5 Beautiful Motherhood Tips

Five Beautiful Motherhood Tips

During the baby shower, something amazing happened…

My friend Samantha gave me an incredible gift: a handmade book about motherhood. Weeks before the shower, Samantha asked dozens of important women in my life (even those living across the country or an ocean) to offer words of advice about motherhood. Then Samantha, who is an illustrator, wrote all the quotes into a book, along with watercolor illustrations of flowers, stripes and patterns.

5 Beautiful Motherhood Tips

Here are five examples of entries…

“Take your child’s worries and joys seriously and always listen with respect.” —Jean Goddard, my mom

“Parents make mistakes, too. It’s okay for parents to say sorry to their children.” —Sujatha, my sister’s mother-in-law

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.” ― poem by Mary Jean Irion, contributed by my sister Lucy

“It’s helpful to have a special nursing blanket full of new toys and books for Toby. It only gets pulled out when the new baby is nursing, so Toby will look forward to that time.” —Anika, my friend (who has two children)

And this last one made me laugh out loud…

“A very useful phrase to repeat whenever you start to ask why your baby is doing something confusing and unpredictable: ‘Babies be babies.’ (I think I’ll put this on a needlepoint pillow if I have another child.) And a very useful phrase to repeat when you find yourself turning to your spouse blamefully: Your spouse is not the enemy. The baby is the enemy.” —Emily, my sister-in-law
And here’s the beautiful Samantha, who put together and illustrated the book.

Thank you again, Samantha. xoxo

P.S. 20 surprising parenting tips, and a yummy gift for new parents.

(Photos by Julia Robbs for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Emily says...

    Nearly two years into parenting, and I’d forgotten where this came from until I just stumbled again onto this post. I think of these two things ALL. THE. TIME. Babies be babies, and your partner’s not the enemy- the baby is the enemy. I didn’t realize these came from the same person! Sister-in-law Emily, you totally saved my sanity so many times. Thank you!

  2. Wow, wow, wow. What an incredible gift. It’s made me tear up reading all the contributions from your loved ones. What a gorgeous friend Samantha must be.

  3. I never read this post before, but I stumbled upon it and just love it–love the idea for a mom-to-be in my own life, but also love the specific words of wisdom you received. Such a great post.

  4. BB says...

    Are you able to share Sam’s contact information? Looking to see how much it would cost to do this for a bride (with quotes about life/love from family and friends).

  5. I LOVE this! want to ask all my mummies to send their words now to do my own! xx

  6. That poem. Holy cow. Big fat salty tears is right! Beautiful.

  7. Crying! A very beautiful gift. That even made me think twice about the things I do or not do with my daughter.! Thank you for sharing!

  8. What a beautiful and thoughtful gift. Something to treasures forever.

  9. what a beautiful gift, I teared up just reading this entry. I am having a very hard time right now because my two sons are 17 and almost 16. Time flies so fast, it feels like yesterday they were babies, my heart hurts because now they are almost adults. Cherish every second because with a blink of an eye they are grown up.

  10. hahahaha “the baby is the enemy!” It’s true! This is how you keep a happy and sane household no matter how many children you have. You + Husband against the world. :)

  11. What a sweet gift! Also, I saw in a previous post your baby’s due date is around July 3. July 3 is MY birthday–that would be so cool if your little one was born the same day I was! :)

  12. That is truly a thoughtful gift. I love the idea for other occasions as well.

  13. Such a thoughtful, beautiful gift, you are lucky to have a wonderful family and friends!

  14. wow. what a stunning display of the power of motherhood. You are lucky to have such an amazing group of women and mothers surrounding you! I think that book might be the best gift I’ve ever seen! thanks for sharing her with us.

  15. Geez…I am pregnant with my 3rd baby (super surprise! I got pregnant with a copper iud!) Anyhow I loved this idea and what special people you have in your life. Thanks for having such a great blog!

  16. Beautiful… a mother can always use advice… and handcrafted means even more.

  17. this is one of the most beautiful recaps on the baby showers that I’ve ever seen, Jo! I LOVE that you can see the TRUE friendship and care coming through all the women – this is what it is all about. While ,of course , helpful and nice to receive presents, there is no better present then the love, support and care of loving girlfriends. I would lie if I didn’t admit that I am – in a good way – but a little wishful I had such amazing women in my life too. You are very lucky , as I am sure you know :) Thank you for this post! I am not having a shower this time ( and to be honest, I have never really had one … sniff. somehow I always end up in a NEW area ( work, travel or what-nots) while I am at the right time for the shower and/or baby arrival – but your post is so beautiful, i loved it! ( it is also awesome to see how many other women are pregnant and due at around the same time! Lol)

  18. How lovely! Oh to be such a talented artist. I love the last bit about not making your husband the enemy because the baby is the enemy. That is hysterical and pretty much how I feel whenever my child wakes up in the middle of the night. He is at least the enemy of sleep at that point! Wishing you well in the home stretch.

  19. Whoa. What a beautiful gift. It’s one of those gifts that will keep on giving. An heirloom to pass on down. Thanks for the peek at it, just that little peek has me smiling.

  20. What a beautiful gift! Such beautiful and wise words. Cherish it!

  21. What a BEAUTIFUL present to give!

  22. wow, WHAT A GIFT! i absolutely love each of these contributions, and it looks like a truly beautiful work of art. thank you so much for sharing it here.

  23. What an absolutely lovely idea! Or even do a video series of sorts with the interview. Either way, such a sweet and thoughtful present. Also, you look positively lovely, Jo!

  24. What a lovely idea! I love your mom’s advice! I truly believe all people deserve to be treated with respect, especially children. They are the most sensitive and appreciative of it. It teaches them to treat others with respect, true. But something we don’t think of is that it influences and encourages their ability to form their own ideas and opinions.

  25. Babies be babies! LOVE IT!

    How true. That baby can be the enemy… your husband just wants sleep like you do…

  26. I just love this! This idea could be used in so many different situations.

  27. Oh that quote from your sister made me gasp. So true. And so heartbreaking.

  28. What a great idea!…and the entries are priceless!!!….especially “babies be babies!” LOL

  29. Beautiful, heartfelt gifts like that are the best. I love the poem your sister contributed!

  30. That’s am amazing idea for a shower!!! So awesome and touching!

  31. wow, this is amazing. would samantha be interested in doing a commissioned piece? i love her style!

  32. What a gift! You must feel so blessed being surrounded with this huge love from your people. Pretty awesome.

  33. How sweet! And your hair is so pretty! xo

  34. What a wonderful gift! For my grandfather’s birthday last year, my aunt made him a books of family stories and photos…he loved it, and it was the perfect gift to spark conversations! xoxo

  35. How sweet! Would love to read more of these loving tips! At my bridal shower, my friends and family all shared their own memories about me outloud. It’s those thoughtful treasures that make relationships so important. Congrats on your new baby! I am so excited for you- I heart your blog so much, you make your readers feel valued and important, and always share the sweetest tidbits! Peacelovemusicgrows

  36. What a treasure—both the gift and the friend :)

  37. Your mom’s advice is really good. It really bugs me when I see parents out in public not listening to their (visibly upset) children and sending them the message that their feelings are irrational or not worth addressing. It’s so much more effective to acknowledge their feelings and then model a calm/articulate way of talking through them rather than yelling or shutting them down.

  38. Love that book idea. The first two are my fav because I’ve always treated my kids with respect and as they got older if I was having a bad day I would always say “sorry” to them.

  39. How absolutely beautiful! Well Read Women looks gorgeous as well, I can think of so many ladies to gift that too!

  40. What an absolutely spectacular gift! That quote about the treasure of a normal day is one of my very favorites. xo

  41. That is an incredible present! I am definitely keeping this idea in my back pocket for a friend’s future wedding xo

  42. That book is a dream gift! What a wonderful friend you have :) I love the sneak peek at the tips! I think you have a lot of smart women in your life.

  43. Wow… blown away! How thoughtful! What an amazing thing to keep forever and look back on. :) It’s just the sort of thing you’d love to show to your second baby one day and say ‘this is how we celebrated your arrival’.

  44. What a wonderful gift. If I were asked to leave a quote in the book I would say this, There is no right way to parent. Remember that. Every time I´ve ever felt doubts about my parenting, it´s because too many people were giving me too much and conflicting advice and I was convinced I was doing something wrong.

  45. Such a sweet gift. Love the babies be babies!

  46. This is such an amazing gift!!!

  47. That is such a great idea for a gift. Nothing beats words of wisdom from all the people you love and look up to.

  48. What a fantastic, personal gift! Also love the quote from your mother.

  49. I just found out yesterday that my very best friend is expecting her first baby (!!) I can’t wait to do this for her baby shower. Beautiful idea!

  50. Such a beautiful and personal gift . What a fab friend!

  51. It’s comforting to know that parents make mistakes too :) What a very special & unique gift!

  52. that’s such an incredible book!

  53. What a beautiful gift! I just welled up too reading some of the quotes! Amazing and precious…

    xoxo PARIS BEE kids blog

  54. That poem. Perfection!

  55. Your moms advice is the greatest. Also I love that babies are the enemy. Hilarious(and true!)

  56. What an amazing gift. So thoughtful and sincere. I loved the tips given, especially your Mother’s and the last one. It’s true, “Babies are Babies” :)

  57. That is an amazing gift! What a wonderful friend!

  58. Gorgeous! Your friend Samantha is a total rockstar friend. How lucky you are to be surrounded by such amazing women!

  59. What a truly special gift!! How lovely! Good luck with the new baby…he or she is sure to be as adorable as Toby!! xoxo

  60. Love these! My favorite of your quotes is Emily’s last bit, and it reminds me of something a quote from Cortney Novogratz that my husband and I used to say to each other in the trenches of exhausting early parenthood. If one of us snapped at the other, we’d say, “Hey, listen: if you turn on me, we have *nothing*.” It always helped us put things in perspective, and usually sent us into those super-tired giggle fits, which is way better than super-tired frustration.

  61. Your sister-in-law made me laugh out loud, “The baby is the enemy.” And I was still crying from the poem. Wonderful things to remember.

  62. What a beautiful and special gift!

  63. this is so beautiful! you are so lucky to have such sweet friends:)
    samantha, if you read this, you are so talented and thoughtful and the friend everyone would want!

  64. brilliant! cannot wait to do this for someone someday!!!

    • Ohh, it got me too!

    • me too!

    • This poem just made me want to call my mom! awwww.

    • Cant. Stop. Crying. Sniff.
      Love mum. Rem’ber “Baby Enemy”. lol

    • I cried too… And I am only starting to think about having a baby! :D

  65. I really like your mothers’ advice, so important throughout life, no matter how old! xx