Real talk with Daphne Oz: On working motherhood and modeling happiness

She's making television, writing cookbooks, innovating in the baby food industry and raising three kids under four, but for Daphne Oz, having it all doesn't mean doing it all at onceand it certainly doesn't involve "bouncing back" right after having a baby.

The multifaceted mama welcomed her third child, daughter Domenica, in December, and has been very open about her postpartum experience, sharing her story (and swimsuit selfies) on social media in the hopes of helping other mothers be kind to themselves during their own fourth trimester experiences.

"I'm trying to have this conversation where it's like, 'look, the journey will be whatever it will be'," she tells Motherly. "It takes me close to a year to get back to a place where I feel like my body has rebounded, and I don't want to have to feel like I'm hiding in my house or hiding in a sack until that time."

For Oz, hiding was never an option because working makes her happy, and she says that questionwhat makes a mother happyis one that is often missing from postpartum conversations.

"Moms have a huge role. We have a huge role in setting the tone for our families and making sure our kids are looked afterthat's food and sleep and bath time and all the rest of itbut it's also about modeling for them what happiness looks like."

In her case, happiness means preserving the parts of her career that she was passionate about while also raising a family. But when you have multiple jobs and multiple kids, the to-do lists can get out of control quickly, especially when you're trying to do everything at once.

Being present

Oz admits that early on in motherhood, she did find herself worn out, due to a problem we at Motherly call "continuous parenting", the burnout-inducing practice of trying to be "on" all the time.

"That's exhausting, and you never feel like you're doing it right and you constantly feel like you're failing," Oz recalls. "I think where I was really tripping up was I was constantly trying to split my time wherever I was."

These days, Oz isn't trying to pull herself in two different directions and be all things at once. If she's at work, she's at work, and if she's with the kids, she makes sure she's present physically and mentally.

"I have to be able to live in the moment and enjoy whatever I've chosen to do that day and acknowledge that I'm making that choice because it makes me happy and be okay with that, especially or even if it means not crossing off every to-do list or responding to every email," she explains. "I'm constantly in search of this balance where when I'm out of the home or I'm away traveling for work or whatever it is, I'm 100% on, so that when I'm home I get to be 100% mom."

That means that some days, Oz is a better mother than colleague, or vice versa. Some days she's a better mom than a wife, or a better wife than a friend, but she says we can't define success in parenting the way we did in school: You simply can't get As in every subject at once now. We can't study because there is no right answer.

"Motherhood is not like that. There's no prescribed, perfect way to do anything. I think you have to be comfortable in that feeling of doing the best you can every single day, and knowing that every day is a new day," shares Oz.

For Oz, doing her best means trying to find that balance between work time and family time, while also being gentle with herself. The cookbook author has built a career out of cooking and eating delicious food, and she's not about to give up her love of food in a quest for a pre-baby body. Still, she says that while she's "no gym rat," she makes "health a priority, not an obsession," and makes healthy choices part of her routine.

She's having the food she loves, the career she loves and quality time with the children she loves. The key is not trying to have it all in the same moment, and not putting her body, or her happiness, on a deadline.

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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.

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MilkBliss lactation cookies

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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.


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Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

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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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Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

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