(ABC4) – Mother’s Day is more than just another opportunity to say thank you to your mom. It’s an acknowledgment of the lifelong difficult task of parenthood and caregiving, and how that brings parents together.
Jessica Toh is trying to unify people across the internet to help show support for all parents who may be struggling.
Toh is helping to support parents through an anonymous “Kind Words Exchange,” hosted by her company Huckleberry Labs. This year’s Kind Words Exchange will be the third time that Jessica and Huckleberry have organized the event.
The exchange allows for anyone to contribute an anonymous message to a database that will be matched with a random mother. It’s designed to allow anonymous words of encouragement and support to reach mothers who may need their spirits lifted.
Every year, Motherly news performs a “State of Motherhood Report” in which they survey over 10,000 women about their experience as mothers. The 2021 report found that “93% of mothers reported feeling burned out” and that “92% of mothers feel society doesn’t do a good job of understanding or supporting motherhood.”
Interestingly, 68% of respondents to the Motherly report says simply more “emotional support, encouragement, and empathy” would help them feel more appreciated and encouraged to keep parenting at their best ability.
Toh has been a “stay-at-home mom, a student mom, and a working mom,” all of which she refers to as “really wonderful and really hard.” She says Huckleberry’s goal is “to support as many families as possible in whatever scenario or situation they are in.” “You can be a loving parent without our product, but we are here to help make the journey easier,” says Toh.
Last year’s Kind Words Exchange sent messages to 5,000 mothers and Toh is hoping to top that number this year. The messages range from emotionally sincere to the kind of blunt honest humor that mothers excel at.
One message from last year read, “I hope all the poop stays in the diaper today! And if not, be sure to take a moment for yourself today; you deserve it!” Another message says, “Everything you do is perfect, enjoy the stillness and quiet times. Watch their little fingers and hands grow. Don’t forget, you made this perfect little baby and you are doing a great job!”
Toh recalls a personal favorite message to parents during the COVID-19 pandemic, “If you deserved a bouquet before, you deserve a whole garden of flowers now.” She says these messages reach parents around the world, all connected by the shared experience of parenthood.
Toh’s company Huckleberry started from her personal experience as a new mother. On the Huckleberry website, Toh says, “As a new parent, I never expected that my child would wake up every few hours for nearly two years, in spite of all the books I read and methods I tried.”
Toh concluded by saying that “anyone taking care of a child needs a big old hug, no matter who they are.”
Huckleberry’s primary product is a subscription-based service for parents in need of child sleep consultation at an affordable price. Their services include a comprehensive child sleep app and personalized sleep plans and consultations. Huckleberry also provides an app that is great for tracking baby behaviors including sleep, eating, diapers, and more.
This Mother’s Day, consider contributing to the Kind Words Exchange program to send a heartfelt message to a hardworking parent somewhere out there in the world.