12 Great Reader Comments on Parenting

Next up in our best reader comments series, we’re happy to share 12 funny, wise thoughts on raising a family (including a grocery store hack)…

On pregnancy:

“We had two wonderful surprises, a girl and a boy. I felt that these lines from an article by Jonathan Safran Foer put it beautifully: ‘My wife and I debated learning the sex of our first child before birth. I raised the issue with my uncle, a gynecologist who had delivered more than 5,000 babies… He said, ‘If a doctor looks at a screen and tells you, you will have information. If you find out in the moment of birth, you will have a miracle.'” — Marie

On new parenthood:

“There is no wrong way to have a baby. There is no wrong way to feed a baby or to parent a baby or to feel after having a baby. It’s like learning a new dance. You may not know every single step, and it may not come easily at first, but what you end up with is your own beautiful routine that works for you and your little family.” — Micheline

On kids, man:

“I once went to my eight-year-old son’s room to say goodnight. He had a book on his bedside table with a tampon hanging out of it (string in, white part out). I was horrified (he has never played with them and I was not up for a discussion that evening). So, I calmly asked, ‘What isssss that?’ and he said, ‘I found them in the bathroom. They are ghost bookmarks. Pretty cool.’” — Michelle

“Me: Charlie you’ve really been great about bringing your dishes to the sink.
Charlie, nine (very sincerely): I have to say, I think it’s the nagging.” — Erin

On talking to kids about death:

“My five-year-old son had a hard time dealing with the death of our dog. One way I helped explain death was by describing the difference between seeing a snail in its shell, and then finding a discarded shell. The ‘thing’ that made it alive is gone, but it leaves something like a body behind. He seemed to understand then what her ashes were, and that whatever made her ‘Lucy’ went somewhere else.” — ​Lisa

On softening meltdowns:

“I have two kids with autism and along the way I’ve learned a few things that I think are helpful whatever your parenting situation. Find ways to give specific compliments even in the midst of meltdowns. Hearing what you’re doing right is powerful whether you’re 3, 13 or 43 and changes the emotional dynamic of difficult interactions. Also, trust your gut and don’t feel like you have to defend or explain your parenting choices, not because they are perfect choices, but because you’re doing your best with what you have.” — Naomi

On a helpful tip:

“Park close to the cart return, NOT close to the grocery store.” — Cora

On working parents:

“My sisters and I were raised by parents with demanding careers who had full lives outside being parents and they loved.us.so.deeply. As I’ve become a mom, I’ve been party to many conversations about the right amount of time with kids so they feel loved, but I don’t know if I agree with the concept at all. What I do know is when I look back at my childhood I remember hectic mornings, pizza nights every Friday, babysitters who were like family, and such deep love from my parents that my sisters and I never felt anything but sure of our home and our family and ourselves. Isn’t that everything, really?” — Ellen

On birthdays:

“The night before my daughter’s birthday, while we were lying in bed, I said to her, ‘I can’t believe you’re turning three tomorrow!’ She was quiet, and then her little voice was full of hesitation as she said, ‘But, Mama, I don’t know how to turn.’ Apparently everybody had been saying this to her, and her little head worried about not doing it right! Thank goodness for her amazing preschool teacher, who told her that you ‘turn’ your next age by ‘turning over’ in bed; my daughter was ecstatic when I picked her up and told me that she had ‘turned three’ while sleeping the night before.” — Ashley

On knowing yourself:

“Yesterday I overheard my four-year-old telling her stuffed animals, ‘I’m going to ignore you now so you can find out what’s in your own little heads.’ I laughed at this obviously learned behavior and asked myself, should I feel bad about this? My conclusion was: nope. I’m an introvert and spending my days with small people who interrupt every private internal moment I have can be taxing, but I think I’ve done a good job of teaching them that everyone, including Mom, has a separate inner life that’s special and fascinating and worth exploration.” — Meg

On love:

“The best thing my mom ever did for me sounds sad but has been a lifelong source of strength. I was 11, and my mom had just found out she had terminal cancer, although I didn’t know yet. We were lying on the couch, when she started crying and holding me, whispering ‘my baby, my babies’ over and and over again. I think she was simply experiencing her own grief at leaving us and not necessarily trying to impart anything, but I remember thinking that I hadn’t even begun to grasp the depth of her love for my brothers and me before that moment. Growing up without her, I’ve naturally wondered if she would have been proud of how I turned out, but that moment reminds me that nothing could have made her love me any more or any less.” — Courtney

On chilling:

“I’m pregnant with my third right now and I can NOT be the super parent I normally strive to be. We have sugary cereal for breakfast instead of oatmeal with fresh fruit; I let my seven-year-old watch A LOT of TV (and now she loves Happy Days and I Dream of Jeannie); and today, I bought both my girls MoonPies. MoonPies! Last Year Me would have gasped with horror. Summer Me is like, ‘Who gives a shit?! They love it!!!'” — Lana

What would you add? Thank you so much for reading. xo

P.S. The best reader comments of all time, and my motherhood mantra.

(Photo by Lars Wästfelt.)