My fellow mama martyrs: Say ‘yes’ the next time someone offers help

Even mamas need some help. And there’s no shame in that. ?

My fellow mama martyrs: Say ‘yes’ the next time someone offers help

We, the mama martyrs, will never admit that this is who we are.

We, the mama martyrs, are terrible at accepting help. We think we are somehow lesser mothers, or not entitled to sport that badge of honor, if we don’t do everything–everything–ourselves.

We, the mama martyrs, will make excuses, over and over, for why we have to keep essentially torturing ourselves and running ourselves into the ground, because it is for the sake of our children and more importantly, because “that’s what a good mother does.”

We, the mama martyrs, need to stop. We need to stop.

Both of my kids have gone through, and still go through, absolutely terrible, terrible sleep phases. My husband tells me on a regular basis to sleep in another room and leave the sleepless child to him so that I can get some rest. He is an amazing and capable father and it would probably all go just fine.


And yet, in our almost three years of co-parenting kids who don’t sleep, I have never taken him up on that offer.

“She’s teething–she needs me to comfort her. No, it’s probably a growth spurt so she needs to nurse all night. Oh, it’s OK, you have to go to work in the morning. I think she might be coming down with something, so I’d better not just in case.”

With Tuna, our first, I micro-managed everything so hard that he actually had to sit me down and tell me to let go. I felt like I had to do everything related to the baby myself. I stubbornly refused help. When he tried to do something, I’d point out 2,356 reasons why it wasn’t done right (a.k.a. my way) and exasperatedly do the whole, “Here, let me just do it.”

But the key thing here is it was me who felt that way. It was pressure I put on myself because I felt like if I wasn’t suffering, and struggling, and going half crazy, then I wasn’t doing it right.

The thing with being a mama martyr is that it will creep up on you without you even realizing it.

I’ve been going to the gym for the past couple of months. I leave the kids in the care of someone else for a couple of hours and dash out to get a workout in.

It has changed my life.

I’ll almost always grab a coffee when I’m done, maybe squeeze in a luxurious grocery store run on my own and then come back to my kids rejuvenated and excited to see them. I’ll even go so far as to say that having that time to myself and exercising has made me a more positive person and definitely a better mother.

This morning however, even before I left the house, there was a tut-tutting little voice in the back of my head. It’s a voice that I know well. She’s always there in the background, with her head cocked to the side and eyes slightly narrowed, giving me a look and asking me with a false concern, but a genuine intention to induce guilt, “Do you think you’re doing your best as a mother today?”

I felt a lump right in the center of my chest as I sat in the car, having just kissed my 2-and-a-half-year-old goodbye as she gleefully ran off to play. She didn’t have a care in the world and wasn’t troubled at all by the fact that I was leaving. The lump burrowed deeper into my heart and expanded to the pit of my stomach. I felt sick with guilt. I wasn’t leaving to go to work, or something that I had to do out of pure necessity. It was voluntary. It was purely for my benefit. And it was, well, fun.

I found myself turning to my own mother, who lives in a different time zone, thousands of miles away, but always answers my messages especially when I drop these penetrating motherhood-bomb-questions on her. Our Whatsapp message history dating back to circa March 2014 when Tuna was born should really be edited into a book on new motherhood.

“Did you ever feel guilty when you left us with someone to go do something for yourself?” I typed out my Big Question of the day and hit the send button.

“Normal. I always felt guilty and imagined the worst,” she replied a little while later.

Oh my gosh. We are the same person, I thought to myself.

“Why do we feel like the only way to be a good mother is to give 100000% of ourselves until there is nothing left? We’re honestly nuts,” I said to her.

She agreed. And told me it was probably also genetic. We laughed–or, rather, “LOL-ed.”

This is a problem though. Why are we as mothers equating the complete and utter obliteration of our own needs and enjoyment with being a good mother?

Why are we consciously and deliberately rejecting genuine offers of help and support in favour of doing it ourselves because otherwise we feel guilty that it wasn’t us that did it for our child?

These days, when I come home from the gym, I take it upon myself to take my parenting up 12,402 notches because I feel like I need to put every last drop of myself into compensating for the fact that I abandoned and neglected my babies for a couple of hours. This should be a consequence of the fact that because I’ve taken some time for myself, I actually want to do all of these things, but if I’m taking a real, honest, hard look at myself, part of why I do it is because of the guilt. It’s like a ridiculous self-imposed punishment.

If today has not consumed you, if today has not taken away every single last ounce of energy away from you, if you’re not exhausted and on the brink of insanity at the end of the day–then you’re doing it wrong and you haven’t mothered hard enough.

We’re crazy. Honestly, we’re crazy.

And look, because this is the internet, and because this ain’t my first rodeo, I know there will be those of you who will say, “I don’t relate to this. I’ve never for one day in my life felt this way. How can I pour from an empty glass? My kids do not define me” and so on and so forth. That’s great. No, I genuinely mean it. I’m glad you’ve come to that landing point so early on because—well—some of us are still working on it.

So, my dear, sweet, exhausted, fellow mama martyr–the next time someone offers to watch your toddler while you take a nap, say yes.

The next time he tells you to take a day to yourself and just do whatever you like and leave the baby with him, say yes.

The next time your friend messages you asking if she could please bring you a home-cooked meal because she knows how meal-planning and cooking plummet to the bottom of the priorities list when you’ve just had a baby, for the love of all things good, say yes.

Say yes. There is no shame in not doing it all yourself. We weren’t meant to parent alone and in isolation. And I get that sometimes, you do have to do it all yourself. There are a multitude of circumstances out there that mean that help and support is scarce or impossible to facilitate.

But, if a genuine offer of help comes your way, even a small one, you are no less of a mother for saying “yes.”

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These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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