We can all admit, whether it's your first baby or your fourth baby, those first few weeks at home with baby seem somewhat like a blur. You're adjusting to your new life at home, you still don't quite feel like yourself, and your trying to finding the balance to take care of you and this precious little one. That's why Heng Ou founded MotherBees, a food & lifestyle company supporting women through every stage of motherhood. As a mother of three, Ou had three different post-partum experiences with her children and she knew that others had similar experiences as well. MotherBees is a destination for women to connect, renew, and learn throughout pregnancy, during the transformational 40 days after birth, and beyond. MotherBees helps moms finds ways to nourish themselves, their little ones, bonding with baby, and more.
Ou is so passionate about helping new mothers that she wrote a book, The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. It's the ultimate guide to the early weeks of motherhood and beyond, featuring 60 simple and delicious recipes born from Heng’s own kitchen and realistic guidance on creating a system of support and navigating inevitable relationship challenges.
Congratulations on the success of MotherBees, what inspired you to start the food and lifestyle site for new moms?
After the birth my first child, I received support from my Chinese aunt who introduced me to many of the protocols of zuo yuezi, the Chinese art of confinement, including eating healing foods and resting and recovering from pregnancy and birth. I recognized a stark contrast in the postpartum traditions China — and many other cultures — and that of the US, where mothers are pretty much dropped and left aside after giving birth. I created my company MotherBees to bring healing foods directly to new mothers and have been driven ever since to support and feed as many mothers as possible.
You also have a book out, The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother, which focuses on a mother’s healing after birth. The book features a lot of recipes for mom, do you have a favorite?
I can eat the Kabocha Squash with Red Lentil soup all day long! It’s hearty, creamy, and satisfying without the addition of dairy.
What is one piece of advice you give to all mothers after having a baby?
Be open to asking for help and when you do reach out do it with great kindness and appreciation, too. People want to be there for you and your acknowledgement goes a long way.
If you could hand off one chore to someone else each day, what would it be?
If I could hand off one chore, I would hand off running an evening bath with a good bath salt. If somebody else ran my bath for me, it would require me to slow down and take a breather in salt water every day.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and unwind?
It is either a hot mug of tea, a cup of hot soup, or bathing in a steamy hot, salted bath. I need water inside and out.
What is your best parenting hack?
I like to create questions where my children find the answers for themselves.
What is the best white lie that you’ve told your child?
That their Halloween chocolates got lost in the shuffle (eaten by me!).
If you could describe motherhood/fatherhood in one word, what would it be?
What’s one moment in your motherhood journey that has made you proud?
I am blown away by the capacity of a body to stretch in all directions and push a baby out through sheer will and muscle. So, natural childbirth is my moment.
What is one piece of advice you want to pass along to your children?
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms?
Being a mother is a day to day process and everyone has their own method. There is no judgement — you will have your successful and disastrous days. Everything will pass, the good times and the tough, so your peace of mind depends on how long you choose to hold on to what has passed.
How do you tackle the work/life balance?
I don’t know if I believe in a balance. It’s impossible especially with our roles changing so much — women continue to take on what have been historically masculine roles and vice versa. As a society, and as individual families, we are taking on more than we ever have. There was a time when all women worried about was cooking and tending to the children. We didn’t have to manage never-ending to-do lists. It’s not that simple these days, but trusting in your own ability to get it all done, and most importantly, being gentle when you don’t get it all done (we can never get it all done) is what matters.
What was the last book you read?
Pour Your Heart Into It by Howard Schultz, an engaging, informative look at the wonder that is Starbucks.
What’s in your diaper bag?
I’ve never owned a diaper bag with my three kids. I would normally stuff a diaper into my back pocket and wash their bottoms in sinks. I preferred water over scented wipes.
Favorite Beauty Product:
Favorite Form of Exercise
What is on your DVR?
Sorry, no DVR