after-school snacks

    Prepping delicious and nutritious foods shouldn't take all day.

    When you're in the middle of the school year and managing a family, each minute of time becomes very precious. Sometimes that means healthy food choices in the household can take a backseat. But don't stress it, mama. Prepping delicious and nutritious choices for the kids to munch on doesn't need to take all day.

    Remember to keep it fun, simple and interactive! Here are tips for simplifying after-school snacks once and for all:

    1. Prep snacks on Sunday

    This simple trick can make the rest of the week a breeze. Tupperware is your friend here, you can even write different days of the week on each container to give the kids a little surprise every day. I really like storage with compartments for snack prep. Personally, I slice apples, carrots or cucumbers to pair with almond butter and hummus—all great to grab and go for when you're out all day and need some fresh variety.

    2. When in doubt, go for fruit

    Fruit is always a quick and easy option. I suggest blueberries, clementine oranges, apples, frozen grapes or even unsweetened apple sauce and dried fruit, like mixed fruit. It's fun to put together a fruit salad, too. Simply cut up all the fruit options and let the kids decide how they'd like to compile. Prepped fruit is also great to have on hand for smoothies, especially when it's been sitting in the fridge for a few days—throw it in the blender with some nut milk and voila.

    3. Pair snacks with a dip

    Hummus is a great dip to keep on hand with lots of versatility or you can grab a yogurt-based dip. Easy and healthy dippers include pre-sliced veggies, baby carrots and multigrain tortilla chips. Plain hummus is a great way to introduce seasonings and spices too—shake a little turmeric, add fresh basil and you'd be surprised what your kids will take to.

    4. Have high-protein options readily available

    Snacks with high protein, like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs and jerky will fuel kids for hours. One of my favorites is a turkey stick, which is a fun addition to the hummus platter. Just slice into bite-sized pieces. I love cottage cheese because it can go savory or sweet, use as a dip with your prepped veggies, or drizzle pure maple syrup and sprinkle with berries.

    5. Always keep the pantry stocked

    Monthly deliveries keeps the pantry updated without a trip to grocery store. Many kids are big fans of popcorn, granola and pretzels. We like to DIY our own snack packs with a little popcorn, pretzels, nuts and whatever else is in the pantry so there's always something different!

    6. Make cracker tartines

    I love the idea of replicating popular restaurant dishes for kids. Here are some of my favorite snack-sized tartines using any crisp bread, or favorite flat cracker of your choice as the base. There are no rules and kids love adding toppings and finding new combinations they love.

    • Avocado crackers: Use a cracker and then layer with thinly sliced avocado, a dollop of fresh ricotta cheese topped with roasted pepitas or sunflower seeds.
    • Tacos: The base for this is a black bean spread—just drain a can of black beans, rinse and place into a wide bowl. With a fork or potato masher, lightly smush the beans until chunky. Spread onto your cracker and top with tomato, cheddar cheese and black olives. Try out a dollop of super mild salsa or some lime zest to introduce some new flavor profiles.
    • A play on PB&J: Smear peanut butter, almond or a favorite sun butter on the cracker. I like to get a mix it up a bit and put fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries and tiny diced apples) and a little bit of dried fruit sprinkled on top.

    7. Pre-make smoothie pops

    The easy part about meal prep is the prep itself, but knowing exactly how much to make ahead is tricky. Freeze a smoothie in popsicle molds to have a healthy treat ready-to-go snack. They're super simple to make: Add any fruit (I like apples, berries, pineapples and mangoes) and veggies (carrots, steamed beet and wilted kale) to a blender with your favorite nut milk until you have consistency just a bit thinner than a smoothie. Pour into your trusty reusable popsicle molds and then into the freezer to make an ice pop so good they could eat them for breakfast.

    Family Foodies

    15 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

    So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Stomp Racers

    As longtime fans of Stomp Rockets, we're pretty excited about their latest launch–Stomp Racers. Honestly, the thrill of sending things flying through the air never gets old. Parents and kids alike can spend hours launching these kid-powered cars which take off via a stompable pad and hose.


    Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

    Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

    Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don't think it will be put away too often!)


    Secret Agent play set


    This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


    Stepping Stones


    Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.


    Sand play set

    B. toys Wagon & Beach Playset - Wavy-Wagon Red

    For the littlest ones, it's easy to keep it simple. Take their sand box toys and use them in the bath! This 12-piece set includes a variety of scoops, molds and sifters that can all be stored in sweet little wagon.


    Sensory play set


    Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


    Foam pogo stick


    Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.




    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.


    Hopper ball

    Hopper ball

    Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.


    Pull-along ducks


    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


    Rocking chair seesaw


    This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.


    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


    Even 5 hours of screen time per day is OK for school-aged kids, says new study

    Researchers found screen time contributes to stronger peer relationships and had no effect on depression and anxiety. So maybe it isn't as bad as we thought?

    MoMo Productions/Getty Images

    If you've internalized some parental guilt about your own child's screen time usage, you're not alone. Numerous studies have shown that exposure to significant amounts of screen time in children leads to an increased risk of depression and behavioral issues, poor sleep and obesity, among other outcomes. Knowing all this can mean you're swallowing a big gulp of guilt every time you unlock the iPad or turn on the TV for your kiddo.

    But is screen time really that bad? New research says maybe not. A study published in September 2021 of 12,000 9- and 10-year-olds found that even when school-aged kids spend up to 5 hours per day on screens (watching TV, texting or playing video games), it doesn't appear to be that harmful to their mental health.

    Researchers found no association between screen usage and depression or anxiety in children at this age.

    In fact, kids who had more access to screen time tended to have more friends and stronger peer relationships, most likely thanks to the social nature of video gaming, social media and texting.

    The correlations between screen time and children's health

    But those big social benefits come with a caveat. The researchers also noted that kids who used screens more frequently were in fact more likely to have attention problems, impacted sleep, poorer academic performance and were more likely to show aggressive behavior.

    Without a randomized controlled trial, it's hard to nail down these effects as being caused directly by screens. The study's authors analyzed data from a nationwide study known as the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (ABCD Study), the largest long-term study of brain development and children's health in the country. They relied on self-reported levels of screen time from both children and adults (it's funny to note that those reported numbers differed slightly depending on who was asked… ).

    It's important to remember that these outcomes are just correlations—not causations. "We can't say screen time causes the symptoms; instead, maybe more aggressive children are given screen devices as an attempt to distract them and calm their behavior," says Katie Paulich, lead author of the study and a PhD student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Also worth noting is that a child's socioeconomic status has a 2.5-times-bigger impact on behavior than screens.

    Weighing the benefits with the risks will be up to you as the parent, who knows your child best. And because we live in a digital world, screens are here to stay, meaning parents often have little choice in the matter. It's impossible to say whether recreational screen time is fully "good" or "bad" for kids. It's maybe both.

    "When looking at the strength of the correlations, we see only very modest associations," says Paulich. "That is, any association between screen time and the various outcomes, whether good or bad, is so small it's unlikely to be important at a clinical level." It's all just part of the overall picture.

    A novel look at screen time in adolescents

    The researchers cite a lack of studies examining the relationship between screen time and health outcomes in this specific early-adolescence age group, which is one of the reasons why this study is so groundbreaking. The findings don't apply to younger children—or older adolescents, who may be starting to go through puberty.

    Screen time guidelines do exist for toddlers up to older kids, but up to 1.5 hours per day seems unattainable for many young adolescents, who often have their own smartphones and laptops, or at least regular access to one.

    Of course, more research is needed, but that's where this study can be helpful. The ABCD study will follow the 12,000 participants for another 10 years, following up with annual check-ins. It'll be interesting to see how the findings change over time: Will depression and anxiety as a result of screen time be more prevalent as kids age? We'll have to wait and see.

    The bottom line? Parents should still be the gatekeepers of their child's screen time in terms of access and age-appropriateness, but, "our early research suggests lengthy time on screen is not likely to yield dire consequences," says Paulich.

    Children's health

    Mom and gorilla bond over their babies at the zoo: ‘It was so beautiful’

    The new mothers shared a special moment at a Boston zoo.

    Franklin Park Zoo/YouTube

    Motherhood knows no bounds.

    When Kiki the gorilla spotted a new mom and baby visiting her habitat at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, she immediately took a liking to the pair. Emmelina Austin held her five-week-old son Canyon to the glass so Kiki could get a better look.

    The gorilla spent nearly five minutes happily pointing and staring at baby Canyon.

    Emmelina's husband captured the sweet moment on his phone, in a video that's now gone viral.

    Mother shares unique maternal bond with gorilla (FULL VIDEO) www.youtube.com

    Why was Kiki so interested in her tiny visitor? Possibly because Kiki's a new mom herself. Her fifth baby, Pablo, was born in October.

    Near the end of the video, Kiki scooped up Pablo and held him close. The new moms held their baby boys to the glass and shared a special moment together: just a couple of mothers, showing off their little ones.

    "When I walked into the zoo that day, I never could've imagined that we would have had that experience," Austin told ABC News. "It was so beautiful, and we walked out just over the moon."

    We can't get enough of the sweet exchange. There's something special about sharing your little one with the world. Mothers of all ages, races–and it turns out, species–understand.

    Our favorite viral mama + kid videos