Motherhood

11 Beautiful Reader Comments on Parenting

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.)

  1. I love this post bc I think constantly about the small moments of motherhood that have changed my perception of the world. I wrote recently about how my two year old called out the limitations of technology in our connections to each other so clearly (read: heartbreakingly)- if anyone is interested! http://bit.ly/facetimeisntfacetofacetime

  2. Breanne says...

    Loving this post! I am currently 8 weeks pregnant and terrified and excited at once. These lovely comments were all I needed to read right now (and at the same time, not at all what I needed to since I’m now crying crocodile emotional-pregnant-lady tears 😉). Thank you for all of the wonderful content on this site; sharing the reader comments of this wonderful community are always my favorite posts.

  3. LAA says...

    All these beautiful comments and THIS is the one that gave me a throat-lump.

  4. Nora says...

    My two and a half year old has started telling me, “try your best” as I leave for work. It cracks me up! And I really do try my best!

  5. Bren says...

    I will never forget when my firstborn was just a few weeks old and he was up at 4:30AM, wide awake. I actually googled “What do I do with a baby all day?!?!” hahahaha I laugh looking back, but seriously….what was I supposed to do with a baby all day? (I eventually had a daughter too and got more in the swing of things but GOODNESS was it a life shift with my first!) That was also the same morning I googled “What time does Starbucks open?” which is never something anyone should ever have to do, haha!

  6. Angela says...

    Andrea’s note about her 14 year old growing up, thinking each time might be the last time, struck me sideways. I thought of my affectionate 4 year old, and this moment is only 10 years away for us. (Only!) I’m away on a business trip, missing my son, and I’m suddenly sad at how fast the years will go by.

  7. sania says...

    My sweet 11 and 9 year old still haven’t received the memo on how it’s not cool to love your family anymore. I work nights half the year and when I wake up in the evening my daughter will literally jump up for joy as if she’s won the lottery. And my little 9 year old still comes into my room after school while I’m sleeping and crawls into bed for a quick “power cuddle”

  8. Danielle says...

    A recent favorite from my three year old: One day we got on the topic of what happens when you get old, and I said people shrink. I’m short – he asked me, “Mama, are you already shrunken?” A few days later, we were driving home from daycare and he said, “Mama when you are old and small, I’m going to pick you up from daycare, put you in you car seat, and drive you home.” :)

  9. Aria Cole Asher says...

    The little girl who thought she was going to be sleeping in the garage made me giggle. I love the sweet little comments kids make when experiencing new situations in the world.

    • Breanne says...

      That was my favorite! I love how kids just say exactly what they’re thinking.

  10. Janine says...

    Thank you, I really needed this. I’m struggling so much right now with a six month old who has a newborn’s sleep patterns, and whose new tooth seems to be making him yell near-constantly. (Is the teething pain supposed to last 3 weeks?!) I’ve been near tears and fighting headaches for the last few days and, “It’s not a straight line from bad to good,” and, “you’re doing a great job,” are exactly what I needed to hear.

    • Rheeds says...

      The early days and weeks and months are crazy. It does get better – and you are doing a great job.

    • cgw says...

      teething pain can last a while and then come back again… there will be a mouthful of teeth coming in. <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hang in there, Janine! You really are doing a great job. Those early days can be completely exhausting and overwhelming. It gets so much easier, I promise. Sending so much love your way!

    • Oh man, if I had a nickle for every time I googled, “when does this get easier?!” that first year. But it does. You’ll get more sleep. He’ll start to play on his own. Then you’ll cry for a different reason. But, damn, that first year was rough (…and beautiful). <3

  11. Thank you for sharing this photo Joanna! I am flattered, a treat. x

  12. Meg says...

    I also found out I was unexpectedly pregnant with baby #2 when my first was 10 months old. My first baby wasn’t sleeping through the night yet, I was still breast feeding, my husband and I were juuuuuuust coming out of a period of a lot of irritability about what the other could/should be doing and finally maybe figuring out how to share the work and support each other, so it felt so overwhelming to think about a second. But out of that came one of my favorite memories of my whole life. I had taken a home pregnancy test at 6 weeks but did not go to the doctor for the first time until I was at 9 weeks. I knew at that point that we would either hear a heartbeat or we wouldn’t. I was trying to figure out my own feelings that day — was I hoping for a heartbeat or hoping this embryo hadn’t developed? I had been so overwhelmed, so panicked, so not ready, but was I actually not wanting this child? I wouldn’t admit those doubts to anyone but my spouse but I assumed he was asking himself those same things. And so I said to him, right before I went to the doctor, “What are you hoping for?” Meaning, are you hoping there is or isn’t a heartbeat. And he said, so enthusiastically, “I’m hoping for a girl!” I realized he was already 100% on the baby train and it was so sweet and wonderful and reassuring. Thank you universe for giving us something we never would have chosen.

    • cgw says...

      Wait, you can’t leave us hanging, is it boy or girl?

    • Megan Mayer-Rothbarth says...

      <3 wonderful. congratulations!

    • Janine says...

      Thank you so much for sharing this very personal, beautiful story. I love this community so much because of these intimate glimpses at each other’s lives.

    • Meg says...

      It was a girl! Yes. She is now five. And so very very very feisty.

  13. Debs says...

    My MIL is so fantastic without our kids. We are very lucky. My 2yo daughter was crying one day in the car and my 5yo son reached over, patted her hand and said, ‘just think of Granny and you will be happy’. My own Mom died 2 years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter so to hear how much my kids find a depth of love and happiness in that relationship is so special.

  14. Oh these are so good.
    We recently moved to Australia from living in Chicago for 10 years. My 2-1/2 year old had her first full day of daycare today, when I came to pick her up she didn’t want to leave! We got home and she was grump and said “crash this house!” She wanted to go back to the daycare. “But where would we live?” I asked. She sat for a moment and said with a smirk, “California.”
    Another cute thing she’s been doing lately is asking me what I’m cooking, when I respond with “noodles” or “slicing an orange” she’ll enthusiastically say “oh, I love noodles!” Like she’s a 20-something telling a friend how much she “just loves her top!” :) It kills me.

    • Tiffany says...

      Welcome to Australia! I’m from Nevada ave live in Melbourne so it’s always fun coming across fellow ex-pats in random places! Hope you enjoy your time here and your daughter settles into care. My daughter is nearly 2 and didn’t love care at first so I can relate! X

  15. C says...

    I really needed to read these today. Just found out I am pregnant with #2 (my first is 10 months, so will likely be just 18 months when little one arrives), and feeling overwhelmed with joy and terror at the idea of a second baby so soon. (We struggled with infertility for years before our first, so even though we weren’t being careful, we weren’t really expecting anything to happen!) Hearing from all you lovely mamas reminds me of what a privilege this really is. ❤️

    • Jessica says...

      My first two are 18 months apart, and although the first 6 months with two babies was tough, now at 6 and 4, they have the most beautiful relationship. Congratulations!

    • C says...

      Thank you, Jessica! That is so encouraging to hear.

    • Kelly says...

      Congratulations on your beautiful babies!! ❤️

    • Bren says...

      Just to encourage you….my son and daughter are 22 months apart, and yes it was hard in the beginning, but its also AMAZING! Just tonight I was on the treadmill and they were playing “restaurant” together and giggling so hard while they served each other pretend oranges and toast! I actually teared up! Although I’m pregnant so everything is making me tear up….but still. I can assure you it is the best thing that has ever happened, they are best, best friends!!

    • C says...

      Thank you so much Bren and Kelly. Bren, your comment about everything making you tear up made me laugh. That is actually why I suspected I was pregnant originally — I am usually not a “happy crier” and have been a total pile of mush at everything lately, your kids’ sweet relationship included!

    • Lisl Sukachevin says...

      My youngest two boys are 22 months apart and are now 19 and 21 years old. They have always been, and are still best friends! Even attending the same university! It was tough at first (and my oldest is 2.5 years older than the middle), but having them close in age was wonderful. They always had built-in playmates! Hang in there, you will figure it out!

    • Another Kelly says...

      My first two are 15 months apart (numbers 2 & 3 are 3.5 years apart…) and they all get along great. The first year was terrifying, but it gets much easier. And, you know what? You’re doing a great job and will keep doing so.

  16. Katie says...

    These comments! I’m not a mother yet but hope to be soon. And one of the things that makes me feel like I can do it is that I’ll have this community of smart and kind women (who I don’t know!) sharing encouragement and advice, ripe for me to find when I need it most.

  17. cgw says...

    Someone down below (a bit) mentioned wanting parenting advice and not just wanting to hear “you’re doing great”. In this day and age, I think many people don’t want to come off as stepping on another parent’s toes regarding parenting. My advice to you is:

    ASK. Come straight out an ask.

    That first week I was home alone with our daughter on maternity leave, I felt so lost. My husband who had spent the first three weeks went back to work. My good friend who spent a week after the Huz went to work, went home. The baby and I woke up, saw the Huz off to work. I fed, burped, changed her. We read countless books, I sang a playlist worth of songs, we played on the floor (she was adopted at 14 mos). I looked at the clock and it was only 9:00 a.m. and we were staring at one another like “And now…?”.

    WHAT?!!! Panicked, I didn’t know what else to do with my daughter until my husband came home later at 6:30.

    So I emailed my friends who had BTDT. They responded with “We read and sang songs, played, sometimes we would go out.”

    I wrote back immediately: “No, you don’t understand. What I want from you is a time line, literally an hour by hour account of what you did with your children when they were young. I am in the dark.”

    They got a good chuckle at my sleepless panicked state, I got good, clear suggestions I desperately wanted.

    • Emily says...

      haha this one is so real. my maternity leave was spent in recovery (had a difficult delivery), but at some point, was so confused with how to spend my day that I stretched the time into these long, weird periods. BTW I am adopted myself (I just love to share that with other families/moms on either side of the relationship).

  18. Stephanie says...

    My 17-year-old boys are still snugglers. Even now, when the feisty one can’t sleep he climbs into our bed, throws his arm over me as my husband shuffles wordlessly off to the spare bedroom. It’s heaven :-)

    • Another Kelly says...

      My 14.5 year old still comes in to my bed to sleep with me, mostly when I’m napping. I love it (and him) so much. He never stays the night, mostly because my husband boots him out. :)

  19. Megan says...

    While we were cuddling the other day my 3 year old said, Mommy? You are my hero.

    What?! swoon! I didn’t even know she knew the word. They’ll really getcha, these little buggers.

  20. ec says...

    Trying (still) to get my 5 year old son to sleep in his own bed, and he says: “I like your bedroom better because there is no YOU in my room.” heart burst.

  21. Samantha Russell says...

    I love the reader comments!

    When I was on my way home from a business trip the other day, I facetime’d my 3.5 year old son as I was walking through the airport. He said “how long till you’ll be home mommy?”

    I explained how I had to take the plane, it would land at the airport, then I’d have to get my car and drive home, meaning it would be late and he’d already be asleep in bed.

    His response: “Put the pilot on the phone. I’ll tell him to land the plane in our backyard so I don’t have to wait to see you. I miss you tooooooo much mom.”

  22. Jane says...

    I’m in the trenches of new motherhood again (also have a 5 year old) with 2 month old twins and most days lately, I’m just not sure I can hack it. Thank you for the beautiful reminder of why we do this, even when it sometimes seems impossible. Motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I think/hope that the best things can come from the hardest things.

    • Monika says...

      Jane, I have twins (now almost 4) and an older son (now 6) as well and I promise you, you can hack it. It’s really hard, so very hard, but you are SO MUCH stronger than you think or feel right now and you will make it through to the easier patch that’s coming up and then through the hard patch after that and so on and so on. You’ll have moments of “what the fudge am I DOING, who let me have kids?!?” and then you’ll have many many more moments of feeling like you’re exactly where you want to be with exactly the right amount of love and strength to raise your family. xo

  23. Daisy says...

    Such a lovely post. When I asked my 8 year old yesterday about who is best friend was- he said, “You”. Made my day. Is it possible to love our husbands as much as we love our kids? My spouse is expecting the unconditional motherly love and I am not sure if it is even possible or if I am incapable of it..

    • Genevieve says...

      It’s not just you, Daisy. I love my children unconditionally but with my spouse, my love feels conditional.

  24. Barbara Kenner says...

    Shit! – I can’t read all the comments, because I’m crying too much…My daughter is 27 years old and she will still climb in the bed with me when she visits….

    • LU says...

      Aww. This made me remember that I actually do this too – I’m 31 and always sleep in my mom’s bed when I visit her, even though she has a spare bedroom. I didn’t even think anything of it until reading these comments. It just feels safe and comforting!

  25. Federica says...

    Oh, I just love the Reader Comments posts! This is truly a wonderful community

  26. Jenny says...

    This post has me in tears! Such sweetness. But, I’m wondering if you could do a post about the tougher phases of parenting: when everyone is sick, no one has slept more than a couple hours at a time, patience is thin, the toddler is tantrum-ing and the baby won’t be put down. I’m stuck in a bit of a parenting rut lately with my 3-year-old and 8-month-old and would love to hear how others break the cycle of exhaustion/impatience/guilt. I love my kids more than anything, ever, but, whew the days feel hard right now.

    • Amber J says...

      You are doing a great job.

      And a mantra my mother passed on to me from her mother: “This, too, shall pass.”

      Sending love and mama courage to you as I rock my own little one. <3

    • MB says...

      I feel you and second this! Hang in there!

    • jane says...

      I would hire a caretaker for a couple hours a day – to take care of the housekeeping and make a couple meals that will feed the family for the week. It is insane to do it all alone.

    • Hannah says...

      Jenny, this is Hannah from back in the comments section! First of all, thanks for your sweet reply. I never post comments so it was exciting to get a response! Anyway, it sounds like we’re going through a very similar season of life – with a tantrum-y three year old and a baby. I can tell you the two things that have helped me the most recently: one is to pick up the book “Momma Zen” by Karen Maezen Miller. I know you don’t have time to read a whole book, but this is a gem that you can turn to for little increments of sage wisdom when you need it. I devoured it during my daighter’s early weeks, and I swear, it changed my whole relationship to parenting. I’m still working on this, but Miller’s words helped me to see how little is in my control, and how that is actually so freeing when it comes to making parenting choices, which can sometimes feel make-or-break. She also helped me to see the sheer gloriousness of the mundane, and even the difficult, moments in your life with young children. The other thing I’ve been doing (and maybe this will sound a little “woo woo,” but I swear it works) is to imagine a bright white light emanating from my heart whenever my children scream/cry/are difficult. The louder the crying, the brighter the light. I imagine it spreading out enveloping me, the kids, and eventually our whole house, neighborhood, city, etc. This light carries the power of my love and bathes all of us in peace. There’s something about imagining this in such a visual way that instantly calms me down and helps me focus in the chaos. Anyway, good luck to you! You are strong and brave and doing important work.

    • Jeni says...

      I’m hear you, Jenny! I have a 2 and 4 year old and repeat, almost daily, my mantra for raising toddlers: “break down or break through.” It helps me remember that I cannot control the stress around me (the tantrums, the fighting between them, the lack of sleep, etc.) but I can control how I respond to the stress. And sometimes that means breaking down (raising my voice- its bound to happen sometimes! – or getting out a quick cry). But sometimes it means I can take some deep breaths and choose to break through.

      My other mantra – “its all temporary.”

      I’d also make a plug for Janet Lansbury’s “Unruffled” podcast. In the short 15-25 minute episodes she explains common toddler behavior and responds to listeners’ questions. I found these particularly helpful in making the transition from one kid to two and trying to stay sane with both a toddler (2 yr old) and infant. I also love that she ends each episode by saying, “we can do this.”

      Sending you lots of love, strength and patience! <3

  27. kelly lewis says...

    Recently, my 10yr old son was having a tough time. I thought it would be best if we both had some space, and told him so. He replied “Space only helps when you’re with me.” My heart partially exploded.

    • jane says...

      ooo that is SWEET. omg

  28. Emily says...

    I love reading the parenting posts and the sweet/funny/sentimental comments that follow. I have a spunky and loving 3 year old girl. She love me so much, and like the comment about writing what she is thankful for at preschool, she always says “mama”. It makes me so thankful that she loves me and we have such a special connection.

    However she is not as loving towards my husband, her dad, and he is the sweetest father to her! She never wants to snuggle with him, she screams when he picks her up instead of me, she doesn’t want him to put her to bed, read her books, etc. Does anyone have advice for me to change this situation? It’s been like this for a while, probably since she could start voicing opinions. It hurts my husbands feelings, and as much as I’ve explained to my daughter that she is not being nice to him and that it hurts him, she doesn’t care or want to change. There are plenty of moments of fun and sweetness between them and it is so great to see, I just wish she would be more open to loving him all the time, like she does with me. Any thoughts?

    • TipsyJwalker says...

      My family goes through in every now and then. I am the preferred parent (most of the time). My daughter (also 3) and husband ( also a great dad) grew close during a week where I had to work late. So she spent the majority of her nightly routine with him. That week seemed to change things for her. She couldn’t easily ask for me or demand I put her to bed. She started asking for her dad more and referencing how “they” do things to me. It was really sweet. Every now and then she will ask for only me but their relationship grows a lot when I am not visible. Hope this helps!
      * There was time when my husband was always hurt by her and the tides have definitely changed.

    • Molly says...

      I’m sure its a phase that she will grow out of but how about Daddy/Daughter Dates? The two of them can do fun bonding things together?

    • Eve says...

      Emily, this might sound weird, but does your 3 year old see you and your husband interact a lot? Like, does she see that you trust and love him? I have a 1 year old and sometimes I realize her dad and I are never parenting her together because there’s so much adulting to be done. So I simply wonder if she sees YOU cuddle with him, if she will ask for him more. Monkey see monkey do business. Regardless, I hope you get answers and I hope it’s a short phase!

    • Mari says...

      Do you think your husband may have done something to spark this kind of behaviour in her? It could be something simple and stupid, but also something more serious. Either way, there’s probably something that doesn’t make her comfortable enough to be so loving towards him as she is with you. Try and pay attention to what is different when she wants to interact with him, or when she rather just be with you… Maybe that will help.

    • It’s like you’re seeing inside my life right now. Our 2.5 year old has decided (for a while now) that her dad is just not as good, and she can say pretty hurtful things like “Daddy is bad” when she doesn’t want to see him. We’ve tried a bunch of things, but what seems to be working right now is giving her time to transition when he comes home (so he says hi but doesn’t pick her up or hug her right away, just waits until she’s ready), and finding something she’s excited to tell him about when he comes home in the evenings, like a new library book or a piece of art she made. It’s been SO helpful to basically give her a “talking point” she’s already excited about, and she seems to forget about her favoritism. Good luck!

    • CJ says...

      We went through something similar, and I’d say definitely get them to spend one-on-one time together. My husband takes our 2 year old on park dates every Sunday morning, and since doing that, she loves spending time with him and is more accepting of his care when I’m around. Good luck!

  29. Mar says...

    The best parenting advice I have ever had came from my friend Rosa. When I told her that I was pregnant she said: “My father always said that there are only two things you must do to raise your children: love them very much and give them always a good example” (*Quererlos mucho y darles siempre buen ejemplo*)
    I am a mother of two now — four years and 20 months– and whenever I feel anxious with questions like: will they learn to be well – mannered, will they be kind, will they be honest and decent human beings in the future… I always find peace and comfort in that piece of advice. I just have to be all those things myself and they will learn from my example. My friend´s advice really changed my life and my perspective, it was the best gift.

    • Emily says...

      This is my new mantra!

  30. Peta trendall says...

    “Still small on the inside……..”. That phrase had my heart. My sons are now 23 and 21 years old, 6′ 5″, and 6′ 1″ respectively. They are discovering their place in the world as young adults but there are precious “still small on the inside” moments.

  31. A says...

    This makes me think of something my husband told me that really helped during a very tough baby blues filled postpartum period. My firstborn was about 2.5 years old and I felt absolute guilt and grief over giving her a sibling and taking away our special one-on-one relationship. I was sobbing about it one day when my husband said to me “she’s still the centre of our universe. But now she has some company.” Still makes me cry when I think of it.

    • Adrienne says...

      Oh my gosh I’ve recently been through the exact same thing and I love this!

    • Ugh, that is the perfect way to put it. I went through the same thing with my two boys when I had my second and felt so guilty! Now that I see them as best friends though, everything feels right in our world.

  32. Maggie says...

    My 1.5 year old loves the very simple book “Hug” by Jez Alborough. Now when he sees me at a distance, whether I’m returning from work or just across the room, he says, “Bobo!” (the main character), and I have to shout, “BOBO!” Then he bum rushes me, chanting “hug hug hug hug hug,” giving me just enough time to sink to my knees and catch all of his 28 lbs of love in my arms. Often the best part of my day.

    • Nicole says...

      My two year old son has earned the nickname “Bobo” for the exact same reason :) Love this!

  33. Carol says...

    I had come from a 2nd grade Parent-Teacher conference and I told my then 8-year-old son, “Your teacher said she told you about how babies are made!” “Yeah,” he replied, sounding matter-of-factly, “with sperm cells and egg cells.” His 3-year-old sister excitedly butted in, “And pretzels!!!”

    • Lindsay says...

      Oh that is SO cute!

  34. m says...

    I’m 18 weeks pregnant with my first and now I can’t stop crying after reading this article! All the hormones!

  35. Amy says...

    I just about can’t breathe after reading Andrea’s comment.

  36. Liz says...

    Michelle’s comment was so meaningful to me. My daughter was born with a birth defect and just had her “big surgery”. We recently found out she’s had complications and will definitely need at least one more. Raising a baby with issues can be so alienating and it’s so helpful to hear these kinds of things. Thank you for including it

    • A* says...

      Agree. Raising a baby with special needs or medical issues is such an isolating experience, as I am finding out more and more every day. Hugs to you.

    • Michelle says...

      <3 It's so hard. I'm sorry she has to have another one. Our diagnosis process was long and it felt like every appointment brought bad news. But eventually we turned a corner and it started to get easier. It can be so lonely but that somehow gets better too.

    • I’m so sorry to hear you are struggling. Having a baby, nevertheless an ill baby, can be so overwhelming. Please know you are not alone! I found this site helpful in dealing with it all, especially hospitalization – copingspace.org. I hope it’s useful to you too

  37. J says...

    I needed this today. My normally super happy, “smile at everyone and everything” baby was super fussy today and I felt like a hopeless mother for not having more grace with her. These moments, even the fussy ones, are so fleeting and it’s a nice reminder to hold on to all of them just a little bit longer.

  38. V says...

    My son has never been particularly affectionate – even at 10 weeks, he was much more curious about looking around and exploring the world around him (to the degree possible at that age). Now he’s 2.5 and he’s only become less amenable to cuddles, even refusing to hold hands unless we’re crossing the street. A few weeks ago, he started saying “I need a hug and a kiss” before he goes to sleep. Yes, I realize this is likely a part of his bedtime stalling routine. But oh, my, God, when those little arms circle my neck and actually squeeze, with his little head and damp hair tucked into my neck, I almost burst into tears each night. Let me hold this boy like this forever.

    • Katherine says...

      Cue the waterworks. My 18 month-old boy has just started giving hugs where he squeezes my neck and I can’t get enough of them.

  39. Hannah says...

    My best parenting advice actually came from my husband. Our new daughter was just a few weeks old, and I was really struggling to manage her needs, my fluctuating postpartum hormones, and most of all, the needs of my sweet three year old son, who had (quite understandably) turned into a bit of a terror. I sobbed to my husband that I was a terrible mother, messing everything up. He said, “This is a marathon. And when you’re running a marathon, sometimes you stumble. But you’re not stumbling all the time. It’s a really long race.” Those were exactly the words I needed to hear, and words I repeat to myself still.

    • Jenny says...

      I have an 8-month-old and three-year-old and am stumbling a lot recently. I needed this reminder today. Thank you, Hannah.

  40. Katie says...

    Expecting my first on Thursday (!!!) and so grateful for the community you have built here, Joanna.

  41. jean says...

    I love all of these comments, but I was struck in the heart by Michelle’s. Michelle, if you are reading, I wonder if you could share whether you found any really helpful support groups for parents of babies with birth defects. And yes, ICU nurses are angels.

    • Michelle says...

      Hi Jean! It was such a difficult time but everyone in the NICU made it much much easier.
      Her condition (vacterl association) is pretty rare and can encompass a wide range of defects. I actually found a closed Facebook group for parents. It was a really supportive place, and even though everyone’s story was pretty different, it was nice to “be” with people who could understand. We even arranged a meetup of a couple local families and it was so cool to see people further down the road than we were at the time.
      I hope your comment doesn’t mean that you are dealing with a similar situation, but if it does – so much love to you. It gets easier. Even if just by the passing of time, it will get easier.

  42. maïa says...

    Sobbing with the readers comments, and then so much with the readers comments of the readers comments! :)

    I would love too if you would share experiences of people who changed something in their lives thanks to becoming parents. A mother who starts a company of organic products, a father who gets interested in genders equality and start to fight for it, a parent who stops to smoke… Small or big changes and how they did to listen to the intuition offered to them by their kids.

  43. Kristiana says...

    Love Becky’s comment. Beautiful.

  44. Brittany says...

    First time commenter here – have always loved your parenting and pregnancy posts. As someone who went through pregnancy loss and infertility I’ve found your posts and the comments so helpful. However, I’m currently dealing with a preterm birth of my daughter at 26 weeks and 3 days who is in the NICU and would so love to find some guidance and support from this or other blogs and communities for mother of premature babies or those in the NICU who have to wait days and weeks months before holding and kissing their children.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, brittany, that sounds so, so hard. it must feel unbearable not to be able to hug and hold your sweet daughter. it sounds really overwhelming. sending you so much love right now. you’re not alone. we’d love to write more about this.

    • t says...

      Brittany congrats on your baby girl and sending you lots of hugs. I don’t have any suggestions on communities but I can tell you that I have a friend whose little daughter was born at exactly 25 weeks and weighed 1lb, 4oz. She is now a healthy three and a half year old and is absolutely thriving and on par with other kids her age. You are absolutely not alone.

      My twins were born at 34 weeks (toddlers compared to your little miracle) and I couldn’t hold them for three days. I know every person and situation is unique but I just kept thanking my lucky stars that my babies were born in the US. Our healthcare system is not ideal and our country is in a funk but in many other parts of the world our babies wouldn’t have a fighting chance.

      Im sure none of this makes it any easier as you painfully can’t take your baby girl home so I am most of all sending you hugs and well wishes from one mama to another.

    • Michelle says...

      Oh I’m so sorry Brittany. I wasn’t able to hold my girl for 9 days and it was so strange. I struggled with feeling I wasn’t a “real” mother yet because all I could do was stare at her (and pump, ha). I found a lot of community in closed facebook groups specific to her condition, I’m sure there are similar ones for preemies.
      Most moms I know who have been through something like this are very supportive. Try to be open to other women who have been down difficult roads before you, even if your stories are different. Hard is hard.
      I struggled for years feeling like I couldn’t be honest about what my motherhood experience looked like. I desperately wanted to be part of the conversation with my friends who had little babies too, but nothing shuts down a conversation faster than a terrible reality. Try to show kindness to people who don’t know what to say and to yourself. This too shall pass. <3

    • Lisa says...

      Hi Brittany,
      Congrats on the birth of your little girl. Two years ago today my daughter came home from the NICU after a month and a half. She was born at 29 weeks, weighing 3 pounds. I was also very I’ll at the time. Anyway, it took me a while to find a community, but there are a few other preemie moms I follow on Instagram. I still don’t really feel like I have found exactly what I’m looking for though. Feel free to respond here and I will leave my email if you want to connect.

    • Jess says...

      Hi Brittany, NICU is SUCH a struggle. I’m sorry you and your baby have to go through it. One of my twins spent 18 days in NICU. At the outset, I had no idea what was going on (I wasn’t exactly doing too well and in ICU myself). I didn’t get to meet him for 5 days. And then, when I did, I was still so out of it and not fully aware of what was going on that I didn’t really understand or even really connect with him. It’s been a hard thing to move past. And, honestly, they just turned 4 a week ago and I still feel cheated of a normal birth, and I still have crazy anxiety when I look at old photos, from the uncertainty of knowing if he’d be ok. We are extremely lucky that everything turned out ok, that he’s 100% fine (which currently means toddler terror). But those days and the early days at home gutted us. I think we made it through to the other side because we had very different approaches… my husband gobbled up information and searched for more. I skimmed the surface, just trying to make it through. And we balanced each other out. Try to go easy on yourself. I felt bad about everything I couldn’t do. Or everything my husband could do that I couldn’t because I was in my own hospital bed. But sometimes you just have to keep moving. Oh, and trust your gut. If something feels wrong or you want more info, be your own advocate. We definitely had to push a lot. Take care. 🍀
      – Jess, mama of twins… aka “Jenn” in this article ;)

    • Vicky says...

      Brittany,
      Speaking from experience (2 x preterm births) I know you will go through a lot of stages and emotions through this journey you will have in the NICU. The start of your baby’s life is different to most and you will have to mourn that you missed out on that experience. Some days will be wonderful and others horrible (I would often cry when I saw pregnant women after the premature birth of my baby). My advice is to take it one day at a time and not try to do too much. There is a small community of premmies that you may find, but every baby is different and progresses differently, so try not to compare your journey with theirs, or judge your worth on this. Trust the medical professionals and hold onto whatever hope you can find.
      Sending you lots of love,
      Vicky xoxo

    • Char says...

      I was lucky and only had to wait 10 days to hold my daughter. She was in the NICU for 1 month. Talking to other parents helped but each of us had to find our own way. I found that I spent alot of time holding her hand, talking and singing to her. I read to her. I made sure she had family visit. In many ways it was what I was planning to do if she had come straight home. I was absolutely terrified most of the time for her and what effect her condition could have on the rest of her life and I talked to a counsellor. It’s hard with all the information thrown at you and decisions to be made that it’s so important to spend some quiet time with your daughter. Even if they’re hooked up to machines you still learn so much about their personalities. Do they join in the noise or stay quiet? Are they movers? My daughter confirmed to me she was a mover and loved to hear music and so much more. Make sure you take advantage of the support programs for you!

    • m says...

      Hi Brittany – I am thinking of you today. Ask your NICU nurse about a hospital based support group! I’ve worked in many large hospitals across the country and there has always been a support group. Make sure to take care of yourself … I just read a study finding (not surprisingly) NICU parents have a huge risk for PTSD in the year following the birth.

      http://support4nicuparents.org/for-parents/
      https://grahamsfoundation.org
      not a support, but NICU milestone cards. because you have to celebrate everything positive in the NICU! https://www.etsy.com/listing/512870581/boy-preemie-nicu-milestone-cards?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=preemie+milestone+cards&ref=sr_gallery-1-3&organic_search_click=1

    • Cecile says...

      Dear Brittany, that must be so hard. Your story reminds me of Rachel Turiel, who wrote a lot about the preterm birth of her son on her blog. It’s in the archive of her website; her son is a teenager now, and thriving. I always forget the name of the blog, but you’ll find it if you google her name. It’s an excellent blog anyway, with very wise and honest observations about parenting and making a home. Love!

    • Kirsten says...

      Brittany, I am so sorry you are dealing with this. I have 20 month old little guy who was born at 25 weeks and 5 days after pregnancy loss and infertility. He spent 121 days in the NICU and every single one of them was a struggle. So many days of not holding him and only getting to hug with my hands- so difficult. I found some support in a local NICU group and some in a Micropreemie group on Facebook. Please take care of yourself and I can say somehow you get through it but it sucks so much of the time.

    • Anna says...

      Hi Brittany, My daughter was in the NICU for 90 days after birth due to breathing issues. I was discharged from the hospital after one night. I remember walking into our home, seeing flowers everywhere and photos of our daughter that my husband had printed. When I saw the empty cot, I couldn’t help bursting into tears. Just felt so wrong. We also had a 16 month old son, so we were only able to visit with our daughter for a few hours in the evenings and on weekends. However, the nurses were incredible, so dedicated and sensitive to all our varying emotions. I have the highest admiration for them. They used to organise something called kangaroo care for me and my husband. A nurse would wheel a very comfortable lazyboy armchair into the NICU. We would put on special gowns that opened (discreetly)at the front then the nurse would gently rest our baby on our bare chests. Skin to skin. It was magic. I remember watching her completely relax on her daddy, her breathing gradually falling into a nice rhythm, usually in sync with his. The world stopped for a while…until my toddler found buttons to push (!!) or loudly demanded food (God bless him). Also, there are no stupid questions. Ask away! Repeatedly. I hope that you get lots of cuddles soon. In the mean time, rest assured that your baby knows when you are near, knows your touch, your voice. You. x

    • Brittany says...

      Thank you all. Unfortunately, my baby girl passed away last night in my and my husband’s arms after having a great morning and then succumbing to what seems to be an infection. I’ll seek out these comments when it’s all less raw.

    • Lydia says...

      Brittany,
      I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot fathom the amount of pain your family is experiencing right now. I recently changed jobs after working as a NICU nurse and I know the unit is mourning with you. Sending love and thinking of you and your daughter, may she rest peacefully.

    • Cecile says...

      Oh Brittany, I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending you lots of love (all the way from Belgium).

    • Sonia says...

      Brittany, I’m so sorry for your loss. It broke my heart to read your second comment. I can’t begin to imagine what you are feeling right now, I am thinking of you and sending you much love.

    • Lisa says...

      Oh my gosh Brittany I am so incredibly sorry. I don’t have the words. I’m sitting here crying for you.

    • Beth says...

      Brittany,
      Sending you lots and lots and lots of love. And more love.
      Beth

    • Thuy says...

      Brittany, I am so sorry. Thinking of you and sending warmth and love.

    • Jess says...

      Oh, Brittany, just saw your second comment and wanted to say I’m thinking of you and sending hugs. I am so sorry for your loss.

  45. jeannie says...

    These are so so beautiful! I am tearing up reading through them.

  46. Olivia says...

    I’m not even a mom and I teared up reading each one of these.

  47. C says...

    I guess I’m alone in feeling that I wanted advice and tips from other parents even if I knew they might not work for me. Whenever I would complain about something difficult with my kid and someone responded with something like “you’re doing a great job,” I felt like, well thanks, I appreciate that, but also can you help me brainstorm some ideas for tackling this issue because I’m feeling really stressed out about it?! Compliments and encouragement are nice, but so are ideas that I might not have thought of in my sleep-deprived hazed.

    • Betsie Cialino says...

      I’m 34 weeks pregnant and feel the same: I want everyone’s advice! Of course I won’t follow every piece of advice, but I like having a big tool box.

    • Robin says...

      Totally! Give me ALL the advice! Each to their own :). When I do share I try to preface by saying that every baby is different (even my own two!).

  48. jeannie says...

    I love the Stowaway comment! Also, I definitely remember the day I looked over at my son and he was taller than I was. We were in front of our local grocery store an I said, “I guess I’ll be looking up to you now!” He also patted my head! Very tender moment.

  49. Loren says...

    thank you for sharing all of these – tears in my eyes. and to be included as one of them – it’s my 40th birthday today and i can’t imagine a better gift! so thankful for the CoJ community!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      happy birthday, loren!!!!

    • Tristen says...

      YOU ARE MY HAPPY THOUGHT *sob*

  50. So true about just wanting encouragement. The women I am closest to always just showed up and encouraged, never judging or giving unsolicited advice. In those early days of being a mom, it made all the difference! <3

  51. sarah says...

    Loren’s comment WRECKED me. I’m sitting on the couch sobbing uncontrollably and now I’m going to lay down next to my sweet son and sniff his hair. Kids. are. the. best.

  52. Madie says...

    I was cuddling my almost-2 year old the other night and he said something about hippos (his current favorite animal) and I said, “yes, you love hippos…” and then he listed off a few other animals – “I love go-lellas (gorillas), I love zee-bahs…” and then he sort of sighed and snuggled in and said, “I love mama”. GAH. Oh, my heart. Another moment indelibly etched in…

  53. Becky says...

    The bed story cracked me up! We moved my daughter to a bed last summer and spent a bit of time hyping up The Big Girl Bed. I converted her crib over during the school day, so she got home and ran back to see her new bed. She was crestfallen to find her converted toddler bed. Turns out she thought all Big Girl Beds are giant kings! Sorry kid, I waited till way into my adult life to even advance to a queen, you do not get one at age 3!

  54. Jess says...

    Loved these. My baby is five months and pre-verbal, but when I come home from work she wiggles her arms and legs excitedly and leans forward to suction her open mouth to my cheek, where she stays contentedly for the next few minutes. We think this is her interpretation of a kiss, and it makes the late nights and early mornings soooo much more worth it, ha!

  55. Kristin says...

    I have loved your blog for many years, Joanna. Thank you so much for fostering such a wonderful community for all of us to share.

    The only unsolicited advice I give to new moms or soon-to-be moms is something I heard during one of my prenatal classes: “Babies needs are simple. Adult needs are complicated.” It is such a perfect, simple reminder that babies truly only need a few things: love, food, diaper changes and a decent place to sleep. Its us adults that overthink things and can sometimes make things harder than they are. It’s not always easy to heed the advice, but I try to remind myself of this even as my baby has turned into my strong-willed toddler.

  56. Tammy says...

    Ever since my now 8-year-old daughter could write, she has left us notes. Sometimes they are stern missives, like “You are not doing good parenting right now!” when we won’t let her come downstairs after bedtime. But more often they are sweet and full of love. Cleaning out the craft supply drawers over the holidays, I found a tiny slip of paper that had four words stacked on top of each other:
    Mom
    Love
    Love
    Love
    What more could I possibly ask from this life?

    • sarah says...

      Oh my goodness Tammy. What a clever little girl you have. Well done, mom. I’m sure you’ll treasure that little piece of paper forever.

    • Corina-Alexandra Cucutianu says...

      What an absolutely wonderful kid you have raised! Bless her soul!
      On a similar note, I remember being a kid in the summer vacation and waking up in the morning to find in front of my door tiny beautiful notes written by my parents. They would write short messages like ” food is ready in the kitchen. Have a lovely day” and a simple drawing (something like the paintings in the caves, ha! because none f them is talented at drawing) and it absolutely made my day. I did not know back then that those were actually love letters, but I am glad that I knew enough that those are important to collect them. Now I am 32 and I sometimes open the shoe box I keep them in just to pick one randomly and read it. My God, hardly can I wait to have my first kid and do the same…

  57. Kayla says...

    oh i love this: “A sonogram told me I was having a little girl, but it could never have revealed the miracle of raising her.” I say out loud to my daughter on a regular basis: “I can’t believe you’re real.” What a gift!

  58. Samantha says...

    Read once that a baby or a child or really any human being is not a problem to be solved. They are little resolute souls who need love and comfort, not troubleshooting!

  59. Tammy says...

    My 3 year old’s latest thing is saying she wants or likes something “all of the time.” So if I say no more tv or no more kit kats, she’ll say “but I like them all of the time!” Last night I turned on a quick show for her and said I’d be right back. She grabbed my hand and said “No, stay with me, Mommy. I want you all of the time.” So I plopped back down and cuddled with her until the show was over. Laundry be damned. Totally pulled at my heart strings and I can’t stop thinking about it.

    • Jenny says...

      My 3-year-old daughter asked me to “keep her company” during her show last night. I also couldn’t refuse!

  60. Nadine says...

    It took me a long time to realize we’re all doing the best we can, wish I hadn’t judged myself by what I thought other people were doing. Oh, and that I hadn’t read most of the parenting books that I did.

  61. Wendy says...

    I am not a Mother, nor do I plan to be one, but reading these (plus all the comments) really made my whole day (aka I’m sobbing).

    I’m an adoptee and have always struggled with various emotions relating to Mother/child relationships, but reading these reminded me of how truly lucky I am that my Mother raised me.

    And what an immense gift my Birth Mother gave to me when she found my forever Mom (who is my happy thought).

    • Natalie says...

      So beautiful, Wendy xo

  62. Betsy says...

    Oh, Andrea! Your comment made me cry. So touching!

  63. Laura says...

    I hear you, Rebecca! When
    I catch my reflection in my daughter’s eyes while she’s nursing, I often think, “oof she’s seeing me from a very unflattering angle,” but does she care? Of course not! I feel a huge burden to end the cycle of body shame that has been passed down through generations of women in my family and the first step is to stop having thoughts like that!

    • Rebecca says...

      Amen! Our bodies are amazing machines. They are the vessel that carry us through this life and we should all strive to thank our bodies instead of be critical towards ourselves. It is a constant conversation I have with myself!

  64. Hilary says...

    These are so lovely! One of my favorite reminders for mamas and daddys is from Taking Cara Babies (a delightful sleep program if any newer parents are struggling to get some sleep!). Cara always says that you’re the right parent for THIS baby! Such simple advice but I find it comforting!

  65. Sarah says...

    This reminds me of something I read here a few months ago. Something about changing the wording about reproduction when talking to kids. Instead of “the sperm fertilizes the egg”, the wording was changed to show that the egg isn’t just sitting there waiting to be fertilized, and actually had a bigger performance role. Does anyone else remember this?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yes! i *think* we put a link to an article about that in a link list. now i can’t track it down!

      we did do this post about talking to your kids about sex, if that’s helpful (but it doesn’t talk about this exact thing) https://cupofjo.com/2015/01/motherhood-mondays-talking-to-kids-about-sex/

      thank you, sarah!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha oh yes, sarah!!

    • Amy says...

      Thanks for finding that and reminding me, Sarah! That is such a good point. Off to read….

  66. Maggie says...

    Cup of Jo – you have created such a great community. Thank You.
    I loved this article and the incredible comments. I’m not a mother yet but I love my nephews and nieces more than I knew was possible and watch closely as my sisters go through the motherhood adventure. I am so moved by these stories!

  67. I needed to read this on this gloomy, rainy day, thank you! My almost 7 year old loves to write notes. Her Dad comes home late every night because he’s a doctor. One night, he was coming home extra late and she wrote him a note and we stuck it on the door. It said, “Welcome home Appa (dad in Korean). I love you so much. Remember to kiss me. Good night Appa. Love (heart) your daughter (heart) Audrey (heart heart heart). Have good dreams (rainbow and heart).
    “Remember to kiss me”.. *tears*!

  68. Esss says...

    Thank you, needed this today! I’m 28 weeks pregnant with my first, and feel like a lot of what I’ve been reading about birth and parenting lately is about normalizing and validating the hard stuff. Which is SUPER, SUPER important. But I was feeling nervous, and hearing about the sweetness and love and beauty of it all was just what I needed this cold gray morning.

    • Louise says...

      The good and sweet evens out with the hard. My not quite two year old is really strong willed, but yesterday out of the blue, she looked at me and said “give me a hug!”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, esss, i hear you! i felt the same when i was pregnant. i was like, wait, can anyone tell me something *good*? i wrote this post about it, actually, in case it’s helpful:
      https://cupofjo.com/2011/11/motherhood-mondays-the-best-book-for-mothers-to-be/

      sending so much love to you. at this time next year, you won’t BELIEVE how much you love the little person next to you :)

    • Sasha L says...

      Equal parts joy and suffering.

      Like life itself.

    • J says...

      It’s the greatest love and most amazing thing in the world and it’s the hardest, most tedious, unrelenting thing too. It really is a trip. With that said, it is *the best*. But give yourself time. If you don’t feel instant love, that’s ok! A friend of mine said the birth of her baby was the best day of her life. I did not feel that way at all and wondered what was wrong with me…. Nothing it turns out. The best day of my life is every few days, when we have a little snuggle or laugh or song together, when I fall asleep curled up in his little toddler bed with him, when he hugs his new little brother, when the baby stares up at him adoringly, when I hear my hubby in another room telling the baby how much he loves him. We moan and complain too much about it, it’s true. It’s because it’s hard. And for some reason, complaining often passes for conversation in this society. I’m guilty of it too. Enjoy the ride, it is going to be amazing.

    • Cady says...

      I’m only 10 months in, but don’t expect that all the bad stuff is going to happen! I got really lucky and had an easy pregnancy, an easy delivery (man, epidurals are the bomb!), and a pretty amazingly perfect baby who breastfeeds like a champ. I went in thinking it was all going to be so much worse than it actually was. Knowing and normalizing the bad stuff is important, but I wonder if we’re not going too far in that direction. Sometimes it all works perfectly!

      That being said, he’s still only slept more than 4 hours in a row 3 times in his whole life, so it’s not ALL roses!

    • Kristie says...

      My husband was always anxious to have kids, but once we had our Theia 8 months ago he fell into parenthood so wonderfully. A few weeks in he said “If I knew babies were this awesome I would’ve had ten by now!”… I loved the sentiment, but not the thought of having ten by age 28! Babies are awesome and hard and a joyful mysterious piece of your heart beating outside your body. Enjoy your new baby!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so sweet, kristie!

    • Emily says...

      Esss, I remember that stage and wondering what on earth I had done to myself, but then a woman I work with came up and said, “I am so excited for you. It’s going to be the best. It’s just the best!” And it is. You are going to love it so much. Even if there is some hard stuff, it’s going to be THE BEST.

    • beebee says...

      A few years ago I was at a bachelorette party and saw my extremely pregnant friend. I remembered the anxiety and fear, and then the pure pure love and joy that built slowly in the months after meeting my daughter (then 3). I just burst into happy tears because she was about to meet her baby!

      I’m so excited for you Esss!

      Also – the love didn’t hit me like a freight train at the moment of birth and it worried me a lot, but it developed gradually as we got to know each other over a few days and weeks. That’s normal too.

  69. Maggie says...

    When my first baby was just a few weeks old (she’s almost 10 now), and I was struggling with sleep and nursing and schedules and all the incredibly Big minutiae of life with a newborn, a very good friend and fellow mom told me that whatever decision I made for my baby was the right one for that baby. She said “Always remember that You are the perfect mom for Your Baby.” Those true, kind words have helped me through numerous parenting hurdles over the past decade.

    • Meredith says...

      I love that. The fact that I could be the ‘perfect’ mom for my miraculous, wonderful little girl makes me view myself in an entirely different way.

  70. Barb says...

    Really, really crying. Whoo, boy. And the comments here are amazing, too. What a wonderful community you’ve fostered, Joanna.

  71. Jennifer says...

    The 14 year old growing up really hit home for me. My sons are 10 and 11 and just last year it hit me that they won’t be cuddling with me forever. So now anytime they want to sleep with us I slide on over to the middle and tuck them in. All night I won’t sleep, remain squished and hot, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world since one day that sweetness of cuddling with Mom and Dad won’t happen. For now they are still our little boys.

  72. Clare says...

    Our 29 year old still crawls into our bed when he’s visiting. He’s 6’4″! He will nudge me with his head until I stroke his brow. Like a giant puppy. His fiancee (who is petite) laughs about how he loves to be spooned.

    • Claire says...

      Clare, this is the cutest thing I have ever read. That is so sweet and special!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, my heart!!

    • Eliza says...

      I’m 32 and I still go home, put my head in my mom’s lap and ask her to play with my hair. She traces my ear, and it’s like shooting love straight into my brain.

  73. selby says...

    the first comment made me laugh because according to my parents, i used to ask all of the sex ed questions at the grocery store check out! i’m not sure what it was, maybe it was all of the various magazine covers, or maybe that’s where i saw a lull in their focused shopping, but there were multiple times where i’d say things like “wait, so a boy has a PENIS and a girl has a VAGINA?” and the area around us would go quiet, waiting to hear what my parents would say.

  74. Tara says...

    Oh man! Crying!!! Love this post and all the comments so much! xo

  75. Neen says...

    Loren’s comment hit me like an arrow. I have a very attached 3 year old girl, who can sometimes drive me a bit nutty with her ability to involve herself in every second of our time together. Around Thanksgiving at her preschool, the teachers had the kids fill out a turkey feather with the thing they’re most thankful for. I was scanning the wall, giggling while reading all the cute responses…”hopping”…”my toys”…”lollipops”…when I came to my daughter’s: “My mama.” I burst into tears right there.

    • Jackie says...

      Bursting into tears on your behalf over here. Just, the sweetest love from our little ones. How did we get so lucky?

    • b says...

      I love a kid who’s grateful for hopping.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha, B, same :) all these lovely little souls.

    • Loren Latourelle says...

      Neen – ‘the’ Loren here! tears here too! much love to you today!

  76. Bonnie says...

    That last one is everything. ❤️

  77. Elizabeth Mulholland says...

    Andrea’s comment about her 14 year old son climbing into bed really hit home for me. My 14 year old does the same thing- occasionally. It is the sweetest moment because you know it’s coming to an end.

    • Justine says...

      Yes! My 14 year old is so tall and broad now…I treasure the moments when he still crawls into my arms on the sofa, and marvel at the moments he comes up behind me, wraps his arms around my shoulders, puts his chin on the top of my head and calls me shorty with so much love. My heart can barely take the myriad of emotions.

  78. SN says...

    10 weeks pregnant with my first one…. crying at my desk… AHH!

    • Blythe says...

      SAME SN SAME and congratulations to you! August will be a busy month!

    • SN says...

      Blythe — wherever you are, I hope you are doing well and taking care. :-)

    • Erin says...

      me too! these past 6 weeks have already been a trip…can’t imagine what’s to come. hope you are feeling well! xo

  79. I’m an immigrant and my family leaves thousands of miles away. I send photos to them on Viber every morning so that my mom, dad and sister have a chance to see my little girl. I try to give them a little bit of context: she picked out her clothes today, she insisted on a bow in her hair, she doesn’t seem to like bananas anymore. They oooh and aaah and my mom almost always says, “… and she is so little!…” It’s her grandmotherly way of expressing pride and amazement but it’s become the one thing I say back to myself when I find myself flustered in a temporarily moment of crazy toddler behavior. Instead of getting mad, I just say to myself… and she is so little!

    • Kat says...

      what a sweet way to phrase from your mom, I teared up <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      petya, this is beautiful. xo

  80. Emily says...

    I was explaining parenting to my best friend a while ago. She doesn’t want kids or to ever get married. I told her that I fall more and more in love with my son every single day. I continued, “The other day he took his diaper off and pooped on my floor! Still madly in love with him!” Parenthood is weird!

    • This reminds me of a Jim Gaffigan quote:

      “Parenting is a cult. And as a cult member, you can try to explain it to other people, but we just appear like lunatics.”

      It’s so true!

  81. “on wise words”, the flood gates just opened. Its so true, and I have often found this in many areas of life (not just parenting), “most people just need encouragement”.

    • Mims says...

      Three cheers for kind words, it is a fundamental human need! But I have a good friend who is a social worker and her clients are homeless. If only all they needed was encouragement! She (and I) wish we could wave a magic wand and manifest homes, jobs, mental health treatment for them. Lets not forgot the people who need more than a kind word and be grateful we are in the comfortable majority that do not need to worry about the basic needs.

  82. Julia says...

    One morning when I was preparing to leave for work and my husband and three-year-old son stayed home, my son came running after me: „I have to go to work, sweetie“ „But, mom, I LOVE YOU!“

  83. Meg says...

    I was at Starbucks the other day and I noticed a mother Facetiming with her little girl, who was probably three or so? The woman appeared to be studying for school, and apologized to her daughter that she couldn’t be there to tuck her in. It tugged at my heart, then I saw a young woman – incredibly young, maybe in her mid-twenties or so? She walked up to the mother and proceeded to tell her, “Hey, I’m not a mom yet, and I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but you sound like an incredible mother. Your little one is so lucky to have you.”

    Is this the new generation, women supporting women no matter their history/personal story? I loved both of those women in that moment – the mother who was fighting to be a student and a good mother, and the young woman who simply spoke out to support another woman. Bravo.

    • Maggie Nichols says...

      Really beautiful. Thank you for sharing, Meg!

    • andrea says...

      love this!

    • js says...

      This made me cry!

    • Sam says...

      Love this. Thanks for sharing.

  84. Fernanda Abreu says...

    Congratulations!! This is the most beautiful and hard journey of my life. I have a 9 months baby girl that is my whole world <3 sending kisses from Brazil!

  85. Eve says...

    Oh Rebecca, I feel this. Although when I look down while breastfeeding, I wouldn’t say she’s looking at me with love. I just see ultimate trust and acceptance. Akin to love, for sure.

    • Rebecca says...

      How beautiful to use the words “ultimate trust and acceptance.” It is so hard to capture that gaze from our baby but it sure is sweet!

  86. andrea says...

    Isn’t is amazing that so many of us are parents and feel the same overwhelming love for our children? That we all go through similar heartbreak/joy/sleeplessness/etc. with them?

    It’s one of those big experiences that feels unique but is isn’t. As soon as I became a mom (a year and a half ago) I felt so much more connected with everyone. Definitely life changing on so many levels!

    • Neen says...

      Yes! When I became a mother, it felt like I had joined the world’s largest secret club that you only know about once you’ve been a parent (to babies born and those not). To this day, it thrills me when other parents will offer head nods and smiles on a walk in the park.

    • Kathleen says...

      The head nods and smiles… and little words of encouragement! A few weekends ago my kids were bouncing off the walls, so I took them out for a run (little one in the jogger, older one riding his bike next to me). We were chugging along, crossing paths with a dad who also had a little one in a jogger. He gave me the biggest smile and called out, “We’re doing it!” Yup, we’re all out here, doing our best!

    • Amber says...

      I was walking my 6 month old up and down the airplane aisle trying to keep her calm and I locked eyes with a woman who did the chest-pound over her heart and raised her first in the air and shouted “SOLIDARITY!” It was the best!

  87. Marlena says...

    Ahhhh…. reading those felt like a sip of cool water for this mom. :)

    Also, if my teenager patted me on the head and called me a “little elf”, I would pee laughing. That was so funny! Those interactions with my kids are my favorite. The kind that make you look up and think, “Wow. Touche!” or “Uh oh, that’s something I would say.” :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “a cool sip of water” – i love that :)

  88. Emily says...

    I teared up at Andrea’s comment about the last time. My daughter is only a year and a half, but I’m fairly certain she won’t have siblings and even if she does, it won’t be her making me laugh or patting my back while she cries or cuddling up with her head tucked under my chin. I find myself thinking “pay attention, this could be the last time she does this” over and over lately. Parenting is so bittersweet.

    • Lindsay says...

      Oh gosh, yes. I try to memorize my son every day. I hope I remember. My mother describes parenting as “a series of moments”. She reassures me that we can’t remember them all, but they’re all within us.

  89. Gillian says...

    I read It’s So Amazing to my son and daughter when they were 7 and 10. I sometimes wonder if my 10 yo son was listening at all. My daughter, however, went to school the next day and shared her newfound knowledge with the whole first grade. I was worried at first, but then I decided at least she was disseminating accurate information. She is completely comfortable with the topic, if fact I have caught her discussing choice of contraceptive methods with friends and family (we are working respecting others’ privacy). Maybe I have a future GYN on my hands.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s wonderful, gillian!

  90. Jaime says...

    Just this weekend, my four year old son asked, with sincerity, “Can Donald Trump become good again?” That’s a big question! We don’t talk politics or watch the news with him around, but we have told him Trump does not think everyone is equal. He came up with the rest on his own. What a question for us all to ponder…

    • Caroline says...

      My dad asked my 5 year old what he knew about Mr. Trump this weekend, and he said, “Mr. Trump is a liar.” …We listen to a lot of NPR

  91. I have to add my own “be still my own heart” moment from my 5 year old daughter. Her paternal grandmother is in the end stages of terminal cancer so we’ve had a lot of conversations about death lately. We don’t ascribe to a particular religion but we say our loved ones are “in the stars” watching over us and we’ve read The Invisible Thread dozens of times. The other night we got out of the car and she looked up and paused. Then she said, “Look at those stars close together, Mama, that must be a family.”

    • Elizabeth says...

      Um, crying at my desk at work right now… I’ll never see the stars in the same way again!

    • Amanda says...

      Crying at my desk. This is so, so sweet.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so beautiful, gara.

    • Nina Nattiv says...

      Awww, that made me cry. One of my girls is very interested in death and, when she was 3 1/2 we had to explain it sort of the same way- when you die you go up in the sky and you get to be with the people you loved when you were alive. She was obsessed with this idea and wouldn’t let it go until finally, with tears in her eyes, she asked me how she would find me up there. Once I told her that we will all be waiting for her she got really happy. Of course, then I was the one with tears in my eyes. Gah, these kids make me insane.

    • Neen says...

      *SOB*

      This is perfect.

  92. Rachel says...

    I savored reading each and every one of these. The one about reading ahead made me laugh out loud. :)

  93. E says...

    I’m going for my very first prenatal appointment today so I needed this. <3

    • Lauren says...

      Oh my gosh, I’ve had three “first prenatals” and its always such an insane mix of excitement and nervousness. Hugs to you!

    • SN says...

      Double hugs :-)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oooh, e, thinking of you! xoxo

    • E says...

      Excitement and nervousness is spot on, Lauren. Thank you both, all is well! (When will I ever stop crying at these things, geez!)

  94. celeste says...

    Emma’s comment was built for mother in laws. At our last meeting while talking to my kids my MIL corrected me three or four times. P.S. My kids are 11 and 9.

  95. Sara says...

    This is beautiful, Team CoJ! My favorite piece of parenting advice came from your blog years ago. I am not sure the post, but the phrase “babies be babies” carries me through the highs and lows of mothering.

    • Laura says...

      Same! My daughter is 11 weeks old and when I find myself trying anxiously to create order out of chaos, my husband often reminds me, “babies be babies.”

  96. Elizabeth says...

    Oof, these are so great. I love how the best wisdom about parenting somehow applies to life in general.

  97. Nina says...

    I love your readers and their comments. Thanks for being a bright spot in this world!

  98. Sara says...

    I’m a first time mom (he’s 6 months) and these brought tears to my eyes.
    Time is already flying with our little one and these lessons only confirmed how special the parenting journey is. Every journey is different but all have so much love.

  99. Alyssa says...

    Ahhh crying! Twice in one day Cup of Jo!