Advice From My Mom

Back in high school, my friends would come to our house, sit at our kitchen table and ask my mom for advice. She gives warm down-to-earth feedback and is a genius at seeing the bigger picture. Now and again I’ve shared advice she’s given me about things like pregnancyauthenticity, motherhood and relationships. She says things like, “Take gentle care of yourself,” she’s read every Jane Austen novel, and the only vocabulary word that ever stumped her was “friable.”

So! I figured it could be fun to start an advice column, where you can ask my mom anything. If it’s a real stumper, we can scout out experts to weigh in, or I’ll offer some ideas or we can all leave comments with our thoughts. I love girl talk and figured this could be an awesome way to do it. Feel free to ask anything about relationships, friends, career, family, parenting, worries, fears, hopes, dreams…whatever is on your mind!

Just write to, if you’d like, and we’ll choose a few to feature in the next week or two. Thank you so much! xoxo

P.S. A brilliant trick for worriers, and 15 career tips from smart women.

  1. LC says...

    I hope you’re still thinking of doing this series…I was so intrigued!

  2. I would love to know what your mom means when she says “take gentle care of yourself.” What are easy, manageable ways to do this when you have two kids and a career? How can we all go a little easier on ourselves?

  3. these are awesome questions!! i love this. also, just to clarify, my mom is not a clinical psychologist (she went to grad school for social psychology). She is going to share her off-the-cuff motherly thoughts and wisdom in a relaxed way just as she would with me and my sister, but she isn’t giving professional advice. needless to say, use her thoughts as a sounding board, talk to friends and family and then always do what you think best! :)

  4. You’re so lucky. So, so lucky.

  5. What a great idea! I will send an email now :)

  6. I love this idea joanna. I read your bblog whenever I can and always think about commenting. This is my first, hopefully of many. Your posts are often just what I need. I like the grand canyon visualization. Best to you and your family. Xo

  7. So awesome! Can’t wait to read the first installment.

  8. What a fantastic idea! Every once in a while I just have to comment on how much I adore your blog. EVERY SINGLE post is great. Really.

  9. Single Moms by Choice. At 35 y.o., do it or keep waiting for Mr. Right? How about co-parenting with a financially responsible gay friend? What if Mr. Right shows up, wants to be a father, but isn’t ready yet?

  10. How do you move on after a friend “breaks up” with you?

  11. How do you move on after a friend has “broken up” with you? :)

  12. What a great idea! I can’t wait to see the series!

  13. I LOVE your mom’s advice on this blog, and was just thinking she should write a book! This is fantastic!

  14. this is the best blog idea i’ve seen in a real long time…

  15. So this is my question to your mother. My good friend’s neighbour is an ex-boyfriend who recently married and since then (although the “obsession” haven’s stopped since they broke up) he’s being doing everything under the sun (legal and not) to just bother my friend. She doesn’t want to go straight to put a claim, but talking to him has been a “and you more” discussion getting nowhere. Even all her (and his!) friends are involved and don’t know what to do! (his new wife doesn’t know anything. The neighbourhood is in rural Spain, my friend lives in her house with some land and he only owns land with sheep he doesn’t care for, buries them just next to my friend’s fence and construct things without permit lying on her property, having 20.000 square meters to do it!

  16. I love this so so so much!! Hooray Joanna’s mum! In very excited about this series!!

  17. LOVING this! Everytime you mention something your kind mum says I get all teary… I’ll stock up on tissues for the advice column!

  18. That’s an amazing idea, Joanna!! I love it! I’m gonna ask her soon!

  19. Business with a Baby Katie:
    you might enjoy this a lot:

    It’s a talk from the swiss miss creator and she addresses your issue perfectly! It’s a great watch.

    As for Joanna and Advice Mom Jen, that’s great. My mother is really down to earth and never ever gives advice because she thinks it’s utterly useless, but sometimes I just wish I could ask her things and get an honest, personal reply instead of the generic stuff (and MIL-complaining) I always get. It must be amazing having an insightful relationship.

  20. Brilliant! Mom advice is the best advice. How do they always know everything and how to say it? Can’t wait to hear what advice your beautiful mama has for us.


  21. I love this so much.
    Your mom seems like such a gem!
    I will be writing soon…

  22. This is SUCH a great idea! I’m basically in the exact same boat as Rebecca Hohlenwerger and I love her question. For me, I chose to resign from my fulltime job when my baby turned a year old because I was miserable being away from her. She’s now just over 2 years old, and I’ve gone through my savings, and it’s been so hard on my husband’s salary alone because he supports his mother and sisters as well. I keep wondering if I should go back to work and deal with being miserable and away from my daughter, or try harder to make this freelance gig work. And how how HOW do I get over my feelings of resentment towards my husband and his family? If it weren’t for them, we could totally live on one salary, but it’s not fair to be upset about this because I knew the situation going into this marriage. And I just can’t seem to balance life with house management with work with being a mother to such a little monkey, and find anytime to rekindle the magic in my relationship with my husband. He has become my very last priority and I don’t know what to do or how to change that, I’m just as miserable but for different reasons! Can’t seem to figure out how to find the right balance……

  23. I am looking forward to reading these! Great idea :)

  24. This advice is need for everyone.Becaus we must face this folloing step & then how to we solve this step.So we need abest advice from mom..
    divorce attorney in sandy ut

  25. Love this idea.

  26. I love this idea. Moms always know best. I’m looking forward to these posts!

  27. Such a great idea. you all are on fire lately!

  28. Brilliant idea!! Love this so much!

  29. now you’ve got your mom bombarded with our questions, lol.

    This is a fun experiment. I’m thinking of writing here too. :D

  30. Such a great idea! Love you and Caroline — and how great that your mom will be offering her wisdom now, too! I enjoy reading your blog so much — it often feels like I’m “chatting” with an old friend!

  31. I love this idea Joanna! I lost my mom 10 yrs ago and I miss the most. Not being able to call and run things by her. Her wisdom of advise!

  32. Joanna, I just want to say that your blog is the best. I’ve loved all your posts this week. Thanks so much for all your work.

  33. oh no, wait. THIS is the best post ever!!

  34. I have a question!

    My friend is dating a guy who’s terrible for her. They’ve been on-off for years (with lots of drama) as long as I’ve known her, and just this past summer, they moved in together. She dated another guy in between breakups, a sweetheart who treated her like gold, but she thought he was too nice(!!) and always kept lines of communication open with the ex, despite warnings that he’d weasel his way back into her life, which he did. Her parents and friends are rightfully concerned, but there’s nothing anyone can do. (She’s 28, he’s 25-26)

    She claims he’s changed, but a mutual friend who’s been with them recently is skeptical. In the past, he’s been mean, jealous, possessive, disrespectful, rude, etc. Essentially, he’s emotionally abusive. She’s beautiful, smart, soft-spoken, gentle, people-pleasing, but has such low self-esteem, to the point that she doesn’t think she can do any better (she’s flat-out told me that she’d never find a guy like my husband, but won’t admit she’s settling).

    She has such a beautiful soul, and I’m really concerned about her future if she stays with him. I had an emotionally abusive ex, so I know what she’s going through, and how she needs to end it on her terms (if she does at all), but I don’t think she’s strong enough to walk away, and for that, I’m SO worried about her.

    I care very much about her, but I’m frustrated at the amount of time I spend trying to get her to see the light and move on, and her pride and stubbornness at refusing to listen to everyone in her life that genuinely cares about her. I know I shouldn’t push this issue, but every time we meet up, it turns into a conversation about their relationship. At this point, I’m at a loss of what to do, and find it hard to maintain our friendship, even though I know she needs support now more than ever. My husband and I both find it very hard to support their relationship, and since they moved in together, it’s meant we spend less time in her company. My husband, who also cares deeply about her, refuses to have her boyfriend over to our house due to the horrible stories she’s told us in the past about him.

    Do you have any advice as to how I can maintain our friendship and be supportive to her, no matter what she chooses to do? Is it possible for him to have GENUINELY changed? What would the best course of action be in this situation? Our friendship is drifting apart, and I don’t want to lose her. Help!

    Thank you

  35. What tips did you have to cultivate a relationship with your daughter that has thrived into adulthood. I’m a mother of three girls 13,11 and 7 so…. I think about this a lot! Especially as moody teen vibes do come into the house even if I thought I’d NEVER see them from my sweet girl.

  36. is it ok/maybe even normal to love my child more than my partner?

  37. I love this idea and cannot wait to read her advice! I’m always look for career advice – does she have any tips for people who are kind of stuck in a “rut” with work?

    Moms somehow always know the right things so say :)

  38. hi jean & jo!

    what advice can you give for girls like myself (who never went away to school) and are totally freaking out about leaving the nest and the future.

    love, natalia

  39. I love this! I lost my Mum five years ago and this is what I miss most about her – asking her advice.

    Can’t wait to read what your Mum says!

  40. This sounds like a great idea! (I also like that your mom is a psychologist.) Thank you to your mom for dedicating her time in this way.

  41. This is such a fun idea… I have a question!

    As a young women and only a couple years out of university, I have come to a point in my life where I find I am comparing myself to everyone else. Who has a better job, went to a better school, bought a nicer house etc. Perhaps it is because social media is so predominate in our society that you can’t help but compare, but i find it stealing my joy (and self esteem) way to often – and more often as I get older. How do you stop?

    Im sure I am not the only one out there that is struggling with this :)

  42. This is such a fun idea… I have a question!

    As a young women and only a couple years out of university, I have come to a point in my life where I find I am comparing myself to everyone else. Who has a better job, went to a better school, bought a nicer house etc. Perhaps it is because social media is so predominate in our society that you can’t help but compare, but i find it stealing my joy (and self esteem) way to often – and more often as I get older. How do you stop?

    Im sure I am not the only one out there that is struggling with this :)

  43. Love this! Nothing like great Mom advice. I look forward to reading this.

  44. Joanna your blog is on FIRE this week! Amazing posts! I am SO going to write to your mum!

  45. I’ve read your blog for years (and I even rented your apartment once!). Just a little note to say that as blogs come and go, yours remains consistent. I love this idea!

  46. Great idea!

  47. Fun idea!

  48. i love this idea so much. i read Dear Carolyn Hax. and at bedtime, my husband and i read Ask Amy together and before we read her response, we try to come up with what we think the advice would be.

  49. Sending questions now! haha this is goign to be fantastic :)

  50. What a great idea! Thank you for doing this! I’ll keep it in mind for the future…

  51. Oh my gosh I’m so excited for this! How wonderful!

  52. I LOVE this! Great idea, Joanna and mom!

  53. Dear Jean,
    I’m a 30 year old mom to an 18 month old daughter, and a I also work full time. I have what feels like debilitating guilt about this on an almost daily basis. I just don’t believe women can “have it all.” I question why I brought the most amazing, creative, funny, and happy little girl into the world only to drop her off for someone else to raise every day. I’m trying to find the balance, but it’s tough. Then there’s all the housework, and oh yes- being a wife- on top of it all! Is this a normal feeling for all working mothers, or do I need to dig deep and find a way to make a life change? We live in Boston where the cost of living is not cheap, and at this point we both have to work. But I am at the point of feeling remorse towards stay-at-home mothers just because of what they’re able to do (and even remorse towards my husband sometimes for not enabling me to stay home and have a pile of babies!). I know the grass is always greener on the other side, and it’s possible that stay-at-home moms are feeling remorse towards me for my business trips and office environment. But I can’t help but feel like I want more balance. What should I do?

  54. I love this idea!! Can’t wait to start reading these posts, I’m very excited!

  55. I loooooooove this idea, I currently dont have anything to ask but I would love to read what other people may ask and the answers your mom gives them. I love listening to peoples problems and I think I give pretty good advices because like your mom its easier for me to see the bigger picture
    Love yor blog (even though I’m not a mom)

  56. I’m curious (as someone in psych) what kind of psychologist is she?

  57. What a fun idea! Can’t wait to read some good momma advice.

  58. Great idea!! And hilarious, I am a soil scientist so friable happens to be one of only a few vocab words I know ;)

  59. Oh I love this Joanna! Such a great idea!

    I’m about to open my first business (a coffee house) with with my sister-in-law! It was one of those situations where the opportunity came our way and we are going for it! We started planning less than 6 weeks ago and we will open next month! All great stuff!
    But here is the kicker, I found out I’m 5 weeks pregnant this week, which was all I wanted before this project started. I obviously want both, but I am feeling anxious and can’t help but feel like I’m letting my business partner down a little or that I’m doing too much and should do one or the other. Is this normal? Am I crazy to be pregnant and starting a business?

    Business with a Baby


  61. Love this! My dream job as a little girl was Dear Abby. My dad would read the sports, my mom would read the comics, and I would read the advice :)

    I’ll have to send some burning questions Jean’s way soon!

  62. Brilliant! Your blog is the best. : )

  63. I love this idea! how fun! thanks Joanna, looking forward to it!

  64. Wonderful! Looking forward to it!

  65. Yay! I love your posts where we hear from your mom! Can’t wait for this series!

  66. This is a great idea! My mom is deceased and my dad in incapacitated right now and doesn’t always remember everything, so I actually ask my MIL a lot. What’s it like getting older? What’s it like balancing work with three kids? Now that your kids are grown, if you dialed back at work (which I’m doing) how was it going full force? What are your secrets to keeping in touch with kids/grandkids scattered all over the country? Maybe do a beauty post with her!

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  68. Love this idea! Your mom sounds like the sweetest. Now, I know where you get it from :)

  69. any questions! “how do i know my partner is The One?” “I’m worried about a work dilemma…” “how do i make friends in a new city?” “what is a good gift for my mother-in-law?” etc….

    anything and everything!

  70. this is a great idea! so what kind of questions/topics are open to ask/discuss?