Motherhood

13 Brilliant Reader Comments on Parenting

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.)

  1. Maclean Nash says...

    I don’t have kids (yet) but I was a nanny when I was 18 years old to four kids under the age of 11.
    The youngest, Nora, was potty trained upon my arrival but soon regressed. She hid from me. She would scream at the top of her lungs, and cry uncontrollably for hours.
    Honestly, I thought she was the devil incarnate. It was a rough first month for both of us to say the least.
    Then, one day, I was buckling her into her car seat and she gave me the most tender kiss on my forehead and told me she loved me.
    I had to bite my tongue not to cry and my heart felt like it was going to burst. I told her I loved her too and what was perhaps most surprising of all, was until that moment, I hadn’t even realized I did!
    It was such a sweet, unexpected moment and made all the rough times worth it. It also made me appreciate and understand my own mother so much more.
    Despite the provinces between us, Nora and I are still close and she trusts me with her 12 year old secrets!

  2. Hannah says...

    On the way to school each morning it was my job to get the exact amount of money from my dad’s wallet for the newspaper. I had great pride being allowed to dig in his wallet and then the rush of paying the newspaper seller before the traffic light turned green. I don’t have children, but the one thing I always try and do is trust them with a task, in my career as a teacher and with friends’ children. They have the same pride on completion as I had 20 years ago.

  3. Oh my god! These are all so beautiful! I am sitting at a local swimming club watching my daughters swimming class (she is 5,5) and literally trying not to burst into tears. Oh, this beautiful life.

  4. Kristin Whelan says...

    When my son started kindergarten, he started hearing curse words on the playground. I never ran into this with his older sisters. I am no prude, but I knew I didn’t want him repeating what he heard. At first, I told him if he really wanted to share the new word he could whisper it to me. He found that frustrating because sometimes I couldn’t make out what he was saying. One day, the entire ride home from school, he kept blowing out his cheeks and pinching his mouth shut. When I asked him what he was doing, he told me he had heard some new words and was trying to hold them in so I wouldn’t be disappointed in him. When we got home, I told him he could go in the pantry, close the door and let all of the words out. It worked like a charm, I never heard him curse until he was about 16 (at an NBA game on TV).

  5. josephine says...

    At dinner I played a game with my daughter who is 5. We take turns asking each other random questions and answering them with the first things pop up in our heads. After the usual favorite color, food, songs, etc, I asked her “when is the time you want the least to be around mommy?” Expecting her to say when I am angry because of an earlier dispute she and I had. She looked at me and responded without hesitation “never”.

    • Lindsey says...

      Ok I just teared up at my desk!

  6. kristin says...

    That Little Fires Everywhere quote got me teary eyed! (Also, today my 4.5 yo told me I’m a really great adult, so that pretty much makes my week. Possibly my year, since I never feel like I’m adulting very well!)

    • Kim says...

      I loved that quote too and flagged it when I read the book (it’s a great read).

  7. Kelly says...

    Having recently moved in with my partner who has full custody of his two boys, ages 8 and 5, I’m navigating the role of ‘bonus mom/adult.” I’d welcome any advice, book recommendations, etc., on navigating this unique role of being a major presence in their life but someone who doesn’t have the authority of being their parent. My partner is very supportive and encouraging of me as I build these relationships and establish some new house rules that enable me to also feel comfortable in the space (e.g. putting dirty clothes in the laundry basket rather than leaving underwear and socks and shoes EVERYWHERE, something their dad does, too, lol), but I want to be cautious about not taking too much authority, either. Help!

    • Kim says...

      Listen to Slate’s Mom and Dad are Fighting podcast; they’ve covered this a couple of times and it’s just an all-around great podcast. I have listened to it for years and just now have a child of my own.

    • JL says...

      Hi Kelly, you’re not alone – I’m one year into family life with my partner who has full custody of his two kids. It’s tricky to find tips on how to navigate this new world, or people who are in the same boat (not sure why I’m going with this explorer metaphor, but it works) to talk to about it. Give yourself time to ease into this new role and find out what’s important to you. For me, I never knew how much table manners meant to me or not leaving books cracked open on their spine! You’re starting out and there’s no rush. You’re going to be around for a long time and no-one expects you to know everything (I’ve had to brush up on my general knowledge eg ‘What’s the Ottoman Empire, is that where ottomans come from?’) or be perfect right away. My partner says that the wonderful thing about children is that they’re very forgiving and resilient, and will give you the chance to stuff up the next day, and the day after that. Practically speaking, I tried to let my partner be the disciplinarian/rule enforcer and gently support him if required. We had the exact same laundry issue, so the new house rule became all towels are to be hung up and clothes in the laundry basket before sitting down and relaxing for the night. All you can do is do your best, and love those kids – that’s all they really need. Everything else is by the by. They are lucky to have you and I wish you all the best!

  8. Mona says...

    So thankful for this community…
    I’m five months pregnant and my father is in the emergency room and I can’t go be with him. Reading all these comments and getting glimpses into all your lives, struggles, and joys reminds me life is what it is and whatever happens there will always be beautiful people who go through all kinds of things and persevere. I’m not alone even if my dad isn’t okay.

    • Rae says...

      Mona, what a hard, emotional time. I hope your father recovers. My father passed away the same day that a close friend gave birth to her baby girl. It was somehow helpful to me to have the circle of life so vividly present. Being human requires being open to joy, pain, and grief. As you said, we all persevere and no one escapes loss or joy. Sending you a virtual hug.

  9. Erin says...

    I have the same quote by Celeste Ng written down in my book notes. Exactly how I feel right now.

  10. Alex R says...

    I have an almost-9-month-old and we commute to daycare/work by subway. It’s about 45 minutes each way with her in an outward-facing carrier. It amazes me how everyone–and I mean *everyone*–gets googly-eyed around this baby. It’s wonderful. Finance bros blow her kisses. Washington Heights abuelas send her “benediciones.” Tough-looking New Yorkers play hide and seek behind their Duane Reade bags.

    The other day, there was a guy on the 1 train who looked a little off, and then I realized he was literally carrying a bag full of weapons. No joke, he had nunchucks and a SWORD on his person. I was like, “oh God, don’t make eye contact.” Of course, who does my baby immediately befriend? Nunchuck guy. But it’s all good, she’s waving at him like “hello Mr. Ninja!” and he’s smiling and waving back.

    Today there was a stern-looking man sitting in front of us. She kept up the smile-and-wave routine and he couldn’t resist. As he got off the train, he tickled her little foot, looked me in the eye and said, “Take care of her.”
    I <3 NY.

    • Lisa says...

      Oh my gosh, this comment made my day. It makes me think my dream of having my first baby here in the city is possible, and would be magical in its own way like I always thought. Thanks for this!

    • Love this comment so much! Kids make you talk to all sorts of people you would never necessarily have reason to on your own….

  11. Denise says...

    I recently heard a goop podcast where the guest shared a quote from Glennon Doyle that really spoke to me. It was about how as parents we try to shield our children from pain, when instead we should be teaching our children that they are strong enough to handle the pain. I found this to be so powerful.

    • Jen says...

      Last weekend I was coming down the stairs in my apartment building with my toddler girl. A man asked for directions and groped me before running away. I picked her up and yelled and screamed at him. He looked at me scared and ran even faster.

      I’m sad she saw it happen. She was crying because I was yelling. I told her why. I said that man touched my body and vulva and I yelled at him because he did a bad thing because my body belongs to me. We have all those books…on the subject. Didn’t know the real lessons would start at 20 months.

      Then I went and told her dad, my mom, and everyone what happened.

      I’m ok. He was a young dummy and I scared him.

      She’s been processing it all week.

      When we go down the stairs. Or there’s a man in her story book. She will look at me and say “man touched mamas vulva”. I told her yes he did. And I yelled at him, and I told everyone what he did because it was wrong. And if someone does it to you, or tries, or makes you feel scared, yell and run and tell everyone what happened.

      I hope I’m teaching her she’s strong enough to handle jerks.

  12. KL says...

    Talk about a small world! I sent this to a Facebook group that I’m a part of (a local mamas group), and one of the members responded that Vicky– quoted under the Silver Linings header– is her sister, and the mama with PPD was her! She wrote on Facebook, “This is so random but… that’s my sister! My sister Vicky wrote that comment about her time that she spent with my son at around 5 weeks. I had not been diagnosed with postpartum anxiety until then. I had a complete breakdown and she was truly my angel. She took over night feedings (along with my husband and my in laws) so I could truly heal. She always says how special that time was with him. She saved me from so much darkness and helped me find light again.”

  13. Desirea Moore says...

    I always see new Moms in the pedi office and they always have this wild look in their eye. Like they are insanely exhausted, but want everyone to think they are “fine” and they’ve conquered this mom thing in the last 2 weeks. LOL I always lean in and tell them that the greatest super-moms of all time look just like you at one point… And sometimes still do! The word “Mom” should be considered a verb. I then inform them that when its 4AM and you smell like spit up, you’ve just changed diaper number 11, the little one has just passed out but your milk just dropped AGAIN… Its okay to not like that baby. LOL
    You can visibly see the tension melt from their shoulders. Its like someone just gave them permission to admit that as cute, and wonderful, and as good as newborns smell… They can kinda suck too.
    Just knowing you’re not alone, then hearing that it will get better really helps.

  14. Clara says...

    I think what I’ve realized the most, about being a parent, is how much our children are so much like us. When my daughter says certain phrases, acts a certain way, makes a certain face, it brings me back to a place in my memory that I had forgotten. The memory plays back in my head when I did the same and I can reconnect with my past in a way i never thought I could. I can see how my own parents had the same highlights and struggles, which allows me to reflect on my own parenting style and be grateful on how I was raised.

  15. Courtney says...

    A lovely comment above has inspired me to make this request, TeamJo. With my partner, I am moving forward with foster-to-adopt as a way to hopefully build my family. It is unbelievably lonely and I can count on two fingers the number of people in our lives who have been supportive for us. Support groups just don’t exist and no one understands. It feels like the right thing to do for us though after years of struggle. Would it be possible to hear some from some women who have made this choice?

    • Heather says...

      People don’t understand and support groups don’t exist? Is this right? I am astounded. I can’t think of a greater calling on this earth than fostering and adopting.

    • Bethany says...

      My husband and I made the same choice and just over a year ago became foster parents to a (now) 5 yr old and 3 yr old. We currently don’t know what will happen long term but are so glad they’re a part of our family. While it has been a very difficult process, it’s by far been the most rewarding thing we’ve ever done. Yes, it can feel very lonely as our situation is very different than those around us. Also – gaining instant children can be incredibly chaotic when you both have busy careers and don’t get parental leave for fostering! However, we’ve been so overwhelmed and thankful for the support of friends, coworkers and kind strangers. We’ve been blown away by how kind so many people have been – from the manager at Target who held clearance items for us (when the kids came with only the clothes they were wearing) to the person selling her stroller on Craigslist who sent me home with an entire sack full of toys (when we didn’t have any toys at our house) to the daycare that rushed to get them spots. It’s been incredible and humbling to experience so much kindness from complete strangers. I’ve also been amazed by how understanding and thoughtful all of our coworkers have been as we’ve tried to navigate this unique parenting venture. I hope that you can feel the same support from all of those around you – both those you know and those you don’t know. They may not really understand why you’ve made this decision but know that you are not alone. There are others of us out there, and there are so, so many children who desperately need loving foster and adoptive homes.

    • Laura says...

      Would love to hear these stories as well!

      And as far as support groups, search facebook groups for virtual support there are lots. :)

    • Yvette says...

      May God Bless you for opening your home and hearts to a child in need of love.

  16. I’m the director of a women’s shelter for young moms and we recently had a mom and her 3 year old move in, from living in a car. Yesterday she asked us for parenting help because she thinks her daughter is ill behaved… I’ve actually thought she’s sweet and charming. She said to me ” your son (age 6) is so good and listens. Can you teach me ?” And I laughed out loud because said son has been our hardest kid- a tantrum thrower, talk backer. I told her about years of intervention and even counseling for him and I said ” it’s just hard work but I’m glad it’s paying off.” It was a strange moment of solidarity and it was humbling because her kid had every reason to act out and mine’s rather privileged . While I know my life and hers are so different, for a moment I thought “we’re all in this together.”

  17. These are the best ! I’m always so moved by these comments, and great tips too, thank you Jo xxxxxx

  18. Karen says...

    This is a beautiful post. I am mom to a 12 month old, and 30 weeks pregnant with my second child. It is hard at times, but I am most surprised at when the wave of love for my daughter hits me.
    It’s times like when she poops herself so badly it’s all up her back, and I put her in the bath and clean her, redress her in pjs and then give her a bottle before bed. She looks so warm and well-cared for and I am so happy she is comfortable and not bothered by the event! This is in contrast to me who has poop in her hair, through the bathroom and a night of cleaning up ahead of me. Despite my condition, my heart swells at the sight of her.

  19. Stacey says...

    Relating to the hot dogs and corn comment…
    Despite my mom’s apathy for cooking, she made a great effort to make sure we had healthy home-cooked meals. As a kid, I hated this. (Can we pleeeease get Velveeta?) On the occasions my dad would leave town for work, she would cement her status as “Best Mom Ever!” by letting us choose a frozen dinner to eat…in front of the TV! Our trips to the super market, as my siblings and I giddily choose our own Kid Cuisine meal, may as well have been a trip to an amusement park.

    Unfortunately for my dad, we would shout “Yaaay!” whenever he told us he was leaving. Sorry, Dad.

    • Hallie says...

      My mom would do the exact same thing when my dad left out of town on a business trip! Choosing between the frozen enchilada meal or the fried chicken was exhilarating. How funny to think of it now.

  20. Justine says...

    I recently was at a conference and one of the break out sessions was on attachment and regulation— how attachment prepares children for self regulation. The woman leading it talked about how babies have so many needs, but with every need you respond to, you are teaching them: their needs matter, their voice matters, they are loved, the world is a good place, and people can be trusted. As a mom of a two month old and two year old, I found this immensely encouraging and try to remember it when I feel SO. DONE. with meeting all the big needs of the tiny people in my home. Every poopy diaper + feeding + snuggle is teaching my babies they are important and worth caring for.

  21. Fernanda says...

    This advice I got may be cheesy, but it is so absolutely true: never get used to anything, good or bad. I’m the mother of a 15 month old and though she is so deeply truly herself 100% of the time, the changes are incredibly dramatic overnight. I remember the sleepless nights with lots of inconsolable crying at 4 weeks and how magically that went away. How a routine was working great for those two weeks and all of the sudden it’s all upside down. I love knowing that the difficult times (and the good ones too, in a way) are not permanent.

  22. Jessica says...

    Sometimes I read Cup of Jo for the posts… sometimes I read for the comments. This community constantly restores my faith in humanity. Much love to you all.

    • Marta says...

      Absoloulutely!

  23. Anathea Ruys says...

    these comments are amazing and I am having a quiet weep on an American Airlines flight! One piece of advice I learned through my sons was honesty. My older son once asked (when he was 10) at a dining table filled with people what an abortion was. I said we would talk about it the next day. Thankfully he reminded me and after I gave him my explanation (I am pro choice but kept it simple) he heaved a sigh of relief and shared that he thought from what he had heard that women would have their baby (at full term) and it would be taken off and killed. A great reminder of how literal children can be. And my younger son was very angry that we had kept the Santa story going. He rightly said, if you lied to me about that, what else are you lying to me about? We had seen it as not so much a lie but a Christmas tradition but he totally didn’t see it that way (older one didn’t care a bit)

  24. Maria says...

    IMPORTANT TEEN YEAR STRATEGY: My high school age daughter often asks to go on “adventures” with her friends – unchaperoned road trips to the desert or mountain overnight camping trips. I’ve learned to not give her an answer right away. I’d prefer to say no but hate to look like the bad guy. I find that if I answer with “I’ll think about that. Let me know the specifics as they develop”, the plan will likely fall apart before I have have to give a hard answer. Now that she’s a senior, I’ve had to say yes to such adventures quite a few times! I’m always relieved when I get that text in the morning saying they are heading down the mountain, back toward home!

  25. K says...

    As someone with dear friends and dear sisters who have walked the often lonely, often heartbreaking road of infertility, I was struck today with the thought that reading Cup of Jo must be hard for women walking that road currently. (Through no fault of the wonderful authors or commenters, but just merely because there are so many times that posts focus on parenthood/children, etc.)
    So if that is you, and you’ve chosen to read this post and these comments, I want you to know that I see you, that you are cared for, that you are not alone, that your worth is not measured by whether a baby comes out of your womb or not. Take heart, don’t give up on yourself, don’t lose hope.
    Hugs to you, sisters.

    • J says...

      K, this was the first comment I read and it was as if it was meant for me. I’m not sure why I read this post today, but perhaps it was to read this. Thank you x

    • Christina says...

      I was just about to look through the old motherhood posts to see if there was anything on loss when I saw your lovely comment. I lost my first pregnancy not quite two weeks ago at 22 weeks. I had to give birth and watch that tiny, but perfect little boy pass within an hour. I’m so sad about it, but so hopeful as soon as I can that I will get another shot at motherhood.

      Thank you for that sweet message, it felt like it was directed at me, and it warmed my heart.

    • S says...

      Thank you for this. I fell apart whilst reading the Toby and Anton in conversation post yesterday and wasn’t sure I’d get through this one without a repeat. I didn’t, but made it far enough to read your kind thoughts. Thank you :)

    • Courtney says...

      What a sweet and heartfelt response, K. Thank you for thinking of all of the walking wounded in this way!

    • Joanie says...

      Thank you. It is so hard to know that I will likely never experience any of this. I mourn the loss over and over.

    • AH says...

      This is SO Kind.

    • AK says...

      K, that is beautifully said. I think the most important part of your comment is to not give up and not lose hope. A dear friend once told me, “You will get your baby some how, some way. I know you will.” I adopted it as a mantra of sorts. And now I pass it along to others because I know it is true for all of those friends who find themselves dealing with infertility – time after time, that mantra has proven correct. Hope and perseverance, it is!

    • m says...

      Thank you for your message.
      I actually just went through the search function on this website and found 120 articles in the past 2 years in the “motherhood” category … and just 4 articles in the past 7 years in the “infertility/infertile” category, and 3 articles in the past 5 years in the “miscarriage” section. I don’t know of a single individual my age (early 30’s) who has not had a miscarriage and/or struggled to conceive. I would also love to hear about others’ stories regarding IVF, infertility, how to cope, etc.

    • Lindsey says...

      This gave me chills, so touching and kind.

    • Heather D says...

      Beautiful, thank you. I struggled for twelve years before we decided to foster-to-adopt a little boy. I can’t tell you how many tears I’ve shed over parenting posts, wishing so badly to have a little one. So kind of you to take the time to stop and send well-wishes to those in the middle of it all. I’ll add my sentiments and prayers to yours. Infertility was the hardest battle of my life and I still feel disappointment that I’ll never carry a baby in my own womb, even though I love my (almost!) adopted son. <3

    • Martha L. says...

      This is such a lovely and kind comment. I struggled for years to have children. After lots of struggles and lots of help, we were able to have two healthy beautiful sons. They are now six and eight. Even after all these years and even after I ended up getting exactly what I wanted, it still stings that things were so hard for us and seem so easy for others. Still though, even so many years later, I never take my children and how lucky I am to have them, for granted. Sometimes the harder you have to work for something, the more you appreciate it when you finally get it. Even if, the end result didn’t happen the way you dreamed it would.

    • mary kate says...

      this made me comment for the first time ever because of how very KIND it is. love, love, love.

    • Amy says...

      This is everything I’ve ever wanted to read on Cup of Jo, K. Thank you for your beautiful, thoughtful words. What a balm to my heart, along with so many of our fellow women dealing with infertility. It never gets easier. I read once that scientists discovered mourning infertility is like mourning a death (something I could have just told them, but whatever) and it’s true. Mourning doesn’t have an expiration date and is different for everyone. I feel very seen right now.

    • Noel says...

      Thank you, thank you, thank you a thousand times over.

    • Adriana says...

      Thank you. As I struggle with infertility I so often feel unseen and forgotten. I read CoJ on the regular, but also search through the archives when I need solace or advice, and there has been very little over the years on infertility. CoJ is so good at sharing the voices and experiences of so many women, I wish more of them touched on subjects like the inability to conceive, different paths to motherhood, choosing to quit trying, etc.

    • Sadia says...

      Thank you so much for your kindness and warmth, K. You have no idea how soothing these few lines have been.

  26. Nmori says...

    I love to picture all these moms and daughters laughing and crying at their desks over lunch as they read the comments… as I’m doing right now. This is seriously the best community.

  27. KS says...

    This morning my 3 year old said to my husband and I, “I really love you guys” totally unprompted as we all snuggled on the couch. The past few months have been really hard for me as a parent and person. That was just what I needed to hear. I love those guys, too.

  28. Kimberly says...

    This morning my 3 year old said to my husband and I, “I really love you guys” totally unprompted as we all snuggled on the couch. The past few months have been really hard for me as a parent and person. That was just what I needed to hear. I love those guys, too.

  29. Katrien says...

    As a mother of 4 girls, the eldest a teenager and the youngest a toddler. We learned the hard way that every child is different but they all give you the oppurtunity to grow as a person because they really are like mirrors.
    Someone once told me that parenting is just like one big adventure and just thinking about in this way helps me to but things in perspective when it gets hard

  30. These are all incredible – I’m literally feeling like – I need to call my Mom and tell her immediately that she’s great company – I don’t think I’ve ever actually said those words to her and she IS and I know she’d love it if I told her!!

    Rebecca

  31. Frances says...

    When my daughter was small she would say, “Mama, I love you er, er, er. Meaning more, more, more. Eighteen years later she texts me she loves me er, er, er.

    • Simone says...

      So now I’m crying! So cute

  32. Cristina Mauro says...

    My teenage son recently had a friend over on the morning of the ACT test. I had prepared a big breakfast, packed lunches and provided sharpened pencils and packs of gum. When his friend looked impressed by the layout my son said – yeah, my Mom overcompensates, I just realized a year ago that her brain is as disorganized as mine.

    • Rachel says...

      This made me laugh so hard!

  33. That last comment, my heart! I’m 30, single, and don’t want kids, but “You’ve been really good company” is exactly how I feel about my mom. I’m going to call her and tell her.

  34. Sarah says...

    Teenagers really are the best. Sometimes I feel like I take mine for granted. We have 4 kids ages 20, 17, 6 and 4. So many times I would have people come up to me and tell me what amazing kids I have (referring to the teenagers) and in addition to making me proud, it was also very helpful to remember during times I wondered if we were doing a good job raising them. Our goal has always been to raise good people and it makes me so happy that other adults have taken such pleasure in getting to know them. We had them so young that I feel like we all grew up together in a way that we were a team and now that our team has expanded by 2 more members, we sometimes struggle to make sure that we are giving everyone the attention they need. I find such joy in being able to parent young kids again, it really is one of my simple pleasures. Each child is so different, experience helps but we are basically calling audibles on a daily basis. To be so unconditionally loved by people that I very often disappoint is such an amazing feeling.

  35. MJ says...

    Didn’t plan on such a sob this morning! My first baby girl is due in 2 days and I’m already feeling a little raw at how fleeting the time will be. Love these comments and wisdom from those who have been there.

    • Linsey says...

      My baby boy will be 7 months old on the 27th and reading that you’re due in 2 days put a lump in my throat. What a sweet time! Enjoy it and take ALL the videos. I watch videos of my baby from those first few days of newborn squeaks and am like, “where did that little chicken nugget go!?”

  36. Emma says...

    My mom always says, “He won’t be doing that in college” whenever I tell her about the latest and greatest trickery my 20 month old is up to. And now I repeat that to myself constantly!
    This morning: Said toddler pushes playmate at the park. “He won’t be doing this in college!” This afternoon: Said toddler has a melt down because I forgot to let him throw his paci into his crib before nap time as is the ritual. “He won’t be doing this in college!” Because despite everything that happens in between, the end goal really is a happy, well adjusted, polite adult!

  37. Ashley W says...

    I just want to hug all of the commenters on this thread!!

    All of the things we’ve gone through, are in the middle of, and that are yet to come… even when you feel weak (especially?) remember that you are so so strong.

  38. Bethany says...

    The “hot dogs and corn” comment made me cry-laugh because I work a couple evenings a week and my 2 little boys FREAK OUT. I feel so guilty sometimes, but they have their dad or aunt or nana and they are loved and safe and usually happy most of the time … but it doesn’t feel good when you’re trying to leave for work and they are wailing in grief. (Haha, they’re dramatic.) I hope someday they will learn the joy of mom-free hours when they can eat crap food and get away with stuff.

    • j says...

      Don’t take the crying to hear too much! When I was in high school both my parents started working an evening each week and I grew to love it. On days my dad worked my mom and I would always eat at the same Chinese restaurant. On evenings my mom worked, my dad and I would make hamburger helper or pizza! When I was younger I would just cry and cry when my mom left until the door would close and I would just go on with whatever I was doing! I think it’s great for kids to learn to be with other people bedsides their parents.

    • K says...

      Bethany – that’s my comment, and I’m only one person— but for whatever it’s worth, 20 years later I look back on those Monday nights of hot dogs & corn & am overcome with love for both of my parents, who are now divorced. I’m tearing up now! I still don’t even know all the sacrifices they made for us, but it’s beautiful to think of them figuring out dinners & whatever else, and how it just became a Monday norm for us. I really just remember being so sure of their love, always. And now that I’m older, I know how much my mom liked teaching night school (it was pretty different from her day job), and that my Dad liked the solo time with us. It all evens out. You’re setting such an example of love for your boys (:

  39. Missy says...

    This post is beautiful and gut wrenching for me at the same time. My daughter was born stillborn June 27. The shock and trauma have worn off and now I feel like I’m cloaked with sadness and depression. No one should have to walk through this, yet here I am. I’ve loved COJ and this community of women for years….has anyone else trudged through this pain? I feel so alone. I want my baby.

    • Heather says...

      Oh Missy. I don’t know you but I wish I could wrap my arms around you and hold you.

      I’ve been through something similar. In our case our baby was extremely premature, and only lived about an hour. It was the most traumatic thing I’ve ever experienced. It is not heartbreak: it is every-cell-in-your-body break.

      A few things:
      * Do not put pressure on yourself to feel better. Take all the time you need. The healing will happen in its own time. It cannot be rushed. Don’t be surprised if 6 months from now you still lose your breath at the sound of a newborn crying. It takes a long time. But it does happen.
      * If you haven’t already done so, find a perinatal loss support group and GO. Go in person. The only people in this world who will understand what you are going through are people who have experienced this particular type of loss. There will come a point when your friends and family – who love you – will ask you how you are, and you will feel pressure to say you are OK b/c you don’t want to burden them with your sorrow. You will never feel that way in the support group. This is my number one piece of advice. This saved my life. https://missfoundation.org/
      * Acknowledge your baby’s life. Your baby was a real baby. You are a real mother. I got a little gold charm with the first letter of my baby’s name on it, and I have worn it on a necklace close to my heart every day for the last 4 years. It has been joined by a few other initials over the years as I’ve had other children, but he will always be my baby, and I will always be his mommy. Think of ways that you can recognize and honor the truth of your baby’s life and your transformation into a mother.

      Much love.

    • TJ says...

      Missy, I am so very sorry for your loss. There are no words that can make it better, but just know that you are *not* alone. Please allow yourself time to grieve and surround yourself with love and comforting people.

    • Ruth says...

      Hi Missy, I’m so sorry for your loss. What was your baby’s name? I have a friend that also lost a baby at birth and I can’t beefing to imagine the pain you must be feeling.
      There is a lady on instagram that I follow called Elle Wright (feathering the empty nest).
      She has written a book about losing her son Teddy soon after birth.
      I hope this helps. Sending warm thoughts your way. Xxx

    • Lula says...

      I haven’t experienced this, but I wanted to say that I am so very sorry for the loss of your baby, and the loss of all that you would have imagined for your future. It is so cruel that has been taken away from you. Thinking of you and sending so much love xxx

    • Cassidy says...

      I am so incredibly sorry for your loss, Missy. You are right. That is a pain no one should have to endure. Sending you love and light.

    • Crys says...

      Missy – I can’t relate to what you have gone through and are going through and will go through. But I can’t leave a comment like that hanging. Hang in there and sending a million tiny rainbows your way. Look for them in the bubbles in your shower, in your sink and in the foam made by the ocean. Hope is out there and it is a part of everything.

    • Bonnie says...

      I wish I could give you a big hug. I’m so sorry. That’s all I can say. I’m just so sorry.

    • Claire says...

      So much love, comfort, and peace to you. I am so sorry for your loss.

    • I am SO sorry. Sending you love and light.

    • Amanda says...

      Missy, I am so sorry you have to go through this. I didn’t have a stillborn, but had a miscarriage and it about broke me. It’s like something is always missing. When I feel especially sad, I picture my daughter on the swings at a park being pushed by her great aunt (who passed away too young) while our grandmas sit on a bench nearby with coffee. They coo over her and giggle while saying things like, “that baby needs a sweater,” just in complete awe and love for her. It sounds insane, especially in print, but thinking that my baby is surrounded by the lovely ladies I miss brings me a little closure. I hope you have some sort of peace soon. I’ll be thinking about you.

    • Martha says...

      Hi Missy,
      I have been where you are, and I know how dark & awful it is. I am so, so sorry about the death of your daughter. It takes time to feel okay. It took me a year to start feel half-way okay, so try to be gentle with yourself and give yourself that time. One place where I found comfort and companionship was a blog called Glow in the Woods (www.glowinthewoods.com), it’s a place where baby lost parents write about their journeys through grief, and it really helped me. There is so much sadness, but also so much anger, it’s hard to know what to do with it, and reading other people’s stories helped me as I moved through it. I wish you peace at this difficult time.

    • Sasha L says...

      Hugs to you Missy. I am so terribly sorry your baby is not in your arms right now. I hope for today, these words from so many here, help you feel less alone. I am thinking of you and crying for you too.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, missy, i’m so so sorry for your devastating loss. what was your daughter’s name? were you able to hold her? i’m so deeply, deeply sorry.

      we featured an essay by a woman named kate suddes a few years ago. her son paul was stillborn. the comments on the post are also beautiful, and i hope some of this makes you feel less alone.
      https://cupofjo.com/2013/11/motherhood-mondays-i-had-a-stillborn-baby/

      sending you a big hug and holding you and your sweet daughter close in my thoughts.

    • Hani says...

      Oh!! My heart aches for you. Bless you, bless you, bless you sweet mom, and your precious daughter. I am so deeply sorry for your loss.

    • Silvia says...

      Missy, I am so so sorry, I cannot imagine what you are going through, all I can say is that I send all my love to you and will pray for you and your beautiful daughter.

    • Missy says...

      From the bottom of my shattered heart, I thank you all so much for these loving responses. Her name is James, and she was so beautiful and sweet and perfect. My husband and I held her and stared at her precious face for about an hour until the nurses had to take her away. I would give anything to have her in my arms again, and smell her sweet smell.

    • Emily says...

      sending much much love. Which i know isn’t enough, but know from likely far away, I’m crying here for you. That won’t help, but maybe it can ease your load just a little.

    • Christine says...

      Missy, I am so sorry for the devastating loss of your baby girl, James. I cannot imagine the pain you are going through. Please know you and your daughter are in my thoughts.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      james. what a beautiful name. i’ll be thinking of her today.

  40. Carrie says...

    Things were so difficult when we first brought our daughter home from the hospital. I felt angry and resentful at the inequality that often falls so heavily on mothers, my husband felt inadequate and unprepared for caring for a newborn, and this all resulted in a lot of tension in our marriage. I remember talking to my mother about it and she just said, “these are hard times.” It was such a simple thing to say, but it gave me permission to acknowledge how hard things were, it also reminded me that it wouldn’t always be hard, and it made me realize that I was not alone in how I felt.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s really beautiful, carrie. thank you so much for sharing.

    • Ashley W says...

      I had such a hard time during pregnancy and postpartum, and something so simple as that is all I needed to hear. No one close to me, husband, close friends, even my mom, seemed to be able to see that something so simple could help so much. They all wanted to tuck away the pain and point out the positives instead. It’s a good reminder to be present for people with their pain or sadness, and that it is often exactly enough.

    • Sarah says...

      It is so sweet that your feelings were validated during that time. I remember the first month of my son’s life with a bit of a pit in my stomach and almost no positive memories, but it was such a fleeting time and he is such a sweet wonderful person, and the beginning of his sister’s life was much less traumatic for me. I hope later in life when I am remembering all the sweetness with longing that I also forgive myself for sometimes wanting to move on with things. These, and especially those first days, ARE such hard times!

  41. Courtney says...

    With babies and toddlers, sometimes they just cry and are whiny for no reason. It can get really frustrating, but my husband and I will always commiserate with our son and say, “It’s hard being a baby.” BECAUSE IT IS!

    I’m a 7th grade teacher and when a student really drives me crazy, I just think, “It’s ok, it’s hard being in middle school.” It’s also nice to think about adulthood like this, too. Because it IS hard being an adult. It makes me shrug off that frustration and go easier on myself and others.

  42. Jane says...

    I loved Sesam’s quote from Little Fires Everywhere. It made me think straight away of infertility. Your children are so much more than a person when you are waiting for them and it feels like the door has been bricked up when you suffer from infertility. As if this whole country of experiences and landscapes and hope and future exist but you are shut out. I think that quote nails the sorrow of infertility.

    • tnm333 says...

      Having been there myself, I think this is a very wise insight into how infertility can feel…

  43. Living away from my family, allt he comments made my tear up a little bit.

  44. Stephanie O'neill says...

    I’m always wondering if my husband and I are doing ok with this whole parenting thing. Constantly full of doubt about not doing enough and guilt about yelling too much. Last night I was cleaning out my 7yr old’s homework folder and in it was an “about me” assignment. In response to his favorite place to be he wrote in his scratchy 7 year old handwriting “Home”.

    • Erin Boehm says...

      That’s he’s safe place! So sweet it makes me cry!

  45. K says...

    I am currently pregnant with my second child. I have a 13 year old daughter already and the massive age gap between them is daunting to say the very least. It took me a long time to get to this place, to decide to have another child. Raising my daughter was hard. I was young and in an abusive relationship with her father. I left when she was 2.5 and met my current and incredible husband a bit later. This will be our first child together, but he has already done such an amazing job of parenting my girl. He is such a delightful person, I feel so lucky we found him. I feel like I made so many mistakes with my daughter and I feel terrible that we still deal with the stress and drama of our past. As we enter the teenage years, I hate that I have always looked at her 18th birthday as a milestone I can’t wait to get to, a moment when I no longer have to communicate with her dad, it’s selfish and I hate to wish for time to pass in that way. It’s not lost on me what a different experience this new baby will have. I have struggled with what emotions my teen must be have when thinking about her new sibling having parents in a loving relationship, and I’ve struggled with the emotions I have, the guilt. I don’t think of this as a do-over, but in many ways, as awful as it sounds, it does kind of feel like a second chance to parent as an older, more stable, wiser mother. I’m sure others have experienced something similar and made it through, I long for that day when she is 20 and tells me it’s all okay and she is okay. I want that more than anything.

    • Krista says...

      I have a VERY similar story, so I totally get this, especially the part about wishing for 18th birthdays for my older daughters so I don’t have to deal with their dad anymore. Now those birthdays are only 6 months away for one, and 2 years for the other, and there are so many mixed feelings. I have my second set of “do-over” kids too, and I agree, there are a lot of blessings there and still a lot of struggles. I haven’t figured it all out yet. But wanted to say that I know what you’re going through and I wish you the best. It’s hard starting out as a mother in such a difficult way.

    • Claire says...

      K, I don’t know you of course, but I just had to respond. There is so much love for your daughter in your message- how you care for her, want her well-being above all else, how you want to do right by her. I think you should write her a letter and be as honest and real and tender as you are in this message. It might help both of you to let her know how you feel, and how complicated it can all seem to sort out, but that above all you love her. As a parent it’s always been a struggle for me to want to do everything exactly right, and I really wished I could have created a perfect life for my son, and I have regretted and felt inadequate that I couldn’t do that. But real life is never perfect. Don’t feel bad that problems happened – problems find us all, sooner or later. That’s part of life. Feel good that you handled the problems, and moved on to create a better life for yourself and your daughter. Because that kind of change is very hard, but necessary, and brilliant. You are strong. Our kids learn life skills from watching us handle challenges, and I bet she has learned from seeing you do so. And perhaps it will define her, and make her strong, and give her some tools (clarity, self respect, dignity, empathy, self efficacy) to create her own path, and to face whatever life brings to her doorstep. And I bet you will get your wish, to know she is, and will be, ok.

    • Mado says...

      Don’t worry about the age gap. I am 13 years older than my (half) sister and her coming into our lives was a blessing. She healed us in so many ways. My mum actually always jokes that my sister had two mothers growing up, because i took care of her a lot for various reasons and loved on her as she was my own baby. I am sure your older daughter will be happy to see you raise this baby in a safe and loving environment. It will not always be easy. I still feel envious sometimes of the relationship my mum had and has nowadays with my younger sister, but at the same time i’m very grateful they both got the opportunity to experience something different from what i had with my mother. It’s a bittersweet feeling. Something that would help, i think, is to acknowledge that things are different and you are not raising them in the same way or in the same environment. My mum always insists she raised us exactly in the same way and that drives me crazy, because she was so much harder on me. I don’t blame her, the circumstances were really different, but saying she did the same with both of us invalidate so much of my childhood and is simply not true. So be aware that you are doing things differently this time and don’t be scared to acknowledge it and talk about it with your eldest. She might not say it at 20, but she will be ok. You are doing a great job.

  46. Laura G. says...

    Becoming a parent is the first, and only, foreign language I’ve ever attempted to learn.

    Sometimes, literally: “I don’t know where ‘the place’ with ‘the thingies that were cool’ is! Tell me more about it so I can figure it out!” *toddler cries for 10 minutes straight*

    Sometimes, more poetically: Am I translating the world around us adequately? Am I helping you to make sense of it all in an age-appropriate way during a time when some of it doesn’t even make sense to us grown ups? You know I love you so much it makes my heart ache, right? As long as you know that in every language, curled up in my lap today and later in faraway foreign lands like Teenagertopia, I think we’ll be ok.

    • Noemi Hallett says...

      Oh. My. Goodness. I am currently in the throws of parenting an emotionally charged, hyper intelligent 4.5 year old boy and his incredibly strong willed 2.5 year old sister. I feel like I’m learning a new language but I’m blind, deaf and have had my tongue cut out. Parenting is SO HARD. Reading this made me cry at my desk at work. I hope we’ll be ok…

  47. Kelly S. says...

    For years, any time I took my daughter to a large event, zoo or theme park, I’d tell her “If you get lost, look for another mom.” I probably said this to her 1000x. Every single time she looked up at me, nodded with solemn understanding and we’d go about our day. It wasn’t until years later that she finally replied to me with tears in her eyes saying: “But what if I don’t want another mom? I like you”. It was then that I realized for all those years, she thought I was saying: “Good luck out there kid. If you get lost, just find yourself a new mom.” So…currently accepting donations for her future therapy sessions.

    My advice, choose your words carefully. :)

    • Rae says...

      Oh Kelly, this has me laughing and crying at the same time. Your poor little girl! Children are so very literal. I started reading this nodding along because I say the same thing to my daughter “if you’re lost, find a momma.” It would never occur to me that it could be interpreted as your daughter did…but of course! What else would you mean!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, little one!!!! the sweetest :) :) :)

    • stefanie says...

      I cannot stop laughing at this post!! it is too too sweet. I’m sure your little one will be just fine!!

    • Y says...

      Please tell us what she said once you explained! Is she old enough now to understand how hilarious that is?

    • Kelly S. says...

      Responding — She is 13, almost 14 now and when I explained it she just hugged me and cried and I cried too because I felt so awful. I probably should have asked her more questions about how she felt all those years, but I could just feel how relieved she was, so we just left it alone. :)

      These days, she loves the story, though she would never admit it. But anytime we are out with friends or have friends around the table, she’ll say “Tell the story about me getting lost.” Then we’ll all laugh hysterically and in her best teenage angst-y voice she’ll say, “Who knows, I may have found someone really cool who’d actually let me have Instagram .” Or something equally as punishing. :)

  48. Libbynan says...

    My mom is eighty-eight now and I’m seventy-one and it still horrifies me when I open my mouth and her voice comes out. It’s even worse when she starts laughing and says, “You sound just like me!” I feel so sorry for you young moms…we didn’t worry nearly so much about being “good ” mothers. I always remember what Maya Angelou said, “When I was young I did the best I could. When I knew better, I did better.” It is important that your children think of you as good company, but more important that you raise your children to be people that you would like to know even if you weren’t related. That’s how I know I was successful.

    • sarah morabito says...

      this is beautiful thank you <3

    • Claire says...

      this is good. Thank you.

    • Heather says...

      I love this. Thank you so much for sharing. And please always comment! I need all the wisdom I can get.

  49. SN says...

    I love this. My husband and I are months away from trying to start a family and I am terrified and hopeful and nervous. I love our life now and don’t know if or how I want it to change…. these tidbits are encouraging. I hope we’re lucky enough to have kids, but it’s intimidating to have the faith to take the plunge. Do I really have what it takes to be a good mom?

    • michaela says...

      My husband and I are in the same boat as you, and I’m feeling all the same anxieties/excitements. I once heard someone say to another mom-to-be who was worrying about whether she’d be a good mom, “The fact that you’re even asking that question means you will be.” You’re being thoughtful about this decision, you want to do your best, and you’re going to be great. :)

    • Elle says...

      The biggest relief about becoming a parent was the realization that they don’t come out walking and talking and contributing to society…I mean, you get to grow and fail and learn right along with them and if you keep trying and keep showing up, you get closer to being the best version of the parent your kid needs. And then they go through another milestone and you have to relearn again :) You’ll be great, and it’ll suck, and you’ll be great, and it’ll suck, and it’ll all be just fine because you’ll get these glimpses here and there of what a great job you’re actually doing. Good luck to you, SN and Michaela!

    • Kristin says...

      Sometimes I think deciding to be a parent is like being willing to fall in love.. it’s easy to be worried about bad outcomes, getting hurt, having a hard time, making the wrong choice… but imagine choosing never to fall in love just to avoid the hurt! You would miss out on so much of what life has to offer. I think we put so much pressure on ourselves to be good at everything. Parenting is HARD. You will fail A LOT. You will cry A LOT. But you will LOVE SO MUCH MORE and the joy will make it all worthwhile. And yes, your kids will be fine too ;)

    • Erin says...

      When my older child, now 8, was a tiny baby and I was sleep deprived and struggling with everything, I wailed to my mom “I don’t have the patience to do this!”

      “Don’t worry,” she replied cheerfully, “nobody does!”

      Somehow it was really helpful to hear this from my (very patient) mother. There’s no such thing as feeling automatically up for all curve balls parenting throws. It’s okay anyway.

  50. Rosa says...

    I was reading an article on Austinkleon.com earlier this week and a quote really hit home for me, it was “kids practice every single emotion they’re ever going to use on anybody on you.” As a parent of two teenage daughters it really reminded me that they’re still growing and learning and practicing how to be young adults. It also reminds me that I shouldn’t always take things personally because some of the things I get told really hits me in the feels. My eldest is in grade 12 and will soon be getting ready to venture out into the world so I guess she can use all the practice she can get. I really liked the comment “you can’t take all the credit and you can’t take all the blame.” from one of the readers comments.

  51. Kelly says...

    My boys are now 22 and 18 and have always been the best of friends. However through the years they would have the normal brotherly spats. When one was unusually heated, I would have them either write a reflection paper on what happened or have them color a picture, depending on the age. These are some of our most enjoyed items of memorabilia. I was just reading one from when they were 13 and 9. Hilarious. My oldest was and is quite the writer. Will paste below….. (Appropriately, he will apply for law school this year :).

    “First, I will start with what happened at Spring Creek Park at about 2:18 pm on Monday. I said to Seth, “You suck”. Now, if we put our self in Seth’s shoes, we can see that this remark is insulting and diminishing. This is because it is a shortened version of a remark that has one last word at the end that I didn’t not know about until recently. This word is highly offensive when used in this phrase. This coming from myself is especially discouraging, as he constantly attempts to impress me.

    The reason for me saying this was because, as you are well aware, I have lately been hanging out with people my age, mostly boys. They do not get hurt as Seth does when confronted with playful insults. I did not consider Seth’s fragile feelings towards my opinion of him. In the future I will remember this, and make sure not to say such things. In short, I was wrong to say this, and need to consider how this will impact Seth’s emotions.

    Seth views me as a role model. He constantly follows me and tries to imitate me and impress me. Being in this position is hard. You have to always watch yourself. You have to make sure you are setting a good example. Saying to Seth that he sucked is not a good example of being a good role model. This remark is discouraging, and Seth will most likely repeat this act on other people.

    Discouragement is a negative thing. It can hinder learning and destroy self confidence, and it can even alter someones life span in a negative way (they will have a shorter life). We cannot have this happen, particularly to someone in there years of development. We should always be encouraging someone in their childhood years. Encouragement is the exact opposite of discouragement, and has the exact opposite effects of discouragement. As opposed to telling Seth that he sucks, we should say that Seth is improving in his skills, and that he should keep at it. If we say phrases of this nature to Seth on a daily basis, everyone’s life will be better. Seth will be in a good mood, which then effects the people around him the same way.

    I view Seth as a young follower of me, who can get fairly irritating but is a nice brother all the same. He is fun to play with, and I would be very bored if he was not around. Although sometimes I do need some time away from him. When I seek this, he usually gets very angry, and often times resorts to saying that I am lazy and fat. When I am with Seth, I often times forget about his age, and treat him as an equal (in age). This is usually when I might kick or shove or do anything that wouldn’t hurt some of my friends, but hurt Seth. This is also when I might say things like, “You suck”, “What was that?”, and other phrases of the same nature. It is only when he gets very angry that I realize that he is very young, and sensitive. I strongly regret all such incidents, and wish I could go back and fix them. Unfortunately, I cannot perform such an act, so I must make sure never to do it again.

    As a punishment, I have had my iPod taken away, and, if this paper is not well received, will get it taken away for another week. And, if I blame Seth for the loss of my iPod, it will stay in the custody of my parents for an added week. No punishment, no matter how severe, could make up for what I have done to Seth. So, we must strive to encourage Seth for the rest of our days.”

    • Vero says...

      This is too sweet and funny.

    • Kay says...

      So funny! Thanks for sharing!

    • Claire says...

      oh wow this is awesome. I love the last line: So, we must strive to encourage Seth for the rest of our days.

    • Heather says...

      Whaaaa???? This is blowing my mind.

      This morning, my son (5) took 45 minutes and a thousand reminders to put on his clothes. I praised his little sisters for getting dressed, and he got angry and said that I should not praise them because it was their fault he wasn’t dressed. Their fault… and the dog’s… He went on to tell a story about how his sisters and the dog had stopped him from getting dressed ON PURPOSE. I said, “I’m impressed with your creativity with this story, but I was with all of you all morning and unless your sisters forced you to play legos I don’t see how they stopped you from getting dressed. And leave poor Mollydog out of it.” He starts to cry and yells, “You are LYING. The sisters and Molly DID stop me from getting dressed!!”

      It was like the 2016 election season all over again. FAKE NEWS!!!

      I need you to give me ALL OF YOUR PARENTING WISDOM. How on earth did you get your kids to reflect so honestly and compassionately on disputes? TEACH ME.

    • Amanda says...

      this is amazing, hilarious, adorable and evidence that you were great parents! PS he should consider reading this for the Mortified podcast ;)

    • Kelly says...

      Heather – my daughter (now 8) was/is like this…she was diagnosed last year with ADHD and it explains so very much (including having a hard time accepting responsibility for one’s actions)…anyways, every one has rough days, but if you find yourself in this cycle quite a bit, ADHD eval is something to consider!

    • Kelly says...

      Heather – If you notice, part of the essay focuses around his Ipod being taken. He really liked his Ipod. So getting it back was an incentive to being honest. :)

    • Kelly says...

      Amanda – thanks for introducing me to the Mortified podcast. I just looked it up as I hadn’t heard of it. You’re right, I should encourage him to submit. There are quite a few more of equal entertainment on file as well.

    • Heather says...

      Kelly – Thanks for your response. I had to take a deep breath when I read it b/c about a month ago at my daughter’s 3yo check up her doctor said she is showing some early signs of ADHD and emotional dysregulation, and I responded, Nah, she’s just a lot like her brother and he’s doing great. And he IS a great kid. We are all in love with him. But he is not an easy kid, and I’ve wondered how he’ll handle school as it evolves from mostly dancing and singing to mostly sitting and writing. This is my daily mind-f*ck: “Are my kids normal and I find them hard b/c I don’t have the right skills? Or are my kids hard and all normal parents would struggle with them?” How do you know when your kid is just a kid and it’s hard b/c it’s hard for everyone? How do you know when it’s abnormally hard?

    • Caitlyn says...

      I love this! I’m inspired!

    • Elizabeth says...

      SO GOOD! Haha!

  52. Brooke U. says...

    Joanna- I remember you sharing your mothers words/sentiment: nothing you can do will make me love you any less. So profound! ❤️

    This resonated with me and we try to reinforce it with our kids. Recently, my 5 year old said “mom, I love you when you’re happy. I love you when you’re sad. I love you no matter what”.. I think she is catching on 😊

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom

  53. Dee says...

    Lol! Mine is, every time I accomplish a task for my daughter, I say “Now!” In a particular tone of voice, as if announcing, ‘there now, I’ve done my part, time for you to do yours’. My daughter can imitate this perfectly :-)

  54. Stephanie says...

    When my son started preschool this year (with a strict teacher), I pummeled him with questions every time I picked him up. He’s usually so cheerful, but he’d respond with comments like, “I didn’t learn anything today” or “We didn’t do anything fun.” It really worried me!

    Then one night, when my husband tucked him in bed, he said, “Daddy, do you know what letter makes the sound ‘qwuh?’ Q!” He then went on to name the sounds for almost every letter in the alphabet. We were blown away!

    I realized, like Molly above, that he’d come around to telling me about school in his own time. It feels so strange that there are big chunks of his day I’m not privy to, that I won’t know about unless he shares them with me.

    And I imagine I’ll spend the rest of my years working to show him how much I care and giving him the space to open up when he’s ready (so hard!).

  55. cgw says...

    We’ve held off on getting a mobile for our daughter (13) because we always told her that she gets dropped off and picked up from school, and has an iPad at home that can connect to wifi, so there’s really no need. Much of that was because we didn’t want her to get caught up in all the “bad” of having a phone. But recent circumstances required us to get one for her. She’s been great about being responsible with its use. The best part? When she sent me and my husband a selfie of the three of us taken during our walk on the beach and the caption: “your the best parents in the whole wide world!” Incorrect grammar notwithstanding, it was nice to know how she felt. More importantly for me, maybe in between all the exasperation (both sides), and frustrating parenting moments, she actually did know and feel how much we love her.

  56. CAITLIN FLANAGAN says...

    I’m a new mom and I swear I have created a mini me of my husband. It’s cool until my husband and I have some, “husband and wife” time and he will give me a look that will resemble our son excactly and will totally freak me out. No one told me this about parenting!

    • Nina says...

      Oh my goodness- yes! My son is 1.5 years and when I do have a minute to look at and appreciate my husband he eventually does something that makes me freeze and go ‘oh my god! little jack!’ it’s so endearing and disarming all at once. No one told me about this either.

  57. Well I didn’t plan to cry while perusing my blog feed today. *Sniffs*

  58. My mom once told me that, to her, having kids was like playing the piano with one hand and then finally putting the other hand on the keys. Now that I have two kids of my own, it strikes me as such an apt metaphor–yes, a whole other world and chamber of my heart opened up when my son and daughter were born, but it’s also totally crazy and I am always flying around, doing two things at once :)

  59. Mimi says...

    I just want to say thanks to Joanna for one little quote a few months ago that became my mantra for a particularly rough time…”We’ve got to turn this train around!”
    Putting the focus on my choice in the matter really helped give me perspective. Life isn’t happening “to us” – we’re all players. Within a week of consciously choosing, over and over and over, it all got better. So thank you!

    • AJH says...

      LOVE! Needed to hear that

  60. Rachel says...

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

    This is still the reality with 14 year olds!

  61. Katie Peshek says...

    Molly’s comment about kindergarten conversation made my heart swell. Walking home from school, I’m so eager to ask all about his day, but he just wants to tell me the most random, hilarious things. Yesterday it was, “hey mom, do you know what a patent it?” He explained it to me, and then I asked “oh did you learn about that in school?” He said, “no, it just came up in conversation.” :) Kids, man!

  62. Nicola says...

    Jill’s comment about her 8 year old riding away made me well up. My ‘baby’ girl is 18 and left home for University last weekend. I am so sad that she has moved away and I miss her with every step. She was, and is, good company, the best company. I am proud of her and amazed at the wonderful young woman she is becoming but my heart is sore thinking of my little curly haired pumpkin moving on. We just prepare them for the world and then have to let them make their own way in it, it is the way of life but it is not easy. Love and squeeze your babies, embarass them and tickle them, cooke for them and teach them all the things, make the very most of them, it is but a blink and they are riding away.

    • Heather says...

      sending you hugs

  63. The comment about the 17 year old brought tears to my eyes. My oldest is 17 and I had her when I was only 21. She told me recently that we are just like the Gilmore Girls and we need matching Gilmore sweatshirts so we can watch the show together and bond. Um. Yes. Done. She’s just learning to drive because we lived abroad for most of her life. She was terrified to learn how to drive and I told her, “You are the most outspoken feminist I have ever met. I’ve taught you how to eat solids, use the potty, sleep through the night, to read, to ride a bike, and now it’s time to teach you just how strong and independent you really are. This car is the ultimate act of feminism. When you have your own car, you have your freedom. Freedom to come, to go, and to stay. It’s my ultimate gift to you, even though it’s breaking my heart, because I know it will take you places and they will likely lead you far away from me… but it’s time because I love you.” Raising kids is tough and wonderful all at the same moment!

  64. Claire says...

    Not many people tell positive stories about being the parent of a teenager, but there is so much more parenting to do beyond the elementary school age, and those teenager years can be amazing, and so rewarding. Yet even when I was pregnant people would say ominous and negative things like, “enjoy the baby years because when they get to be teenagers they are awful”. This rubbed me the wrong way- I didn’t want to think of my son as “awful” waiting to happen. So I began telling him when he was about 10 years old, and starting to ask me questions about middle school and high school, “You’re going to be a terrific teenager. You’re going to have so much fun, and you’re going to make the best choices for yourself, and you will love making decisions about what you want to do and learn. You are going to really like it..” So he is 17 now, and a senior in high school. The high school years have not all been smooth sailing, but life never really is anyway, and I try to remember to keep giving him a version of that message: you can do this, you can make good choices, and find your way, and we are right here for you if you need us. Sometimes it’s not a straight path, but he gets there.

    • sarah morabito says...

      yes yes yes!!

    • Mrs D says...

      Thank you Claire! Just like Sarah commented I found myself repeating as I read your advice: YES! YES! YES!

  65. Kimberly says...

    The comment by Jill reminded me of a bittersweet poem by Linda Pastan. It made me cry before I even had children.

    To a Daughter Leaving Home
    When I taught you
    at eight to ride
    a bicycle, loping along
    beside you
    as you wobbled away
    on two round wheels,
    my own mouth rounding
    in surprise when you pulled
    ahead down the curved
    path of the park,
    I kept waiting
    for the thud
    of your crash as I
    sprinted to catch up,
    while you grew
    smaller, more breakable
    with distance,
    pumping, pumping
    for your life, screaming
    with laughter,
    the hair flapping
    behind you like a
    handkerchief waving
    goodbye.
    —Linda Pastan

    • Leah says...

      Thank you. I love this so much.

  66. Ana says...

    Sasame’s comment is spot on the thing I mostly loved about Little Fires Everywhere. That description is so accurate.
    I must confess that when my Dad unexpectedly died at 60 a few months ago, the only way I could fall asleep was when I was near my 5-year-old, breathing his sweet, peaceful smell and feeling his breath on my face. I pretended to fall asleep with him each night, so that I could stay at that quiet and beautiful world, one where everything was still ok with my life. It felt timeless and powerful and so, so pure. I will forever be grateful of having my own private Narnia amidst all the sorrow and loss I felt during those first months. I couldn’t bear to listen to music. I couldn’t stand watching TV.
    My son, sleeping quietly in his bed, breathing steadily in his sleep, was the one place I felt safe, sane and meaningful.
    And there are many, many times, as I watch him grow and growing increasingly more strong-willed and independent, that I already miss that place, that now only exists when he is sleeping, that physical memory of utter tranquility.

    • Ash says...

      oh man. this is very moving Ana. I’m sorry for your loss.

  67. patricia blaettler says...

    When my little girl used to watch TV as a little kid during the commercials:
    “I want that!” , “Can I have that?”, etc, etc. My answer was always “Yep”, “Sure”, “Why not?”, “Of course!” She’d sit back, satisfied. No fights. haha

    • Molly says...

      I did that too! I would write the 1 800 numbers down and present the list to my parents. They kept a few of them and I would include a star rating if I reallllly wanted something. Never got a single thing :)

  68. Mollie says...

    That last one really struck a note with me. I lost my mom at the end of July. I wish more than anything that I could tell her that she was always good company. What a thoughtful thing to tell someone.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’m sorry for your loss, mollie. she sounds like a wonderful person.

  69. Lisa says...

    Most nights, I “cuddle” with my kids as they go to sleep. We have a rule, which is that we lay back to back, booty to booty, a saying that tickles them. Practically, this allows them to know I am with them, but it isn’t a time for long chats and I can read my book so I don’t fall asleep. I work and it’s a nice time to slow down and be there.

    Last night, as we lay down, my 7 yr old daughter said: “I’ve loved you since the beginning of the universe. I’ll love you forever, even when I say not very nice things.”

    Oh my heart.

    • Nina says...

      oh…my heart too. love this.

    • Oh gosh, stop me from sobbing at my desk right now!!!

  70. Kim says...

    When my teenager was small she would rub my head and play with my hair while she fell asleep. The other night she’d had a hard day and asked if I would lay with her while she fell asleep. After a few minutes I felt her hand find my head and was reminded that my big girl is still my little girl.

    • Joanna Schuth says...

      All these sweet stories are killllling me *sob*

  71. Jane says...

    This is more for older kids- always offer food as an invite and then move shoulder to shoulder (encourages talking).
    “Want to go for a bike ride? We can get ice cream”
    “Want to go for a walk? We can get donuts”
    “Want to go for a drive? We can get a burger.”
    The food gets my 17 year old son out the door with me nearly every time and the shoulder to shoulder gets him talking. He is in his last year of high school and I don’t know if he’ll still be home with us next year. We went on a bike ride just recently- with food- and he talked the whole time. It was great.

    • Katrin says...

      That is such a good trick,thank you for the advice! I hope I’ll remember it when my kids are older!

    • Jess says...

      Love this! Works with toddlers too:)

  72. Bernie says...

    It might not feel like it, but all the tedious, most annoying things you do for your children are acts of love. Every poopy diaper, every midnight change of the sheets, every shoe tied and every jacket zipped is a parent saying “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

    I remind myself of this whenever I get overwhelmed with the little acts of parenting. What I’m really doing is telling myself and everyone else: I love her, I love her, I love her.

    • Jenny says...

      Ahh, I needed this reminder. I have a 4-month-old and a 3-year-old, so there are countless tasks like those you mentioned every minute, every hour, every day…and, man, it can get tedious. But thinking of them as acts of love is just beautiful. Thanks :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so beautiful, bernie.

    • Lydia says...

      I have little kids (2 and 4) and this one hit me. I can’t imagine my littles leaving home, they still need help with their shoes and jackets! But oof, yes, when it’s overwhelming remembering this is so important. Thank you for this Bernie.

    • Katie says...

      Yaaaaas, Bernie! YES. My mom can still drive me just bonkers, but what always goes through my head when I find myself getting annoyed? I think: This is the woman who once let me blow my nose into her hand. I mean, COME ON. (I was sick & whiny at check-out on our last errand of the day & she didn’t have any Kleenex so that’s what she did. It still gets me.)

  73. Kate says...

    This!! “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.”

    It seems like every noise I make is like a recording of my mother coming out of my mouth!! I even clear my throat like her! My laugh is the same, my “hmm” is the same, and I even squint my eyes when I’m thinking, just like her. It’s so weird, especially when we’re in the same room! But I love that I’m turning into her even a little, because she is so amazing.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!!! hahah that’s so sweet. i am always like, “you’re skating on thin ice!” = straight from my mom :)

  74. Heather says...

    Vicky’s sweet moments with her nephew… Making me tear up.

    Speaking of PPD… Did anyone see Tully with Charlize Theron? I watched in on an airplane recently and, sure, I always overreact when watching movies on an airplane (lack of oxygen), but I was really moved by this movie. I didn’t watch it for a long time b/c, having had PPD myself a few times, I have no desire to revisit that nightmare. But this movie has such an interesting take on it, I’m glad I watched it. I haven’t stopped thinking about it. There were a few scenes that were strangely comforting in their familiarity. Like when Charlize’s character is in the parking lot and her son is kicking her seat b/c he wants her to park somewhere else, and she’s trying to hard not to cry and to be patient, I felt this nagging loneliness lift inside. Someone else is experiencing this, too. This is real.

    • Claire says...

      I have been meaning to watch it. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Lydia says...

      Such a powerful movie! One which every mom can relate to i think

  75. Mandy says...

    Yeah! Tears welling over for me too with the last one!
    Thank you for that sentiment.

  76. Alexis says...

    Now that I have my own son, who is rambunctious and independent and has a very creative imagination… I find myself wanting to apologize to my mom constantly. I’m sorry I talked back so much, I’m sorry I never wanted to wear the girly outfits you picked for me, I’m sorry I quit piano and ballet and instead wanted to ride skateboards and horses, I’m sorry I snuck out so much in high school… She had a lot of house/childcare help, but she carried the whole family throughout our childhood. My dad would travel for months but I don’t think he ever really worked a day in his life. It’s funny what having my own kid makes me think of!

  77. There’s a set of lines in the song ‘Nobody’s Empire by Belle and Sebastian. It says “now I look at you you’re a mother of two; you’re a quiet revolution”. I’m not a mother yet but I know many mothers of two who are a quiet revolution, changing the course of history by fiercely loving two humans. Whenever I hear those lines I am filled with anticipation for the day I can join the ranks of that revolution.

  78. Emma Bee says...

    “We were on time until someone pooped.”
    That’s my husband. Every. Single. Time.

    • Michelle says...

      Your husband pooping? Cause that’s what happens in my house, ha!

    • Brook says...

      HAHA!!! Yes! It’s more often my husband needing a poo that makes us late instead of my (18 month old) daughter having a poo at the last, awkward minute! This made me laugh.

  79. Hannah J. says...

    The comment about reminding yourself that they are acting their age totally resonated with me. I have a sweet one-year-old who is starting to enter the tantrum stage, and to get through those tough moments, I need to remind myself that she’s just being one! And usually at the end of the tantrum, she clings to me and it’s the sweetest moment that I want to remember forever.

  80. Elizabeth says...

    Ohhhhh boy. 30-weeks-pregnant me is tearing up over my morning bowl of yogurt. So beautiful, all of them!

    • Cindy! says...

      so funny! I am also 30 weeks, eating yogurt and crying! These are so beautiful!

    • Meghan says...

      35 weeks and ugly crying at my desk. I really need to go to the bathroom but can’t get up and go until I pull it together a little bit.

  81. Laura says...

    Oh my goodness. That is the EXACT line I underlined in Little Fires Everywhere. Reading that book, as a new mom, I cried and held my hand to my heart when I read that line. Still gives me shivers.

  82. Caitlin says...

    Actually, I loved your post about aiming for yes. I think of it often and it helps me back off when things aren’t a big deal. Wear your pajamas to Target! Who cares? Not me :)

  83. Michelle Metheney says...

    My daughter had a cluster of birth defects and had a bunch of surgeries in her first couple years to correct everything. After a particularly hard day of recovery and feeding therapy, a nicu nurse told us “It’s not a straight line from bad to good.” She’s 4 now and healthy but I repeat that to myself often… mid-tantrum, through potty training, it’s always true.

    • Heather says...

      I love this. Thank you for sharing this.

  84. ellen says...

    When I was a brand new mom to a rather difficult baby girl (who has turned into an unbelievably awesome 5 year old!) a wise woman told me ” you can’t take all the credit, and you can’t take all the blame.” I have come back to this advice many times over the years…my daughter is her own person and I cannot control her actions or her reactions.

  85. Colleen Hodge says...

    I was the best parent in the world till I had a teenager. I had younger children when a friend who had teenagers passed this nugget of wisdom on to me. Whoa was she right.

  86. Ines Tome Calisto says...

    The best advice I received on this (complicated/wonderful) parenting thing was to treat my daughter as I would have liked my mother to treat me when I was growing up.
    I’m putting it into practice till this day, including the part of lighting up my eyes when she walks into the room :)

  87. Little Miss says...

    p.s. maybe you should write an article on how aunts are involved in childrens lives in different cultures..
    (Aunt-hood around the world for when we feel nostalgic with the motherhood around the world time of the year!!!)

    • N says...

      Yup!!!!
      And pets!!!! Pleeass!!

  88. Little Miss says...

    i dont have my own babies (and i don’t want any) but i am extremely involved in my sister’s children upbringing.
    not in the cool-aunt-doing-all-the-crazy-stuff-with kinda way.in an essential deep way.
    until recently i thought i was the only one of the 2 parties realising what i was doing.
    until one day i was very sad with various problems i was facing and my nephew came up to me in the most kind,subtle way demanding for explanations on my behaviour since i was distant and in the 8 years he is alive he never saw me like that.
    he explicitly said: this is not who YOU are.my mom is like that.you are not like that.EVER!
    my heart was crying for days realising they really do know what kind of impact i have in their lives.
    i fight for their happiness and they know.

    • Marie says...

      this is so lovely. i have a sister who is very involved with my baby in the same deep intimate real life in the trenches snuggly way and i need to tell you how appreciated your love and actions are. from your sister and her babies, too.

  89. Sophie says...

    Jill’s comment about her baby girl disappearing struck such a chord with me – my daughter is 14 months old and while I do get teary at the idea of her growing up and moving away from me, a friend’s recent stillbirth has reminded me how lucky we are that she gets to grow up at all. Yes, children growing older can feel like a heart-wrenching thing, but the alternative is so much worse. <3

  90. diana k. says...

    My parents and I never communicated well- they grew up in a different country, in a different time- but they were really good at always being there. They were usually pissed, but they were there. Now that I’m older, we still don’t see eye to eye on things and they don’t approve of many of my life choices, but they’re just THERE all the time and we’ve established this kind of “I love you anyway” and it’s working out pretty well.

  91. Kate says...

    Vicky taking over her nephew’s night care reminded me of the day I went over to my friend with PND and held her in my arms like a baby and told her she was the only mother given to her daughter. The only one. And so she needed to stay alive for her. As a fellow PND survivor…aren’t women amazing?

  92. Laura C. says...

    Thanks for the advice, I’ll be waiting for more comments! I don’t really have any advice. Lately I feel and see that we are doing it all wrong and we don’t know what our mistakes are. Every day my 5 years old yells at is “you silly!” when she’s not having what she wants, or even when you gently ask her to get back to the table and finish her lunch. How do you do it? I’m done. Thank you.

    • Meagan says...

      Hi. I’m sorry you are struggling right now. Parenting can be so relentless and hard sometimes. My daughter is only one but in a big tantrum phase. One of the things that has helped me has been Janet Lansbury’s podcast and Facebook page. I’ve learned to respect my daughter’s choices and it has helped me calm my own anxiety–for example, last night she threw every single piece of food she was offered on the floor. I calmly asked her if she wanted to eat and when she stuck out her little bottom lip and shook her head, I said, okay, dinner’s over. She didn’t get another dinner made, I didn’t negotiate, I just moved on. As our pediatrician reminds me, if she’s hungry she’ll eat. :)
      You can do this!! Take care of yourself too. <3

    • Joanna Schuth says...

      Mama, I see you. I see the work and the thought you’re putting in. I see your love for your girl. I see you.

  93. Jessica Reisfelt says...

    My son was in the hospital and recovering at home from a serious illness for a few weeks this summer. We also relied on podcasts, when he needed to lay quietly on the couch – I’d add The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian to the list, it’s entertaining and often ends on a cliffhanger, leaving you wanting more!

  94. A lovely article thank you. I often feel I’m winging this parenting role so it’s good to read other parents real moments. Something I was told in the early days when my sweet colicky baby seemed to cry all day & I wondered if I’d ever see my old self again…’The days are long, but the years are short!’ And it’s so true, that colicky baby is now a sweet 8 year old with a dynamic 6 year old brother & we all survived the long days & I cannot work out where all the years have now gone!!!!! 😍

  95. Yen says...

    I remember you had a post before regarding “floor time”.

    My son (5) started regressing 3 months after his sister was born. I had no problem with his relationship with her. He really loves her and play with her all the time. But he’s jealous with the attention that I give to her baby sister and sometimes he would just act up and would be mean to me. It’s been months and he’s still that way. There are just days when I don’t know what to do. Then I read this post and remember about the “floor time” (which I’d already done before and had actually worked!) so I know I’ll be doing it again until he understands that I’m just here.

  96. Alice says...

    Me too! And I can’t believe how long I left it in between phone calls to my parents when away travelling as a late teen/20 year old life experiencer!
    But you hit the nail on the head – being a parent is an incredible complete life experience.

  97. Jessica says...

    At a baby shower for my first, I asked all my friends for a piece of parenting advice. One friend said, “No advice. He’s your kid. You’ll know what to do.” As a mother-to-be with all kinds of anxiety, I found it profoundly reassuring. And now, as a mother of two, I see there is nothing truer. We know our kids better than any therapist, parenting podcast, or well-meaning mother-in-law. We just have to believe it.

  98. Jessica says...

    Reading this blog is a nightly ritual (combined with 15 minutes of soak up time in the tub). I erupted into hot tears upon reading the last comment. If my son decides to marry one day and I’m lucky enough to speak at his celebration, I think I’ll close with the line. He’s only four, and it’s exactly how I feel. Be still my heart!

  99. H says...

    My daughter started preschool this year, and a couple weeks after turned five. Two big milestones! She’s blazing out into the world so confident, so herself, so joyful—and even in the drop off line, another kid said something mean and my throat went tight. I felt overwhelmed with anxieties. How will the world treat her? Change her?
    I thought carefully about it for a long time, trying to stay calm.
    I remembered someone commenting here on a post about how, you don’t have to worry about every interaction; you just make sure you are a safe place for them to land, that you create their true home and they’ll always be able to turn to you, to come home when they need to. That made me feel so, so much better. I’ve been holding onto that.
    And aside from picking up every cold in a 10 mile radius, she’s doing great. :)

  100. Omg, reading Lisa’s comment…is she me? I’ve said something similar, “I don’t care who started it. But I’m finishing it.”…..to my cats. I have yet to use that line on my kids (1 and 4)…yet.

  101. Daynna says...

    The last one made me tear up. I hope, when my own children look back, they can say I was good company too.

    This post was wonderful, but I always look forward to Motherhood around the World on Mondays! Hate that I have to ask about it on such a sweet post. Feels like I’m tarnishing it just a little. Maybe put a little disclaimer on top as to why it’s not happening today?

    • Anna says...

      I think it might be just a summer feature? I know what you mean though, I look forward to it too!

    • AJ says...

      Me too! I came here just to comment that I’d read that last one and my eyes immediately filled to the brim.

  102. As a young adult I lived with my friend’s family as I worked at a summer theater in their town. It blew my mind how different her family’s parenting style was from what I grew up with— they were lax and hilarious while my parents were strict and involved. I mentioned it to her mom at one point, and she said something I think about daily, 15 years later with my own kids. “Good parenting is consistent. That’s all it is. If your kids know how you will answer when they ask your permission? You are a doing a good job.” It really opened me up to having a different (but consistent!) way of parenting my kids.

    • neha says...

      soooooo good!! My parents are very consistent – my father more than my mom…

      One of my favourite advice came from CupOfJo, and, I believe, originally from Joanna’s mother, something about your face lighting up every time your kids walk into the room!! It stuck but what I didn’t realise at the time is that it is a two-way thing, and in a way it has defined our normal!! (Talk about a spot of internet radiating to make the world a nicer place :)

      Another good one is, “They forgive you” – my cousin said this to me, and I love it!! I realise that I have never been so responsible for another creature, but being human I still make mistakes, and guess what, he forgives me!!

    • Heather says...

      I think this is true, but I’ve found it hard because it requires that I feel the same every day, and I don’t. Sometimes I have a lot of patience, and some days I just don’t. Sometimes I want to play, sometimes I want to be still. Sometimes I feel relaxed about my kids doing something a little scary, and sometimes my anxiety takes over. I do always love them, though. That’s consistent.

  103. My older sister visited me when my first baby was a month old and I had a million questions for her (a seasoned parent) about schedules and feeding and why every day looked different (and often hard). At the end of her visit she looked me in the eyes and said, “Kathleen, he’s a person, not a problem to solve.” It was the perfect advice at the perfect moment, and I’ve shared the story with so many female friends who have applied it in surprising ways– to boyfriends, difficult parents, and, always, children.

    • Amanda says...

      Oh wow, I love this. You’re right, it applies to a lot of situations!

    • Tori says...

      Wow – I don’t have kids but that is brilliant. I needed to hear that reminder today. Thank you Kathleen for sharing!

    • Molly says...

      I love this. Going to apply the same thing to my husband. Sometimes I find myself looking at him like a huge puzzle that I want to solve (poor guy) but He’s a person. An inperfect, perfect, confusing and multifaceted person. Just like me. Except he doesn’t always try to “solve” me – just accepts me. I needed to hear that more than you know! #typea

  104. Sasha L says...

    I remember reading Lisa’s comment, “and it was TERRIFYING.” And laughing so hard. That moment when you realize that the moment you swore would never come, has indeed. 🤣

  105. K says...

    My mother also worked occasional nights growing up and my dad’s specialty was popcorn and ice cream for dinner.

  106. Katia says...

    Recently, when someone asked my five-year-old what she wants to be when she grows up, she thought about it and cinfidently said, “I just want to be me!” It’s rare that you get a sense that maybe you’re getting it right, and that was one of them.

    • Heather says...

      LOVE this

  107. barb says...

    Getting a lump in my throat at “You’ve been good company,” said the seventeen year old. MY HEART.

  108. Ashley says...

    I sometimes consider all the life experiences I’ve ruled out since becoming a mother. I doubt I’ll ever bungee jump or sky dive. Those things didn’t seem overly risky before but now the future with my children would be jumping with me. I can’t top the rush of motherhood anyway, so why risk losing it?

    • Neen says...

      YES. I totally agree, and you’ve phrased it beautifully. I’ve never been more protective of my safety or health than I have since becoming a mother.

    • Mel says...

      I think about this all the time too. I used to want to do so many things that sounded fun and adventurous, but no more. A friend once told me (when unbeknownst to me I was all of 3 days pregnant) that I would never think or care more about my mortality than I would once I became a Mother. So true. (side note: ditto with my husband’s….suddenly I care terribly about his dental hygiene, his physical fitness etc I told him the other day ‘you have to do xyz we need you to live forever!’ – ridiculous I know)

    • Heather says...

      I feel this regularly – and not just with big things, like bungee jumping. Something happens at work that pre-kids I would have fought on principle – whether or not it personally impacted me; now I have to decide, is this worth risking my job over? A teacher at my kids’ school is rude, and pre-kids I would have addressed it, but now I have to decide: is sticking up for myself worth the guaranteed impact that will have on my kid? I want my kids to see me take risks, and be brave, and stand up for what I believe in, but I’ve found I have to be a lot more careful about which battles I fight because so much more is at stake.

  109. Michelle says...

    Our 9 month old baby was especially snuggly his first few months in the world, and I held him as much as he would let me (no regrets). He’s growing as babies should and now is full of wiggles and wriggles and just wants to MOVE. But a couple times a day, he’ll still rest his head on my chest for a full 2 or 3 seconds – we call it a micro-snuggle and it’s the best.

    • Amanda says...

      I have a toddler that does this randomly and those 2-3 seconds are the absolute best. I almost cry every time.

  110. Natalie says...

    I identified with Molly’s comment so much. My son also just started kindergarten. The walk home from the bus stop is my favorite part of the day. We walk hand in hand and he tells me about his day. It’s just me and him and I am not worried about chores or what needs to get done and we have some time to reconnect.