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It’s hard to know what life with baby will be like, but if you’re planning to be a working mom, there’s some stuff that’s just universal. Like: the daily struggle to find balance is real. A little support can go a long way. And, your baby registry is for so much more than baby--it’s also for stuff that you won’t be able to live without as a working mom.

We know, not every baby boutique will let you register for just what a working mom needs (MZ Wallace bag, anyone?). Which is why we went out and found you some pretty inspirational working moms to share those clutch items that will make your new life a breeze. It’s also why our friends at the personalized registry site Gugu Guru have added tons of them (and other unique registry recommendations related to your unique lifestyle) to their product picks. Because baby registries should be as much about mama as they should about baby, right?

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Get these working mom must-haves on your own baby registry stat, then head over to this week’s giveaway and win a package that will help you go back to work with style and ease.

JULEE WILSON, Senior Fashion Editor at The Huffington Post

“The only way I can describe the day I went back to work is: bittersweet. I had spent the last 12 weeks getting to know this amazing little being and now I had to hand him over to a perfect stranger (albeit an amazing nanny). However, while I was sad to walk out the door, I was thankful that I would be walking back into a dope job, surrounded by super talented people, and living a career that I always dreamed of. You can't have it all -- but you can have a lot. I have a lot.“

JULEE'S WORKING MOM MUST-HAVES:

 

  1. "Orion" nameplate necklace. Always gotta keep my baby boy close to my heart. Enough said.
  2. Moleskin notebook. I love these durable journals for working on stories as I ride the train to work and jotting down precious memories -- like Orion's minor and major milestones.The
  3. Belly Bandit. Much to my dismay -- yet not surprisingly -- my body didn't bounce back to it's former semi-taut state. With that said I needed some help pulling these together. Enter, the Belly Bandit. One word: amazing.
  4. MZ Wallace "Metro Tote" bag. Every gal needs a chic and reliable work bag and this is mine. I also have a larger camo-printed one for Orion's diaper bag. In a nutshell: It's as close as you'll ever get to carryall perfection.
  5. Brother Vellies denim "Erongo" shoes. Transitioning back to heels took so time -- so in the meantime I indulged in a pair of great casual flats like these dope all denim kicks by Brother Vellies.Get all of Julee's picks here!

GRACE LEE, founder and CEO of Nine Naturals

“I've had to ease myself back into work. It's a lot to juggle work with the schedule of two kids. I feel fortunate to have a job that allows me that flexibility and an incredible team that keeps things running smoothly at Nine Naturals, even in my absence. The things that make going back to work easier are things that add convenience and efficiency to my life.”

 

GRACE'S WORKING MOM MUST-HAVES:

  1. Stylish nursing wear for easy access when pumping at the office are a must. I sure as DON'T want to be taking my shirt on and off at the office. My favorites for style and functionality are: the Au Lait Shop Tank and Mitera Collection Charlotte Nursing Dress (pictured above).
  2. A monthly membership to ClassPass. With ClassPass I can pick up a class anywhere in the city at a time and day that works for me. It makes it easier to squeeze in a workout when I have free time.
  3. Bottle Sterilizer and Dryer. A lot has changed in between my two pregnancies -- including new, improved gadgets! The Baby Brezza One Step Sterilizer Dryer sterilizes AND dries your bottles and pump equipment. No more drying rack needed!
  4. A versatile bag that is both fashionable and functional. As a working mom, I'm always on-the-go! I need a bag that can take me from school drop-off to work to kids' activities, while also big enough to carry my laptop, breast pump, diapers and the rest. My friend and fellow working mom, Jocelyn (the founder of the online store Tuckernuck) introduced me to the MZ Wallace Metro Tote. It's the perfect carry-all and made of a lightweight fabric that is water- and stain-resistant.
  5. Meals from Plated. Plated is a weekly meal delivery service that sends you food ingredients and recipes. It takes the stress out of meal planning and I love being able to try new recipes.Get all of Grace's picks here!

JESSICA SHORTALL, author of Work. Pump. Repeat: The New Mom's Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work.

“With my first child, going back to work sparked in me a really deep, terrifying anxiety. I sobbed while I was still in the hospital, and started having panic attacks while home on leave. I ended up battling postpartum anxiety, triggered by the combination of going back to work and being obsessed with being ‘successful’ at breastfeeding while working long hours and traveling a lot for my job. I couldn't imagine a world in which I wasn't with this baby ALL. THE. TIME. And I agonized over the idea that he'd somehow forget who I was (this is crazy, and did not happen).

The good news is that with my second baby, I didn't have the same demons. I really leaned into that maternity leave...so much snuggling and napping together and binge-watching of Scandal. I worked hard at taking the breastfeeding pressure off of myself, even as I continued to breastfeed as much as I felt was healthy for me.”

JESSICA'S WORKING MOM MUST-HAVES:

      1. Soothing gel pads for your nipples for early breastfeeding. No, this isn't a work thing, but dude: your nipples are really going to hurt at first. I used the Medela kind, and cut them in quarters because they can get pricey. My top hack? Setting them on top of a cup full of ice for a few minutes before applying them. Can you say “ahhhhhhhhhhh”?
      2. Coconut oil. I never used the stuff because I didn't know it was a thing, but apparently pumping women swear by it. You kind of grease the insides of your pump flanges and it makes the whole thing less terrible.
      3. Pump-friendly work clothes. This means crossover tops, wrap dresses (if you're cool with having a very visible post-baby tummy and/or you own stock in Spanx), button-down shirts, shirt dresses, and layered camisoles and tops. You can certainly get dedicated pumping clothes from brands like Loyal Hana (pictured above), or ask from some gift cards from some mainstream stores and go buy some "I still look about 5 months pregnant but I'm not" pumping- and working-friendly clothes.
      4. Pumpin' Pal breast pump flanges. These are compatible with most pumps, either as replacement flanges or to drop into the pump's standard flanges, and I literally don't have the right words to describe how game-changing they are if you're going to be pumping all the time. They hurt less, they minimize spills and drips of milk, and they can even support greater milk output. I've met the founder -- an inventor who was tired of seeing his wife struggle with the lame flanges that most pumps come with -- and he is a great guy who really just wants to help working moms.
      5. Electric Pump. I'm assuming in all of this that the expecting mom's health insurance is going to cover a double-electric breast pump. Obamacare requires most insurance plans to cover a pump, although double electric vs. single manual is not specified, so it can be hit or miss. If I were registering for a pump today, I'd go with the Ardo Calypso. I've never used it myself, but it gets great reviews and it is totally silent...no more lying on conference calls when people ask, "What's that weird sound?"
      6. A My Brest Friend nursing pillow. Get over the silly name and get one of these. It’s so great when your baby is tiny, because it fits snugly against your body so the baby doesn't kind of melt into the crack between the pillow and your body. And the fact that you can buckle it onto yourself and walk around the house (NOT with the baby still on it) makes it kind of amazing.

Get all of Jessica's picks here!

This post was brought to you by Gugu Guru.

Want to win $700 in working mama essentials for your own back to work journey? Enter here!

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It's finally 2020. It's hard to believe but the old decade is over, the new one is here and it is bringing a lot of new life with it. The babies born this year are members of Generation Alpha and the world is waiting for them.

We're only a few days into the new year and there are already some new celebrity arrivals making headlines while making their new parents proud.

If your little one arrived (or is due to arrive) in 2020, they've got plenty of high profile company.

Here are all the celebrity babies born in 2020 (so far):

Ashley Graham is a mama! 🎉

A new chapter is unfolding for model and podcaster Ashley Graham, who just announced she and her husband Justin Ervin have met their baby.

The baby arrived Saturday, according to a post made on Graham's Instagram Stories.

"At 6:00pm on Saturday our lives changed for the better," reads the Story. "Thank you for all your love and support during this incredible time."

Graham previously announced that she and Ervin were expecting a son. They initially announced the pregnancy on their ninth wedding anniversary.

Congratulations to Ashley and Justin!

Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden just welcomed a baby girl! 🎉

Surprise! Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden are ringing in the New Year as first-time parents!

"Happy New Year from the Maddens!" reads a birth announcement posted to both Diaz and Madden's Instagram accounts. "We are so happy, blessed and grateful to begin this new decade by announcing the birth of our daughter, Raddix Madden. She has instantly captured our hearts and completed our family."

Raddix Madden is the first child for Diaz, 47, and Madden, 40.

The couple say they won't be posting any pictures of their daughter on social media as they "feel a strong instinct to protect our little one's privacy."

Congratulations to the Maddens! 🎉

Dylan Dreyer of 'Today' is a mom of 2! 

Today meteorologist Dylan Dreyer and her husband Brian Fichera, welcomed their second child, Oliver George Fichera, the first week of January 2020. Oliver joins his big brother Calvin to make the family a foursome.

Dreyer is still recovering from birth but her voice was on TV this week when she called into her show with an update on her new family. "I feel good," Dylan told her colleagues. "I just feel so happy and so blessed."

Caterina Scorsone of 'Grey's Anatomy' now has 3 girls!

Caterina Scorsone of Grey's Anatomy has so much to be thankful for in 2020: She's now a mom of three! The actress announced the birth of her daughter via Instagram, noting that her baby's name is Arwen.

Arwen joins big sisters Eliza, 7, and 3-year-old Paloma, who has Down syndrome. Speaking on The Motherly Podcast last year, Scorsone explained how Paloma's diagnosis made her "whole concept of what motherhood was had to shift."

It is likely shifting again, as any mama who has gone from two kids to three knows.

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When it comes to taking care of the baby and the house, modern dads say they want to be equal partners.

But when Saturday arrives, research shows men are often relaxing while women are the ones doing unpaid housework with a “leisure time" discrepancy of more than 50 minutes a day on the weekends.

The study revealed that women were more likely than men to spend their weekends watching kids or performing housework.

So after a long week of watching kids or clocking hours on the job, what does mom do more of than dad? Work.

Claire M. Kamp Dush, Ph.D., an associate professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University, and lead author of the new study, says she is hopeful we can all find more balance. It's just going to take some hard discussions—and an understanding that there's more than one way to load a dishwasher or dress a baby.

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The study published in the journal Sex Roles saw Ohio State researchers tracking how 52 dual-income couples spent their time on a minute-by-minute basis as they welcomed their first child. The participating couples kept time diaries for workdays and non-workdays during the third trimester and for about three months after the baby's birth.

The researchers expected to see a lot of entries where mom and dad were doing childcare or housework together, but they didn't.

“Men actually increased their time doing leisure while she was doing work across the transition of parenthood," Kamp Dush shares. “It actually got worse once the baby was there."

According to Kamp Dush, there are a couple of factors behind this disappointing dynamic.

“One thing that's going on is women have a lot of societal pressure put on them to be perfect mothers. So if something is less than perfect with the baby or the house, the consequences are coming back on them," she explains, adding this pressure to have everything done to high standards may lead some moms to micromanage their partners.

If a dad is slacking, Kamp Dush suggests moms ascertain what his motivations are. Often, she says the solution may be as simple as empowering him to do things his own way. (Even if it isn't the outfit you would have picked for the baby...)

“It may also be the case that he just doesn't want to do it and he enjoys his leisure time," says Kamp Dush. If that's the case, she suggests calmly explaining the cost that his rest requires you pay. That may prompt him to do a bit more because, as Kamp Dush says, “He might also enjoy having a happier spouse and co-parent."

The earlier you can have these conversations, the better

Unaddressed resentment in relationships tends to build overtime, which is why it's essential to check in on how you (and your partner) are feeling early and often.

Kamp Dush suggests moms with heavy mental loads write down the tasks and duties they're dealing with. Then rip the list in half and hand it to dad. Couples can certainly negotiate the listed responsibilities, but the important thing is that they're not all on mom.

“Then, you're going to have to let it go," she explains. “Men know how to do these things. As women, we need to just let them do it."

Dads need to do 50 minutes more of unpaid work

The gender disparity in unpaid work hurts our careers, our families and our relationships, but it doesn't have to.

According to the Promundo's State of the World's Fathers' report, if men did 50 minutes of unpaid work a day we could close the gender gap.

"We need men to do our share. Fifty minutes more to relieve women of 50 minutes less would get us really close to equal," the president and CEO of Promundo, Gary Barker, tells Motherly.

When dads are more empowered and moms feel like their household responsibilities are more balanced, the whole family is going to be better off.

[A version of this post was first published July 29, 2018. It has been updated.]

News

For new mamas back to sitting behind their desks at work some six weeks (or fewer) after their babies are born, the institutionalized parental leave policy in Denmark is the stuff of daydreams: Over in that Scandinavian paradise, parents are granted 52 weeks of paid leave to divide between them.

There's no denying this is much, much better than the state of parental leave in the United States, but it isn't quite as perfect as it seems from the outside. According to Denmark's Directorate of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, women take an average 93% of leave allotted to couples. And when they do return to work, mothers' wages suffer both in comparison to men and women without children.

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The good news is that it seems the solution to this gender income gap is something we—the mothers of today, even here in America—can do something about.

A new paper from the US National Bureau of Economic Research that examined Danish administration information from 1980 to 2013 found the motherhood penalty “creates a gender gap in earnings of around 20% in the long run," which is comparable to the gap in the United States.

What's more, the income discrepancy only increases for each child a family in Denmark has: If a woman has four children, her income is only $0.60 to every dollar a man makes—10 years down the road.

While this indicates paid parental leave alone may not be the panacea for the gender income gap, the researchers suggest that changing the way we think about roles in the workplaces and homes could help—at least when it comes to the next generation.

“As a possible explanation for the persistence of child penalties, we show that they are transmitted through generations, from parents to daughters (but not sons)," the researchers note, explaining that the more a daughter's mother worked while the girl was growing up, the less the daughter's income was affected when she became a mother.

“Women tend to adopt a balance of paid work and childcare that is correlated with the one they saw their mother strike when they were growing up," Henrik Kleven, a Princeton economist and the paper's lead author, tells Quartz At Work.

What this looks like in practice is splitting household responsibilities from the get-go and encouraging fathers to take more leave. (In Sweden, where fathers are penalized for not taking advantage of paternity leave, women's earning rose an average 7% for each month of leave that men took.)

According to the State of the World's Fathers' report, produced by Promundo (a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging men and boys in gender equality in partnership with Dove Men+Care) 85% of dads surveyed in the United States, the UK, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan and the Netherlands want to take paternity leave, and yet less than 50% of fathers take as much time as their country's policy allows, and social norms, financial pressures and a lack of support from their managers are all factors.

The report also found that if fathers are able to do just under an hour of unpaid work per day, mothers can cut their unpaid labor time by the same amount.

"We need men to do our share. Fifty minutes more to relieve women of 50 minutes less would get us really close to equal," the president and CEO of Promundo, Gary Barker, told Motherly.

This may help shift us toward more income equality today—and, as the research shows, our daughters will really be able to reap the benefits.

[A version of this post was first published January 29, 2018. It has been updated.]

News

There's no doubt: It's a new parenting era than 20 or 30 years ago.

Now faced with questions about how to limit screen time, when to give children phones and how to protect them from cyber threats, there are simply some issues that today's parents can't get advice on from our own parents.

Does that mean it's harder to be a parent today than when we were growing up? Yes, say 88% of young moms and dads.

According to a BPI Network survey of 2,000 parents in the United States and Canada, the leading reasons parenting feels harder than ever include: social media distractions, challenges with two working parents, emotional or behavioral dysfunction, peer competition or bullying, and violence and safety concerns in schools.

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Of course, most of us weren't fully aware of the challenges our parents faced when we were young—such as the fact they couldn't readily call on their own moms for advice lest they wanted to rack up major long-distance bills and couldn't have anything in the world delivered to their doorsteps within two days.

Regardless of whether it's true, the perception that parenting is harder than ever has contributed to some two-thirds of the respondents saying they've experienced "parental burnout."

"Parental burnout is a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion," says Neil D. Brown, LCSW, author of Ending The Parent-Teen Control Battle. "It leaves parents feeling chronically fatigued… and it can lead to depression, chronic anxiety and illness."

With 40% reporting parental burnout has "significantly" affected their qualities of life and another 49% saying it has "somewhat" affected their wellbeing, it's time employers take a vested interest in addressing the issue, says Dave Murray, Chief Strategy and Research Officer at the BPI Network.

"It is staggering to look at the incidence of [parental burnout] symptoms among working parents in America and understand the implications this has for added employee burden, cost, concern and downtime," Murray says, adding that counseling services to promote healthy parenting should "certainly" be among the benefits employers look to offer.

Many working parents are also hopeful that their employers will recognize the importance of practices that support healthy balance between work and life—with 78% of respondents to Motherly's 2018 State of Motherhood survey saying they believe it's possible to combine careers and motherhood. Of those who worked outside the home, the biggest changes they would like to see include subsidies for childcare or on-site childcare, paid maternity leave and more flexible schedules.

In our second annual State of Motherhood Survey in 2019 just over half (51%) of mothers said "I feel discouraged: it's extremely challenging managing trade-offs" associated with combining a career and motherhood.

The consequences of unaddressed parental burnout have an unfortunate way of spilling over to other members of the family. According to a recent study published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect, a sample of 1,551 parents suggested "parental burnout has a statistically similar effect to job burnout on addictions and sleep problems, a stronger effect on couples' conflicts and partner estrangement mindset and a specific effect on child-related outcomes (neglect and violence) and escape and suicidal ideation."

While employers have a stake in addressing this issue, there's also a lot that individuals can do—like starting by cutting ourselves a break on self-imposed expectations. As research has shown, the more grace we give ourselves and others in the ways we parent, the less prone we ultimately are to burning out.

And while we've heard this all before, it's also worth remembering just how important it is to take time for ourselves. "We must have regular practices to refuel," LMHC Jasmin Terrany previously told Motherly. "We don't need to feel guilty about taking this time for ourselves—our kids will not only learn that self-care is essential, but when we are good, they will be good."

Then don't feel one ounce of guilt about using that time to call someone long-distance or place another Amazon Prime delivery so you can remember that parenting in this day and age does have its perks.

[A version of this post was originally published July 29, 2018. It has been updated.]

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