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Mother Essentials: Helena Andrews-Dyer, Author of The Mamas

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

Need a good read for the long weekend ahead? Look no further than the new release The Mamas: What I Learned About Kids, Class, and Race From Moms Not Like Me. Author Helena Andrews-Dyer says, “it’s about navigating the insanity of mom groups, baby yoga, race relations, and Zillow lust as a middle class Black mother in a gentrifying Washington D.C. and a rapidly changing world.” When the D.C.-based mother of two (daughters Sally, 5, and Robyn, almost 3) isn’t writing books, she’s an award-winning culture reporter for The Washington Post and caffeinating heavily to get it all done. Which is reflected in her entertaining and relatable Mother Essentials list below! “So many of these recommendations are aspirational for me, because I have been running on mom fumes and coffee grinds for months with my third book down and more projects in the works,” says Helena. “But mothering in and of itself is a hopeful act, so here’s to me doing all the things I say I will—eventually.”

Fire Kids Tablets. “Don’t judge me, judge your mama. I am all for mommy quiet time, which is increasingly facilitated by this bad boy—especially since my older daughter stopped napping and started asking me allll the questions.” Fire HD 8″ Kids Tablet, $109.99, Amazon.

Kidz Bop. “Yep. I have joined the borg. My not-even-three-year-old can ask Alexa to play ‘Youngblood. The Kidz Bop version’ better than she can ask for a glass of milk. It’s fine.” Kidz Bop via YouTube.

Ilia Skin Tint. “I went into Sephora one day and was just like ‘fix this please’ and the lovely young lady pointed me to this ‘clean beauty’ product and brand that leaves my skin looking dewy like the Cali girl I am.” Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40, $48, Ilia.

Girl Power 5-Minutes Stories. “I found this book at my happy place, TJ Maxx, like 5 years ago, and it has never disappointed. We read it at bed time and take it with us on vacation. It’s ten books in one about magic, self confidence, and sibling rivalries. I might just buy another copy in case ours disintegrates.” Girl Power 5-Minute Stories, by Clarion Books, $12, Bookshop and Amazon.

The Mamas. “We almost missed my GMA appearance live at home because I, of course, had the wrong time and was rushing to put on my bra. But my daughter Sally spotted my book cover on our flat screen and started screaming, ‘Your book is on TV, mama!’ If I never write another word, that one moment was worth it.” The Mamas: What I Learned About Kids, Class, and Race from Moms Not Like Me, $25.11, Bookshop and Amazon.

Flava-Ful Box. “Spice Suite owner Angel Gregorio’s Instagram feed gives me so much life. Her ‘we got food at home’ posts make me want to cook all the meals. I mean, I won’t, but I can live vicariously through her and maybe do something special on a Sunday morning.” Flava-Ful Box $70, The Spice Suite.

Princess Castle. “I don’t know what it is about having a secret hideaway, but my girls love this thing to death. Buying another.” Stoneway Princess Castle Playhouse Tent, $26.99, Walmart.

Bentgo Kids Chill Lunch Box. “What I love about this lunch box is that it takes the guesswork out of portion sizes and what not. I throw in whatever can fit into these little compartments and that’s that—bon appétit, kid.” Bentgo Kids Leak-Proof, 4-Compartment Bento-Style Kids Lunch Box, $29.99, Amazon.

Coffee In This Mug. “Everytime I try to get off coffee, the brown stuff lets me know it’s not done with me yet.” Trust Black Women Mug, $10, District of Clothing.

Brown Girl Jane’s Glow Luminous Facial Serum. “My goal for the rest of 2022 is to spend more than 5 seconds on my night time routine. I want to slow down and massage this CBD infused oil into my tired cheeks.” Glow Luminous Facial Serum, $54.40, Brown Girl Jane.

OLLY Melatonin Gummies. “Oh hi, I’m a mom and I need sleep. I was convinced melatonin was a placebo ponzi scheme until I tried it.” OLLY 3mg Melatonin Sleep Gummies (50-Count), $13.99, Target and Amazon.

Cool A$$ Mom Hoodie. “If there’s anything I aspire to be, it’s a cool ass mom.” Cool A$$ Mom Hoodie, $50, StormieB.

Motivational Water Bottle. “One of my mom friends cannot go anywhere without her ’emotional support water bottle’ and I aspire to be that hydrated.” 1-Gallon Motivational Water Bottle, $15.63, Amazon.

The Momference. “Every year since 2017, Simona Noce Wright and Nikki Osei-Barrett, founders of District Motherhued, put on this incredible 3-day event for millennial moms of color. It’s part vacation, inspirational retreat, and dance party. I’m already planning outfits for 2023. The hubslice knows it’s on the calendar and will deal accordingly. Mama gone.” TheMomference.com.

For more Mother Essentials, peep our recent features on Olivia J founder Shae Jones, author Brynne BarnesTisha Thompson of LYS Beauty, Blueland’s Sarah Paiji Yoo, Heirloom’s Sri Bodanapu, Lady Falcon Coffee Club founder Buffy Maguire, the mama-duo behind Spring & Mulberry chocolate, Dear Bella Creamery co-founder Alice Cherng, designer Becky Hui Chan, author Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, ByHeart co-founder Mia Funt, Backdrop founder Natalie Ebel, Oui The People founder & CEO Karen Young, author-illustrator Grace Lin, the co-founders of ODDOBODY, Happy Family Organics’ CEO Anne Laraway, YA author J.Elle, kid-lit authors Karen Chan and Suzanne Greenlaw, the founders of EADEM, and Minimalista author Shira Gill.

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