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We've practically been conditioned to think of the famous Mr. Rogers quote about "the helpers" while experiencing a crisis—something hideous and horrible happening around us—like a natural disaster, mass shooting or terrorist attack.

Now it comes to mind during this pandemic: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'"

Our modern-day faux-Mr. Rogers, Tom Hanks, referenced it over the weekend. After he and his wife Rita Wilson shared that they tested positive for coronavirus in Australia last week, he tweeted: "Thanks to the Helpers. Let's take care of ourselves and each other. Hanx".

I know when Mr. Rogers said this, he meant it for toddlers during scary times—but his words provide comfort for many adults, too. Looking for the heroes, searching for any bit of positivity, can help us feel better—like someone is in control in a world that often feels out of control.

So to the helpers: Thank you. From the bottom of our hearts.


To the medical and health care workers navigating unchartered waters, who I am sure are overwhelmed as they put their health and lives at risk in order to make sure others are well cared for—thank you for your dedication, your utter selflessness and your skill.

To the researchers working tirelessly on a coronavirus vaccine—thank you for your efficiency, your knowledge, your determination.

To the first responders preparing for the unknown, whose jobs never stop, who are collecting supplies where they can, being resourceful where they need to be—thank you for your bravery and strength.

To the grocery store employees stocking shelves, working the chaotic checkout lines and watching the hysteria in real-time—thank you for your hard work, your calm demeanors, your smile as we pay for our things.

To the community leaders putting together plans to get meals to students who depend on food from school, the ones handing out free hand sanitizers and masks to the elderly, the ones creating Facebook groups to connect people to others who need help and to keep us informed about what's going on locally—thank you for taking initiative. For taking action when we needed it.

To the Amazon Prime, Instacart, Whole Foods delivery workers, to our local mail carriers—thank you for your supremely helpful services. It's scary to think about running out of food or medicine or wanting to order supplies and not being able to. Thank you for allowing us the ability to, from the comfort of our homes.

To the nursing home staff workers who are protecting some of the most important citizens of our country—thank you for caring for our parents, grandparents and our children's great grandparents. I can only imagine the anxiety some of these folks might be feeling, including my own grandfather. Thank you for being there for them, when we cannot be.

To the principals and teachers communicating with nervous parents, who created packets and systems for us to use at home during school closures, who are emailing us ideas and initiating a sense of community virtually—thank you. We know you're unsure and nervous, too. The time and effort you're taking to make sure we're all prepared are appreciated and valued more than you know.

To the people running free virtual sobriety support meetings, the educational companies offering free memberships to parents navigating schooling their children at home, the museums giving us free virtual access, the fitness companies providing free trials or discounted virtual memberships, understanding employers giving home office setup stipends, the restaurants now delivering, the bloggers or homeschoolers helping to ease intimidated parents' worries with many activities ideas and scheduling ideas—thank you for your compassion, your thoughtfulness, your ingenuity. We're "going" to the Cincinnati Zoo today at 3 pm because of it!

To the grandparents who—in a lot of scenarios—are the caregivers for our children while we work. Thank you for offering to come watch the kids even with what is going on—but don't. We need to protect you. Stay home, and stay safe. Thank you for the virtual book party offer (we're scheduling you in!), for the many FaceTime calls, the support and encouragement. Just as in non-pandemic times, we couldn't do this without you.

To our local government officials providing updated guidance and support during these confusing and completely foreign times. Thank you for allowing us the ability to look to you with confidence, knowing you're looking out for us, your constituents.

To the viral, feel-good stories keeping us afloat—like reading about Steph and Ayesha Curry donating 1 million meals to children who rely on the education system to eat or the woman who bought groceries for the frightened elderly couple calling out to her from their car. To the beautiful singing citizens of Siena, Italy whose video brought us to tears—thank you for restoring our faith in humanity.

To our friends and family members staying connected through calls, texts, FaceTimes—thank you for checking in, for letting us vent, for listening to our worries. Thank you for inviting us to those helpful Facebook groups, for sending us links to boredom-busting ideas for our kids. Just knowing we're there for each other provides a much-needed sense of safety. Even though we must socially distance ourselves, we don't have to be emotionally distant.

And honestly? To whoever is taking care of our faux-Mr. Rogers, Tom Hanks and his incredible wife Rita Wilson—thank you for protecting two national treasures. We need them.

We need you all, all the helpers. You are changing the world in real-time. You are lifesavers and heroes.

And now it's our turn to help the helpers.

We can do that by staying home. Let's band together and give our medical workforce a fighting chance against this. Let's protect the elderly and immunocompromised. Let's limit the spread.

Let's stay home, together.

Let's all be helpers in any way we can be.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

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When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


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