The “Mother Load:” How to Nourish and Support the Mom in Your Life
The “Mother Load”
Your mother (or mother figure) has been there since the beginning. She takes the heavy burdens—what you might consider the “Mother Load”—onto her shoulders. “Motherlode” is defined as a very large amount of something with great value, and usually refers to something with high monetary value, like silver or gold. And indeed, what a mother does to contribute, support, nourish, and shape your life is beyond valuable. Just as the veins of earth are mined continuously and exhaustively to extract the abundant, hidden treasures available, we must recognize the value of a mother’s relentless efforts and what she does for us, every day.
Abundance: The many visible things that she does
The little things add up. And mothers and mother figures do it all, right from the very beginning: bathe you, clothe you, and nourish you, at times with their own bodies. Managing the household to ensure everyone has a safe, tidy, warm environment to thrive in with meals, clean clothing, and a budget that she may need to stretch artfully from time to time. Mothers are the go-to for pointers on the science essay, a gentle touch with the scraped knees, and the loudest cheerleader at your games, math competitions, or musicals.
Hidden Treasure: The not-so-visible
For everything we see moms do daily, there are also many unseen, not-so-obvious, hidden acts. Much of the “emotional work” is taken on by mother figures, whether it is the time spent in support of their child who is having difficulties navigating the ups and downs of social life; time in the car, practicing for that driver’s test; time with college applications; or doing the legwork for wedding plans. They’re checking to make sure you made it safely to school, practice, rehearsal, or home at night, tucked into bed. Mom even anticipates that after a tough day, you’ll want a big dish of your favorite pasta primavera she knows how to make, just the way you like it. Moms know when to keep it on the down-low that times are a little tough while simultaneously stressing the important things in life: health and happiness.
Don’t forget: She helped shape your biology in multiple ways
Sure, there’s the obvious passing on of her genes to you. The miracle that was your mom’s body for nine months nurtured the spark that turned into you; there’s no debate there. Additionally, contributing to your physical development includes your healthy, flourishing microbiome. The microbiome is an essential part of you and comprises trillions of microbes in and on you that work symbiotically with your biology, function like an organ, and are an essential source of health and wellness for your entire body.
Outside the womb, in the first few years of your life, your microbiome is shaped, formed, and influenced by your mother or mother figure’s care and interactions with you. Moms nurture your microbiome by snuggling skin to skin, allowing you playtime in the grass, dirt, or garden, letting you crawl on the floor without using antibacterial gel, and feeding you foods with the proper nutrients to help your gut microbiome thrive and diversify.
Exhaustion: The tolls of stress and mental fatigue
It’s just a given: Mothers are expected to be there when we need them and even when we don’t realize we need them. That time, effort, and physical and mental energy add up. Even with the adage that no one is an island, unfortunately, recent surveys show one in three moms feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities; two-thirds feel they have no one to turn to for help with mental health.1
Whether she wishes to ignore the effects or it goes unnoticed by others, this “Mother Load” can get weighty and takes its toll in many ways. Research from April 2022 reveals that nearly 73 percent of moms often put on a strong facade for their family to avoid being seen as stressed and causing alarm.1 The underlying reasons for this are concerning:
More than half (57%) of moms feel like asking for help means they are a failure as a mom.1
Adding to that stress, nearly as many (54%) state they don’t feel they will get the support to help relieve their stress and mental load.1
For more than one-third of moms (37%), worry about their mental health is among their most significant stressors, coming in second after financial concerns.1
Fewer than one in four moms (23%) say they currently receive professional mental health support.
Many moms acknowledge obstacles to seeking support for their mental health, with 47% lacking time, while stigma is a barrier for nearly one-third (30%).1
One in four say they are uncertain and stressed about where to get help and support.1
Support for the backbone of the family
It takes energy, and a large amount of it, to power the mother's work for her family.
Take a moment to observe how she’s doing, and even if she doesn’t ask for it, there are ways you can effectively support her so she can continue to be the best mom she can be to her family and for herself.
Communicate with her – Just ask her, “How can I help you?” Sometimes in the busy rush of day-to-day activities, everyone can get very efficient at doing their own thing. It can be necessary to pause momentarily, look up, put down the smartphone, and find out how to pitch in.
Check in with your own “world” – What is your mother taking responsibility for you that you could take over? Is she doing your laundry when you’re capable of that? Is she reminding you of appointments and special dates so you don’t forget?
Take the initiative with tasks she usually handles – Does Mom typically get up from the dinner table and start clearing it to do the dishes? Get up before she can, and take over this often tiresome task, especially if she was the cook.
Encourage her to take regular breaks – Everyone needs a little self-care, especially Mom. She may protest that things won’t get done, but just step in and reassure her that nothing will crash and burn in the house if she takes an afternoon off for a spa visit or relaxing walk at the beach or park. Take over her tasks if something needs to be finished. Let her have some mom-time for whatever she wants to engage in for relaxation and destimulation.
Support her emotionally – She may not show it, but there are most likely times when she becomes overwhelmed and stressed. Simply sitting to listen to her can make a huge difference in her day.
Nourishing the woman who nurtures your world
What powers this superwoman so she can continue to carry this “Mother Load” in her everyday life and accomplish her personal and professional goals? It’s certainly not a granola bar. You'd be surprised how often moms operate on two cups of coffee and a slice of toast in the morning and possibly a quick sandwich in the late afternoon, time permitting.
Many mothers don’t feel they have the time to eat well since their fast-paced, high-pressure lives with family responsibilities piled on top simply don’t give them the time to think about getting a decent meal for themselves. Food is food, right? As long as she’s not screaming hungry, she can make sure her child has a nutritious meal, pick up the supplies for the birthday party, and turn in the monthly report on time.
But fatigue, sleeplessness, digestive issues, mood swings, anxiousness, and trouble focusing are real issues that impact how efficiently moms get through the day. Maybe they get their to-do lists all checked off, but when they get a moment to sit down in the evening, how do they feel physically, mentally, and emotionally?
Women tend to suffer from very common nutrient deficiencies that are unique to their gender, especially moms under stress who neglect eating balanced meals that support the nutrition their bodies need.
Iodine, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and B vitamins (especially B-12 and folic acid) are all common vitamins that women can become deficient in very easily. These nutrients help support energy, body temperature, bone health, weight management, and healthy blood sugar metabolism.*2
The solution is to empower her with all the energy she needs to navigate the tasks and goals for the day and feel her best while doing it. Is it possible? Absolutely. All she needs to know is what her body needs nutritionally right now.
She’s one of a kind, and so is her biology. And the nutrition that will help keep her feeling good differs from anyone else’s. Even a generalized, healthy diet could help, but what if a known healthy food like kale is not a food that is healthy for her due to the current state of her microbiome? It’s important to find a personalized nutritional solution that is made for her and evolves with her biological needs as her health journey progresses.
Give back to the mom in your life. Support her on her health journey so she gets personalized health insights, nutritional recommendations, and precision supplements made just for her. It takes enduring strength to do all she does. Energized and boosted with proper nutrition, she can continue to be all she can be for her family and herself and live healthier, happier, and longer.
1 New Research Reveals Crippling Mental Health Burden For America’s Moms. (2022). mdlive.com.
2 Nall, R. (2017). [Essential vitamins women do not get enough of]. Healthline.com.