Motherhood

12 Great Reader Comments on Parenting

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.)

  1. Zoe says...

    Counrtney’s comment has me sobbing. I’m a new mom and often think about leaving my boy too soon and not getting to watch his world unfold. And yes to the shopping cart trick xo

  2. Annelise says...

    These comments brought tears to my eyes! Especially those about working parents. My mother truly was our Wonder Woman. She did everything for me and my two siblings—all while working full-time as a nurse at night. She would sleep for a couple hours, get up and pick us up from school, pack our lunches, make dinner, check our homework, then head out for work at 10PM. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized she must have been truly sleep deprived 99% of the time.

  3. I love reading funny anecdotes that other parents share, so thanks for putting this together. I shared it on my blog for others to read. The story about the little girl telling her stuffed animals she’s going to ignore them now had me cracking up.

  4. Hannah says...

    Um, I strenuously object to the miracle/information comment about whether to find out the sex of the baby while you’re pregnant. For us, with one child, it was a surprise at birth, and with the other two, we found out beforehand. For various reasons, the information was more important with children #2 and #3 than it was with #1. Believe me, they all felt like complete miracles when they came out, and knowing that #2 and #3 were going to be boys beforehand in no way diminished from the wonder and thrill of meeting them for the first time. Not knowing with our first was sort of a fun surprise, but it did nothing to make the birth more “miraculous.” If you want to find out, find out. Meeting your baby for the first time will still be an amazing, miraculous thrill no matter what.

    • Lindsay says...

      Agreed. I object to that comment wholeheartedly. I know many people (myself included) who found out the sex in order to feel more bonded to the fetus in an effort to counteract postpartum. Finding out in advance was no less a surprise (or a “miracle”). Everything involved in pregnancy, labor/delivery, and child rearing are deeply personal choices and we really need to lay off the pressure to judge or devalue another’s choices or experiences.

    • Callie says...

      I agree – this was offensive! It is a wonderful and exciting surprise, a miracle, no matter when you find out. For me it was a hugely heartwarming and special moment to find out during what was a tough and lonely first trimester. What a rude comment to those of us who chose to find out earlier, I am disappointed this was chosen, especially as the first one.

  5. Daniela says...

    This is great!! You guys have done a very good job curating these wonderful comments!!! Couldn’t agree more with parking close to the cart return. I do that every time I go grocery shopping…hehehe

  6. cait says...

    Thank you for these tips. I’m currently pregnant with my first child, and they brought me great comfort. In fact, I’ve gone back and read many of the archived Cup of Jo motherhood and pregnancy posts since finding out I was expecting. They are all so insightful and reassuring – thank you for them! Personally, I’m the first of my friends to get pregnant and have felt how lonely and isolating this particular position can be. I can only imagine how much stronger these feelings will be once the baby is born. I know one remedy and cathartic source is “mom friends.” I was hoping the Cup of Jo team could create a post on how to become friends with new moms and women in this position. I know Joanna recently mentioned that she’s made a great group of friends in her 30s, and since then, I’ve been intrigued about this topic!

    • Serafina says...

      Cait- when I lived in Chicago meetup.com was a huge help for finding Mom and parent groups. I think that website has groups in smaller and large cities and might be worth a check!

    • Erin says...

      When my older child was a baby, I went to a free weekly group for new moms hosted by our insurance provider; we live in Northern California and have Kaiser Permanente insurance. Ask your OB if there’s anything similar available near you — even if it isn’t free, it’s worth it. It was really, really helpful to make some friends who were adjusting to having a baby at the exact same time I was.

    • Zoe says...

      Cait, take some birthing classes and hopefully you will meet other moms that you like. I felt like you when I was pregnant, except my friends had older kids. I also had recently moved out of the city and to the country. I was lucky to meet two women in the class, one who happened to notice my water bottle which was from my union (film) that she was also part of, from a different department. I also became friends with the nurse teaching the course. A year later and we are still friends and have weekly baby dates!

    • Amanda says...

      Cait-
      As your child gets a little older (even like 6 months!) check out story time at your local library or bookstores. Sometimes they are divided up by age. It’s a great (free) resource and you just may find “your people”. (And really, who doesn’t love being read to by a lover of books? I have found such a love and respect for librarians in my last 4 years of attending story times!)

  7. Lourdes says...

    I was at the pediatrician’s office with my sister and her littles, my niece who is 2 and nephew who is 4. I saw my nephew start to pick his nose and knowing he’s in that stage of eating his boogers I told him “Vince don’t eat your boogers.” He quickly replied “ugh Auntie worry about yourself.”

  8. Kathleen says...

    The tampon comment reminds me of my little sister, who came running out from the back room one day covered head to toe in maxi pads stuck all over her body. She was beyond excited and shouted “look what I found…puffy stickers!”

  9. Anela says...

    I’m tearing up reading Courtney’s comment. What a powerful moment. Thank you for sharing.

  10. On the first skim through of “On Softening Meltdowns” I thought,
    “Huh, that’s kind of funny, another Naomi who also has 2 kids on the spectrum and seems to have the same approach to parenting.” A full minute passed before I realized I was reading my own comment from 2015. :) Thank you for including (forgetful, tired, hopeful) me in this beautiful community. xo

  11. Anna says...

    Hello! I love these posts!! I would LOVE to read people’s experiences in trying to conceive and also some stepmother perspectives – how they psyched up an older sibling for baby, how they help all kids feel included, how they help the new baby not be jealous of their sibling’s double life, how it feels to be the “second” mother and not experience intimate “typical” firsts with your husband, etc… xo

  12. Nicole says...

    Oh, Courtney……..that comment got me.

    As a mom, I just can’t imagine anything more heart-breaking. Though, how inspiring to hear how this message got through to her daughter.

    Love all of these. Thanks, CoJ and commenters!

    • Jill says...

      Sobbing at my desk. Thank you for sharing, Courtney. I’m sorry you didn’t get to spend your whole life with your mom. She sounds so special.

      It also got me thinking about how I’ve always said to my little girl, “Are you my sweet baby? You’re MY sweet baby!” I hope she remembers it too.

    • Ros says...

      Oh, gawd, I’m here sobbing at my desk over that comment. Full tears.

  13. Jillian says...

    These are so great! I love the way kids’ minds work – so often, they are deep and insightful without even trying to be.

    When my daughter was three, she and I were driving around running errands while I lamented to a friend on the phone (discreetly, of course) that motherhood was kind of sucking the life out of me that particular day. I said to my friend, “Sometimes I just don’t feel like a person anymore,” and, without missing a beat, my daughter called out from the backseat, “You’re not a person; you’re a mama!” …Exactly, kid, exactly.

  14. Ricky says...

    Thank you so much for these! <3

  15. Theresa says...

    Boy, the comment On Love really got me straight in the heart. So beautiful and profound.

  16. neha says...

    I have a dog not a baby, but I remember reading your (or I think your mum’s) advice that your face lights up every time your baby walks in thru the door! I am genuinely surprised that I remember it every time my little one walks in thru the door, but it is magic :) I try to do it to everyone else I love as well… it is NOT hard work =)

  17. Mariana says...

    These are amazing! So many sweet, smart and wonderful readers :)

  18. We moved to a bigger house when my daughter was three. Our previous house was too small and did not have extra room to use as my daughter’s room. We explained the move with these exact words to her, “we sold our house because it was small and we bought a new, bigger one”.
    My daughter mourned the previous house for weeks, cried every single time we mentioned it, did not want to sleep in her new room etc. One day, as she was in the toilet, she became very quiet and whispered to me: “Mom, can I ask you something?”,
    I said “yes” and she said, trying to hold back her tears, “you know you sold the old house because it was small and bought this bigger one,”
    again I said “yes?” and while bursting into full tears she asked “you know I am small too, mom, please tell me, will you sell me too and buy a bigger girl?”. It was so sad and hilarious at the same time, I calmly explained to her I wouldn’t sell her even if they gave me all the bigger girls in the world, that moms would never ever do that and that she was growing up anyway. She was clearly so relieved that I think all the crying and not loving the new house in those first weeks was all about her fears of being sold. I couldn’t believe how insecure she was despite the fact that I express my love for her every single day. Now, for the last three years, I choose my words more wisely and I also emphasize that I love her no matter what and that I am so grateful that God chose me to be her mother and I wouldn’t trade anything in the world with that :))
    She is also very very sensitive about other beings, when she was four we went on a picnic and I was preparing her a hammock when she suddenly told me to stop. When I asked her why, she said I was hurting the tree with the rope, “imagine if someone wrapped a rope around your belly and then pulled it strongly, it would hurt mom”, anyway, we ended up in a conversation of nerves, the feeling of pain etc, but I couldn’t convince her that the trees wouldn’t feel the pain because what if they do and we just don’t know it. I couldn’t object to that and today, still no hammocks in our picnics :)

    • Alex says...

      I never comment but just wanted to say how amazing your daughter sounds, and how sensitive and respectful of a mother you are. Thanks for the inspiration tonight – just what I needed after a rough week with my little nuggets!!

    • Alma says...

      This was so touching! We need more people like your daughter in the world. Please keep doing what you’re doing to allow her to blossom!

    • Your words lightened up my day too, I am doing my best to let her keep that pure love and empathy she has in her, like all other children. Thank you Alex and Alma :)

  19. Alexa says...

    I love all of these. I love cup of jo. And I know that one day when I’m a Mum I’m going to be coming back to these kind of posts.

  20. Barbara says...

    These wise and touching words made me cry. What a hard, miraculous thing parenthood is.

  21. Taryn says...

    Cup of Jo for the win, again. Thanks mamas, I needed this today.

  22. Molly says...

    As a recently single mom of a two-year old boy, it gives me so much hope to know that families of all shapes and sizes have made their children feel so very loved. I worry about this constantly, but my anxiety abates when I hear stories and advice like this. Thank you.

  23. Oh Courtney, that is such a beautiful moment. Even though my dad is living, I have a very strong memory of him taking me to the park when I was very little, maybe 3 or 4, and he put me up on a low tree branch, and was holding my legs so I wouldn’t fall, and he started crying really hard. I remember asking him, “Why are you crying Daddy?” and he said, “I just love you so much.” My dad and I have had a very difficult relationship for most of my life- we rarely see eye to eye, and yet are so similar so we drive each other insane- but this memory always reminds me that I KNOW he loves me so much. I’ve never, ever doubted that, and I’m so grateful I have that memory. I can only imagine how a memory like that will gain new meaning after he’s gone. Thanks for sharing, Courtney.

    • Bren says...

      This is so beautiful! And now I’m crying!!

  24. Molly says...

    I have been reading CoJ for years, before I had a kid, and I’ve always loved the Motherhood Mondays posts. Now that I have a son, these posts have taken on such a deeper meaning. I love the tone so much – funny, insightful and nonjudgmental.

    Also, the cart return comment made me laugh because it’s such a battle between my husband and I. He REFUSES to park near the cart returns because he’s convinced it’s more dangerous for his car and it’s more likely to get door dings/dents. I however think it’s safer because farther away from cart returns, people just leave their carts where ever and are more apt to roll around and hit your car! We have been together for 10 years and we’re no closer to coming to agreement on this issue. Ha!

  25. Alice says...

    So much beauty and hilarity in these. Ashley reminded me the tiniest word can be bamboozling to a pre-schooler, even though they seem so grown up in many ways. Courtney, oh the love, reminded me to verbalise what I feel.
    And Michelle – that’s what I needed on a Tuesday night :)

  26. Jen says...

    Crying on the train again reading Cup of Jo!

    All of these thoughts are so important but none were more helpful than Ellen’s comment about working parents.

    I’ve just started a super demanding job and I’m really working on how to show my girls that they are still loved and important. I’m also trying to work on the mother guilt because I know that having a job like this is important to me, and my girls are well looked after by me, their Dad and their carers at childcare.

    Guilt should be reserved for when you’re doing something wrong, and I don’t think I am by doing a job that fulfils me and sharing the care of my children.

    So thank you Ellen, I do love my girls deeply and I only need to make sure that they feel my love.

    • sasha says...

      Jen, I think you are setting a wonderful example for your girls. Think how you want them to feel, someday, if they become mothers, and have important and demanding jobs. Model that attitude of pride :) They already know how loved they are.

    • Hita says...

      Congratulations on your new job, and showing your girls that we have to work hard for things that are important to us. You are helping them learn that fulfilling their dreams is possible, and worth it! That should fill you with pride, not guilt.

  27. My then three year old asked me for some water one day… and I replied, sure, but what’s the magic word?

    Abracadabra? He replied…

    • Andrea says...

      He has a point!

  28. carly says...

    crying hard at courtney’s comment.

  29. Lindsey says...

    I just read these comments from the bathroom at work where I am pumping (to feed my 1 year old at home). I’m a tired FTM who hasn’t had a full nights sleep in over a year, but these comments made me laugh, tear up, and feel so much solidarity in this life as a mom.

    • Sarah says...

      I’m also pumping in the bathroom at work laughing at these! Way to go mama!

    • Molly says...

      Me too!

  30. Andie says...

    Each one of these comments is so lovely and special. A tiny window into other families who are so different from ours, yet their love for their kids is exactly the same. Mothers could cure the world’s ills…if we just had the time.

  31. Ley says...

    It might be the exhaustion after 14 months of poor sleep but I’m welling up reading these comments. I’m burst but I go to bed every night knowing I tried my hardest. Ladies, I’m raising my cup of tea to you tonight. X

  32. sasha says...

    Nodding my head, um hmm, and laughing out loud (I knew nagging worked!), and crying crying by the end.
    Coj moms are the BEST.
    I wish I had had this community when my children were young, but so glad it’s here now. The empathy and kindness and caring and acceptance and humor shown here daily makes me a better person.

  33. Jackie says...

    Courtney’s commit on love is so beautiful. My heart’s just torn to shreds now. I’ve only been a mother for 6 months, but this mom-love is so deep that it hurts.

  34. Cora says...

    Thank you so much for sharing my cart advice. I’m so honored and tickled to be included among these other commenters.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      it’s a great tip!! doing it from now on :)

    • Courtney says...

      Cora – this is my secret too! Great minds ;)

    • sasha says...

      Cora, it’s great advice!!

    • Rachel says...

      It’s such a good idea!!!

    • Angel says...

      I do this too!

  35. Allison says...

    Naomi’s comment reminded me of something I do that has served me well as the mom of a 5-year-old daughter and twin 3-year old sons.

    When my little ones are inconsolable because of hurt feelings, a boo boo, or even a tantrum, instead of shushing them, I take them in my arms and rock back and forth saying “You can cry. It feels so good to get it out, doesn’t it? Just cry it out, as long as you need to. I’ll be here.” They might do another few wails, but before I know it, they start quieting and cuddling into me. There’s something validating and comforting about your mom being there to let you feel your feels and accept you even when you’re at your “worst.”

    • Nina Nattiv says...

      Yes! Whenever my kids cry I hold them and tell them its okay to cry and when they are ready to stop crying we can talk about it (they’re 4 but I’ve been doing this since they were infants). Whenever the girls start crying in front of my parents or husbands parents they always say “you don’t have to cry, there’s nothing to cry about”. But doesn’t crying when you’re hurt or sad feel so good?!?!

  36. Alison says...

    these posts are my fav! what wisdom! what a wonderful community! these made me laugh and cry at my desk today – thank you! this working momma of two needed this today!

  37. Kate says...

    Seeing that blurry little bean wiggling around on a screen nearly ten years ago felt like a miracle to me. Finding out the sex was just icing on the cake. It’s a joyous surprise whatever time you find out but waiting doesn’t elevate the parents to sainthood.

    The ghost bookmarks on the other hand made me laugh out loud.

    • Jackie says...

      Yes!???

    • Mary D says...

      Yes I agree!! I was going to leave a similar comment.
      That quote implies that if you find out the gender of your child ahead of time, the birth is less of a “miracle” feeling. I disagree 100%. And with all due respect, I kind of resent that being listed as a great quote.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh i didn’t see it that way! i thought it was just saying that if you find out at the birth, that discovery is in the same miracle moment as birth (being that birth is the huge miracle). i found out the sex when i was pregnant with toby and i LOVED knowing — it helped me bond with the baby inside my belly. both choices are equally great and valid! xoxo

  38. Kaye Berman says...

    I don’t have any kids, but thoroughly enjoy my 10 nieces and nephews. These all give me little peaks in to being a parent and they all warmed my heart immensely! Thank you to eveyone who shared their stories.

  39. Marcy says...

    Ghost bookmarks- Hilarious!!

  40. Karen says...

    Thank you Ellen. I needed that today

  41. Katie says...

    Ellen’s quote totally resonated with me. I, too, was raised in a home with both parents working full-time jobs. They loved us (and still do) so deeply, striving to give us the best life possible. A life they did not have access to when growing up: a home which didn’t live paycheck to paycheck.

    Their upbringing, however, came with strict rules and boundaries specifically on the importance of hard work. My sister and I have had jobs since we were 16, working through high school and college. When we were young, every Christmas they would remind us that “these gifts are not free – we write Santa Claus a check for your presents.”

    I’m not sure I understood the importance of this until I was much older. Now I look back with a gentle chuckle (and gratitude) on the lessons they taught us by going to work everyday – and still do at 61 and 65.

    • Cynthia says...

      Oh, my gosh! My parents told me and my brother they had to send Santa money for the gifts because they weren’t free! I told my girls the same thing, and I’m glad to know that someone else does, too. The value of hard work is a good lesson, because as a teacher, I see so many young people who feel entitled to everything.

  42. Charlotte says...

    I love to come here and find new posts and I especially love reading the great comments, but as someone struggling to be become a mum, these posts also makes me sad. Most people here have kids and of course the articles should be focused on that, but I guess that is what is making me feel even more alone. That somehow I will never be a part of the community that is parenting or motherhood. So to all those parents out there tired or stressed about parenting, be grateful most of all to have experienced the role of mother and fatherhood.

    • Courtney says...

      Charlotte, I’m sorry you are experiencing this. You are not alone. You can be a mother to many things and hopefully you can find your thing.

    • Kelsey says...

      I know how you feel because I’m in the same shitty boat. You aren’t alone! Infertility fistbump and hugs to you. xoxo

    • Bee says...

      There are many people here who struggle/have struggled with infertility. I am holding my two month old who was conceived on our fourth IVF round spread over two years. And I am so so grateful for that and I will always remember the families who aren’t as lucky as we are.

    • Nina Nattiv says...

      Sending you a big hug. I dealt with infertility for years and there was nothing anyone could say that would make it better. And then being surrounded by pregnancy and motherhood was just so painful. I wish you peace and strength and resolution to this, however that ends up looking.

    • laura-london says...

      I’ve got an amazing 3 yo but am suffering unexplained secondary infertility, so kinda have a foot in both camps. I’m incredibly grateful to have my little girl in my life. So grateful. But so frustrated and sad that we can’t give her a sibling. I was able to get pregnant last year, but it turned out to be a molar pregnancy (tumour growing instead of placenta). It’s been a rough ride to say the least. You are not alone.

  43. Rucha says...

    Whenever my 2 year old is on verge of a tantrum(tired/bored/hungry) at a supermarket, I swoosh him up to the greeting cards section.. may seem random but those funny pictures like animals wearing birthday hats always work like charm and i have a giggling child in no time :)

    • Rucha says...

      and oh it works at long lines situation at post office too! ;)

  44. Megan says...

    What a wonderful, touching round-up! So many of these made me teary (in a lovely way).

  45. I don’t know if this is the place for my comment. But my heart aches reading these sweet comments because my dream job is to be a mother (to 3-4 kids if possible), but I’m 28 and recently had my heart broken. I wish there was a way to go about accomplishing this goal. You all and Joanna’s blog make being a parent sound so incredibly rich and wonderful

    • Hi Hannah,
      Your comment struck me because I can totally relate to your situation. When I was 28 I, too, had a heartbreaking breakup, and I remember thinking I would never meet the right guy, get married, or have kids. I actually took a trip to Nepal to hike out my sorrows. And I got a great new job when I returned from my trip. Eventually, I got married at 34 and had two kids in my late 30s (my daughter was born, totally healthy, a month before my 40th birthday). If I’d have wanted more children, there was plenty of time for that. I just wanted to give you some words of encouragement. I’m now in my early 50s and have two teenagers and a great husband who is an excellent father — and my ex (the heart breaker) is divorced from the gal he dumped me for :)

    • lauren says...

      I’m sorry to hear about your heartbreak, Hannah. As a woman in her thirties, I have friends who have become mothers in ways that might not be the linear, conventional “ways” (IVF, single mother by choice, adoption, etc). As your heart heals, I would stay open to all the different ways we can “mother” and all the different ways that can come to be.

    • Emmie says...

      I too had a gnarly break-up at 27-28, got pregnant at 30, and we are currently considering having another at 33. SO SO glad, all of that didn’t happen with my ex. You may just be surprised!

    • Courtney says...

      You have so much time!

    • Erinn says...

      Hi Hannah
      Just wanted to say that I know how you feel and you’re not alone! I’m 28 too and just went through a breakup. I’m having a hard time imagining meeting someone else and the biggest thing I’m worried about is having kids. I don’t know if it’ll help you at all but my sister told me that if I really want to have children, I’ll make that happen even if it’s not in the most traditional way. It’s been a little helpful for me in taking some of the pressure off. Sending love!

    • Bevin, Lauren, Emmie and Courtney, thank you! I appreciate hearing your life perspective. Today was one of those days where I wondered if I’ll ever feel purely happy again or not have trust issues etc.

    • neha says...

      Thanks Bevin! I really enjoy hearing these stories – and I like to tell myself “this this can be done…” and part of me feels super thrilled that if I manage to swing it, I’ll have babies late and I will get to stay younger for longer!! Haha!
      Tho, I do agree with Hannah, sometimes it’s just impossible to wonder exactly what must one do, tho :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I met Alex when I was 28, and many of my friends met their wonderful partners at older ages than that. Hang in there! You are SO YOUNG, Hannah!!

    • SD says...

      Hannah, sending you a big hug today. I’m 30 and in a similar situation. I’ve got two girls that I nanny who I love like my own, but sometimes it just flat out hurts when having my own kids seems to have once again been pushed back indefinitely. I hope the ache you’re feeling right now turns someday into a love and joy with your own family that is better than you could ever have expected, even (maybe especially) if it takes longer to come than you’d hoped. Hang in there!

    • Thanks Erinn, SD and Joanna for sharing your stories! I am young, there is time. It’s important to not let my anxiety overtake me and have faith!

    • Krissy says...

      Hi Hannah! It will happen for you. I got divorced at 29, got remarried at 36 and just had my first baby at 37. At 29 it felt so overwhelming to be starting over, but I’m so glad I’m with the right person now!

  46. VP says...

    Loved this. I really liked the snail analogy, and laughed at the “chilling” one. I feel that way whenever my kid watches TV for too long, but then I have time to get important things done (like make food) so you have to give a little here and there.

    I also always park close the the cart return!!! Life changing.

    Finally, I love the one about no wrong way to parent. We, especially mothers, feel alot of that “mom guilt,” a term/concept I have come to loathe. At the end of the day, if your kid is fed, clothed, loved, and safe, we have nothing to feel guilty about.

  47. Avalanche Lake says...

    I remember reading Courtney’s comment when it originally appeared but I’m still tearing up. Something about it just brings me right to that place.

    On the other hand, I really don’t enjoy comments that suggest that waiting to find out the sex of your baby is the “miracle,” as if that’s the superior choice. The baby is the miracle, whether you choose to find out ahead of time or not. Usually choice for your own reasons is celebrated on this blog, so I’m disappointed to read this as the first comment featured in this post.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for your lovely note!

      for the JSF quote, i actually didn’t interpret it as better than/worse than, i thought he was just saying one pro of waiting is that the birth overall is such a miracle, and if you find out the sex then, it becomes part of that miracle moment. but not that it’s BETTER than finding out earlier on.

      we actually found out that we were having a boy with toby, and it was the most wonderful experience. for me, made it easier to connect with the little person growing in my belly! https://cupofjo.com/tag/its-a-boy/

    • Avalanche Lake says...

      Thanks, Joanna. I read some other comments and saw that others read that first bit the same way I did–and others didn’t! I think it just speaks to the fact that this (like everything about child-rearing!) is an intensely personal decision! I’m glad that this blog allows for a place to share and celebrate our thoughts on these huge decisions!

      I also found out the sex of my son, at the 20-week sonogram. I’m really glad I found out ahead of time because up until then, I was convinced that I was going to have a girl. Having some time to process that saved me from having to deal with that ambivalence at the moment of birth. Of course, now I think he’s the best and I’m so excited for all the boy stuff! Especially this: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/02/upshot/how-to-raise-a-feminist-son.html

    • Ruth says...

      I also personally LOVE finding out the sex of the baby ahead of time. It helps make it more real to me, and if you don’t find out until the 20 week ultrasound it adds some excitement to mid-pregnancy. This time especially, I was convinced I was having a boy and had already bonded with the little boy (who I had even named). Shocked to find out that we are actually having a girl and my intuition was all wrong. I’m glad to know now instead of being surprised at birth since this gives me time to process it. I know many people feel differently, but to me the whole birth is already miracle enough without being surprised by the gender.

  48. Catherine H. says...

    As someone who is pregnant with their first, I absolutely LOVE reading these types of posts. It makes me feel so much peace, knowing that there is such a community of support. I LOVED Lana’s comment – reminds me of the first trimester when everyone told me to just survive through all the nausea… if you want a bagel every day, eat a bagel every day!

    • Anna says...

      When you have pregnancy nausea, you eat WHATEVER SOUNDS GOOD! For me it was Lemonheads candy and ginger ale for like a whole month. Congrats!

  49. Lori says...

    I always remember what my mom told me when I had my oldest, her Doctor had told her when she had me and worried about being a good parent “Your baby has nothing to compare you to, you are the only parent she knows”

    That statement always brought me back to reality when I worried about being “super mom enough”.

    • Adrienne says...

      Oh wow Lori…I love this so much. I needed to read that today. I frequently feel that I am not good enough or that I don’t do enough for my girls. They are 9 and 6 but it still holds true to me. Thank you for sharing.

    • E says...

      I’m working on my masters in early childhood education with a specialization on infant and toddler mental health (it’s a mouthful, I know, but really interesting!) and one of the things from our many, many readings that has stayed with me is that it can be better to be an average parent. Not being attuned to your child’s every need every moment is actually better for them because in those moments of waiting, or disconnection, and in the following re-connection, that is when they are building resilience. “Super mom” would probably end up taking all those moments for growth away, so really, normal you is better than super you.

    • mwana says...

      So wise! Thank you, I will be sharing these words with others in my own circle.

  50. Jo and team, you have such a gift at finding comments that make us all feel connected as humans, and allowing us to love the versions of ourselves – in whatever that form may be. Thank you.

    Also, Courtney’s comment about her mom made me tear up. And the ghost tampon bookmark made me laugh so hard. I love this site so much. and all the people who make it what it is.

  51. Sarah says...

    Courtney! Wow. I second everything everyone has already said. As a mom and a daughter I’m so moved.

  52. Kara says...

    Love these roundups!

    The Jonathan Safran Foer quote has me scratching my head a bit. No matter what point you find out the sex, it is (and/or can be) a wonderful, exciting surprise (just “information”??? what is that doctor talking about?). And whether or not you find out the sex, you will have a miracle when you give birth. I don’t know, that one felt a bit…smug.

    • Carolina says...

      Agree. I felt it was an absolute miracle (and huge surprise) to find out while I was pregnant.

    • Eliza says...

      I personally like the mid-pregnancy miracle of finding out – it’s the miracle that sometimes gets some of us THROUGH the pregnancy! I needed the mid-term pick me up of finding out the sex both times :)

  53. Jen says...

    Thank you for this post! I needed it this morning. Life with a very independent 2.5 year old who refuses to sleep in her big girl bed right now (and ends up sleeping with us most nights) and an 8 month old with daddy traveling during the week has been tough, exhausting and draining. But reading this made me realize as long as we all get sleep at night, I’m ok that our 2.5 year old sleeps with us (extra cuddles) and that my 8 month old refuses to be set down (there will be a day when she runs away from me instead of puts her arms up for me to pick her up). I’m glad I’m not the only ‘who gives a shit’ mom as long as they know they are loved beyond words.

    • Avalanche Lake says...

      When my son was first born, my dad said that the way he had comforted himself during my infancy was “people who go to college don’t do [X]”–where X could be sleeping in a rock n play, smushing food in hair, wearing diapers, etc. It makes me laugh to imagine a college student falling asleep in a cradle–and makes me able to enjoy the moment more when my son just wants to wear his pjs all day.

      (Also, my husband is away for 2 weeks right now and so I FEEL YOU.)

  54. Alexa says...

    These are all so great! The first especially resonates with me. I had my first baby two weeks ago and we found out the sex at birth. It truly did add to the wonder and marvel of the experience! I know that route isn’t for everyone, but gosh, I loved it for us.

    • Agree, others are saying it’s smug. But, as someone who also waited to find out the sex of all three of my babies (even for my third when I had two boys), it’s a HUGE, HUGE thing to wait nine months to find out. And then you give birth and you have a baby, and you find out the sex–so many miracles at once. It was nice to simply focus on growing a baby without the distraction of picking out specific names, or specific colored clothes (back to the JSF quote, that’s all stuff you do with “information”). But, that isn’t for everyone, I get that.

      Funny thing, when I was pregnant with my third, I was considered advanced maternal age, so I took that genetic test at 12 weeks. The assistant at my Ob/Gyn called me to see if I wanted to know the sex of the baby, and it took a lot of willpower, but I said no. I had been going to that doctor’s office ever since my first had been born eight years prior and they knew me. Once I had my little girl, they told me that they had been so excited that I was having a girl for months and months and it was so hard for them to not say anything. I love that so much.

    • Kara says...

      Rebecca, I meant that the way the quote framed the choice was smug (because it seemed to pose it as a “better than” thing with the alternate choice diminishing your pregnancy and birth experience). The choice itself is not. As I said in my comment, it’s a wonderful surprise and miracle no matter when you find out, which includes at birth. Sounds like the way you did it was so great and memorable for your situation!

  55. Crystal says...

    the “on love” really hit home and instantly brought tears to my eyes as i recall my own mom who did this. She passed away when I was 21 (she was 42), also of terminal cancer, and it still stings 11 years later as i plan to start my own family soon. i hope to impart as deep a love to my own children as my mother did with me because she set the bar incredibly high.

  56. Cheryl says...

    The “my babies” story stands on Mt. Everest above everything. Because the love is all that matters . Remember when Maya Angelou said people won’t remember what you said, they’ll remember how how you made them feel.
    As a parent that reality is equally horrifying and liberating. My baby girl knows how much I love her but I can surely help her feel it more. Thank you.

  57. Lauren says...

    Thanks for these! I have taken three at-home pregnancy tests this week and they have all come back positive but I still can’t quite believe it so I will take a few more just to be safe!! My husband is traveling for work this week and has no idea I have been taking these test – I am excited to surprise him with them when he gets home on Friday :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      congratulations, lauren!!!!!! so, so exciting :)

  58. The snail shell comment really hit home. As a parent with aging/sick parents this feels like such a rich explanation, perfect for little ones (or myself). Just beautiful.

  59. Jen says...

    Im an older mom and we found out the sex early as we had a genetic test. It turned out to be a good idea as we named our little girl early and used to chat to her with her name when she was in my tummy, so when she came out very suddenly at 28 weeks we could call her by her name and the amazing NICU nurses put a little pink card with a castle on it on her incubator with her name. A tough time made a bit easier by knowing her name.

  60. Lana says...

    I was reading the comments and didn’t realize I was reading my own and thought, “Thank God someone else gave up “perfection” when they were pregnant!” Lol! Btw, Leo is now two months old and we’re having hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls for dinner tonight (last night we had homemade lentil vegetable soup). Hahaha! It’s our new normal to not be so uptight about things and to find a balance that makes everyone happy. Most of the everyone I want happy all at once, but we’re surviving!

    • Lana says...

      I don’t know what happened to that last sentence! It was supposed to say, “Mostly everyone is happy. Maybe not all at once, but we’re surviving!”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha that is awesome, lana!

    • Erin LaDue says...

      Lana, I did the same thing. I read my comment and then it dawned on me it was a comment I posted a while back : )
      On a side note- in 2013 when my father was dying of cancer I researched what to tell my son, who at the time was only 5. What I discovered is that I needed to tell Charlie that my father was very very sick and very very old. The mindset was, that he would not think he was going to die when he was sick. It was also recomended that we made sure no to say things like- PaPa went away “to a better place” but to make it clear he had died and wasn’t coming back.
      My husband, Son and I arrived on the west coast from the east coast when hospice told us it was near the end. I had 20 minutes with my father once I landed before he passed and my son didn’t see my father. We shut the door and then the next day it occured to my son that he still had not seen PaPa. Walking down the street my son turned and asked me “where is PaPA?” I got choked up but told him what I had practiced and he said something so sweet about not wanting me to be sad. I told him “No its good you asked me about PaPa. We need to talk about him to keep his memory alive and you know what is really cool? When anyone asks you where you get your green eyes you can say from my Papa”

  61. Meghan says...

    Omg, crying at my desk and it’s not even 8 am yet.

  62. Paula says...

    Oh Lana, my spirit animal! You have an excuse, as you are preggo with No.3. I became like that after No. 2. ALL THE SUGAR, ALL THE TV, NONE OF THE STRUCTURE but so.much.freaking.love.

    Here’s a weird question. VERY loaded. A bit off topic but on the subject of kids. I always knew I wanted kids, even though when I began to have them, I wasn’t so sure (I don’t think one is ever ready!? I remember when they handed us the baby in the hospital to send us home, I was like, umm.. no???) Anyways. it’s the greatest, most challenging endeavor, one that I would not give up for the world. BUT. I have a sister. We are close. She is older. She always said, like me, I’m not ready, I’m not ready to have kids. And she spend her 30s (when I also wasn’t ready but knew that at 60 I would want to have kids) dating lots of people, and traveling and working towards her career and just in general, having an awesome life. Now, that I have two, and we are older, my sister (after failed IUV’s and miscarriages, she was trying for babies in her 40s) is… well, distant ,and bitter. And I try to be so super sensitive. She is a great aunt. And the kids love her. But sometimes, she will say something defensively, like, well, it’s irresponsible to have kids anyways, the planet is overpopulated, and it just feels like such a dagger in my heart. Does anyone have any good advice on how to deal with that? I love her, but I’m a little sad that every conversation I have to screen so that I don’t talk TOO much about kids, only when she asks, and if I do complain too much, not to get hurt when she says, well at least you have kids. It’s just so strange, b/c I’m used to it with random people, friends, or acquaintances, who say random things, but my own and only sister, it just kills me -_-

    • Danielle says...

      I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time with your sister. It’s a certain kind of pain when someone is potentially hurt by your happiness- you want to be sympathetic, but you also don’t want to have to dim your shine as it were.

      Is it possible she doesn’t realise that what she’s saying is hurtful? She might be so far in her own head about it that she thinks you’re able to brush it off. I have a sister in law that I like very much, but she is so offensive in so many things that she says and it cuts to my core at times. She has made comments about my stepson (her nephew!), my home, my old flat, my job and honestly everyone just says she’s too dim to realise what she says is rude. I think there’s definitely something to addressing it headon with your sister- calling or sitting down with her and saying plainly that her comments are hurtful and creating distance in your relationship. Happiness or joy, hurt or tragedy- it’s not a competition to see who has it better or worse and you shouldn’t have to hide for fear of hurting her all the time.

      Sometimes just calling someone out in the moment can really wake them up to their comments! If she says it’s irresponsible to have kids in general, just say ‘Yep, guess I’m wildly irresponsible for having two!’. I’ll do it with my SIL if you do it with yours! Good luck xx

    • Anonymous in case my sister reads it and gets offended says...

      Unfortunately I think you’ll just have to accept her as she is and hope that one day she can be truly happy for you – and show it. My sister and I have dealt with motherhood very differently and I’ve given up expecting anything from her. I reach out as much as I can because I love her kids and want them to spend time my my kids but as far as her behavior goes I know it’s useless to try and change it. It’s hard but once you accept it you can move on. Luckily I have many friends who choose to give me and my kids a lot of love and kindness and for that I am so so so thankful!

      X

    • Sylvia says...

      Hi Paula,
      i dont know if I can really offer some really helpful insight, but I can tell the story of a friend (i know by myself having a close sister is different!) : We got to know each other, when for her it became absolutly clear that she, after a long and very traumatic phase in her and her husbands life, would never be able to have kids of her own (adoption not yet considred and I think thats an whole other topic). We talked really openly about it. At that time her two closest friends were or got pregnant (one with the second baby). She works with kids and I know she is absolutly awsome at her job. She also is an absolutly wonderful and enthausiastic ‘auntie’. This just for some backround. The thing is, beside her love for her friends and the kids in her live it was and still is sometimes plain painful. Its not only that she had to rethink her future, her marriage (not the ‘if’ but the ‘how’), her definition of family, her purpose in life but it was also a very, very intense longing in her body – to be pregnant, to give birth, to be skin on skin with your own little kid, to see a little face lighting up, to dry some tears, to be a parent in a way she wanted, to be called ‘mama’. In a world where ‘everybody’ around her seems to be having kids, is (unplannend and ooops) pregnant or asks ‘dont you want any kids???’ the pain is constantly on the surface. She mostly did well in that world, but with her close friends it was very difficult at times, because they wanted to share the joy (and all of the questions) and she wanted too. They also wanted to be careful and she needed that. But to find that balance was hard. She snapped often, she bouhgt gifts, she cried, she was there, she didnt call back, she babysitted… I think even at her worst moments in that friendships she did well and gave her best, given that immense pain that feels to never go away and that is constantly there forcing her to rethink who she is and showing who she is not.
      So I think when your sister says those things she is trying to cope. And probably its what she really is thinking in those moments. Her view about life has probably changed. She knows that there are parenting problems, but her problem is parenting itself. I think its a sign of your close relationship that she says those thinks to you, as I assume she wouldnt be this way with a coworker or so. At least these are the bits she can show that the pain isnt over, without screaming, crying, being depressivly silent or ignorant at all. So I guess you keep being sensitive and a mom and she keeps being a great aunt and sometimes defensive.

      I really hope this helps in any way. Sistehood is so special and I hope it continues for you two.
      Sylvia

    • Paula says...

      You guys are an amazing community. I needed to hear that and I took all your answers to heart. I think two points from your answers stood out: my sis and I always had that healthy competition so it is a mixture of that plus the fact that she will forever have to cope with the lack of parenting and I guess, it is good that she snaps and lets me in on those cracks, because at least I can be there for her. I guess, maybe, I need to come up with some better responses instead of getting sad. Thanks ladies. I legit never told this to anyone, and here I am, chatting about it online, using my real name (EEEKSSSS)

    • Sammy says...

      Sylvia, your comment about your friend was so touching. It is amazing that you see and understand her and her situation so well, and give her props for doing the best she could/can. And I love this phrase: “to see a little face lighting up, to dry some tears, to be a parent in a way she wanted, to be called ‘mama’” – it does make my heart ache for anyone who wants to be a parent and cannot be one for whatever reason.

    • Katherine says...

      Paula, I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. Sibling issues always seem to cut the deepest. I feel like there are many people going through similar issues.

      On another note, I would love to see a blog post on Aunt/Uncle relationships. It would be interesting to hear how others view their roles in their niece/nephews lives. For me personally, I have Aunts that are like 2nd Moms and then Aunts that I wish I was closer with but have a strained relationship with my own parents which has complicated my relationship with them. I’m going to become and Aunt in the next year and I would love to hear how others navigate this relationship.

    • Tracey says...

      My way forward on any of these hard things is direct. You’ve already decided that you want her in your life, that is my step one. Step two is figuring out a time and space that works for her to tell her straight, and do it with generosity and grace. Leave your ego at the door. Tell her that her hurt is hurting your relationship and that you want to help her heal. Because that’s the truth isn’t it? And also, be prepared for the idea that you are also causing hurt unknowingly. If both parties come to the table with eyes on the prize (a happy relationship) then it will work out fine, if not, well then you did your best, let her know your door is always open and move on.

    • Sylvia says...

      Sammy, thank you so much for your warm and kind feedback. I guess I was lucky that my friend was able to open up from time to time and that we established a very open and trusting bond. But I have to admit, that CupOfJo as a whole (Joanna, all the contributing women and the community) made me so.much.more.aware and kept me (mostly) from asking and saying insensitive things. Listening and really trying to understand what a sentence like ‘I cant have kids’ means for someone, in life and in the everyday is so important. After one intensive talk with my friend I noticed so many of the things she probably has to deal with everyday. And as you wrote, it made my heart ache for her.
      Thank you for your sweet note! Have a sunny day

  63. Jen says...

    Whew, I needed this today. My normally super sweet, delightful 2-year-old has been in a serious “terrible two” phase the last couple days, I’m 7 months pregnant, my husband is headed out of town for a week, and I’m just worn out. (I say while binge eating those amazing SK chocolate PB cookies during nap time to console myself after this morning’s very public tantrum.) Parenting is no joke! Luckily there are so many incredible moments to focus on during the difficult ones, like when my daughter asked my husband and me to hold her hands during dinner a few nights ago, sighed contentedly, and said “we best friends.” Ahhhhh, my heart! May that moment carry me through many meltdowns. Thanks for the thought-provoking content as always.

  64. Rebecca says...

    These are so great! I 100% agree that the parking spot right next to the cart return is the best spot in the lot. A friend of mine recently had her second child and I was asked for any advice (since I have been a mom of two for a total of one year :)….I said to “always put your oxygen mask on first”. You can not be there for them, if you are not taking care of yourself.

    • Meghan says...

      We say that a lot at our house. So true for parenting AND for marriage!

  65. Meg says...

    Amen to the cart return advice!
    Also, we didn’t find out the sex of our 2nd baby, and it truly was the most amazing moment. I wish we’d done it with our 1st. That remark about the miracle has me teary-eyed!

  66. Margaret says...

    Reading posts like these makes me tear up at the thought of all the beautiful, brave, loving, creative, smart, funny, and “who-gives-a-shit” parents AND children that are out there. All the stories all of us are carrying around of our experiences of our own parents and our experiences of our children… it floors me. When the world can seem like a very dark and hopeless place, I take such comfort in these stories all of you share and how these tiny beautiful moments of profound love and connection happen every day and will continue to happen all around us. Thank you all for the encouragement!

    • Erica says...

      This articulates my feelings exactly! As I often worry about the world my small girls are growing up in, there is a reassuring solidarity in knowing we are all working to instill great love inside our homes all over the world. Thank you for this comment!

  67. Laura C. says...

    Thank you CoJ, and thank you readers, your comments are awesome. I think that this is a community of deep wisdom.

  68. Emilie says...

    I absolutely love these roundups of reader comments on specific topics. I learn so much from my fellow readers!! Thank you for sharing the wealth :)

  69. Rachel says...

    This post is hitting me in such a sweet way. A little slice of joy :) I teared up at a few of the quotes! Wow. I want to have children so badly right now, but it is just not the right time for us. Going to put a few of these in the back of my mind for when our babies come. :)

    sending love to all the mamas and want-to-be-mamas out there!

  70. Best post ever. Printing this out and sticking it on my wall!

  71. Joana says...

    Oh Courtney, I’m sobbing. I can’t start to imagine the pain your mum went through. How glad she’d be to know that her love for you has been so palpable and real throughout your live.

  72. I love these kind of mashups on a Cup of Jo. I find them always so inspiring, and they never cease to bring me to smiles or even tears!

    The thing I would like to add is that, despite how everyone seems to have an opinion about how things should go being a parent, you should trust your own gut and your good intentions. Breastfeeding, bottle feeding, working parents, stay-at-home parents; everyone tries to do what they feel is best for their child. Nobody likes being judged or being made insecure when you just took on the role of being te caretaker of a precious baby, so judge a little less and listen a little more. And in return try to respect (new) parents around you, even though they might do things different than what you’re used to.

    I wrote an article along the lines called “The stigma of being a stay at home mom (and why we should allow moms to be moms, and dads to be dads)” a couple of months after I became a mother. I’m happy to have received positive responses on it, as I felt it was the nudge I really could have used!

  73. Tiff says...

    Tears in my eyes as I read all of these! So moving! The best advice I’ve received was from my Mom when I was reaching the last few weeks of my first pregnancy and preparing for labor/birth/life with a newborn. After quoting from a baby book she laughed and reminded me that my baby hasn’t read those books. It was so unexpected and just what I needed to hear at the time! My Mom is a veteran NICU nurse who has seen it all.

  74. Melinda says...

    Ghost bookmarks. Pretty cool.

  75. ash says...

    Lana!……. My hero. :)

  76. Becky says...

    I conceived my first child during the course of a fleeting relationship. Her biological father left as soon as we knew I was pregnant, and I found myself on the most difficult and wonderful journey of my life. I opted to find out my baby’s sex for rather practical reasons: I was struggling financially, and I needed to have all the information I could so I could start gathering the things she would need. “Finding out” turned out to be a much bigger gift than I was anticipating: I picked her name, decorated her room, bought her copies of books I thought she’d like. It was a wonderful way to bond and connect with her in a challenging situation.

    As for surprises, she has continued to unravel them over the last ten years. From her red hair, to her booming laugh, to the way she purses her lips while she sleeps — they have all been a wonderful surprise to me. A sonogram told me I was having a little girl, but it could never have revealed the miracle of raising her.

    • Christy says...

      I just have to say, that last line – “A sonogram told me I was having a little girl, but it could never have revealed the miracle of raising her.” – was breathtakingly beautiful, and so real. What a wonderful way to express that feeling.

    • Molly says...

      I too love the last sentence of your comment – “A sonogram told me I was having a little girl, but it could never have revealed the miracle of raising her.” Beautiful!!

  77. Amy says...

    Courtney’s post really resonated with me. My sweet sister passed away last year after a terminal cancer diagnosis. She left a behind a beautiful 10 year old boy. Seeing her immense love for him during her final months was hauntingly beautiful.

  78. Lee says...

    I laughed, I cried, thank you for these!

    I really love reading things kids say, I’m constantly noting down my son and daughter’s comments and conversations.

    In the backseat of our car recently my 4 year old son said, “Mama, I think your teaching me how to think, I think you’re teaching me to think the right things. Mama, I also think you’re teaching me to think my own things.” Then last night in the car he announced, “My life is really good.” I spend most of the time thinking I’m failing, I can’t really think of better reassurance that we’re doing just fine. ❤️

    • Deanne says...

      Better than any raise or award or compliment you could ever imagine. Keep the written version of this memory somewhere where you can access it all the time. Way to go Mama!!!

  79. Ashley W says...

    I love this post!! My favorite by far was on working by Ellen. My baby is 11 months now. I had a really rough pregnancy and was then induced thanks to preeclampsia. It was so isolating and I lost so much of myself over that time. I’m now going to a coworking space with integrated childcare, and working with a life coach in a small group until the end of June. It has been so amazing, and I’m thrilled to be putting the time and effort into not just finding myself, but realizing things I’ve been wanting to do for years, but haven’t because of whatever reason at the time. It’s a ton of work being a SAHM/working mom that’s also putting in work to build up my business and hobbies to be what I need them to be, but so crucial for my happiness. I keep thinking of it as putting on my air mask first, so I can better help (love) those around me.

    My parents owned a business and it was always crazy, and we were possibly at the shop more than home, but I wouldn’t have wanted it to be any different! My dad apparently felt guilty for working so much, realizing when I left for college that a stage was ending, but I never felt that we missed out at all. Quite the opposite.

  80. “I have to say, I think it’s the nagging.” :)
    Also, death, the snail…and ashes.

    • P.S. For Lana: At 42, I’m now a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and instructor who specializes in diet and eating and doesn’t own a tv. And…I adored “Happy Days,” dropped in on “I Dream of Jeannie,” and ate TONS of sugary cereal before doing what I do now. I never, ever have thought less of my parents for pre-doctor watching/eating.

  81. Cynthia says...

    Not a parent but “who gives a shit” would definitely be my MO.

  82. Morgan says...

    Oh Courtney, your mama would be SO proud to know you shared this experience and touched so many hearts, like mine. Thank you for sharing.

    • spark says...

      I wanted to write exactly this. In complete tears when I read Courtney’s comment.

  83. Sara says...

    Ellen your comment made me laugh cry. I am borrowing that hilarious and brilliant line with my very inquisitive and talkative 4 year old! Also, totally connected with Lana’s comment. I just had my second child and when pregnant I had aversions to all things healthy. Moon pies and sugar cereal seem very sensible under the circumstances!

  84. Peg says...

    Lana, how I love your summer me: Thankyou for that. I know that I’m an excellent mum, but lately too much tv had been creeping in, along with too much iPad and I wonder how the hell we got here. Thank you for that little breath of self-acceptance xx

  85. Oh, my goodness, I love all of these so much. I’ve homeschooled my oldest for kindergarten and first grade and now I’m registering both of my girls, ages 7 and 4, for school for fall. I’m so excited for the change and that I’ll have time to pursue and develop my creative business. At the same time, I’m a little shocked that this season of my life is almost over!

  86. Haylie says...

    I would like my dissertation committee to read Naomi’s comment about meltdowns.

    • Meg says...

      hahahahaha

  87. Ell says...

    This is a hella privileged grocery hack, but get it delivered! You can use an app or shop online, set a delivery time, and LIKE MAGIC it appears at your house. Ever since having my second child, working full time from home, while also being the primary caregiver to my kids, this has been a game changer for me. You do pay a delivery fee and you (most absolutely should) tip the shopper, but the hours I get back instead of at the store wrangling two small kids in-between nap times and tantrums is worth its weight in gold, I tell you.

  88. Kel says...

    Beautiful experiences. Joanna, I love these parenting thoughts, but I’m a bit ahead of most of these tips with my three oldest smack in the middle of teenage years. I’m looking for a community to figure out how to unparent after all these years of focused parenting.

    Could you include here and there the topic of parenting teens? It’s like entering a foreign land.

    • patricia blaettler says...

      Instead of being ‘in charge’ of every thing they do, you are now their
      ‘manager’. And offer them love even when they’re not interested.
      Good luck.

    • Anne says...

      “Unparent” …beautifully said and what a perfect description. Mine are still little, but I always think about this quote my hilarious uncle gave during a drunken toast at a family party. When asked what his best parenting advice was he said “Cow 1 is not Cow 2” and proceeded to explain how each child is different so you need to parent them differently. This always stuck with me and I think it rings true for every age. My 2 kids are opposite and my husband and I saw “cow 1 is not cow 2” ALL the time when trying to figure out how to handle those sticky parenting situations.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, great feedback, kel. thank you so much xoxo

    • Leah says...

      I too, was going to raise the idea of more content (posts, featured reader comments) on parenting in the teen years. My kids are 1, 3, and 5 and I LOVE how relatable the motherhood posts are, but it would also be so valuable to hear from women who are in a later stage of life. Such perspective comes with age!

  89. I’m not a mom but I loved Ellen’s comment. It’s something I think about a lot as I wonder what kind of mom I will be someday. My mother worked outside of our home my entire life and what I didn’t know when I was young was that it gave her life. But it gave her life because she was doing what she wanted and what she thought was best for her and us, without apology. She’s always taught me that you have to do what’s best for your family, not anyone else’s, even if your best friend or your mom did or is doing something different.

  90. Kirsten says...

    I so appreciate the comment about working parents right now. I just had my first baby, and I’ve been really second guessing my ability to successfully pull off the career I want and also be the kind of mom I want to be lately. I’m studying to be a physician and being away from my kiddo for so many hours all the time feels awful, especially while she’s so young. I really appreciate Ellen’s comments about how she didn’t need tons of face-time to know that her family was secure and that her parents loved her. As a child of divorce where work-hours were always a source of tension for my family, it’s a nice reminder that other family dynamics are possible!

    • Jo says...

      My dad was an ICU doc and worked ALL the time. But he was the best dad!!! I was always so proud of him, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing, despite the demanding job. I used to go on rounds with him once a year, and I’ll never forget those days. Your kids will feel the same :)

    • Cynthia says...

      You’ve worked so hard to be a physician! I like to think that by being a doctor Mommy you are showing your daughter (or son) that women and mothers are so much more than just moms and caregivers. You are giving your children a wonderful gift by setting such a noble and admirable example.

    • Cait says...

      If it helps you at all, my mom worked full time when I was growing up and of course there were times I wished she stayed at home, but once I could appreciate her job I admired her and thought it was cool. Take Your Daughter to Work Day was second only to like, Christmas to me. Taking the train downtown, being in the high rises, my mom being “important” enough to have a secretary. I bet one day your daughter will be like “my impressive mom HEALS people” :)

    • NSU says...

      Daughter of two doctors here. Now a (non-ambivalent) FT working mom of my own two boys. I love my kids and am lucky to have a great career in finance. When I see many of my female peers dropout when they have kids, it’s often because they lack role models. In other words, don’t underestimate the power of being an example for every patient you have.

    • Ann says...

      Non-parent here but would love to share a snippet into my family growing up. My parents were refugees with limited opportunities so they did what they thought was best for our family so that meant that they both had jobs or sometimes multiple jobs at a time. My dad was a full-time chef so I rarely got to see him when he worked late shifts BUT on the days when he had an afternoon shift, he’d surprise at school with a pizza in hand. Night shifts meant diner as a family for breakfast. On his days off (rare), we’d go down to the river where he’d makeshift fishing rods for us (fishing line on a stick and a rock on the other end lol) and the 3 of us fished in silence while my mom sat on the riverbank. My mom worked as a caretaker for other kids whose mothers were also new immigrants but had jobs outside of the home. She also picked worms during rainy season (did you know those pack of worms that you buy at the store for fishing were handpicked!?). During day time, she would sew silk bags that were used to catch and hold the worms (so they don’t die), and at night, she would catch worms until 4am. I remember helping her cut her bag patterns as a kid, but was also being excited because it meant that my elderly neighbor would stay with us and let us watch TV late into the night. Those were the fondest memories my brother and I had as kids.

  91. Colleen S says...

    Not a mom, but that nagging one killed me. I love when kids say funny things like that.

  92. Kelly says...

    I’m the new mom of a baby boy, and I recently discovered my own grocery shopping lifesaver- ask for CAR SERVICE at the till! It’s a real thing!!! And it’s not just for old people! As I’m being rung through I ask the cashier to call someone for car service, and some young strong teenage boy comes and loads my groceries into the cart, follows me to my car while I carry my son in his car seat, and loads them all into my trunk while I buckle him in. It is a dream!!!

    • Angela says...

      Say whaaaaat?!?!? Absolutely trying this next time!

    • Savannah says...

      My husband works at Freddy’s and this is TOTALLY A THING!! When I had my first baby and was overwhelmed they would push the cart and load the car and be excited (most cart people at our store are under 18 and it’s their first job… it’s so sweet to see their excitement).

    • Kylee says...

      Yes! Even at Whole Foods in Brooklyn they’ll do this for you! They often offered to help me to my car from checkout when my twins were babies. I didn’t take them up on it as I’d managed to push the double stroller and pull the cart around the whole store already by myself, but it definitely is a thing they do, especially if you ask!

  93. Emma says...

    When I had my first child I felt overwhelmed (on top of how overwhelming being a new parent is) by how many people had a solution to everything I felt had no solution. It made me realize that we all have unsolvable problems. A friend’s baby may sleep, but that doesn’t mean yours will if you do it just like your friend. In the midst of feeling overwhelmed my cousin sent me a text out if the blue just to say that I was doing a great job. That made all the difference! Whenever I feel tempted to share with another parent what worked for me, I always stop myself and instead say, “You are doing a great job!” If they really are looking for a tip they will ask you point blank. Most people just need encouragement!

    • Clare says...

      This really made me think, Emma – thanks! With an 18-month-old we’ve worked out one or two things that helped save our sanity, and I guess you (I!) feel like you want to help save others’, too, by giving them a shortcut to the fix it took you aaaaaaages to figure out. But you’re so right – some combo of ‘you’re doing a brilliant job’ and ‘this, too, shall pass’ will be my stock reply unless asked straight out for advice!

    • Sylvia says...

      I think that is so important!! Every situation and every relationship is different. Bits and bites of answers and wisdom can be shared, but most likely every parent will figure it out by themself with reassurance and encouragement!
      That was so much of a breaking point for a friend and me. We were talking about a sleeping issue of her daughter, when she finally figuered out she just wanted to keep doing what she already did. It worked out well and was the perfectly right way for her and her daughter. Know, five years and second daughter later, my job is to just listen, taking all the hints of what she would feel best about and when she comes to that conclusion encourage her deeply. She does great and I tell her that!

    • Allison says...

      My dad was always the wise advice giver and now I notice myself stepping into that role. But I totally think you’re right, “most people just need encouragement.” I know I do! Thanks for the reminder!

    • Alex says...

      Wow. Reading this was a forehead-slap moment for me. Stop giving unsolicited advice and just give encouragement instead. How have I not figured this out already??

  94. Shade says...

    I loved reading these. Laughing, crying, thinking deep thoughts, all in one blog post. Xx

  95. Carolyn says...

    I LOVE Marie’s story about not finding out the sex of a baby. We opted not to find out the sex of our (now 22 year old) son, partly because it wasn’t that common back then. We could have, but in the end, we wanted to be surprised. As it turned out, I had to have an emergency C-section and his delivery was complicated and very tense. Needless to say, it was wonderful to have a beautiful surprise at the end of all that drama.

    • Rebecca says...

      I have to say, this is the only one I didn’t love, because it was the only one that felt judge-y — at least, from the perspective of someone who picked the non-“miracle” route (though I still found the birth of my twins pretty damn miraculous).
      We wanted to find out their genders ahead of time because I worried that otherwise it would become too big of a deal — I didn’t want finding out whether they were boys or girls to be the most important thing about them being born. But years later I talked to a friend who didn’t find out for very similar reasons — she and her husband felt like they wanted to have some time with their baby in utero without imposing he/she ideas on the baby. Since my kids were born I’ve also become more aware of and sensitive to transgender issues, so I’d also say that it’s not like you can really know either at the ultrasound or at the moment of birth anyway. My takeaway: the Amy Poehler approach to parenthood is best here: “good for them! not for me.”

    • Charity says...

      I also didn’t love this one.
      It’s one person’s perspective, and while I understand why some people choose to wait, I don’t think finding out the sex of my children before their birth made things any less miraculous. For me, learning baby’s sex in advance deepened the feelings of connectedness to the life growing within me, and made things feel more concrete.
      With my son, there is absolutely no way it would have been a surprise anyhow. Aside from the dating scan at 12ish weeks and anomoly scan at 19 weeks, I had a fetal echo, several ultrasounds that were done to confirm position (he was breech), and had an ECV which required ultrasound monitoring. Regardless of what they were supposed to be looking at, it always seemed like he was always trying to give us a good look at his genitals.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, i didn’t interpret it as better than/worse than, i thought she was just saying one pro of waiting is that the birth overall is such a miracle. it’s still a miracle if you already know the sex, but when you find out the sex then, it becomes part of the miracle moment. but not that it’s better than finding out earlier on, which has its own pros/cons.

      fwiw, we found out that we were having a boy with toby, and it was SO wonderful and exciting and, for me, made it easier to connect with the (otherwise pretty surreal) human growing in my belly!

    • Clare says...

      Marie’s quote wasn’t my favorite either. You child is a miracle but their sex isn’t really the miracle.

    • Chicca says...

      I love the quote! Resonates with me.

    • Lisa says...

      I’ve done it both ways (finding out and not finding out), and I would say they’re magical in their own way, though each pregnancy was very different. With our first (my son), we didn’t find out, we just saw he was a boy when they lifted him up, which was such an awesome moment. I fell pregnant through IVF after years of infertility, so the pregnancy was very expected and longed for. I felt I got to know him as a person in a way, without any pre-conceived gender specific notions when I was pregnant with him and it felt like our relationship was built on a clean slate.
      With our second, I fell pregnant a bit unexpectedly (like we were thinking of starting to try and I fell pregnant within a month), so the whole thing didn’t feel real at all and went by SO quickly. I fully expected them to tell me I wasn’t pregnant when I went for my first scan. We debated back and forth for months about whether or not we find out, even during the scan, so the doctor wrote it down on a piece of paper and gave it to us to take home. I thought it would buy us some more time to decide, but my husband couldn’t handle it and opened the envelope that evening. We didn’t tell anyone that we even knew (and still haven’t told anyone), which was a pretty fun secret to have. I found knowing that I was having a girl made the pregnancy feel more real and concrete. It also helped us decide on a name so she was ready to be named as soon as she was born (unlike our son, who’s name we decided the morning of his brit milah, when he was 8 days old).

    • Sam says...

      I never wanted to know the sex of my child, until I had 3 miscarriages. By my 4th pregnancy, I felt I needed to know the sex to help with bonding, and to feel more connected to the life I was forming. I found out again with my 5th pregnancy, and don’t regret either moment. Life is miraculous any way you slice it, in my opinion!

    • Carolina says...

      I also did not like this comment. Pregnancy, motherhood, being a woman, is filled with miracles. Finding out the sex of a baby months before he/she is born is one of them.

  96. Tiffany says...

    “On Love”- that was so moving. Thanks for sharing, Courtney.

  97. Megan Lec says...

    Courtney, your comment left me in tears. I’m a new mommy and as I read it I could feel all the love she has for you. What an incredible gift she unknowingly gave you all those years ago.

    • Marissa says...

      I absolutely agree with you, Megan. Such a loving moment for her to share with you and then for you share with the rest of us. Thank you.

    • jules says...

      I am not a cryer but this had me tearing up, too. I can imagine it being me and I cannot imagine the deep grief of leaving your kids too soon.

      When I was pregnant, a woman came up to me and said “Once you have your child you’ll understand how much your parents loved you.” The deep love is like nothing else.

  98. Kathy says...

    Lana, I just had our third baby and I totally feel you! Ellen, thank you. That comment gave me some peace of mind. Love this community of wise mothers!! Thanks Joanna for your blog.

  99. lou says...

    oh jo, this is just what I needed to read and here right NOW!

  100. Oh my crybaby heart <3 This made me laugh and tear up a bit! I am especially moved by Ellen's comment because I sometimes feel guilty about leaving my 3-year-old with his grandma while I work. I get two days off from work, Sunday and Monday. One Monday, I got up early to run some errands and was out for 3-4 hours. When I came home, I found my toddler crying. Upon seeing me, he quickly jumped from the couch and hugged me tight. I asked him what's wrong and why he's crying, he answered "You have no work today, mama! I'm crying because I thought I lost you!" Awwwwee <3 I hope that just like Ellen, my toddler will also appreciate the love I have for him regardless of whether I stay at home 24/7 or not.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, what a sweet note, Ion! your son sounds like he adores you and feels adored right back. xoxo

  101. Tammy says...

    My husband and I keep a journal for each of our girls. We started them before they were born, he wrote in them while I was in labour, and now we tape in ticket stubs and write notes when the feeling strikes. Recently, after a very rough evening with my eldest, I wrote her a note about how I’d screwed up that parenting moment and I promised her that I would keep working on being a better parent. That even when she’s a grown up, I will still be learning how to parent her. I want both of my girls to know that parenting is incredible and so hard, so that they won’t feel alone in those feelings if they ever have children of their own.

    • Casey Boss says...

      I have a journal for both my boys too — I wrote through their pregnancies and the first years. Now I write at each birthday and half birthday. Though as I read this, I realize by doing that, it’s always focusing on the good and milestones and highlights. I may need to add in a few spontaneous realities when I’m pulling my hair out which right now I save for my own journal. So. Much. Writing!

    • Morgan says...

      We do the same thing. I love this.

    • Stephanie says...

      This is SO lovely. What dedication it must take, as well. I’m sure that when they receive the diaries they will be overwhelmed with gratitude and love.

    • Chelsi says...

      Tammy, you sound like an amazingly caring mother who has the one fault all mothers have – we’re human. One time on COJ, I read something like… Behind every successful child is a mother who is sure she’s messing up. Keep doing what you’re doing and someday somewhere one of your daughters will comment on a blog post with adoration and appreciation for the compassionate, determined, growth-minded mother they so cherish.

  102. Merridy says...

    Yes! These are all just so great! Thanks CoJ and all you fabulous readers.

  103. Mary says...

    On parenting adult children — Last year, at about exactly this time, i quit a law school. Walked right out of the library and did not go back. Totally freaking out, thinking I was a complete failure, I did what so many want to do. I called my mom. I was worried about what “everyone” would think. And what I would say. She me if it was just me, would I stick to my guns and quit, if no one else mattered, and I said absolutely. And, then, in her infinite wisdom said, “well then, fuck everyone, and keep walking.” I will forever be grateful for her undying support.
    I did quit that law school. But I didn’t leave law school forever. I will graduate this May from a smaller, school with honors and Dean’s List and the whole nine yards. Knowing that no matter what, all my mom ever wanted was for me to be happy.

    • FRM says...

      Oh, this comment got me. My mum died 2 and a half years ago and I’m pregnant right now for the first time and second-guessing myself a lot and ALL I want to do is call my mum. For re-assurance, for guidance, for support, for tough love even…

    • Sam says...

      Awesome support from your mom, and congratulations! Also, I love a well-timed curse word :-).

  104. Also not a parent, but love these. Cheers to all the mommas!

  105. Kristen says...

    Courtney, my heart aches for your story. I’m so sorry you weren’t able to grow up with your mother by your side, but I’m thankful you were able to understand the depths of her love. There’s nothing like a mama’s love.

  106. Lauren D. says...

    Dear Courtney,

    I read your comment as I rocked my baby to sleep tonight and felt my heart surge and burst thinking of your mother and how much she must have loved you. I can’t fathom the enormity and heartbreak of confronting the idea of having to leave one’s children behind. To know that you still feel her intense love and pride in you today is all we can hope to leave with our children as parents. Thank you so very much for sharing. And Joanna, thank you, thank you for creating this wonderful community of kind hearts. So much of your content and readers’ comments have helped to guide and reassure me, especially in my first year as a new parent.

    With Gratitude,
    Lauren

    • E says...

      Preach it, Lauren. My baby turns one tomorrow (WHAT) and 80% of what I’ve learned I learned on CoJ.

  107. Amy says...

    Oh Courtney, my heart is breaking. But, I’m so, so glad you were able to feel the depth of her love during such a hard time. This pregnant mama is sobbing.

  108. Rachel says...

    Courtney’s is so beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful mother she was

  109. Katherine says...

    Oh my heart, these made me both laugh and weep and fall more deeply in love with the CoJ community. What a goldmine of grace, compassion, and empathy. These nurtured my soul so much, thank you for cultivating this sacred space for women.

  110. Daynna Shannon says...

    You have a miracle at birth, perked, full stop. It has nothing at all to do with what sex the child is. You made a brand new tiny human! It’s the most miraculous, amazing thing you’ll ever experience. Knowing the sex beforehand took away nothing from that extraordinary experience.

    Knowing the sex prior and finding out when they’re born are both wonderful ways of finding out. Neither is better than.

    • KylieO says...

      Absolutely agree!

  111. Hillary F. says...

    Thank you Ellen! I so needed to hear this.

  112. Mish says...

    I remember lots of people giving me parenting advise when I was pregnant… and little of it made any sense. And that’s the thing… a lot of it won’t make sense… not to you, not to your child, not to your family. You won’t really know what works and what doesn’t, until you’re in the glorious messy thick of it. So I never give anyone parenting advise… I just tell them, f*ck what others tell you to do, just do what’s right for you and your family, the rest eventually works itself out.

  113. Danielle says...

    This was a lovely read. My husband and I are trying to have a baby right now and honestly I usually hate what I hear from parents about having a child (never Joanna though!). It’s always about how difficult it is, how tiring and stressful. Even my husband likes to remind me how hard it is (he has a little boy) but I’m like- so what? You’re raising a person – how is that meant to be easy? I don’t like the non stop commentary on all the negatives – I love reading about the bright, funny, sad and sweet moments of life when you have a child. I don’t need an endless stream of sleep deprivation stories, so thank you ladies for avoiding the trope.

    • LS says...

      Oh man, I feel this way, too. Trying (and struggling) with my husband and though I (obviously) ADORE my girlfriends, and want to support them, I sometimes get a little tired hearing them complain about something I desperately want myself.

    • Danielle says...

      Joanna, thank you! That post is exactly how I’m feeling! it’s fascinating to think about how the language we use and the way we think about having and raising children has changed with time and trends.

      I’m going to send that book to my sister in law right now- she has been the only person not giving me the horror story spiel (though she has been refreshingly frank about it all). She’s pregnant with her second and I think dealing with her own pregnancy pet peeves (like will everyone be as excited about baby #2).

      LS- best of luck with your girlfriends and with trying! It’s never rude or out of line to be honest and say ‘hey, can we kill the negative chat and talk about how wonderful/magical/funny/silly having a child is?’ xx

    • Kerri says...

      I felt this exact way while pregnant too. It felt so discouraging to always hear comments about how life was going to get drastically harder. Now on the other side ( 2 y/o and another on the way), I felt in those early postpartum months that the other new mothers were only sharing stories about how great it was (easy breastfeeding experience, great sleepers) and I felt so isolated in my struggles. Its almost like it’s backwards…we share all the difficulties with those that aren’t parents yet and keep it all in with our parenting peers!

  114. Billye says...

    My favorite grocery store tip: I tell my son to find the letters of the alphabet throughout the store. We start at the beginning and see how many time we can go through the letters while we are shopping. It works wonders for keeping him occupied, especially in the check out line.

    • This is a gift. Thank you!

    • Molly says...

      We also do this on long car rides – look out the window at billboards, store signs, bumper stickers, etc. You can make it harder for older kids – like only using license plates or whatever. It does make the time go by a little faster!

  115. Moo says...

    Not a parent but I loved reading all of these. The comment sections of CoJ is really a gold mine. =)

    • Aimee says...

      Me too! I’m not a parent, never will be, but I still so enjoy the children & families content on this blog. A testament to how great the writing and audience really is.

  116. These are so delightful, heart wrenching, funny, etc etc. Thanks.

  117. Ally says...

    Oh Courtney, you made me tear up. I feel for your mum having to say goodbye to you too soon.

    Meg, Erin and Michelle, thank you for the laugh.

    • Sara C. says...

      Agreed. Trying not to weep at work. That’s just such a beautiful way to think about a very hard moment.

  118. Liz says...

    On “motivation”: neither my husband nor I like donuts so we used to use them sometimes as a special treat to get our kids out the door on weekends, to swim practices or Hebrew School. We may have overdone it. One day someone gave us a box of donuts and before she picked one up my daughter asked me “if I eat this what do I have to do?”

    • Karen says...

      HAHAHA!! LOVE THIS!!

    • Lacey says...

      Hahahaha. This was great.

    • Renee says...

      That is hilarious. Nothing wrong with a little motivation. ?

    • Aimee says...

      Oh my word, so funny! Pavlov’s donuts ..

  119. These are so so true and so beautifully written – bravo! Should be framed like a piece of art!

  120. elizabeth says...

    Courtney- Thank you for sharing. xo

  121. Marissa says...

    I’m going to share these with my own kids (ages 8 and 10)! I think they’d get a kick out of them and a little insight into parenting life. :)

  122. Marissa says...

    Love these!