7 stretch mark creams that will soothe your growing belly

Pregnancy is a great time to get into the habit of giving your skin a little extra love on the daily.

7 stretch mark creams that will soothe your growing belly
Earth Mama/Hatch/Mustela

When you're pregnant, it's hard to fathom the changes that are taking place inside your body. You're growing a person, a whole new organ to support it and the organs that belong to you are shifting and making way by the minute.

Suffice to say, a lot happens on the outside too. Most notably, an ever-growing belly. And as your belly expands (and eventually contracts), you might find yourself with a few new badges of honor–stretch marks.

What are stretch marks?

First things first. Stretch marks are natural! From growth spurts in puberty to pregnancy, stretch marks are scars that can occur any time skin changes rapidly. When they first appear, they're often a darker hue (which depends on your skin tone), raised and itchy. Over time, they fade and sink but can remain visible nonetheless. And while no amount of stretch mark cream, oil or magical potion can prevent or erase them, using a stretch mark cream throughout your pregnancy can help improve skin elasticity and nourish your skin as it grows.

When should you start using stretch mark cream during pregnancy?

If you've already got a moisturizing ritual, great! Keep it up. If you occasionally slap on some moisturizer when your legs look ashy, pregnancy is a great time to get into the habit of giving your skin a little extra love on the daily. Throughout pregnancy your belly, boobs, hips, thighs and bum will likely need a little extra attention. All those hormones can affect skin in a variety of uncomfortable ways and keeping it hydrated can help. That said, there's no set date to start using stretch mark cream, but many of the formulas on the market are suitable for use before, during and after.

What should you look for in a stretch mark cream?

Mostly, it's personal preference. If you're sensitive to fragrance, you can find plenty of fragrance-free options. Look for formulas with gentle but nourishing ingredients like nut butters (cocoa, jojoba oil and shea) and coconut oil to moisturize, vitamins A and E which heal and protect the skin, and botanicals like calendula to soothe and calm irritated skin. Most importantly, while retinol can be an effective treatment for damaged skin, do not use retinol during your pregnancy.

Rest assured that everyone has stretch marks. (Literally. Everyone.) There is nothing you need to do about them if you don't want to, nor should you feel vain if you want to address them. If you're the latter, we've done the research to help you find a formula that works for you.

Read on to discover the top-rated and most-loved stretch mark creams for pregnancy!

Earth Mama Organics Belly Butter

Earth Mama Organics Belly Butter

Thicker than regular lotion but not as heavy and greasy as most body butters, Earth Mama Organics Belly Butter is a top-rated favorite among pregnant and postpartum mamas. The all-natural formula contains organic herbs and oils like shea butter, calendula and olive oil which are traditionally used to help soften skin and encourage skin's natural elasticity. The emollient lotion absorbs quickly and easily, leaving behind a light citrusy scent that's gentle on morning sickness sensitivities and we love the convenience of the pump top for easy application.

Reviewers say: "AMAZING!! I bought a bottle early on in my pregnancy and started using it daily when I was 4 months pregnant. I didn't really start showing until the end of the 5th month, but I wanted to prep for stretch marks as much as I could. I'm currently 8 months pregnant and have ZERO stretch marks. I put it on my boobs too and they have not been itchy in months. The smell doesn't bother me and there isn't lasting residue like oil. My belly skin hasn't been irritated (itchy or hurting from stretching) and I give all credit to this butter! Do yourself a favor and buy! 100/10 would buy forever!"–AC


Palmer's Cocoa Butter Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks

From the price to the efficacy to the dreamy cocoa butter scent, Palmer's Cocoa Butter Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks is a long-time favorite for good reason. The OG stretch mark lotion (which also happens to be Amazon's #1 best-selling maternity skin care product) is made from a blend of rich cocoa butter and shea butter to soften, smooth, and plump skin along with the requisite Vitamin E to support moisture retention and help repair damaged skin. It's also packed with lutein to prevent damage as your skin stretches, and argan, almond and coconut oils to moisturize and pamper your expanding belly. Together, this symphony of powerhouses can treat as well as prevent the stretch marks that come from pregnancy or otherwise! And because it's so wallet-friendly, you can slather it everywhere from your boobs and belly to your butt and thighs without blowing the budget.

Reviewers say: "LOVE this lotion!!! Not only does it deeply moisturize my growing pregnancy belly but it is a perfect all-over moisturizer as well. I have zero issues with stretch marks and itchiness when I use it. This lotion has a medium consistency thickness that is NOT greasy, spreads and absorbs well, and has a nice very, very light scent. Also a little bit goes a long way. Since using this all over I have noticed better skin tone on my legs along with less noticeable leg pores (which has been a long time problem for me). It also has helped my dry heels and edges of big toes more than any other lotion I've tried. I have also tried the "cream" version of this lotion and honestly I don't notice much of a difference between the two other than thickness. I'll be sticking with this lotion!"–ThatOneGirl


Mustela Stretch Marks Cream

Mustela Stretch Marks Cream

Mustela, the French family-owned skincare brand, always delivers when it comes to clean, non-toxic products for mamas and babies. Their EWG-Verified Stretch Marks Cream cream is packed with plant-based ingredients like avocado peptides to comfort skin, shea butter to moisturize and nourish and galactoarabinan, an effective plant collagen that is extracted from harvested larch trees to help promote skin elasticity. It's velvety and fast-absorbing and safe to use even while breastfeeding.

Reviewers say: "This is the best stretch mark cream I've used throughout my pregnancy. My husband bought me a variety of items to try and most of them were so greasy and thick that my belly would get so hot at night I couldn't sleep. This cream goes on smooth and is thin but great coverage at the same time. It has helped me although my doctor said that stretch marks are more genetics than cream. I've continued to use this cream throughout my pregnancy and I like it it's so smooth and light. I've purchased multiple refills and recently purchased other postpartum care from them as well. I love the brand and would highly recommend this to all other expecting mothers!"–Jennifer


Body Merry Stretch Marks and Scars Cream

Body Merry Stretch Marks and Scars Cream

Like a prenatal vitamin for the skin, this botanically-charged cream is packed with powerful ingredients to nourish and protect while your body changes. The gentle but powerful formula includes everything from organic shea and cocoa butters to Vitamins E, C, B3, and B5 to hydrate and firm skin while reducing the appearance of marks and scars. It's thicker than a regular moisturizer so a little goes a long way. It also dries up quickly and is not sticky, so you don't have to wait too long to get dressed after applying.

Reviewers say: "After researching stretch mark prevention cream for pregnancy, I decided to purchase the Body Merry Cream. I love that it is all natural and there are no chemicals in the cream. The cream itself is very thick and moisturizes really well. The smell is interesting- it almost has a chocolate/coconut smell but I don't mind it. If you are looking for something super moisturizing and all natural- I highly recommend this cream!"–Amazon Customer


Bio-Oil Skincare Oil

Bio-Oil Skincare Oil

With nearly 100K ratings on Amazon and a huge fanbase of folks who swear by its efficacy, you've likely run across the award-winning Bio-Oil Skincare Oil by now. The holy grail oil is a uniquely formulated blend of powerful, natural oils like Vitamin A, Vitamin E, chamomile, sunflower, and lavender Oil to reduce inflammation, improve elasticity and also help renew skin. Because of this, it's used as both prevention and treatment for existing marks and scars in pregnancy and otherwise. (Many reviewers use it to treat acne scarring since it's non-comedogenic and won't clog pores. Who doesn't love a good multi-tasker?) Not everyone loves the scent which can be described as faintly old-ladylike but it does fade quickly.

Reviewers say: "I used this was when I was pregnant, and now using it for multiple different things. It moisturizes face and neck, helps to minimize scarring & stretch marks, and I also use it on my psoriasis!"–Shnon1


Hatch Belly Oil


Not everyone is a fan of oils given their reputation for being greasy and pore-clogging. But forget what you've been told and hop on the bandwagon if you haven't already. Super-hydrating and oh-so-indulgent, the right body oil can easily take the place of lotion or become the star of your moisturizing regimen. One of our favorites for pregnant bellies? Hatch Belly Oil. The easily-absorbed oil is rich in nutrients and quick-drying so you don't have to stand around for ages waiting to get dressed and leaves skin feeling soft, supple and totally pampered. The non-greasy formula is made with soothing calendula to calm irritated skin, sweet almond oil to heal and hydrate and grapefruit peel to deliver a subtle, citrusy scent. And we have to say, it looks stunning on your dresser or countertop as well.

Reviewers say: "Just started using this product. I had a dream that the bottle was going to be the size of my thumb lol I was wrong, it's a nice big glass bottle with a glass dropper. It has a faint scent of grapefruit. It soaks into my skin quickly leaving it soft and supple but without any greasy residue. I was a little hesitant at first because of the price but I'm very happy with this purchase. :) I got through my first pregnancy with no stretch marks so prayers for no stretch marks this go around!! Lol" SC


Burt's Bees Mama Belly Butter

Burt's Bees Mama Belly Butter

Natural, unscented, and inexpensive, it's no wonder Burt's Bees Mama Belly Butter is a favorite among moms. The luxe and creamy texture helps soothe itchy bellies while nutrient-rich moisturizers like shea, jojoba and cocoa butters deeply hydrate parched and stretching skin.

Reviewers say: "This is my first pregnancy and my itchy stomach was KILLING me! I tried a couple lotions before looking for one specifically for pregnancy, and I tried a couple that had good reviews, but this is by far my favorite! I keep one at home and one at work, but luckily it's not something you need to keep reapplying because it works! Feels great and helps a bunch so that I'm not scratching (trying to keep the stretch marks to a minimum). Love it!"–Jessi211


Kristen Bell and Jackie Tohn on how they’re ‘sneak teaching’ kids with their new show "Do, Re & Mi"

The best friends created a musical animated show that's just as educational as it is entertaining

Amazon Studios

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

Kristen Bell and Jackie Tohn have been best friends since they met as young singers and actors more than 15 years ago, and now they're collaborating on a new Amazon Original animated kids series called Do, Re & Mi. The show, which follows best birds Do, Re and Mi as they navigate the world around them while also belting out catchy tunes, is just as educational as it is entertaining.

On the latest episode of The Motherly Podcast, Bell and Tohn talk to Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety about how they're "sneak teaching" kids with their new show and why music is such an important focal point.

"It was basically our mission from the very beginning to 'sneak music education' into kids' lives, hands, brains, all of it," Tohn admits.

"There's so much science and data to support that [music] helps kids, their brains grow with math, with social skills. It literally can change your neuroplasticity. You can put music of their favorite genre or timeframe on, in an Alzheimer's ward, and they will come back online for a couple minutes. I mean, it's crazy," Bell, who has two daughters of her own, adds. "You know, music can bind a lot of families together. It can bind friendships together. And it's just a show that you can feel really good about. We want to get it in front of as many kids as possible, because I don't like the fact that some kids won't have exposure to music. Their brains deserve to grow just as much as everyone else's."

The first season of Do, Re & Mi premiered on September 17th and its creators recorded 52 different songs for the show that range from reggae and pop to country, blues and jazz.

"That's what's so exciting about this show," Tohn gushes. "Not only are the lessons we're teaching for everyone, but every episode has a musical genre, a musical lesson and an emotional lesson. And so there really is so much to learn."

Elsewhere in the episode, Bell tells Tenety about how she made literal toolboxes that carry different regulation tools to help her kids calm down (one is "find a song you love and sing out loud") and why having a village is crucial to surviving motherhood, especially in a pandemic, while Tohn details her special friendship not only with Bell, but with her daughters, too.

To hear more about the show, Bell's experiences in motherhood, and her enduring friendship with Tohn, listen to The Motherly Podcast for the full interview.


12 baby registry essentials for family adventures

Eager to get out and go? Start here

Ashley Robertson / @ashleyrobertson

Parenthood: It's the greatest adventure of all. From those first few outings around the block to family trips at international destinations, there are new experiences to discover around every corner. As you begin the journey, an adventurous spirit can take you far—and the best baby travel gear can help you go even farther.

With car seats, strollers and travel systems designed to help you confidently get out and go on family adventures, Maxi-Cosi gives you the support you need to make the memories you want.

As a mom of two, Ashley Robertson says she appreciates how Maxi-Cosi products can grow with her growing family. "For baby gear, safety and ease are always at the top of our list, but I also love how aesthetically pleasing the Maxi Cosi products are," she says. "The Pria Car Seat was our first purchase and it's been so nice to have a car seat that 'grows' with your child. It's also easy to clean—major bonus!"

If you have big dreams for family adventures, start by exploring these 12 baby registry essentials.

Tayla™️ XP Travel System

Flexibility is key for successful family adventures. This reversible, adjustable, all-terrain travel system delivers great versatility. With the included Coral XP Infant Car Seat that fits securely in the nesting system, you can use this stroller from birth.

Add to Babylist


Iora Bedside Bassinet

Great for use at home or for adventures that involve a night away, the collapsible Iora Bedside Bassinet gives your baby a comfortable, safe place to snooze. With five different height positions and three slide positions, this bassinet can fit right by your bedside. The travel bag also makes it easy to take on the go.

Add to Babylist


Kori 2-in-1 Rocker

Made with high-quality, soft materials, the foldable Kori Rocker offers 2-in-1 action by being a rocker or stationary seat. It's easy to move around the home, so you can keep your baby comfortable wherever you go. With a slim folded profile, it's also easy to take along on adventures so your baby always has a seat of their own.

Add to Babylist


Minla 6-in-1 High Chair

A high chair may not come to mind when you're planning ahead for family adventures. But, as the safest spot for your growing baby to eat meals, it's worth bringing along for the ride. With compact folding ability and multiple modes of use that will grow with your little one, it makes for easy cargo.

Add to Babylist


Coral XP Infant Car Seat

With the inner carrier weighing in at just 5 lbs., this incredibly lightweight infant car seat means every outing isn't also an arm workout for you. Another feature you won't find with other infant car seats? In addition to the standard carry bar, the Coral XP can be carried with a flexible handle or cross-body strap.

Add to Babylist


Pria™️ All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

From birth through 10 years, this is the one and only car seat you need. It works in rear-facing, forward-facing and, finally, booster mode. Comfortable and secure for every mile of the journey ahead, you can feel good about hitting the road for family fun.

Add to Babylist


Pria™️ Max All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

Want to skip the wrestling match with car seat buckles? The brilliant Out-of-the-Way harness system and magnetic chest clip make getting your child in and out of their buckles as cinch. This fully convertible car seat is suitable for babies from 4 lbs. through big kids up to 100 lbs. With washer-and-dryer safe cushions and dishwasher safe cup holders, you don't need to stress the mess either.

Add to Babylist


Tayla Modular Lightweight Stroller

With four reclining positions, your little ones can stay content—whether they want to lay back for a little shut-eye or sit up and take in the view. Also reversible, the seat can be turned outward or inward if you want to keep an eye on your adventure buddy. Need to pop it in the trunk or take it on the plane? The stroller easily and compactly folds shut.

Add to Babylist

Tayla Travel System

This car seat and stroller combo is the baby travel system that will help make your travel dreams possible from Day 1. The Mico XP infant seat is quick and easy to install into the stroller or car. Skipping the car seat? The reversible stroller seat is a comfortable way to take in the scenery.

Add to Babylist

Modern Diaper Bag

When you need to change a diaper during an outing, the last thing you'll want to do is scramble to find one. The Modern Diaper Bag will help you stay organized for brief outings or week-long family vacations. In addition to the pockets and easy-carry strap, we love the wipeable diaper changing pad, insulated diaper bag and hanging toiletry bag.

Add to Babylist


Mico XP Max Infant Car Seat

Designed for maximum safety and comfort from the very first day, this infant car seat securely locks into the car seat base or compatible strollers. With a comfy infant pillow and luxe materials, it also feels as good for your baby as it looks to you. Not to mention the cushions are all machine washable and dryable, which is a major win for you.

Add to Babylist

Adorra™️ 5-in-1 Modular Travel System

From carriage mode for newborn through world-view seated mode for bigger kids, this 5-in-1 children's travel system truly will help make travel possible. We appreciate the adjustable handlebar, extended canopy with UV protection and locking abilities when it's folded. Your child will appreciate the plush cushions, reclining seat and smooth ride.

Add to Babylist

Ready for some family adventures? Start by exploring Maxi-Cosi.

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

Boost 1

This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.

Honestly, it's no wonder. Originally designed as a better blanket for luxury hotels and engineered with textile experts to create this uniquely soft fabric, it has made my bed into the vacation I so desperately want these days.

The comforter is made up of two layers. On one side is their signature knit "snug" fabric which out-cozies even my most beloved (bought on sale) cashmere sweater. The other, a soft quilted microfiber. Together, it creates a weighty blanket that's as soothing to be under as it is to flop face-first into at the end of an exhausting day. Or at lunch. No judgement.

Miraculously, given the weight and construction, it stays totally breathable and hasn't left me feeling overheated even on these warm summer nights with just a fan in the window.

Beyond being the absolute most comfortable comforter I've found, it's also answered my minimalist bed making desires. Whether you opt to use it knit or quilted side up, it cleanly pulls the room together and doesn't wrinkle or look unkempt even if you steal a quick nap on top of it.

Also worth noting, while all that sounds super luxe and totally indulgent, the best part is, it's equally durable. It's made to be easily machine washed and come out the other side as radically soft as ever, forever, which totally helps take the sting out of the price tag.

My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

Here is my top pick from Sunday Citizen, along with the super-soft goods I'm coveting for future purchases.

Woodland Snug comforter


The bedroom anchor I've been looking for— the Snug Comforter.


Braided Pom Pom Throw

Because this degree of coziness needs portability, I'm totally putting the throw version on my list. It's washable, which is a must-have given my shedding dog and two spill-prone kiddos who are bound to fight over it during family movie night.


Lumbar pillow


What's a cozy bed without a pile of pillows?


Crystal infused sleep mask

sunday citizen sleep mask

Promoting sleep by creating total darkness and relaxation, I've bookmarked as my go-to gift for fellow mamas.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


10 Montessori phrases for kids who are struggling with back to school

The first day of school can be hard for everyone, mama. Here's how to use the Montessori method to help your child adjust.

No matter how excited your child was to pick out a new lunchbox and backpack this year, there will likely be days when they just don't want to go to school. Whether they're saying "I don't like school" when you're home playing together or having a meltdown on the way to the classroom, there are things you can say to help ease their back-to-school nerves.

More than the exact words you use, the most important thing is your attitude, which your child is most definitely aware of. It's important to validate their feelings while conveying a calm confidence that school is the right place for them to be and that they can handle it.

Here are some phrases that will encourage your child to go to school.

1. "You're safe here."

If you have a young child, they may be genuinely frightened of leaving you and going to school. Tell them that school is a safe place full of people who care about them. If you say this with calm confidence, they'll believe you. No matter what words you say, if your child senses your hesitation, your own fear of leaving them, they will not feel safe. How can they be safe if you're clearly scared of leaving them? Try to work through your own feelings about dropping them off before the actual day so you can be a calm presence and support.

2. "I love you and I know you can do this."

It's best to keep your goodbye short, even if your child is crying or clinging to you, and trust that you have chosen a good place for them to be. Most children recover from hard goodbyes quickly after the parent leaves.

If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, give one good strong hug and tell them that you love them and know they can do this. Saying something like, "It's just school, you'll be fine" belittles their feelings. Instead, acknowledge that this is hard, but that you're confident they're up to the task. This validates the anxiety they're feeling while ending on a positive note.

After a quick reassurance, make your exit, take a deep breath and trust that they will be okay.

3. "First you'll have circle time, then work time, and then you'll play on the playground."

Talk your child through the daily schedule at school, including as many details as possible. Talk about what will happen when you drop them off, what kinds of work they will do, when they will eat lunch and play outside, and who will come to get them in the afternoon.

It can help to do this many times so that they become comfortable with the new daily rhythm.

4. "I'll pick you up after playground time."

Give your child a frame of reference for when you will be returning.

If your child can tell time, you can tell them you'll see them at 3:30pm. If they're younger, tell them what will happen right before you pick them up. Perhaps you'll come get them right after lunch, or maybe it's after math class.

Giving this reference point can help reassure them you are indeed coming back and that there is a specific plan for when they will see you again. As the days pass, they'll realize that you come consistently every day when you said you would and their anxieties will ease.

5. "What book do you think your teacher will read when you get to school this morning?"

Find out what happens first in your child's school day and help them mentally transition to that task. In a Montessori school, the children choose their own work, so you might ask about which work your child plans to do first.

If they're in a more traditional school, find an aspect of the school morning they enjoy and talk about that.

Thinking about the whole school day can seem daunting, but helping your child focus on a specific thing that will happen can make it seem more manageable.

6. "Do you think Johnny will be there today?"

Remind your child of the friends they will see when they get to school.

If you're not sure who your child is bonding with, ask the teacher. On the way to school, talk about the children they can expect to see and try asking what they might do together.

If your child is new to the school, it might help to arrange a playdate with a child in their class to help them form strong relationships.

7. "That's a hard feeling. Tell me about it."

While school drop-off is not the time to wallow in the hard feelings of not wanting to go to school, if your child brings up concerns after school or on the weekend, take some time to listen to them.

Children can very easily be swayed by our leading questions, so keep your questions very general and neutral so that your child can tell you what they're really feeling.

They may reveal that they just miss you while they're gone, or may tell you that a certain person or kind of work is giving them anxiety.

Let them know that you empathize with how they feel, but try not to react too dramatically. If you think there is an issue of real concern, talk to the teacher about it, but your reaction can certainly impact the already tentative feelings about going to school.

8. "What can we do to help you feel better?"

Help your child brainstorm some solutions to make them more comfortable with going to school.

Choose a time at home when they are calm. Get out a pen and paper to show that you are serious about this.

If they miss you, would a special note in their pocket each morning help? If another child is bothering them, what could they say or who could they ask for help? If they're too tired in the morning, could an earlier bedtime make them feel better?

Make it a collaborative process, rather than a situation where you're rescuing them, to build their confidence.

9. "What was the best part of your school day?"

Choose a time when your child is not talking about school and start talking about your day. Tell them the best part of your day, then try asking about the best part of their day. Practice this every day.

It's easy to focus on the hardest parts of an experience because they tend to stick out in our minds. Help your child recognize that, even if they don't always want to go, there are likely parts of school they really enjoy.

10. "I can't wait to go to the park together when we get home."

If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, remind them of what you will do together after you pick them up from school.

Even if this is just going home and making dinner, what your child likely craves is time together with you, so help them remember that it's coming.

It is totally normal for children to go through phases when they don't want to go to school. If you're concerned, talk to your child's teacher and ask if they seem happy and engaged once they're in the classroom.

To your child, be there to listen, to help when you can, and to reassure them that their feelings are natural and that they are so capable of facing the challenges of the school day, even when it seems hard.

Back to School

Yes, a shower can be self-care—here's how to level it up

Some seasons of life can make you feel like you have no time for self-care, so here's how you can make an everyday activity a luxury.


Over the course of the last several years, "self-care" has become not only a buzzword, but also a daily requirement for personal fulfillment. And while self-care is important, it loses its appeal when it feels like a chore, or yet another item on a never-ending To Do list. I have a one-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter. I work full-time, and I do not have full-time childcare. As a result, like many parents, free time is the stuff of fairy tales.

Instead of beating myself up over my inability to get to the nail salon or to schedule a monthly massage, I decided to redefine self-care—to be grateful for the little moments, to elevate them. In the seasons of life where you can't figure out how to fit "self-care" in—or when trying to fit it in causes more stress—choose to relish the small escapes. After all, the intent of self-care is to feel better, to improve your overall health, to fill your cup so you can help to fill others. When the act of scheduling self-care puts more weight on your shoulders, it defeats the purpose.

I can't tell you how many articles I've read that say a shower—basic hygiene—shouldn't qualify as self-care, and I do understand that sentiment.

However, on the days, weeks, or even months where you can't find hour-long blocks of scheduled "me time," why not embrace your shower as an act of self-care?

In all honesty, my nightly shower after my kids go to sleep is beyond. I look forward to it. I set the mood and bask in 10-15 minutes of silence and pampering. Here are some of my tried-and-true tips to boost your shower:

  • Light a candle: What is it about the simple act of lighting a candle that sets the mood? I recently received a South Candle from my MIL, and the dreamy summer scent has me reaching for it again and again.
  • Use a dry brush: I jumped on the dry brushing trend a few years ago and never looked back. Right before I shower, I use a dry brush on my body to exfoliate and improve lymphatic drainage.
  • Hang eucalyptus: Visit your local florist, and buy a bundle of fresh eucalyptus. In addition to its spa-esque scent, eucalyptus boasts multiple healing effects, like promoting stress-relief and improving mental health.
  • Cleanse: Indie Lee's Brightening Cleanser smells delicious and is a great addition to anyone's summer skincare routine. This vegan and plant-based formula leaves my skin looking bright and firm.
  • Splurge: It's not cheap, but Tata Harper's smoothing body scrub buffs and polishes your skin, leaving it smooth, glowing, and in my case — ready to hit the sheets!
  • Moisturize: Post-shower, use your favorite moisturizer. I love Alba Botanica's very emollient unscented original body lotion — it's super hydrating and gentle on sensitive skin without an overwhelming fragrance.
  • Enhance your skin while you catch some z's: Glow Recipe's Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask completes my nightly skincare routine. It smells like candy, and I wake up with soft, dewy skin.

Moral of the story? For busy parents, your nightly shower is a special occasion, so don't save the good products for another day—use them now!

Elevating the little moments and being creative carries over to all other areas of your life as well. Can't make it to a barre class? Slide into bridge pose while on the floor with the kiddos and do some hip raises. Turn a dance party into a quick HIIT workout with some squat jumps. Take the kiddos for a walk and pop in your airpods. Fresh air, movement, and a podcast fuels my soul. Having trouble finding a sitter for date night? Enhance your "Netflix and chill" with restaurant-quality cocktails, fancy popcorn, and a bougie dessert.

In certain seasons of life, recognize self-care in the little moments. It's not worth stressing about your inability to practice an idealistic—and unrealistic—self-care routine. Instead, find the moment, elevate it, and enjoy it.

Beauty Style

Mom and gorilla bond over their babies at the zoo: ‘It was so beautiful’

The new mothers shared a special moment at a Boston zoo.

Franklin Park Zoo/YouTube

Motherhood knows no bounds.

When Kiki the gorilla spotted a new mom and baby visiting her habitat at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, she immediately took a liking to the pair. Emmelina Austin held her five-week-old son Canyon to the glass so Kiki could get a better look.

The gorilla spent nearly five minutes happily pointing and staring at baby Canyon.

Emmelina's husband captured the sweet moment on his phone, in a video that's now gone viral.

Mother shares unique maternal bond with gorilla (FULL VIDEO) www.youtube.com

Why was Kiki so interested in her tiny visitor? Possibly because Kiki's a new mom herself. Her fifth baby, Pablo, was born in October.

Near the end of the video, Kiki scooped up Pablo and held him close. The new moms held their baby boys to the glass and shared a special moment together: just a couple of mothers, showing off their little ones.

"When I walked into the zoo that day, I never could've imagined that we would have had that experience," Austin told ABC News. "It was so beautiful, and we walked out just over the moon."

We can't get enough of the sweet exchange. There's something special about sharing your little one with the world. Mothers of all ages, races–and it turns out, species–understand.

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