A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood
Print Friendly and PDF

When you see a mom struggling, help her

She’s about 10 feet away, struggling with her double stroller. How about going out of the way to hold the door?

Let’s seize the opportunities life gives us to make another mom’s day a little kinder. 

Maybe it’s a friendly smile or supportive word to the mom whose toddler is melting down in the restaurant, or telling a sleep-deprived mom with a newborn how cute her baby is and how awesome mama is, even if she doesn’t feel it right now.

Join Motherly

Maybe it’s picking up the binkie her baby just threw across the aisle in the department store.

Whatever it is, give the way you wish others would for you and your small act of support will go a long way in making someone’s day.

Set meaningful standards for yourself as a new mom

Not so you can beat yourself up on days you mess up, but so that you have an ideal of excellence to reach for, something worth achieving. Just like any job worth having, there are expectations worth setting.

You’re someone’s mother now, so ask yourself: What is a virtue you’d like to uphold? 

Maybe it’s deciding to give up foul language as much as possible (toe-stubbing-prompted “*&%$!” aside) especially around your little ones.

Maybe it’s deciding to ban violent or sexually exploitive movies around your kids, or altogether.

Maybe it’s deciding to give up smoking for the sake of your kids avoiding second-hand smoke.

Maybe it’s giving up criticizing your own appearance or gossiping about others in front of your kids.

Whatever it is: embrace the changes.

The little ones are watching and the respect they will feel for your good example is way better than the cheap and temporary high of any vice.

Reject media that mocks mothers

Commercials abound with images of the goofy and mocked, out-of-touch mother. I saw one in which a boy was aiming a dart at his mother’s rump while she dizzily worked out in their living room, huffing and puffing in tight spandex.

Then there’s the show with the cartoon kid shouting obnoxiously “Mom!” to which a cartoon idiot replies, “Yes, sweetums?” Yet another laughingstock of a mother, worthy of zero respect.

Then the entertainment news is talking about someone who got her bikini body back one month after baby, implying that anyone who takes a few more months is a failure.

Nothing shows your empowerment better than your lack of willingness to sit there and watch motherhood made into a mockery. 

When you turn the channel and say, “Wow, that’s so disrespectful “ or “How lame,” your kids notice, and they admire your moxie.

They congratulate themselves on having a smart mom.

Teach your kids how to treat you

Perhaps it’s deciding that your house is one where “please” and “thank you” will be expected, or in refusing to allow your kids to back-talk or use bad language.

Whatever rules of respect you set, they will make your children happier and make them feel safer than they would feel without healthy boundaries and rules of conduct.

End result? Greater respect for you, and for themselves.

Proudly admit your sacrifice

Becoming a mother is hard, sacrificial work, no matter how it happens. If you go through a pregnancy, you experience a challenging range of possible symptoms spanning from morning sickness, sleeplessness, round ligament pain, and swollen ankles, to headaches, fatigue, anxiety and painful contractions.

Childbirth offers a vaginal delivery complete with possible episiotomy or tearing and stitches; or a C-section complete with the experience of surgery.

In either case, you give of your body in a way that is far too often taken for granted instead of celebrated.

You endure physical pain and discomfort and it’s all for the noblest of causes: giving another life.

If you go through the process of adoption, you endure a long journey of hard work and red tape and bureaucratic hoops to jump through, all while holding your breath hoping you’ll soon have your little one.

Then there’s the first weeks of life with a newborn: the worry, the sleeplessness, the aches of breastfeeding, the sore arms and feet from hours of walking the floor with your little one.

My point is this: how often do women “forget” what they went through, or, to keep the myth of Superwoman/Supermom alive claim that pregnancy or those early sleepless nights were “a breeze” or take the attention off their sacrifice as quickly as they can say “but it was all worth it.”

YES, it is all worth it.

But it’s time to, en masse, start OWNING the sacrifices we make, the physical and emotional gifts we give so nobly.

Let’s be proud of it and not be afraid to say, to each other, and to the men and children in our lives (who have not experienced it firsthand) what an INCREDIBLE gift motherhood gives the world.

Let’s tell our stories with dignity (not for mere graphic shock-value) and grace.


To promote greater respect, of course, for mothers and women in general.

It is harder to objectify, demean or disregard women (and their bodies) when one has an authentic awareness of the amazing sacrifice of which they are capable.

No one would be here without it. Let’s celebrate that beautiful truth!

Extend maternal concern beyond your own children

You may not know it, but all that maternal energy of yours is actually a superpower.

It enables you to love more and give your motherly ways to the world.

When the time comes to donate to a charity, why not give to a children’s hospital or a cause that supports low-income single mothers?

When your kids want to raise awareness for a cause, why not recommend St. Jude Children’s Hospital or Shriner’s?

This teaches your children that good mothers care about all the innocent and needy young of the world, that

motherhood can be a global effort and vision that works to make this world a better place, one child at a time.

As mothers, let’s set the tone in the way we carry ourselves, in the dignity we project and the respect we inspire.

True matriarchs are fearlessly beautiful, selfless and self-assured.

As mothers, let’s set the bar high for the regard we show ourselves and other moms and way we are treated by our spouses, families, and children.

Let’s use our amazing maternal energy to help love and look out for children everywhere, to be active members of the village it takes to raise a generation of caring and respectful, community-minded people.

What an awesome adventure we’re on, don’t you think?

Annabelle Moseley is an award-winning poet, author, professor and speaker.

Join Motherly

Affirm yourself

Remind yourself there is no vocation, calling or job in this world that is more important or more worthy of respect, no more lasting way to influence the world than what you are doing.

Train the voice in your head to appreciate your beauty, strength and general awesomeness even on the toughest days.

In the beginning, you may have to “fake it to make it.”

You might find yourself saying you’re worthy and wonderful but not believing it.

Start by eliminating the negative criticism of yourself whenever it loops through your mind.

Stick with it! Over time, you’ll cultivate a healthy regard for yourself that will influence your family for the better.

Go out of your way to help a new mom

Whether it’s volunteering to babysit or bringing over a casserole, use your creativity and kindness to support another mom when she’s struggling through those first sleepless months.

Perhaps your children can come along to help play with the baby, or maybe they can help you make the brownies or pick out the flowers and come along for the drive to drop them off at her house.

On the drive over, talk positively about the wonderful sacrifice moms make, and how we should always value and support mothers.

What a great lesson for our next generation.

We owe our mothers the highest form of respect.

No one would be walking around this planet without the hard efforts of our bodies.

And no one can deny the profound contribution mothers make to the design of their children’s well-being and integrity.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln

“All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my mother.”

Why, then, do we live in a society that still manages to objectify, demean, overlook and under-appreciate the very half of the population that brings forth and shapes life through physical and emotional sacrifice?

And why do we not demand respect?

Why do we lose sight of the sacredness, the mystery, the profound impact of what we do?

Mothers are rock stars. Let’s own it, and let’s demand that the world acknowledge it, too.

Mothers deserve deep respect from their children and families, from society as a whole, and not least of all: from themselves.

Unfortunately, far too often, they do not receive the level of respect they deserve.

Despite the fact that motherhood requires a selfless gift of body, mind and heart, it is all too often taken for granted.

Let’s change that, together.

Here are 11 ways we can increase the world’s honor and respect for all things maternal:

Honor your own mother—or mother figure

Here’s what should be a simple concept that I hope catches on: the wise Asian concept of “filial piety,” that great Confucian virtue.

It’s the combination of respect, love and care for our parents and senior family members.

It involves a respect for our elders which comes from an awareness of their greater wisdom. 

This respect, in turn, assuages the fear of aging and so gives young people something to look forward to beyond their twenties.

It is a foundation for any culture that wishes to thrive.

Our kids want to give back to us when we set the standards.

I witnessed my mother’s filial piety to her parents. My mother talked to me when I was young about the high respect Asian families have for their elders and what a fantastic model that is for a society, and I still agree.

When my mother had a medical procedure, I cared for her.

We ran into one of my mother’s friends, Cathy, a few weeks later.

My mother told her how I had helped her, and I said, “It was a privilege. My mom took care of me my whole childhood; it’s the least I can do and I was happy to do it.” Cathy’s eyes filled with tears. “That is just so amazing that you feel that way,” she said, sniffling.

Why is that amazing, I wondered aloud?

I don’t think it is, or at least, it shouldn’t be. I respect and love my mother and consider it my duty to help her when I can.

“Well, we never want to our kids to feel obligated,” Cathy said.

Why not let our kids feel obligated? Obligation just means “a commitment.”

A healthy sense of obligation can make kids feel part of something bigger and so less anxious, more filled with purpose.

My mother never had to preach at me about obligation, she just modeled the behavior.

I grew up seeing my mother honor her parents and feeling, yes, obligated in the best and most awesome of ways.

So it was a given in my mind that I would do the same for my mom and model that behavior in turn for my own children.

Refuse to body-shame yourself—or other moms

It’s a fact: even the most beautiful women can be the most viciously critical of themselves, critiquing any extra pound or wrinkle.

Lighten up! As a mother, your body gave life, through birth or through adoption.

Battle scars of childbirth? Way more meaningful, way tougher (and therefore sexier) than any tattoo.

Your arms hug, your hands prepare food and smooth away tears, and your face is the moon and stars to your children.

How beautiful is that?

And while we’re seeing more beauty in ourselves, let’s do the same for others.

Gorgeous comes in all shapes and sizes and colors and ages. 

Refuse to be manipulated by ad campaigns insisting we’re not good enough without the latest product.

Celebrate each birthday with pride.

Recondition your eyes to see fabulous instead of flaws and not just in yourself, but in other moms.

Give compliments to other mamas, freely

Stop promoting competition and start promoting support.

Think something nice? Say it.

Admire something about another mom? Give her some love! It’s good Karma, after all.

There’s no better cure for envy and no quicker glue for friendship than appreciation. 

Try it; it’s empowering and it just might make another mom’s day.

The very best of Motherly — delivered when you need it most.

Subscribe for inspiration, empowering articles and expert tips to rock your best #momlife.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

We spend a lot of time prepping for the arrival of a baby. But when it comes to the arrival of our breast milk (and all the massive adjustments that come with it), it's easy to be caught off guard. Stocking up on a few breastfeeding essentials can make the transition to breastfeeding a lot less stressful, which means more time and energy focusing on what's most important: Your recovery and your brand new baby.

Here are the essential breastfeeding tools you'll need, mama:

1. For covering up: A cute nursing cover

First and foremost, please know that all 50 states in the United States have laws that allow women to breastfeed in public. You do not have to cover yourself if you don't want to—and many mamas choose not to—and we are all for it.

That said, if you do anticipate wanting to take a more modest approach to breastfeeding, a nursing cover is a must. You will find an array of styles to choose from, but we love an infinity scarf, like the LK Baby Infinity Nursing Scarf Nursing Cover. You'll be able to wear the nursing cover instead of stuffing it in your already brimming diaper bag—and it's nice to have it right there when the baby is ready to eat.

Also, in the inevitable event that your baby spits-up on you or you leak some milk through your shirt, having a quick and stylish way to cover up is a total #momwin.

2. For getting comfortable: A cozy glider

Having a comfy spot to nurse can make a huge difference. Bonus points if that comfy place totally brings a room together, like the Delta Children Paris Upholstered Glider!

Get your cozy space ready to go, and when your baby is here, you can retreat from the world and just nurse, bond, and love.

3. For unmatched support: A wire-free nursing bra

It may take trying on several brands to find the perfect match, but finding a nursing bra that you love is 100% worth the effort. Your breasts will be changing and working in ways that are hard to imagine. An excellent supportive bra will make this so much more comfortable.

It is crucial to choose a wireless bra for the first weeks of nursing since underwire can increase the risk of clogged ducts (ouch).The Playtex Maternity Shaping Foam Wirefree Nursing Bra is an awesome pick for this reason, and because it is designed to flex and fit your breasts as they go through all those changes.

4. For maximum hydration: A large reusable water bottle

Nothing can prepare you for the intense thirst that hits when breastfeeding. Quench that thirst (and help keep your milk supply up in the process) by always having a water bottle with a straw nearby, like this Exquis Large Outdoor Water Bottle.

5. For feeding convenience: A supportive nursing tank

Experts recommend that during the first weeks of your baby's life, you breastfeed on-demand, meaning that any time your tiny boss demands milk, you feed them. This will help establish your milk supply and get everything off to a good start.

What does this mean for your life? You will be breastfeeding A LOT. Nursing tanks, like the Loving Moments by Leading Lady, make this so much easier. They have built-in support to keep you comfy, and you can totally wear them around the house, or even out and about. When your baby wants to eat, you'll be able to quickly "pop out" a breast and feed them.

6. For pain prevention: A quality nipple ointment

Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but the truth is those first days can be uncomfortable. Your nipples will likely feel raw as they adjust to their new job. This will get better! But until it does, nipple ointment is amazing.

My favorite is the Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. We love that it's organic, and it is oh-so-soothing on your hard-at-work nipples.

Psst: If it actually hurts when your baby latches on, something may be up, so call your provider or a lactation consultant for help.

7. For uncomfortable moments: A dual breast therapy pack

As your breasts adjust to their new role, you may experience a few discomforts—applying warmth or cold can help make them feel so much better. The Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack is awesome because you can microwave the pads or put them in the freezer, giving you a lot of options when your breasts need some TLC.

Again, if you have any concerns about something being wrong (pain, a bump that may be red or hot, fever, or anything else), call a professional right away.

8. For inevitable leaks: An absorbing breast pad

In today's episode of, "Oh come on, really?" you are going to leak breastmilk. Now, this is entirely natural and you are certainly not required to do anything about this. Still, many moms choose to wear breast pads in their bras to avoid leaking through to their shirts.

You can go the convenient and disposable route with Lansinoh Disposable Stay Dry Nursing Pads, or for a more environmentally friendly option, you can choose washable pads, like these Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads.

9. For flexibility: A breast pump

Many women find that a breast pump becomes one of their most essential mom-tools. The ability to provide breast milk when you are away from your baby (and relieve uncomfortable engorged breasts) will add so much flexibility into your new-mom life.

For quick trips out and super-easy in-your-bag transport, opt for a manual pump like the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump .

If you will be away from your baby for longer periods of time (traveling or working outside the home, for example) an electric pump is your most efficient bet. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is a classic go-to that will absolutely get the job done, and then some.

10. For quality storage: Breast milk bags

Once you pump your liquid gold, aka breast milk, you'll need a place to store it. The Kiinde Twist Pouches allow you to pump directly into the bags which means one less step (and way less to clean).

11. For keeping cool: A freezer bag

Transport your pumped milk back home to your baby safely in a cooler like the Mommy Knows Best Breast Milk Baby Bottle Cooler Bag. Remember to put the milk in a fridge or freezer as soon as you can to optimize how long it stays usable for.

12. For continued nourishment: Bottles

Nothing beats the peace of mind you get when you know that your baby is being well-taken of care—and well fed—until you can be together again. The Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Newborn Starter Gift Set is a fan favorite (mama and baby fans alike).

This article is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.


A viral video about car seat safety has parents everywhere cracking up and humming Sir-Mix-A-Lot.

"I like safe kids and I cannot lie," raps Norman Regional Health System pediatric hospitalist Dr. Kate Cook (after prefacing her music video with an apology to her children."I'm a doctor tryin' warn you that recs have changed," she continues.

Dr. Cook's rap video is all about the importance of keeping babies facing backward. It's aptly called "Babies Face Back," and uses humor and parody to drive home car seat recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"Switching from rear-facing to forward-facing is a milestone many parents can't wait to reach," Dr. Cook said in a news release about her hilarious video. "But this is one area where you want to delay the transition as long as possible because each one actually reduces the protection to the child."

Last summer the AAP updated its official stance on car seat safety to be more in line with what so many parents were already doing and recommended that kids stay rear-facing for as long as possible. But with so many things to keep track of in life, it is understandable that some parents still don't know about the change. Dr. Cook wants to change that with some cringe-worthy rapping.

The AAP recommends:

  • Babies and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat.
  • Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible. Many seats are good up to 65 pounds.
  • When children outgrow their car seat they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly, between 8 and 12 years old.

You might also like:


[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

Suicide rates for girls and women in the United States have increased 50% since 2000, according to the CDC and new research indicates a growing number of pregnant and postpartum women are dying by suicide and overdose. Suicide rates for boys and men are up, too.

It's clear there is a mental health crisis in America and it is robbing children of their mothers and mothers of their children.

Medical professionals urge people to get help early, but sometimes getting help is not so simple. For many Americans, the life preserver that is mental health care is out of reach when they are drowning.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg just released a plan he hopes could change that and says the neglect of mental health in the United States must end. "Our plan breaks down the barriers around mental health and builds up a sense of belonging that will help millions of suffering Americans heal," says Buttigieg.

He thinks he can "prevent 1 million deaths of despair by 2028" by giving Americans more access to mental health and addictions services.

In a country where giving birth can put a mother in debt, it's not surprising that while as many as 1 in 5 new moms suffers from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, more than half of new moms who need mental health treatment don't get it. Stigma, childcare and of course costs are factors in why women aren't seeking help when they are struggling.

Buttigieg's plan is interesting because it could remove some of these barriers. He wants to make mental health care more affordable by ensuring everyone has comprehensive coverage for mental health care and by ensuring that everyone can access a free yearly mental health check-up.

That could make getting help more affordable for some moms, and by increasing reimbursement rates for mental health care delivered through telehealth, this plan could help moms get face time with a medical professional without having to deal with finding childcare first.

Estimates from new research suggest that in some parts of America as many as 14% or 30% of maternal deaths are caused by addiction or suicide. Buttigieg's plan aims to reduce those estimates by fighting the addiction and opioid crisis and increasing access to mental health services in underserved communities and for people of color. He also wants to reduce the stigma and increase support for the next generation by requiring "every school across the country to teach Mental Health First Aid courses."

These are lofty goals with a lofty price tag. It would cost about $300 billion to do what Buttigieg sets out in his plan and the specifics of how the plan would be funded aren't yet known. Neither is how voters will react to this 18-page plan and whether it will help Buttigieg stand out in a crowded field of Democratic candidates.

What we do know is that right now, America is talking about mental health and whether or not that benefits Buttigieg's campaign it will certainly benefit America.

You might also like:


[Editor's Note: Welcome to It's Science, a Motherly column focusing on evidence-based explanations for the important moments, milestones, and phenomena of motherhood. Because it's not just you—#itsscience.]

If you breastfeed, you know just how magical (and trying) it is, but it has numerous benefits for mama and baby. It is known to reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, and cuts the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by half.

If this wasn't powerful enough, scientists have discovered that babies who are fed breast milk have a stomach pH that promotes the formation of HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells). HAMLET was discovered by chance when researchers were studying the antibacterial properties of breast milk. This is a combination of proteins and lipids found in breast milk that can work together to kill cancer cells, causing them to pull away from healthy cells, shrink and die, leaving the healthy cells unaffected.

According to researchers at Lund University in Sweden, this mechanism may contribute to the protective effect breast milk has against pediatric tumors and leukemia, which accounts for about 30% of all childhood cancer. Other researchers analyzed 18 different studies, finding that "14% to 19% of all childhood leukemia cases may be prevented by breastfeeding for six months or more."

And recently, doctors in Sweden collaborated with scientists in Prague to find yet another amazing benefit to breast milk. Their research demonstrated that a certain milk sugar called Alpha1H, found only in breast milk, helps in the production of lactose and can transform into a different form that helps break up tumors into microscopic fragments in the body.

Patients who were given a drug based on this milk sugar, rather than a placebo, passed whole tumor fragments in their urine. And there is more laboratory evidence to support that the drug can kill more than 40 different types of cancer cells in animal trials, including brain tumors and colon cancer. These results are inspiring scientists to continue to explore HAMLET as a novel approach to tumor therapy and make Alpha1H available to cancer patients.

Bottom line: If you choose to breastfeed, the breast milk your baby gets from your hard work can be worth every drop of effort.

You might also like:

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.