10 Pieces of Advice You Can’t Afford to Ignore
One of the most important things I've learned in my decade or so of mothering is that the best advice comes from the mom next door. She's the one who's been there, who gets it, and who isn't afraid to tell you how it is. I asked ten veteran moms to share their best, hard-earned advice. You're going to love what they have to say, and I bet you so weren't expecting #8!
Katrina Anne Willis is a wife of one, mom of four (ages 17, 15, 14, 12), essayist, author, and blogger.
About her best advice, she says, “Don't compare yourself to other moms. Only you know what's best for your babies and for your family. Trust your instincts and stop worrying about the ‘right' way to do things. Find ‘a' way, not ‘the' way.”
Alexandra Rosas is a Private Comic to her family of four. Find her living online at Good Day, Regular People.
About her best advice, she says, “Trust yourself. It's your baby, you know him best, so trust yourself.”
Julie Burton is a writer, yoga instructor, and mother of four children ranging in age from 20 to 10. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and children. You can find her at Unscripted Mom.
About her best advice, she says, “While mothers devote immeasurable amounts of effort to do all of the above and be their best mom self, one person's needs often gets overlooked: MOM'S. I know firsthand how easy it is to lose yourself in the mothering of your children. But what I have realized over the past 20 years is that in order to be your best self for you and for your children, you need to be good to yourself.”
Sherri Kuhn is a mother of two, a freelance writer, a copy editor, and a blogger at Old Tweener.
About her best advice, she says, “The one thing I think new moms need to know is that the most important thing you can give to your baby (besides love, obviously) is your time. Every moment you spend with your baby will pay off in a huge way as he gets older. The dishes in the sink don't care if they are ignored, but the time you have with your baby is measured out carefully from the moment they are born. Give your baby the biggest chunk of your time, because you can't place a value on that, and you don't get it back.”
Shannon Duffy writes about life and the little moments that fill it at Deepest Worth.
About her best advice, she says, “My advice to new parents is to READ to your child as often as you can, even when they are too small to understand the words. This practice prepares children for literacy in a simple yet profound way. It creates early bonds and, as they grow, reading together encourages children to put themselves into someone else's story, thus providing endless opportunities to practice empathy.
“My children no longer fit into my lap, but I am so very grateful for the times they spent there while turning the pages of our favorite books.”
Melisa Wells blogs about her family (including two sons, 19 and 22) and life in the Chicago suburbs at Suburban Scrawl.
About her best advice, she says, “My favorite advice to give to newer moms lately is to try and rejoice when their kids reach the new milestones that represent baby steps towards independence. Instead of mourning the fact that a son or daughter is going to kindergarten because he/she will no longer be home with mom all day, for example, think about how exciting it is that the child is accomplishing new things on his or her own.
“Eventually, our kids do leave home, and it is bittersweet because we'll miss them, but it's also a reflection of a parenting job well done!”
Sheri Silver writes the lifestyle blog, Donuts, Dresses and Dirt, about cooking and baking, gardening and shopping, and her adventures in and around New York City with her family.
About her best advice, she says, “What I wish I knew when my kids were little, which seems so obvious now, is to just have FAITH. Faith in your kids, faith in yourself. You may think you have a lot of control over the final outcome, but you really don't. There are just too many factors that are out of your control. But no MATTER the outcome, you're a good parent. You're putting in 110%, and you need to have faith that this will set your children up with the foundation they need out there in the world.
“Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint. And keep reminding yourself of this–that you are only in one of many ‘phases' and that no one phase defines what the finish line will look like.”
Heather Davis is a momma, a writer, and a procrastinator of laundry. Read all about her at Minivan Momma.
About her best advice, she says, “Have lots of sex with your husband. You don't need a reason, and you are beautiful, even if you haven't showered in three days. You'll feel gorgeous and fabulous, and he loves you and wants you more now that you've done this amazing thing called childbirth. Plus, you'll sleep better and feel rested in the morning. Get in there and getcha some, girl!”
Colleen Kruse, Funny Person, can be found on YouTube.
About her best advice, she says, “I would like new moms to know that they need to feed themselves as much as their children. They need to pick one thing that they love to participate in–something active, not passive–and set aside, or STEAL time away, from their kids to pursue it for at least three hours a week. At least.
“For me, it was stand-up comedy and writing. For someone else, it might be a cooking group or Tae Kwon Do. But you need it. You are still the person you were before kids. Nurture that person, and the person you are to your kids will be all the more resilient and happy.”
Andrea Jarrell's essays on mothering, relationships, life, and love have appeared in The New York Times; The Huffington Post; Brain, Child; Literary Mama; and The Washington Post. You can find her and her writing on her personal blog.
About her best advice, she says, “Make older mother friends who have already experienced the stages you are going through. It's great to have friends who are in the trenches with you, but those who have already trod the path can reassure you that your challenges are normal. When my children were very small, I was lucky enough to develop a friendship with [a] mother of three teenage girls. We went on walks daily. She listened to me, cheered me on, inspired me, and modeled the kind of relationship I wanted with my children.”
What's the best motherhood advice you've ever gotten or given?