To the mama who doesn't have everything together—you're not alone

The mom I want to be is so much better than the mom I am.

Being a mom is the hardest job I have ever failed at—not in its entirety but in bits and pieces throughout my children's lives, often in subtle ways. My day-to-day is filled with micro failures that prevent me from achieving any semblance of "best mom ever" status.

My kids will tell you I am inordinately cranky after 8 pm and my husband would admit that my Type-A personality emerges and borders on neurotic in the face of stress and/or overcrowding.

I let my kids leave for school looking a little rough around the edges, with mismatched socks and bedhead hair. I short-order cook for dinner because I really want a sautéed onion, mushroom and spinach quesadilla and everyone else gags at the mere mention of it.

Inevitably it happens that I raise my voice, lower the boom, and then regret the paragon of maternal awesomeness that I am not.

It's easy to look at my maternal imperfections with self-condemnation. Why can't I just be better? What's wrong with me? The majority of other moms seem to have their stuff together and neatly organized in fashionable designer handbags while most days I am just lucky to have not forgotten my phone on the counter and my keys in the ignition.

With maturity (I've been doing this mom thing for a decade now) comes perspective and an eye for calling things by their name.Those designer bag-toting moms may look good on the surface but we all have weaknesses and insecurities that drive us to our knees.

For better or worse, imperfection is our reality. And maybe that awareness and the resolve to keep trying is what my kids really need to see from me.

I don't want to delude my kids into believing perfection is the end goal. I don't want them thinking they have to hold it all together because that is what their mama tried to do. We all need a little grit and a lot of grace to live the abundant, messy, joyful life that we are all capable of living.

Seeing me fail and own up to my imperfections is powerful, a vivid example of the humility and grace that I want my kids to know and practice in their own lives.

Excellence in anything doesn't just happen; it is the result of perseverance through repeated failure, believing that what you love is more important than your own bruised ego or any disparaging word anyone else has to say.

The mom I want to be, she gets it.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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For all the sweating and swimming I do in the summer, it seems illogical for my skin to be as parched as ever. But your mid-thirties (and 2020 in general) don't really seem to follow any rule book, so here we are.

A couple of months ago, I was on the lookout for a moisturizer that would not only keep my legs from looking like an ashy mess, but also truly nourish and benefit my skin. I've developed a deep interest in skin care for my face over the past few years and decided it's high time to extend that degree of consideration to the rest of my body. (After all, there's more of it, right?)

It's not that I'm too concerned with aging, but let's be real. If there's something that can be done to slow the Wrinkle Express, I'm going to give it a go. I also wanted to find something natural that wouldn't turn into a goopy mess the second I started sweating.

Enter: Esker's Firming Body Oil.

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We've all been there, the moment when we have to set our out of office message and let the world know that you won't be checking your email for a certain period of time. I've done it multiple times for vacations (remember those?) and for both of my births (coming back to work from those left me drowning in email).

But what about setting one up during these unprecedented times when all of us mamas are constantly behind on email?

Well, Khara Jabola-Carolus, the executive director of Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, has the most perfect OOO message for COVID-19 times. After she posted it on her personal Instagram last week with the caption, "My auto response during COVID. Don't suffer silently. Mothers over money!"it has since gone viral both for her and for other accounts that picked it up.

Her viral email auto-reply reads:

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