Need a minute,
mama?
Get the best of Motherly—delivered to your inbox.
(We thought so.)
Subscribe to the Motherly Minute
for need-to-know parenting
news + top product recommendations
delivered daily to your inbox.

By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy
and Terms & Conditions

Welcome to
#Team Motherly.

Check your inbox for an email
to confirm your subscription
—we can’t wait to start bringing
the best of Motherly right to you.

Print Friendly and PDF

For many of us, motherhood is a dream fulfilled and a vocation chosen, and "Mama" is a name we wear like a badge of honor. Many of us wear it on our t-shirts, carry it on our coffee mugs and sign it on the notes we slip into lunch bags.

Countless generations of women have carried this title while carrying the weight of their families, but in 2019, to define oneself first and foremost as a Mama is a very Millennial thing to do. We see ourselves as moms supporting our families, and we need society to see us as worthy of support.

FEATURED VIDEO

Last year, Motherly's State of Motherhood survey found nearly 60% of Millennial moms feel that motherhood is what defines them the most, and when asked again in 2019, 67% of respondents told us that being a mother is a defining factor in how they see themselves. The number is higher for moms under 30—76% of moms under 30 feel most defined by motherhood, while just 62% of moms over 35 say the same.

This suggests that as moms (or maybe their kids) get older they are able to retain or re-connect with parts of their identity unrelated to parenting. This should be applauded, because while there is nothing wrong with seeing yourself as a mama first, mothers are also people with careers, hobbies and romantic lives.

Here are some additional key findings on the state of motherhood today:

Millennial mothers feel pressure to have sex

Becoming a parent puts a strain on all of those parts of a woman's life. Many mothers feel pressure to get back to work, and even more feel pressure to get back to having sex with their partner. Almost a third of Millennial moms (31%) say they had postpartum sex with their partner before they felt ready to do so, but many, 53%, say they started to feel interested in sex again by 6 weeks after giving birth (and 11% were ready even earlier).

Moms under 30 report being ready for sex earlier than older mothers. Sixty-seven percent of moms under 30 were ready to have sex by six weeks postpartum, while only 54% of moms aged 30 to 34 and 44% of moms 35 and older said the same.

Pressure + progress at work

Our survey indicates that more than half of working moms (55%) feel that working has empowered or inspired them to be a better mom, and 90% say their work choice has helped them set a positive example for their children, but while working benefits motherhood, motherhood doesn't benefit moms at work.

Fewer than 1-in-10 (9%) of Millennial moms feel like becoming a mother has helped them in their career, and the majority of those who do feel empowered at work (nearly 60%) say they have felt that way since shortly after giving birth, indicating that this empowering is coming from within these women, not because the workplace is recognizing their value.

Last year, 78% of moms agreed there are real career trade-offs made when a woman becomes a parent and this year, over half (51%) of the respondents told us they feel say, "discouraged: it's extremely challenging managing trade-offs," while a third (33%) say, "I feel optimistic, I believe it's possible to combine them creatively.

There is room for optimism, certainly, but there is also room for work culture to be more accepting of working moms because the fact is, 53% of Millennial moms are working full-time and 15% are doing paid work part part-time.

Financial need is still the top reason for mothers choosing to work, but many, 49% of part-time working moms and 53% say they have a "desire to participate in work outside the household," and 63% of the 28% of survey respondents who don't work outside the home say they intend to return to the workforce in the future.

Mothers bear the burden of our work-first culture

Nearly 70% of working moms feel their employers are supportive of breastfeeding, which is great news, but there are other stressors that working moms wish employers would support them with.

Almost a quarter of mothers say longer, paid maternity leave would be the best way employers could support moms, while 21% are wishing for on-site day care or childcare subsidies. When these are combined, 45% of moms want more help from work in the transition to parenthood.

Flexible schedules and remote work opportunities are the second biggest request from moms.

Millennial mothers still lead on the home front

More than half of the moms surveyed reported downgrading their work hours since becoming a parent while 59% say their partner's career has not changed and 31% said their partner has scaled up their career.

It's 2019, but mothers are still taking on most of the household chores. Sixty-one percent of moms report handling most of the household chores and responsibilities themselves, with 32% saying they are shared equally. Only 5% of moms say their partner takes the lion's share of the work.

For working moms, just 68% say they feel supported by their partners, and 28% say they feel supported "only sometimes."

Millennial mothers say society doesn't understand or support them

Last year Millennial moms told us that society doesn't do a good job supporting mothers, but this year they screamed it. A full 85% of moms don't think society understands or supports the women who are supporting the next generation.

This view is consistent across all groups regardless of race, ethnicity, age, number of children. We are all mamas. And we all need more support.

You might also like:

The very best of Motherly — delivered when you need it most.
Subscribe for inspiration, empowering articles and expert tips to rock your best #momlife.

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

Thanks for subscribing!

Check your email for a confirmation message.

By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions

As a mid-Spring holiday, we never knew exactly what to expect from the weather on Easter when I was growing up in Michigan: Would we get to wear our new Sunday dresses without coats? Or would we be hunting for eggs while wearing snowsuits?

Although what the temperature had in store was really anyone's guess, there were a few special traditions my sister and I could always depend on—and it won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that my favorite memories revolved around food. After all, experts say memories are strongest when they tie senses together, which certainly seems to be true when it comes to holiday meals that involve the sounds of laughter and the taste of amazing food.

Now that I'm a parent, I'm experiencing Easter anew as my children discover the small delights of chocolate, pre-church brunch and a multi-generational dinner. While I still look forward to the treats and feasting, I'm realizing now that the sweetest thing of all is how these traditions bring our family together around one table.

For us, the build-up to Easter eats is an extended event. Last year's prep work began weeks in advance when my 3-year-old and I sat down to plan the brunch menu, which involved the interesting suggestion of "green eggs and ham." When the big morning rolled around, his eyes grew to the size of Easter eggs out of pure joy when the dish was placed on the table.

This year, rather than letting the day come and go in a flash, we are creating traditions that span weeks and allow even the littlest members of the family to feel involved.

Still, as much as I love enlisting my children's help, I also relish the opportunity to create some magic of my own with their Easter baskets—even if the Easter Bunny gets the credit. This year, I'm excited to really personalize the baskets by getting an "adoptable" plush unicorn for my daughter and the Kinder Chocolate Mini Eggs that my son hasn't stopped talking about since seeing at the store. (You can bet this mama is stocking up on some for herself, too.)

At the same time, Easter as a parent has opened my eyes to how much effort can be required...

There is the selection of the right Easter outfits for picture-perfect moments.

There is the styling of custom Easter baskets.

There is the filling of plastic eggs and strategic placement of them throughout the yard.

But when the cameras are put away and we all join together around the table for the family dinner at the end of the day, I can finally take a deep breath and really enjoy—especially with the knowledge that doing the dishes is my husband's job.

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


Our Partners

Speaking to the nation Tuesday evening, President Trump addressed something that has been on the minds of pregnant people for weeks: Keeping newborns protected in hospitals that are also treating COVID-19 patients.

"I know many expectant mothers are understandably concerned about exposing their newborn babies to the virus," the President said.

According to President Trump, actions taken by his administration—including the development of field hospitals—this week will help keep delivery wards and COVID-19 patients "totally separate."

He said, "We're giving hospitals the flexibility to use new facilities to treat patients who do not have COVID-19, including expectant mothers, so they can deliver babies in a different environment so as not to worry about infection."

FEATURED VIDEO

The President acknowledged that this is a trying time for America and certainly for its expecting mothers, who are dealing with so many worries right now.

Many are worried about having to give birth without their partner or companion (though it should be noted that the New York hospitals that banned partners and visitors were later directed by that state's government to allow partners in), others are worried about being separated from their babies (this happens, but it is rare and a last resort).

Experts admit that everything is constantly changing right now and that birth plans are being interrupted, but medical providers are still doing the very best they can under the circumstances.

"Having a partner available, having birth support, is essential," Dr. Neel Shah, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School told WBUR's Morning Edition on Tuesday.

Shah continued: "Part of the challenge in this new context that we're in, is that the services that used to be essential a few weeks ago are still essential; we're just not able to provide them in the same way. And so we've got to figure out new ways of delivering the kinds of care that people really need, like virtual prenatal visits."

Some expecting mothers are seeking different hospitals, or birthing centers to give birth in. Others are investigating home birth.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that despite the pandemic, it believes "the safest place for you to give birth is still a hospital, hospital-based birth center, or accredited freestanding birth center" but notes that "every woman has the right to choose where she will give birth."

As Motherly's Digital Education Editor and Midwife, Diana Spalding, previously noted: "It's important to know that [birth centers or home births] may not be available to everyone."

As Spalding explains, "home birth and birth centers are considered safe for low-risk pregnancies", but if your pregnancy has been complicated they may not be a fit for you.

"It's also key to investigate whether your insurance covers out-of-hospital birth. And certainly, you'll need to see if the midwives have availability," she explains.

The ACOG and Spalding both recommend pregnant people talk to their care provider about any fears, worries or changes in plans.

"Perhaps one of the hardest parts of this is that we are still learning. Few questions have solid answers. Still, every day we know more, and I want to assure you that although it feels scary, there is still a good chance everything will be okay, especially if you take the proper precautions," Spalding writes.

Those precautions include staying home right now, practicing good hand hygiene and communicating with your prenatal care providers.

Everyone (even up to the President of the United States) recognizes how hard it is to be pregnant right now. Lean on the people and the resources that are available to you.

If you're pregnant, Motherly has made our Becoming Mama™ Online Birth Class free in response to COVID-19.


News

Bestselling author, professor and researcher Brené Brown is well-known and loved for her inspirational approach to life's challenges (and for her Netflix special The Call to Courage)‚ but even she acknowledges that the coronavirus pandemic presents a whole new set of challenges for families.

"Collectively, what I see is a growing weariness. I think we're tired, physically, emotionally, spiritually exhausted," Brown said on Monday in an interview for the Today Show, adding that part of the challenge is acknowledging that we're in it for the long haul. "We're going to have to settle into a new normal, while grieving the old normal, which is a lot to ask of people."

FEATURED VIDEO

With schools and workplaces closed and social distancing measures in effect across the country, many parents are pulling triple-duty at home right now as full-time caregivers, homeschool instructors and workers. At some moments, it can (understandably) feel as if parenting through coronavirus requires more than we have to give.

Enter Brown's "family gap plan," which can help families bridge the gap during tough moments.

As Brown explains it, "I'd say (to my husband), 'Steve, all I have is 20%.' And he's like, 'Hey, I've been holding down the fort here. All I got is 20.' So we'd say, 'Okay, we've got a gaping 60%. What are our rules when we don't have 100% as a family?'"

Brown stresses the importance of keeping lines of communication open as a family: "Let people know where you are." She and her husband have a policy of being honest with their children about moments when they feel low-energy or high-stress.

"I'll say, 'We have to make 100 as a family. I've got 20, and your dad's got 20. What do we do to get to 100?' And it's about the way we talk to each other, the way we show up with each other, extra kindness...and takeout."

In fact, Brown's kids helped come up with the set of rules their family follows whenever there's a "family gap" and things aren't adding up to 100%:

  • No harsh words
  • No nice words with harsh faces
  • Say you're sorry
  • Accept apologies with a "thank you" (as opposed to "okay," which can sound frosty)
  • More knock-knock jokes and puns

Every family is different, and your family's way of bridging the gap may call for a different set of rules (and the truth is, it's okay to not be okay sometimes). But as tactical, actionable advice for keeping the peace at home goes, the more humor and kindness, the better.

News

About a week ago, it dawned on me: We don't have enough diapers on hand for my infant son to get through an extended quarantine due to coronavirus. At 9 months old, we go through about six diapers a day, which means we'd need about a pack a week to get through. Like many parents, my first thought was to stockpile diapers. My second thought was that if every parent stockpiled diapers, we would drive shortages and make it harder for families like this one to find the diapers they need—and harder for parents who cannot afford to stockpile diapers.

FEATURED VIDEO

Ultimately I decided to make the switch to cloth diapers for the first time, (I chose GroVia because they are simple for newbies like me), but like many families, I remain concerned about our ability to get the family supplies we need in the midst of Instacart and Amazon strikes, product outages and overall stockpiling driving up availability and prices.

It's hard to resist the urge to stockpile when you're worried about when you'll next be able to get formula, diapers and wipes for your baby. And many families, like mine, are having a near-impossible time finding available delivery slots from grocery stores and services like Instacart.

Here's the current state of formula, diapers and wipes, and how to make sure you can get the baby goods you need.

Formula

Experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics say that parents should keep 2-4 weeks of formula on hand at any given time. Dr. Steve Abrams, chair of the AAP Committee on Nutrition says "most families who have 2-4 weeks supply are in good shape," and asks that parents not stockpile formula so that all parents are able to access the formula that they need.

Dr. Abrams asks that parents attempt to be brand-flexible if possible, as they might have trouble getting the exact brand they usually buy. Most concerning are parents of children require specialized formula, like lactose-free formulas. In a story in The New York Times, mama Catie Weimer recounted her struggle to get sufficient amounts of specialized formula for her baby.

"Am I going to have to force him to drink a milk-based formula because that's what I can afford?" Weimer wondered.


It's a worry lots of mamas are facing.

Here's how to get access to formula:

If you're able to order online: Amazon is still selling baby formula with Amazon Prime delivery this week. Walmart is offering free delivery and free pickup at its stores, including baby formula. Target and their service Shipt, have pickup and delivery options, if you can snag a delivery slot.

If you need a specialized formula: The AAP recommends that you reach out to your pediatrician, who often have sample products on hand.

If you can't get formula: Regardless of your income or employment level, if you can't get baby formula you can find a food bank near you via Feeding America. Ask about resources for families with young children and infants. If you're previously or newly eligible for WIC due to changes in your employment, WIC offices can help you get formula if you're having trouble access or affording it. You can apply or find a local resource here. Lastly, you can dial 211 in the United States to be connected to local resources to find formula, as programs can vary from city to city.

Diapers

Some stores ran out of disposable diapers after a rush of bulk buying earlier this month, and while cloth diapers are a great alternative for some families they will not work for everyone, especially families who don't have easy access to laundry machines.

Disposable diapers can still be purchased at many stores, although you may have trouble finding your exact brand if it is popular. Walmart's website is currently showing many brands and sizes of diapers as in stock.

If coronavirus has made you or your partner unemployed or caused your pay to be reduced, check out the National Diaper Bank Network website for resources in your area, You can also dial 211 in many states to be connected to Essential Community Services, a resource that may be able to help you find diapers in your community.

Some community groups are organizing drive-by diaper giveaways, so stay tuned to your local community pages (and donate cash if you can).

Wipes

Baby wipes are hard to come by these days for a few reasons: Bulk purchasing early in the pandemic, people purchasing them when they could not find disinfectant wipes and because the toilet paper shortage made them a common second choice for people who would rather be using toilet paper.

Some parents are turning to DIY baby wipes, cutting up shirts and flannel sheets for their diapering needs, but that does not work for every family. If you need wipes and cannot find them, contact the diaper banks in your area. In some communities, grassroots organizations are even delivering wipes and other baby supplies.

Bottom line: It takes a lot more detective work to find what we need for our babies these days.

It is worth calling the smaller stores in your area to see if they have your item or brand in stock. If the big box stores are out of wipes, try calling the small pharmacies in your area to see if they have any left.

If it is possible for your family, reusable options may be a good choice to get you through.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Call the diaper banks or reach out to your local mom group to see if anyone else has an oversupply.

[This is a developing story. This page will be updated as more resources become available.]



News

Social distancing is hard on parents, kids and grandparents, but there is good news on the coronavirus front: New data reveals the restrictions and recommendations keeping people apart during the pandemic could be working. As the New York Times reports, new data from a company that makes internet-connected thermometers, Kinsa Health, is "making it clear that social distancing is saving lives."

Kinsa hosts a map of fever levels across the U.S. to track feverish illness levels across the U.S. Right now the map is suggesting that "due to widespread social distancing, school closures, stay-at-home orders, etc. feverish illness levels are dropping in many regions," Kinsa notes.

FEATURED VIDEO

The company adds, "This does not mean that COVID-19 cases are declining. In fact, we expect to see reported cases continue to surge in the near term, but it may indicate these measures are starting to slow the spread."

At the beginning of this week, more than three-quarters of the country showed a significant decline in fevers (Kinsa has about 1 million thermometers uploading more than 150,000 temperature readings per day).

The results of early social distancing protocols can be seen when comparing different regions in the U.S. Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist and infectious disease expert at UC San Francisco, tells The Los Angeles Times that early social distancing measures taken in California "happened closer to the introduction of the virus, so you haven't had as many generations of transmission. So there are fewer cases per capita in the population."

Rutherford is cautiously optimistic that the Bay Area will not see as many cases as New York because it seems like the early social distancing measures are working (if people keep abiding by them).

Up the coast, Jeff Duchin, Seattle & King County's Public Health Officer, says "The bottom line here should be that what we're doing now appears to be working, that we should in no way take these findings as an indication to relax our social distancing strategy, that we need to continue this for weeks."

President Trump agrees and wants people to stay home until April 30, and Virgina's Governor wants social distancing to continue in his state until June.

It's a long process and a challenging one—but it's working, mama.

News
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.