Friday, May 11, 2012

For Mother's Day, a little mom advice

From today's Briefing:

Moms are no strangers to advice.
First- time moms receive more than they can process months before the baby arrives. Moms taking newborns out into the world are magnets, attracting tidbits and tips from church ladies, cashiers and random folks at the mall. Eventually, those moms become the advice-givers, dispensing wisdom to their children and, yes, other moms.
So, naturally, in advance of Mother’s Day, I asked some of my most trusted mom friends for advice about motherhood.
(I swiped the question from a poignant online video.)
If you could go back in time, to just before your first child, what advice would you give yourself?
Enjoy it
From Angela, mom to three: “Just sit and hold them, love them, pray over them and really try to remember what that warm, squishy little body feels like in your arms. Be still and listen to their breathing and Enjoy their true contentment of just lying on your chest napping.”
From Kelly, an educator: “There were many field trips I didn’t go on with my son because it would mean leaving my own classroom with a sub. I’ve learned over the years that a sub would have been fine, and the memories I missed out on with my son cannot be retrieved. They are only kids for a little while.”
From Julia, teacher and mom to two: “I would tell myself to calm down and enjoy it. I was so worried about proving to everyone including myself that I could do it all that I don’t think I got to enjoy my baby girl as much as I should have.”
From Debbie, mom to two: “Take as many pictures as possible of the children. They grow up so fast it’s hard to believe they were tiny tots at one time.”
From Julianne, mom to four: “Don’t wish away the stages. I would give anything to go back to those early days and just cherish that time.”
Let go
From Jenny, mom of one boy: “I would like to have realized earlier (or remember more often) to let my child experience the natural consequences of his actions and give him more credit to solve his own problems. While it is so painful to see your child struggle or be frustrated, the personal experience is so much more powerful than any words a parent can say.”
From Kerith, mom of three: “Celebrate the uniqueness of each of your children. Don’t compare your children to each other or other children in your circle.”
From Sharon, mom of two grown sons: “Love your children unconditionally and accept them for who they are.”
Take care of yourself
From my sister Melane: “Taking care of yourself is not selfish.”
From Emily, mom of two young girls and a teacher: “It’s OK to like working and being away from your kids. You’re not a bad mom because you don’t want to be with them 24/7.”
From Kanya, mom to two: “As much as you loved and wanted a baby, it’s normal to feel depressed after you give birth. Your life as you’ve known it has changed forever and that’s a lot to take in.”
From Dawn, mom of two: “Set the expectation from the beginning by reserving time for yourself (even if it has to be scheduled on the family calendar in plain view for all the world to see) so that you don’t get neglected and that your family continues to appreciate and value you as a person, as well as your need for time for yourself.”
Do your job
From Denna, mom to two college students: “It really is our job to be a parent and not a friend. If clear boundaries are set and maintained, a wonderful adult will come out of that environment. Making unpopular decisions along the way are never easy, but the result is totally worth it.”
Don’t expect perfection
From Katrina, mom to two: “I would tell myself that the initial transition to motherhood is going to be really difficult. After the initial ‘high’ of birth, there will be sadness and moments of regret. There will be an intense longing for the way things used to be. And then I’d tell myself to hang on, because gradually I will begin to adjust and eventually come to love motherhood!”
From Allison, pharmacist and mom to two: “Breastfeed or don’t. Make your own baby food or don’t. Insist on matching socks and outfits or don’t. Work outside of the home or don’t. Join mommy ’n’ me classes or don’t. You have to do what is right for you and your baby and your family. Not what you think others think you should be doing.”
From Celeste, mom of two: “Always love unconditionally and don’t worry about the crumbs — the things that are OK, but not perfect, such as your home not being spotless 100 percent of the time. Things won’t always be perfect, but they’ll work out just fine.”
From Jackie, mom to a kindergartener: “I wish that I knew that kids are very resilient, and that I didn’t always have to make ‘right’ decisions all the time.”
Trust your instincts
From Laura, mom to three: “From day one — and even before — you know your child better than anyone else. Mother’s intuition is the supreme baby gift. Take all advice with a smile, hold on to what rings true to you, then throw the rest out the window.”
From Kris, mom to three girls: “Your ‘mother’s instinct’ is actually God telling you that you know what you are doing because you know your child best and love your child best.”
Count on love
From Joy, mom of three: “The love of the family for each other is enough to overcome any obstacle. There will be mistakes along the way. I won’t be perfect, and neither will they. But having love at the center of it all will get you through.”
Tyra Damm is a Briefing columnist. Email her at

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