Family

6 Moms Share Advice & Epic Gratitude In Praise Of Caregivers

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It's undeniable that moms are real-life superheroes, balancing what can feel like a million various tasks all at once.

For some that might be working full-time while arranging childcare and dinnertime, for others it might mean managing extracurriculars for their little ones while maintaining the house or finances. For many it is all of the above, not to mention finding time for friends and yourself.

But for the moms who are fortunate to have help, most are quick to acknowledge that we don’t do it all on our own. We often receive caregiver support from family and friends, and others, who play an important role in helping to raise our children.

Because of this, Medela, a dedicated advocate of breastfeeding moms and families, has renamed its working parent support program to Kin.

The term “kin” is defined as “one’s relations,” and it helps convey that this invaluable program is set up to not only support moms, but to serve as a family program that helps all new parents navigate the transitions that come with the arrival of a baby. And Medela’s Kin program delivers, as it aids working parents in accessing breast pumps, private lactation spaces at work, pediatric and lactation experts, breastfeeding education, and breastmilk shipping services.

Essentially, the Kin program makes it easier for employers to support expecting employees, and their growing family, in receiving the care they need to raise healthy, thriving children. With today’s workforce and retention issues, these kinds of programs are needed more than ever.

RELATED: Why Family Caregivers Are Heroes — And How To Help Them

An additional important aspect of this cycle of support is acknowledging those caregivers that might go unnoticed: the dads, partners, grandparents, aunts and uncles, nannies, and more who are always there to lend a hand. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

Get ready to hear from a handful of moms that not only offer spot-on parenting advice, but also give thanks to the caregivers they lean on.

6 Moms Share Advice And Gratitude For Caregivers & Their Village of Helpers

Let’s go straight to the source and explore the sage mom advice and heartfelt gratitude from women who are deep in the trenches of motherhood, offering quality parenting content on social media.

Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Laura from @momlifewithlaura on Instagram and on TikTok reminds us that our kids aren’t keeping score and love us unconditionally, even when we feel we’re lacking. And just as Medela’s Kin program acknowledges how valuable support from additional caregivers is, Laura thanks her husband, parents, and children’s teachers for all the help they provide:

"Parents, don’t be so hard on yourselves. We’re all trying to do a million things at once — it’s hard! And we wonder if we’re being a good enough parent.

But at the end of the day, our kids aren’t worrying about any of this stuff. Our kids have unconditional love for us no matter if we think we’re failing at parenthood or not.

The saying 'it takes a village' really does apply to raising kids. I am so grateful to have my husband and truly appreciate all he does around our house and with the kids.

I’m also so thankful to our parents who constantly volunteer to help out with the kids, and to the teachers who are with our children every day, not only educating them but sculpting them to be the best versions of themselves; we simply couldn’t do it without you."

Get to know the child within.

Bryana Kappadakunnel, LMFT, Infant, Early Childhood, and Perinatal Mental Health Specialist, from @consciousmommy, provides the essential reminder to peel back our layers to discover the needs of our inner child.

She also points out that parenting support can arrive in unique ways, such as from experts who provide their guidance from afar.

Photo: Bryana Kappadakunnel

"My biggest piece of parenting advice is to know yourself. Often, we come into parenting thinking it's all about how we are raising our kids. We don't realize until we're knee-deep in the process of raising kids that it has nothing to do with raising them at all.

It has everything to do with raising the child within us — the child who longed to feel seen, heard, understood, and safe. Tend to those needs within yourself, and you will find yourself organically attuned to the needs of your child as a result.

I want to thank Dr. Connie Lillas as an inspiration for the way I parent. I began studying her Neuro-Relational Framework just prior to becoming a parent, and her teachings (along with the teachings of other visionaries like Dr. Alicia Lieberman, Patricia Van Horne, Selma Fraiberg, Dr. Mona Delahooke, Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, and Dr. Shefali to name a few) shaped me dramatically not only as a clinician, but as a mother.

My mother passed away before I became a mother, so I look toward strong feminine leaders who are wise beyond belief to inspire how I build a relationship with my children."

Create a positive mealtime experience.

Alex Turnbull, RDN, LD — author of "Baby Food Cookbook for First-Time Parents" and creator of the Managing Mealtimes Course for Picky Eaters — from @thefamilynutritionist shares why it’s important to create healthy mealtime habits for our families and cut ourselves some major slack.

Alex also acknowledges how helpful it is to have access to someone like a pediatric nurse for advice, which is one of the many reasons why the Kin program is so beneficial — through Kin, employers can offer their employees 24/7 on-demand access to pediatric nurses (via phone) and lactation consultants via live video chat, both prenatally and after the baby arrives.

Photo: Alex Turnbull

"As a dietitian and mother of two toddlers, I’m going to let you in on a secret: there is no perfect way to feed your family. Whether you choose to take the traditional puree route or the ever-so-popular baby-led weaning, or maybe both, at the end of the day you need to choose what works best for your family.

The most important thing to remember is to create a positive mealtime experience and incorporate variety. And don’t forget to sit down with your kids and eat a meal or snack yourself. It’s easy to forget and instead work on the never-ending to-do list. It can wait, I promise.

A big thanks to my sister who is a pediatric nurse and has graciously answered nearly all my questions regarding bumps and bruises, you name it. She has helped calm my anxiety when it comes to my children's health and development."

Move at your child’s pace.

Sarah Bren, PhD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, from @drsarahbren recommends dialing back our speed in favor of being more present with our children. She also acknowledges the many caregivers, her husband, in particular, that make it possible for her to engage in such meaningful work.

Photo: Sarah Bren

"Take your time. Slow down. Try to move through the world at your child’s pace.

As adults we are somewhat desensitized to how fast our world moves, but to our children, it’s like lightning, and our urgency can be overwhelming to them. So talk and move a little slower, explain things ahead of time, and give them time to process. Do a bit less but be present for more of it.

I truly couldn’t do the work that I do if it weren’t for my husband. He is the most patient and present father, and he steps in so fully with our kids, allowing me to step away and be able to help other families.

Behind every working mother there is a team of caregivers that makes her work possible. For me, it is my husband, my parents, my sister, and my children’s teachers and babysitter. And knowing that my children are able to form safe, loving, and meaningful relationships with so many wonderful people makes me so grateful."

RELATED: Why Going Back To Work After Having A Baby Is Harder Than It Should Be

Trust your instincts.

Bridgett Miller, a parenting expert who runs @lookwithlove_bridgett on Instagram, shares how combining our intuition, some basic knowledge about child development, and patience can foster a healthier family dynamic. She also thanks an expert who shaped how she now guides other parents:

"Too many of the prevailing parenting practices work against our intuition. Although we can often sense our intuition, we sometimes choose to ignore it and instead second guess ourselves.

We can change that by having a little understanding about child development and reminding ourselves to preserve and protect our relationship with our children. This also empowers us to keep our expectations in check and meet our children where they are, rather than trying to hurry them along to grow up.

I’m forever grateful to Gordon Neufeld, PhD, for sharing his wisdom and insight with me and so many others around the world. He is a big part of why I now focus on supporting parents to nurture their children using both their heads and hearts."

Don't forget to love your partner in crime.

Jamie Otis, a dynamic American TV personality, registered nurse, entrepreneur, and TV host, wants to remind moms never to forget their partner when raising kids.

Yes, your kids are important and should be the center of your world, but your life partner is also there beside you. Give them some love every day to remind them that they are also important and that you couldn't have done it without them. Thank them for their constant support of you.

Photo: Jamie Otis

"Oh, how I love this man right here. What you don’t see is him staying up nearly all night to prep the RV to get ready to leave and then drive the 8 hours to see this beautiful sight.

And he does it all with a smile. He really is the best daddy. He absolutely adores his kiddos and everyone sees it. He is truly so supportive to me and all my dreams. Love this man. Douglas, you are my everything!"

How Medela & Kin Are Helping Mothers And Caregivers

In addition to being the #1 breast pump brand, Medela is dedicated to advocating for breastfeeding moms by improving their breast milk pumping experience and ability to provide breast milk to their babies for as long as they choose.

In fact, this summer, Medela launched #MomsUnite4Milk, an initiative to support families impacted by the formula and donor milk shortages, including those who may be struggling to feed their babies as they return to work.

#MomsUnite4Milk is a pumpathon and educational campaign in which Medela is providing breast milk storage bags to 1,000 moms who agree to donate their milk to a milk bank, and Medela has made a monetary donation benefitting 11 nonprofit milk banks across North America.

Medela has developed an intimate understanding of the needs of breastfeeding moms by engaging in clinical research and intensive dialogue with healthcare professionals, patients, and consumers. They then take this valuable knowledge, and create innovative products and services that make feeding with breast milk an easier reality.

One such service is the aforementioned Kin program. Kin, which received Honorable Mention in Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards for its innovative and proactive approach to supporting new parents in the workplace, offers a customizable, single-source solution designed to make it easier for employers to support their employees when they return to work after having a baby.

Kin is improving the quality of life for moms and the caregivers they lean on by providing the following benefits:

Equipment and supplies: Kin stocks workspace lactation rooms with Medela’s Symphony PLUS® Breast Pump, which is a multi-user breast pump used in hospitals, as well as personal-use breast pumps, and breastfeeding accessories.

Private lactation spaces: Medela has partnered with Mamava to include their easy-to-place lactation pods in workplaces participating in Kin. These pods offer a private, comfortable space for moms to pump in peace.

24/7 virtual support: Both moms and those that support them can utilize on-demand, around-the-clock virtual access to live pediatric and maternal experts, including certified lactation consultants through the baby’s first year.

Resources and education: In addition to 24/7 virtual support, moms can access breastfeeding education and additional support services, while also connecting with an online community of working moms.

Milk shipping: The Kin program helps enable working moms to ship their breast milk home when they’re traveling for work.

There’s significant intention behind the program name of Kin, as Medela wanted to be sure to acknowledge that it not only supports moms but, in addition, can play a part in helping all of the crucial parenting sidekicks. And let’s be real: often, those sidekicks are unsung heroes of parenting.

These are the folks helping with school drop-offs and pick-ups, swooping in with dinner “just because” to give parents a break, and engaging in other caregiving responsibilities all while putting their personal lives on hold to be of service.

So to all the caregivers, thank you! You are seen and deeply appreciated.

And moms, remember that the most resounding piece of advice we heard from the women who shared their wisdom with us was to lean on those willing to help. You weren’t meant to navigate parenthood on your own; you deserve quality support. There are tons of support groups online that are just a click away and available to everyone.

For those who may feel they don’t have the support network they need, or may not know where to turn, we suggest looking to Single Mothers United, "a non-profit organization that strives to provide spiritual, emotional, and professional support in order to encourage, equip, and empower single mothers of all walks of life".

By accepting and maximizing this support, it will hopefully be easier for you to take care of needs such as committing to self-care, savoring quality time with your children, engaging in fulfilling work, and connecting with a loving community.

We all know that this is the least you superhero moms deserve.

—Created in partnership with Medela

RELATED: 72% Of Mothers Are Working Moms — So Why Aren’t Businesses Taking Better Care Of Them?

Bailey Gaddis is a mother of two, certified birthing doula, founding member of the Ojai Valley Birth Collective, and author of "Asking for a Pregnant Friend" and "​Feng Shui Mommy.​" She's a contributor to Working Mother, Fit Pregnancy, Pregnancy & Newborn, Babble, Elephant Journal, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, Scary Mommy, Natural Mother, American Baby, Green Child, Huffington Post, and others.

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