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Mothers are rock stars. Here are 11 beautiful ways to honor motherhood.

All that maternal energy of yours is actually a superpower.

Mothers are rock stars. Here are   11 beautiful ways to honor motherhood.

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.

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

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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.

Why?

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.

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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.

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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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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