Land of Women

Has anyone ever given you a game-changing piece of parenting advice, large or small? Here are thirteen of our favorite reader comments on the ups and downs of raising kids…

On enjoyable hacks:

“My six-year-old was recently home sick from school. She was too tired to read or play, so I put on some kid podcasts. She lay quietly resting and listening for hours, which is what her body needed and I was actually able to get some work done. She really liked NPR’s Wow in the World and Stories Podcast. Other good ones are But Why and Story Pirates.” – Seraphim

“My one-year-old was obsessed with our TV remote. He wouldn’t fall for the ol’ fake baby remote, so I bought six old remotes from people on a Facebook group. It was the best $3 I’ve spent, and it’s still his most played with toy.” – Samantha

On silver linings:

“Sometimes you find pockets of light in dark times. This past summer, my sister had a rough time with postpartum depression. It was scary to see her struggle, but in the middle of it all, I took over some night feedings. I will always cherish those quiet hours when it was just my sweet nephew and me, changing, feeding, snuggling and rocking. I got him all to myself in a way I likely wouldn’t have if my sister hadn’t had a difficult entry into motherhood. I would never have wished for that situation, but perfect moments can come out of imperfect times.” – Vicky

On wise words that change everything:

“During my son’s first month of kindergarten, I was full of nervous questions for him on the walk home. I realized how tired and annoyed he seemed by being grilled, but I couldn’t stop. So, one day I forced myself not to ask a single question; I just gave him a big hug and walked quietly. He was in the best mood by the time we got back. Now our walk home from the bus has become such a lovely ritual, where we either chat about random things (the changing leaves, knock-knock jokes) or just stroll quietly. And he began sharing tidbits from school on his own without my asking.” — Molly

“When my kids are acting in a way I find exasperating, I say, ‘Boy, [insert child’s name] is really acting like an [insert their age]-year-old!’ It helps me realize that they’re usually being totally age-appropriate. We often forget that children are not little adults. They are encountering brand new things and learning so much every single day. I’m remembering this as we head into the tween years.” — Renee

On the funny realities of parenting:

“I joke that the name of my autobiography will be ‘Everybody’s Crying,’ followed up by the award-winning, ‘Everything is Out of Batteries.'” – Alina

“We were on time until someone pooped.” – Lauren

On different styles:

“Growing up, my mom worked on Monday nights and even though my dad was great, my siblings and I were always like, ‘Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo, Mooooooooooom!!!’ Then our dad started letting us eat out of pots and pans for dinner and making incredible food like hot dogs and corn. It got to be where we were chanting, ‘HOT DOGS AND CORN! HOT DOGS AND CORN,’ while our mom laughed and snuck out the door every week.” – K.

On growing up:

“Celeste Ng has a line in Little Fires Everywhere that reminds me of the feeling that your child was always there, somehow with you in the past before they were born. ‘To a parent, your child wasn’t just a person: your child was a place, a kind of Narnia, a vast eternal place where the present you were living and the past you remembered and the future you longed for all existed at once.'” – Sasame

“My baby girl turns eight this week, and I’m feeling it. She’s so tall and agile. All the baby is gone from her face, and I get glimpses of the young woman she will soon become. She learned to ride a bike (in one day!) recently, and I had this lump in my throat thinking, ‘She’s literally riding away from me!’ I’m thrilled for her, and yet part of me is sad to let go. It’s bittersweet, this parenting thing.” – Jill

On becoming your parents:

“When we were in elementary school, my dad always drove my brother and me to school on his way to work. Every day, he would turn up the stereo and play classical music, and all three of us would ‘conduct’ the orchestra, waving our arms from the front and back seats of the car. I don’t have kids yet, but I sometimes still do this by myself in the car.” – Erin

“One of the most mortifying moments of my life was when I was at university, and two of my classmates were arguing. I turned around and said, “Just stop. I don’t care who started it, but one of you finish it,’ in my mother’s exact tone of voice. It was terrifying.” – Lisa

On all you really want:

“‘You’ve been really good company,’ said my seventeen-year-old.” – Emily

What would you add?

P.S. More genius reader comments, and the joy of having boys.

(Photo by Lauren Volo for Land of Women.)