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Mother’s Little Helpers


By Katy Killilea

Is it just some frothy, popular misconception that GPs used to freely give mothers (or as I imagine we were called in those days, “wives”) prescriptions for Valium? I think about that a lot; it seems always to be on weekdays at 4:52 PM when I start thinking about it, and then usually one child will whine that the other pinched him, and my husband will call to say he’s stuck in traffic. I do not mean to make light of drug dependency or anxiety disorders—in fact, I consider myself to be suffering from both. It’s just that my drugs are not from a pharmacy. My drugs are not from the street. My drugs are from the grocery store and I am not sure they are working at all. But I do not stop using them. For what it’s worth, these are the Mother’s Little Helpers that might work—sort of—for me.


Bach’s Rescue Remedy ($10 per bottle; available in the homeopathy section of Whole Foods and CVS) This is a blend of flower essences, in a bottle a wee bit smaller than a 1983 Bonnie Bell Lipsmacker. You carry it with you and squirt some on your tongue (like Binaca!) whenever you start to feel tense. Sometimes it works, but this may be because the flowers are marinating in what tastes suspiciously like grain alcohol.

Diet Coke Plus ($2.50 for 12 cans at every grocery store and gas station.) Diet Coke is my afternoon pick-me-up of choice. Diet Coke Plus promises the same gentle caffeine lift, with the “plus” of niacin, zinc, magnesium, and vitamins B6 and B12. It tastes only a little bit less good than Diet Coke, and it provides some sort of reassuring illusion that, at the very least, even if the rest of your afternoon is a wipeout, you will get 15% of the USRDA of those few nutrients. Unfortunately, Diet Coke Plus is not yet available in the cuter (8-ounce) size can hat all of the cool people seem to be using these days.


Trident White ($1.25 for 12 chiclet-size pieces in a blister pack. Available everywhere mainstream junk food is sold.) I love gum. But I hate it when people chew gum in public, so I do it in secret in my car where only my family has to hear the disgusting chomping and cracking. Trident White doesn’t mess around: it is made exclusively in strong, breath-scouring flavors. Apparently it also whitens one’s teeth. My teeth are not dazzlingly white, but I shudder to think how much more Diet Coke-tinted they would be without the Trident. Also I am trying to work out a chewing technique that puts the gum more in contact with the surfaces of my teeth that face outward.

Rachel's Vitality-2

Rachel’s Vitality Yogurt (89 cents per single-serving cup at Whole Foods) 2007 was the year that I realized that it’s not simply that I’m tired. I really look this way. No amount of extra sleep is going to give me back the dewy, youthful beauty I imagine I once had. 2007 is also the year I noticed this “Vitality” yogurt. Just when I felt most in need of a shot of Vitality, there it was in the dairy case. Sadly, the yogurt has not made me look any glowier, but it is very delicious and is safer, cheaper, and less controversial than plastic surgery. It also comes in “Calm” flavor, which is safer, cheaper, and less controversial than qualudes.

If you have Vitamin Water in your fridge or aromatherapeutic smelling salts in your diaper bag, please share your favorites or steer us away from duds.

Grocery News is occasional posts about food items. Sharing great discoveries, tips and ideas helps make parenting a little easier. Share your food thoughts by clicking comments below or email us with your story ideas.

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  • Katy Killilea is hilarious! I just read her article on “drugs” she depends on. As a Jewish mom, I often rely on a meditative prayer to get me through an afternoon but after reading Katy, I might just try “Bach’s Rescue Remedy” next time!

  • This is a great article. I probably shouldn’t share this publicly, because it was passed on to me in secrecy, from my mother to me, as it has been for generations down the matrilineal line. But when my first daughter was born, my mother took me aside and told me about something she calls: Wine. Very, very effective. Typical dosage starts at two units per average-sized woman and can be titrated up from there. Like you, Katy, I take it around 4:52. I hope this helps.

  • Very cleverly written piece. I also favor Trident White, but am once again reminded by your article on how I need to stop cracking my gum in public.

  • TEA….. lots and lots of black tea with milk. Iced in summer and hot all the rest of the time. Several times a day, especially at 4:52pm….. I usually brew my last caffeinated cup for the day at that time.
    Tea with a girl/mommy-friend is even better and much more fulfilling, and is the most supportive, restoring, nurturing “mother’s helper” I have. (thanks to those tea drinking companions, you know who you are)

  • Your funny. =) When I can’t find my bottle of Valium my mid-day perk up is some sort of caffeinated hot tea. And you have to admit, It doesn’t get any easier than boiling water.I’m pretty lazy. My favorites are by Tazo, OM is yummy. Oh and I have to add that will all the constant tea drinking around here, my facial skin is MUCH improved.

  • This is a product you put on you rather than consume, but it serves the same general purpose. Origins Pinch Your Cheeks is a tiny tube of magic gel that will turn you from shaken and sallow to pretty and pink. Don’t use too much & add a little moisturizer to smoothly blend. Mother’s little helper indeed!