“The Best Parenting Advice I Can Give You…”

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Many summers ago when my daughter was expecting her third baby she asked me to gather a group of wise and beloved women together for a Blessingway, an alternative to a shower that focuses less on gifts and more on the mother-to-be. Blessingways help the mother prepare emotionally and spiritually for birth with the female energy of those she loves and admires—mothers, aunts, best friends, sisters—holding her with love; and like a gathering of fairy godmothers around a table we bestowed charms, hopes and wishes for the baby and mama. It was a beautiful afternoon of food, blessings and beads to symbolize our intentions. We asked those who were mothers to write down their best mothering advice. I found their words illuminating, and wanted to share them with you:

  • “Parenting is an evolving dynamic love story. The reality is children are in the lead on this dance. We as parents we just need to keep changing our footsteps in order to keep up. Remember to have time for yourself and your partner!”
  • “Don’t worry so much about the mechanics – eating, sleeping, pooping – they generally take care of themselves over time.”
  • “Let them figure out the solution, don’t always give it to them. We are too quick to help our kids figure out life’s puzzles. We try and solve every argument they have and end up with them coming to us for every little thing. Sometimes, we just need to stand back and let them figure it out.”
  • “Make ritual! –whether a nighttime ritual- a prayer- a silly song- a sacred place where everything comes to a point of stillness and love. They do remember!”
  • “It’s important to remember that your children grow up and move on, but your husband will be there still. Don’t neglect your marriage and put all your eggs in the mom basket.”1175153_10151879656083128_648923833_n
  • “You will make mistakes as there is no such thing as a perfect parent. Be patient with yourself and remember that children are very resilient. That horrible Halloween costume isn’t really a big deal and will give you lots of laughs in years to come. Enjoy your child. The years fly by so quickly.”
  • “Bless your child endlessly with your love & gratitude….Your child will live what they learn.”
  • “I want to reassure every new parent that there will be days when you feel buried or confused or tapped out–it’s just part of the path forward. The most reliable way out of this feeling is to climb on the couch with your baby and/or partner, take a nap, have a good meal and start again.”
  • “Resist the temptation to compare and/or judge your baby’s developmental milestones against the parenting pundits or other people’s babies. Each child unfolds according to its own inner imperative.”
  • “Trust the mystery. You don’t have to figure everything out when you encounter a rough patch, sometimes it just is as it is. Honor the fact you are sometimes the teacher and sometimes the student at the feet of your child. Trusting the mystery also means being true to yourself and your own instincts, not an experts’, doctor’s’, or professionals’.”
  • “Surrender your need to “get things done” the way you’d once been able and GO WITH THE FLOW. You’re now on your baby’s schedule. “If you can’t get out of it, get INTO it”…and it may be the greatest experience of your life. For me, it taught me to be less linear and to more in the moment.”
  • P1030960“Remember to sleep when your baby sleeps.”
  • “When your baby is crying and crying and crying, and you haven’t had any sleep, or a shower, or food, or coffee, remember your baby will only be 9 days old for one day. And he will only turn 7 years old once with his meltdown over his birthday party. And the annual holiday family juggling logistics will only happen a few times each year. Eventually you will learn a bit more each year about how to make it a little easier on yourself next time.”
  • “Every kid and every mother needs “another mother”, a whole lot of another mothers. Call on the tribe.”
  • “Don’t take anything personally, keep coming back to a sense of openness and wonder…even when you are wondering “will this never end?”.
  • “Choose your battles.”
  • “What you give mother energy to is what you will see. The more attention and energy you give to “good” behavior, habits, and tendencies of your child, the more of them you will see.”
  • “Your family is unique. What worked for someone else might not roll quite that way for you or your kid. Believe in your child, believe in yourself, do what rings true for you. Seek advice when you want it, sure, but trust the “north” that matters – the one on your family’s compass setting.”

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