To the mamas without moms this Mother's Day

It's a lonely, raw, heart-wrenching kind of pain to be without her.

To the mamas without moms this Mother's Day

Oh, mama. My heart breaks with you—for you. Trying to mother when your own mother is physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually unavailable is an unparalleled kind of pain. The kind that makes us yell, then sob in the privacy of our own homes.

Now maybe you're lucky enough to have a fantastic husband, or father, or sister, or godmother, or mother-in-law.

But it's not the same. We know.

Because we still long for our own mother. We want her here—available, present, connected, involved. With her grandchildren. With us.

But she isn't.

She isn't able to lend a hand when we need serious help with meals and laundry and bathing and shopping and soothing the baby (or us) as we fall through the days that follow giving birth. She isn't able to watch the kids so we can dash to the doctor or to the bank or the therapist or work or a meeting.

She isn't able to support our parenting, relate to our mom-fears, suggest remedies for kid sickness or offer advice on behavior issues. She isn't able to validate the difficult job we're doing, the beautiful children we're trying to raise (without has as part of our village). She isn't able to offer help when we need to escape—for a few sanity minutes or vacation or a seriously overdue date with our partners.

She isn't able to play big trucks or pretty ponies, to read books, to snuggle, to take kids on fun Grandma dates, to cheer them on, to cheer them up. She isn't able to say "I love you," or "I am so proud of you" or "oh, honey, come here" with a warm, reassuring hug—for them and for us.

Maybe your mother is deceased. Maybe she's far away—in physical distance or the distance of her own mind. Maybe her emotions are stony, flat, absent. Maybe she's an addict and still addicted. Maybe she's physically present, but there's tension and a clash of personalities. Maybe she leans on you for support. Maybe something else takes her away—other family members, a job, illness, unresolved conflict, or deep, personal wounds.

Whatever the reason, it hurts. I know it does, mama.

It's a lonely, raw, heart-wrenching kind of pain to be without her. Without her hands, her ears, her mind, her eyes, her heart. Without her comfort, her insight, her help, her approval.

And while it won't be the same, while it won't be a total fix for our struggle, there's something those of us who miss our mothers can do.

We can mother each other.

It sounds silly. If you just rolled your eyes, I get it. But hear me out.

We can reach out and mother another mother, because who on earth can better recognize and mitigate this motherless hurt, this hole, than us?

It doesn't have to be a colossal effort.

We can volunteer to watch another mother's kids (without her asking) for a couple hours. So she can go on a date or get her haircut or spend some quality time reconnecting with her faith or a friend.

We can watch her kids when she asks, too—so she can get to that critical appointment or to work, even though daycare is closed.

We can share our personal mothering struggles, in an open and honest way that will make her feel safe enough to share her own. We can listen and nod, with judgement-free eyebrows and soft, short murmurs which will encourage her to continue, and we won't cut her off with proposed solutions.

We can tell her that we look up to her; we can acknowledge the amazing job she is doing. We can tell her how she is a really good mom, how we admire her beautiful family. We can ask her how in the world she does it all and does it all so well. We can marvel at how she makes mothering look so natural and easy.

We can do for her what she needs—what we need—without making it less sincere by asking or expecting her to return the favor.

Because there still is a return favor, a karma-like effect, a boomerang grace. Somehow, giving away exactly what we want and need, brings us the most unlikely kind of satisfaction. I can't explain why it works; it just does.

And trust me, mama—it's healing.

As much as I love fall, it always feels like the season when my family's routine gets kicked into overdrive. With our oldest in (homeschool) kindergarten, my youngest on the brink of entering her twos, work, housework and *all the things* filling my day, it's hard not to feel a little overwhelmed sometimes. Did I mention we're still in a pandemic? (Yeah, it's a lot.) And while I try to take a positive view as much as I can, now more than ever I definitely jump at the chance to take anything off my busy plate.

One thing first in line at the chopping block? Cooking. To be fair, I like cooking. I cooked most of our meals long before I had ever even heard of social distancing. But there's something about the pandemic that suddenly made cooking every single meal feel exponentially more draining.

Enter Daily Harvest. They deliver nourishing, delicious food right to your door. Daily Harvest's mix of smoothies, bowls, flatbreads, snacks and more provide a balanced, whole food options that are as satisfying as they are nutritious. But my favorite part? When we're ready to eat, I simply pull the food from the freezer and it's ready in minutes—without any chopping, measuring or searching for a recipe. Even better, they're incredibly tasty, meaning I'm not struggling to get my girls to dig in. Not cooking has never felt so good.

Here are my 8 favorite products that are helping to lighten my load right now:

Mulberry + Dragonfruit Oat Bowl

Mulberry + Dragonfruit Oat Bowl

One thing that actually helps break up the monotony of quarantine? Trying and introducing new ingredients to my family. I love this overnight oat bowl (add milk the night before and let it set in your fridge overnight—easy-peasy!) because not only does it not compromise on nutrition, but it also helps me bring new whole fruits, vegetables and superfoods to the table with ease.

Mint + Cacao Smoothie

Mint + Cacao Smoothie

I kid you not, these taste exactly like a mint chocolate chip milkshake. (Just ask my 4-year-old, who is constantly stealing sips from my glass.) What she doesn't know? She's actually getting organic banana, spinach and chlorella with every sip. #momwin

Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

Our family's eating habits have been leaning more plant-forward this year, which often means a lot of veggie washing, peeling and chopping every time I cook. That's why these flatbreads are my new best friend come lunchtime. This Kabocha + Sage Flatbread is made with a gluten-free cauliflower crust topped with kabocha squash, fennel and sage for a taste of fall in every bite. (Missing the cheese? You can add it before baking for more of a pizza feel.)

Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

There's something about the combination of sweet potato crust topped with red cabbage, organic greens and an herby-cilantro sauce that is so delicious… like surprisingly delicious. I polished off this bad boy in seconds! And unlike other "veggie" crusts I've tried, these are actually clean (AKA no fillers, preservations, partially-hydrogenated oil or artificial anything). Plus, it couldn't be easier to throw in the oven between conference calls and homeschool lessons.

Cacao + Avocado Smoothie

Cacao + Avocado Smoothie

Any time I get to serve a breakfast that tastes like chocolate, it's a good day. (That goes double when it's *my* breakfast.) This rich, chocolatey smoothie is packed with organic zucchini, avocado, pumpkin seeds and pea protein for a nourishing mix of healthy fats and muscle-building protein so I can carry that baby all day long. And did I mention the chocolate?

Vanilla Bean + Apple Chia Bowl

Vanilla Bean + Apple Chia Bowl

Maybe it's just me, but after a long week of cooking, the last thing I want to do on Saturday morning is...wake up and cook. That's why these one-step breakfasts are saving my weekend. I simply add our favorite milk the night before and store the bowl in the fridge overnight. Come morning, I have a nutritious chia bowl that powers me through even the busiest day of errands. It's also Instagram-ready, which makes me feel like I'm out brunching (even if I can't remember the last time I was in a restaurant).

Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

My kids have turned into snack monsters during quarantine, and I'm often struggling to find a wholesome option (that doesn't require a lot of extra cooking or else I resort to something ultra-refined and shelf-stable). These bites are the hero I never knew I needed. For one, they taste like cookie dough, but they're actually packed with chickpeas, pumpkin, dates and flax seed (among other whole ingredients). But unlike actual cookie dough, I don't have to go anywhere near my mixer to whip them up—all I have to do is pull the container out of the freezer, let them defrost a bit and we can all enjoy a treat.

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Sometimes I have a little more time to cook, but I still want a quick, stress-free solution. (Especially because it always feels like I just cleaned up from the last meal.) I love these Harvest Bowls because they warm up in under five minutes on the stove top (or microwave!) but pack tons of flavor. The Cauliflower Rice + Pesto bowl is one of my favorites, with basil, olive oil and nutritional yeast for a hearty dish reminiscent of a mouth-watering Italian meal. When I'm feeling extra fancy, I add leftover grilled chicken or a fried egg.

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Who doesn't want to end the day with a little something sweet? This creamy and decadent frozen treat from Daily Harvest is swirled with sweet berries and tropical dragonfruit for an antioxidant burst you'll feel good about—but that your kiddos will just think is ice cream. Go ahead, take credit for being the best mom ever.

Want to try it yourself? You can get $25 off your first box of Daily Harvest with code MOTHERLY.

This article was sponsored by Daily Harvest. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas

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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

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Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

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