Have you ever heard a piece of advice that has changed the way you parent? Here are 11 wonderful reader comments on raising children that had us clutching our hearts…

On deep questions:

“While walking down the canned beans aisle at the grocery store my three-year-old asked, ‘Why are you my mother?’ Ten minutes later, we passed a mom and her son who was a little older when I overheard a snippet of their conversation: ‘So, you remember when I was telling about how the dad’s sperm fertilizes the mom’s the egg?’ Big questions at the grocery store today!” — Courtney

“I’ve been reading It’s So Amazing with my eight-year-old. We were chatting about it in the car, and I mentioned how women can decide whether and when they would like to become pregnant. She looked totally incredulous, replying, ‘No… you can’t decide exactly when to get pregnant.’ When I explained that there are various ways that let women sometimes do exactly that, she looked out the window for a few seconds before turning back suddenly. ‘Wait!’ she exclaimed, ‘Have you been reading ahead?!'” — Kate

On funny names:

“When I went to my second ob-gyn visit to check in, she said, ‘Did we discuss this?’ I’m panicked… DISCUSS WHAT? Is something wrong? ‘No, you’re having twins.’ UM, NO! WE DID NOT DISCUSS THIS! A second baby was hiding in there! From then on, we called Baby B ‘the stowaway.’ So, when it came time to pick his name, I told my husband I wanted his middle name to be Stowe, as a nod to his funny beginning.” — Jenn

On growing up:

“I read an excerpt by Anne Lamott recently, in which she described her teenage son, having finally surpassed her in height one day by an inch. Upon taking notice, he patted her on the head and said something along the lines of, ‘You’re like a little elf to me now.’ I hope one day I get to experience that sense of humor from my kid.” — Leena

“My 14-year-old son, tall and skinny, will still sometimes crawl into bed with us, saying ‘Sorry, I just can’t sleep.’ Every time he does, I think, ‘This will definitely be the last time,’ and so I just savor having him there, holding my hand, falling asleep instantly, still small on the inside… for today.” — Andrea

On the biggest small moment:

“My daughter had a cluster of birth defects and 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 four years old now and healthy, but I repeat that to myself often… it’s always true.” — Michelle

On single parenting:

“I conceived my first child during the course of a fleeting relationship. Her biological father left as soon as we knew I was pregnant, and I found myself on the most difficult and wonderful journey of my life. I opted to find out my baby’s sex for practical reasons: I was struggling financially, and I needed to have the information so I could start gathering the things she would need. ‘Finding out’ turned out to be a bigger gift than I was anticipating: I picked her name, decorated her room, bought her copies of books I thought she’d like. As for surprises, she has continued to unravel them over the past ten years, from her red hair, to her booming laugh, to the way she purses her lips while she sleeps. A sonogram told me I was having a little girl, but it could never have revealed the miracle of raising her.” — Becky

On misunderstandings:

“Many years ago, we got our daughter a new toddler bed, but we kept it in the garage until we had room for it. I asked her one day if she wanted to see her new bed. She said yes, so we went to the garage, and I asked ‘Are you SO excited to sleep in your big girl bed?’ She replied, ‘Um, yeah, kind of. But I really wish I didn’t have to sleep in the garage.'” — Nancey

On love stories:

“I’ve thought of how my daughter sees my chins countless times as she lovingly gazes at me while she’s breastfeeding. I think of what I see when I accidentally have my phone camera turned on my face and cringe. But not my daughter. She looks up at me with more love than I could have ever imagined. She likes her view, and I should learn to love it, too.” — Rebecca

“I was putting my four-year-old daughter down for the night. She was begging me to stay with her, but we had guests over. I told her ‘Just think happy thoughts.’ She said, ‘But, Mama, you are my happy thought.’ Be still my heart.” — Loren

On wise words:

“When I had my first child, I felt overwhelmed by how many people had a solution to everything I felt had no solution. It made me realize that we all have unsolvable problems; a friend’s baby may sleep, but that doesn’t mean yours will if you do it just like your friend. In the midst of feeling under water, my cousin sent me a text out of the blue just to say that I was doing a great job. That made all the difference! Whenever I feel tempted to give advice to another parent, I always stop myself and instead say, ‘You are doing a great job.’ If they’re looking for a tip, they will ask you point blank. Most people just need encouragement.” — Emma

P.S. More great reader comments, and how to talk to kids about death.

(Photo by Nikaela Marie.)