Motherly's 2021 State of Motherhood Survey Results

It's time to change the way we talk about motherhood.

mom-daughter-face-to-face
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It's time to change the way we talk about motherhood.

For too long, topics like maternal health and affordable childcare have been labeled as "women's issues"—and not prioritized by leaders in government. Modern mothers need a voice. We need a seat at the table. We need legislators to understand that what they call "women's issues" actually impact everyone.

Motherly is the voice of modern motherhood—that's why we take this so seriously. With a 30M+ multi-platform audience, we represent today's mothers. We're here to elevate your voices, your concerns and your successes with our annual State of Motherhood survey. Over 11,000 women answered our fourth annual State of Motherhood survey, which was designed and administered by Motherly. It was run between March 1-14th, 2021. Edge Research weighed the data to align with US Census demographic data, ensuring results are a statistically accurate representation of today's millennial mother.

Among the key findings:

Mothers are burned out


93% of mothers reported feeling burned out, at least occasionally. That's up 7 points from last year's survey. Even more, mothers are feeling burned out more frequently (43%, up from 35%) or worse, they're feeling burned out all the time (16%, up from 6%).

Why are mothers so burned out? For starters, they don't feel supported at home. 45% of mothers report being the primary caregiver for children in the household during the day, with Black mothers the most likely to say so at 53%. While about a quarter of mothers (26%) have a childcare provider for support, very few (4%) have a partner who takes the primary caregiver role or even shares the responsibility equally (10%).

Contributing to this feeling, 69% of mothers (62% of employed mothers, 90% of non-employed mothers) say they devote 5 or more hours a day to child/household duties, but only 13% of partners (if in a relationship) devote the same amount of time. The reported norm for the partner's daily household contributions is 1-2 hours (41%).

Mothers are bearing the burden of childcare and household duties —and their partners are not sharing that responsibility equally. Mothers are tired—figuratively and literally. 89% of mothers report getting less than 8 hours of sleep each night. Whether that's because they're staying up late or waking early to keep their household and careers running, or it's because they're getting up in the middle of the night with their kids, mothers are tired.

Lack of adequate sleep is more common among non-white mothers, too. 41% of women of color report getting five hours or less of sleep a night, compared to 27% of white mothers.

Some mothers are turning to alcohol and cannabidiol (CBD) to help cope with the stress of parenting, burnout, and the pandemic. Since the pandemic started, 10% of mothers began or increased their use of CBD. That figure doubles when it comes to alcohol: 1 in 5 mothers (20%) report beginning or increasing their use of alcohol as a means to cope.

Mothers aren't getting nearly enough time for themselves, either. Nearly two-thirds (64%) say within the last 24 hours, they had less than one hour to themselves without work or family obligations.

What does this all add up to? Mothers aren't getting enough sleep or time for themselves. They're shouldering extra work and feeling unsupported at home. It's no wonder, then, that nearly all mothers say they're burned out. We're exhausted—and not just from lack of sleep.

Mothers are having less sex

41% of millennial mothers say they're having less sex as a result of the pandemic, too.

After a year that forced many of us to spend more time at home and with our partners than ever before, why is it that we're having less sex?

The inability to find time to spend with their partner ranks as the number one overall relationship tension for mothers. Sex life (or a lack of one) ranks as the second.

In a pandemic world, parents aren't able to carve out time for date night or time with just each other. And their sex lives are suffering because of it. The pandemic has also caused mothers to reevaluate their plans to have children.

Overall, just 39% of mothers say they intend to have more children—a full 12 points lower than 2019. While most (40%) say the pandemic has not impacted their family planning, nearly 1-in-5 say it has, with 13% saying they are waiting for the pandemic to resolve before having more children and 6% saying they are no longer planning to conceive or adopt.

Mothers might be having less sex because they're also less interested in getting pregnant during a global pandemic.

Whether it's because we're rethinking how to build our families or because it's harder to find alone time with our partners, the pandemic has changed mothers' sex lives

Society is failing mothers

Many mothers don't feel supported at home–and most mothers say they're also not supported by their communities and society at large.

92% of mothers feel society doesn't do a good job of understanding or supporting motherhood. This is a sentiment that has grown in strength every year we've conducted this survey—from 74% in 2018, 85% in 2019, 89% in 2020, to this year's high.

Why do so many mothers feel so unsupported?

68% of mothers need more emotional support, encouragement and empathy. 67% of mothers need more caregiving support—they need help watching and raising their children. 51% of mothers would like more acceptance and reassurance-based support. We need help. We need kindness and empathy. And we need those things from government policies, our communities and each other.

It takes a village. Mothers don't have one.

Most mothers (67%) report having family nearby (either theirs or their partner's)—more so for Latinx mothers (70%) than Black mothers (62%). Only 8% of millennial mothers report living in a multi-generational household and feelings about them are mixed: two-thirds (65%) say it helps them "feel more support" but a third (31%) say it's a "burden because I have to support more people emotionally and/or financially."

More than half (56%) of mothers lack a non-family "village" they can call on for support. That's a jump of 15 points from last year's 41%. Given that the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we interact with just about everyone, that significant jump makes sense—but is still disheartening.

Non-family support declined the most for white mothers (down 16 points from 61% to 44%) and Latinx mothers (down 15 points from 56% to 41%) and the least for Black mothers (down 7 points from 57% to 50%).

Nearly a quarter (23%) of mothers say they never have unpaid child minding, too. Access to that kind of support is widely varied with non-working mothers least likely to get free help and working mothers most likely to get it more than once a week.

We know it takes a village to raise a child. But many mothers don't have access to a village—and it's affecting how they raise their children.

Mothers are struggling to balance careers + motherhood

Mothers are struggling to balance the emotional and physical needs of their families with their careers.

61% of mothers returned to work from maternity leave before they felt emotionally or mentally ready. We are headed back to work before we truly feel ready—and it takes a toll.

30% of mothers believe it's possible to combine their careers and motherhood creatively. But more (34%) say they're frustrated: they want to do both but it's just not realistic. 17% of mothers say juggling both is "impossible." A mere 6% of mothers feel empowered and say that becoming a mother has helped them in their career.

When asked how employers can better support them, working mothers are clear: longer, paid maternity leave (64%), increased position flexibility (58%) and support for childcare, either on-site or through subsidies (53%).

In fact, just about half of mothers (48%) that are working have considered leaving the workforce because of the cost of childcare. This holds true across mothers of all races and ethnicities, and is especially high (59%) among mothers that work part-time.

The ability to pay for childcare underscores the different realities of mothers with more economic means from those without. Fully 31% of mothers say they are "always" or "often" under financial stress or hardship to pay for childcare, with another 30% saying "sometimes" and 29% reporting "rarely" or "never" feeling financial stress around paying for childcare. Black mothers are the most likely to report financial stress (46% always/often) followed by Latinx mothers (38%) and white mothers are the least likely to have financial issues with childcare (25%).

We know that the pandemic has only increased the career struggles that mothers face.

64% of working mothers say their child and household duties have harmed their paid work in the last year. Having a child or home should not negatively impact your work—and yet, in the age of COVID-19 when children moved to virtual schooling overnight and mothers overwhelmingly took on the burden of childcare and household duties while navigating their own professional ambitions, it often did.

The pandemic also left most mothers (73%) feeling like they were failing to fulfill expectations for their family. We know that mothers are the masters of multitasking—but even masters need support. Mothers need more from their employers and partners to balance the needs of their families and careers.

Support for mothers is non-partisan

We know that 93% of mothers report feeling burned out, at least some of the time. Our study also found that 92% of mothers support legislative action to increase support for childcare and/or parental leave. These aren't partisan issues—they affect everyone.

Millennial mothers also support free, universal pre-k (74%), refundable tax credits to help pay for childcare (75%) and improved pay/benefits for childcare workers (72%).

Overall, 85% of mothers say they would support or vote for a political candidate who supported childcare legislation that did more to actively support mothers, regardless of that candidate's party affiliation.

Mothers are a powerful voting bloc: they want what's best for their children and they're willing to use their voting ballots to get it.

Mothers as a force for change

For the first time, this year we asked mothers about the issues they actively support. The priority of issues differs across racial categories, with paid family leave, affordable childcare and racial justice cutting across all groups.

Here are the top five:

We know these are the issues that are important to modern mamas. We know that they're willing to use their voices and financial contributions to effect change.

While mothers have strong opinions on issues that affect their children and families—and they're willing to vote across party lines to affect legislative change—our survey revealed that only 19% of mothers report being actively engaged in advocacy action in the support of mothers.

Why are relatively few mothers involved in advocacy for other mothers? Perhaps because they're burned out, used to putting the needs of others first. Perhaps because, for too long, mothers have been overlooked and undervalued.

Here's what we learned, though: when given a platform, mothers will use their voice to help others.

Mothers need to be taken seriously: as professionals, partners, voters and individuals. That's why we conduct this annual survey —we understand the importance of giving a voice to this generation of women. Because we know that when mothers thrive, families and communities thrive.

METHODOLOGY STATEMENT

Motherly designed and administered this survey through Motherly's subscribers list, social media and partner channels, resulting in more than 11,000 responses creating a clean, unweighted base of 7,816 responses. This report focuses on the Millennial cohort of 5,809 respondents aged 25-40. Edge Research weighted the data to reflect the racial and ethnic composition of the US female millennial cohort based on US Census data.

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When you ask any two mamas to share their experience with breastfeeding, you are bound to get very unique answers. That's because while the act of breastfeeding is both wonderful and natural, it also comes with a learning curve for both mothers and babies.

In some cases, breastfeeding won't be the right path for everyone. But with the right tools, resources and social support systems, we can make progress toward the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation to continue breastfeeding through the first year of a child's life. After all, breastfeeding helps nourish infants, protects them against illnesses, develops their immune systems and more. Not to mention that mothers who breastfeed experience reduced risk for breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

With National Breastfeeding Awareness Month this month, it's a great time for mamas (and expectant mamas!) to gather the supplies that will support their feeding journey—whether it looks like exclusively breastfeeding, pumping or combo-feeding.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Designed for regular use, this double electric breast pump allows mamas to customize the cycle and vacuum settings that work for them. The 100% SoftShape™ silicone shields on this pump form-fit to a wide range of breast shapes and sizes—which means more comfortable, more efficient pumping. And every pump comes with two complete Dr. Brown's Options+ bottles, giving you everything you need to go from pumping to feeding.

$159.99

Dr. Brown’s™ Breast Milk Collection Bottles

There's no need to cry over spilled milk—because it won't happen with these storage bottles! Make the pump-to-feeding transition simpler with Dr. Brown's Milk Collection Bottles. The bottles adapt to Dr. Brown's electric pumps to easily fill, seal and transport, and they work with Dr. Brown's bottle and nipple parts when your baby's ready to eat. (Meaning no risky pouring from one bottle to another. 🙌)

$9.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

With an extra-durable design and double zip seal, your breast milk will stay fresh and safe in the fridge or freezer until it's needed. Plus, the bags are easy to freeze flat and then store for up to six months, so your baby can continue drinking breast milk long after you are done nursing.

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump with Options+™ Bottle & Bag

Here's something they don't tell you about breastfeeding ahead of time: While feeding your baby on one side, the other breast may "let down" milk, too. With this one-piece Silicone Breast Pump, you don't have to let those precious drops go to waste. The flexible design makes pouring the milk into a bottle stress-free.

$14.99

Dr. Brown’s® Manual Breast Pump

No outlet in sight? No worries! With this powerful-yet-gentle Manual Breast Pump, you can get relief from engorgement, sneak in some quick midnight pumping or perform a full pumping session without any electricity needed. With Dr. Brown's 100% silicone SoftShape™ Shield, the hand-operated pump is as comfortable as it is easy to use. Complete with Dr. Brown's® Options+™ Anti-Colic Wide-Neck Bottle, a storage travel cap and cleaning brush, consider this the breastfeeding essential for any mama who has places to go.

$29.99

Options+™ Anti-Colic Baby Bottle

With the soft silicone nipple and natural flow design of these bottles, your baby can easily switch between breast and bottle. Clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to the vent, your baby can enjoy a happy tummy after feeding sessions—without as much spit-up, burping or gas! By mimicking the flow and feel of the breast, these bottles help support your breastfeeding experience.

$7.99

This post is sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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7 hacks for simplifying after-school snacks

Prepping delicious and nutritious foods shouldn't take all day.

When you're in the middle of the school year and managing a family, each minute of time becomes very precious. Sometimes that means healthy food choices in the household can take a backseat. But don't stress it, mama. Prepping delicious and nutritious choices for the kids to munch on doesn't need to take all day.

Remember to keep it fun, simple and interactive! Here are tips for simplifying after-school snacks once and for all:

1. Prep snacks on Sunday

This simple trick can make the rest of the week a breeze. Tupperware is your friend here, you can even write different days of the week on each container to give the kids a little surprise every day. I really like storage with compartments for snack prep. Personally, I slice apples, carrots or cucumbers to pair with almond butter and hummus—all great to grab and go for when you're out all day and need some fresh variety.

2. When in doubt, go for fruit

Fruit is always a quick and easy option. I suggest blueberries, clementine oranges, apples, frozen grapes or even unsweetened apple sauce and dried fruit, like mixed fruit. It's fun to put together a fruit salad, too. Simply cut up all the fruit options and let the kids decide how they'd like to compile. Prepped fruit is also great to have on hand for smoothies, especially when it's been sitting in the fridge for a few days—throw it in the blender with some nut milk and voila.

3. Pair snacks with a dip

Hummus is a great dip to keep on hand with lots of versatility or you can grab a yogurt-based dip. Easy and healthy dippers include pre-sliced veggies, baby carrots and multigrain tortilla chips. Plain hummus is a great way to introduce seasonings and spices too—shake a little turmeric, add fresh basil and you'd be surprised what your kids will take to.

4. Have high-protein options readily available

Snacks with high protein, like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs and jerky will fuel kids for hours. One of my favorites is a turkey stick, which is a fun addition to the hummus platter. Just slice into bite-sized pieces. I love cottage cheese because it can go savory or sweet, use as a dip with your prepped veggies, or drizzle pure maple syrup and sprinkle with berries.

5. Always keep the pantry stocked

Monthly deliveries keeps the pantry updated without a trip to grocery store. Many kids are big fans of popcorn, granola and pretzels. We like to DIY our own snack packs with a little popcorn, pretzels, nuts and whatever else is in the pantry so there's always something different!

6. Make cracker tartines

I love the idea of replicating popular restaurant dishes for kids. Here are some of my favorite snack-sized tartines using any crisp bread, or favorite flat cracker of your choice as the base. There are no rules and kids love adding toppings and finding new combinations they love.

  • Avocado crackers: Use a cracker and then layer with thinly sliced avocado, a dollop of fresh ricotta cheese topped with roasted pepitas or sunflower seeds.
  • Tacos: The base for this is a black bean spread—just drain a can of black beans, rinse and place into a wide bowl. With a fork or potato masher, lightly smush the beans until chunky. Spread onto your cracker and top with tomato, cheddar cheese and black olives. Try out a dollop of super mild salsa or some lime zest to introduce some new flavor profiles.
  • A play on PB&J: Smear peanut butter, almond or a favorite sun butter on the cracker. I like to get a mix it up a bit and put fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries and tiny diced apples) and a little bit of dried fruit sprinkled on top.

7. Pre-make smoothie pops

The easy part about meal prep is the prep itself, but knowing exactly how much to make ahead is tricky. Freeze a smoothie in popsicle molds to have a healthy treat ready-to-go snack. They're super simple to make: Add any fruit (I like apples, berries, pineapples and mangoes) and veggies (carrots, steamed beet and wilted kale) to a blender with your favorite nut milk until you have consistency just a bit thinner than a smoothie. Pour into your trusty reusable popsicle molds and then into the freezer to make an ice pop so good they could eat them for breakfast.

Family Foodies

15 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


Stomp Racers

As longtime fans of Stomp Rockets, we're pretty excited about their latest launch–Stomp Racers. Honestly, the thrill of sending things flying through the air never gets old. Parents and kids alike can spend hours launching these kid-powered cars which take off via a stompable pad and hose.

$19.99

Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don't think it will be put away too often!)

$139

Secret Agent play set

Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Stepping Stones

Stepping-stones

Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.

$99.99

Sand play set

B. toys Wagon & Beach Playset - Wavy-Wagon Red

For the littlest ones, it's easy to keep it simple. Take their sand box toys and use them in the bath! This 12-piece set includes a variety of scoops, molds and sifters that can all be stored in sweet little wagon.

$17.95

Sensory play set

kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$19.95

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Foam pogo stick

Flybar-my-first-foam-pogo-stick

Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

$16.99

Dumptruck 

green-toys-dump-truck

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.

$22

Hopper ball

Hopper ball

Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

$14.99

Pull-along ducks

janod-pull-along-wooden-ducks

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$16.99

Rocking chair seesaw

Slidewhizzer-rocking-chair-seesaw

This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

$79.99

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$79.99

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$24.75

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

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Even 5 hours of screen time per day is OK for school-aged kids, says new study

Researchers found screen time contributes to stronger peer relationships and had no effect on depression and anxiety. So maybe it isn't as bad as we thought?

MoMo Productions/Getty Images

If you've internalized some parental guilt about your own child's screen time usage, you're not alone. Numerous studies have shown that exposure to significant amounts of screen time in children leads to an increased risk of depression and behavioral issues, poor sleep and obesity, among other outcomes. Knowing all this can mean you're swallowing a big gulp of guilt every time you unlock the iPad or turn on the TV for your kiddo.

But is screen time really that bad? New research says maybe not. A study published in September 2021 of 12,000 9- and 10-year-olds found that even when school-aged kids spend up to 5 hours per day on screens (watching TV, texting or playing video games), it doesn't appear to be that harmful to their mental health.

Researchers found no association between screen usage and depression or anxiety in children at this age.

In fact, kids who had more access to screen time tended to have more friends and stronger peer relationships, most likely thanks to the social nature of video gaming, social media and texting.


The correlations between screen time and children's health

But those big social benefits come with a caveat. The researchers also noted that kids who used screens more frequently were in fact more likely to have attention problems, impacted sleep, poorer academic performance and were more likely to show aggressive behavior.

Without a randomized controlled trial, it's hard to nail down these effects as being caused directly by screens. The study's authors analyzed data from a nationwide study known as the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (ABCD Study), the largest long-term study of brain development and children's health in the country. They relied on self-reported levels of screen time from both children and adults (it's funny to note that those reported numbers differed slightly depending on who was asked… ).

It's important to remember that these outcomes are just correlations—not causations. "We can't say screen time causes the symptoms; instead, maybe more aggressive children are given screen devices as an attempt to distract them and calm their behavior," says Katie Paulich, lead author of the study and a PhD student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Also worth noting is that a child's socioeconomic status has a 2.5-times-bigger impact on behavior than screens.

Weighing the benefits with the risks will be up to you as the parent, who knows your child best. And because we live in a digital world, screens are here to stay, meaning parents often have little choice in the matter. It's impossible to say whether recreational screen time is fully "good" or "bad" for kids. It's maybe both.

"When looking at the strength of the correlations, we see only very modest associations," says Paulich. "That is, any association between screen time and the various outcomes, whether good or bad, is so small it's unlikely to be important at a clinical level." It's all just part of the overall picture.

A novel look at screen time in adolescents

The researchers cite a lack of studies examining the relationship between screen time and health outcomes in this specific early-adolescence age group, which is one of the reasons why this study is so groundbreaking. The findings don't apply to younger children—or older adolescents, who may be starting to go through puberty.

Screen time guidelines do exist for toddlers up to older kids, but up to 1.5 hours per day seems unattainable for many young adolescents, who often have their own smartphones and laptops, or at least regular access to one.

Of course, more research is needed, but that's where this study can be helpful. The ABCD study will follow the 12,000 participants for another 10 years, following up with annual check-ins. It'll be interesting to see how the findings change over time: Will depression and anxiety as a result of screen time be more prevalent as kids age? We'll have to wait and see.

The bottom line? Parents should still be the gatekeepers of their child's screen time in terms of access and age-appropriateness, but, "our early research suggests lengthy time on screen is not likely to yield dire consequences," says Paulich.

Children's health

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.

Our favorite viral mama + kid videos