Questions from the Internet: Part 3

The next round of questions that came from the Six Questions interview all have to do with 'advice.' And more specifically parenting advice. Popular topic!


What is the best and the worst piece of parenting advice you've received? -Amy B.

What are the best words of wisdom you've ever gotten/read? Advice, comfort, what's stuck with you the most? -aligibbs24

Hi, Julia, what advice would you go back and give to yourself pre-baby or to someone thinking of having kids? Thank you! -rees_bk

I just recently posted about one of my favorite quotes of all times:


(hand lettering by seances)

I believe good old Abraham Lincoln is credited with this quote and I really could not agree more. I guess this isn't advice as much as it's considered my 'words of wisdom'. Choose happiness. Find the positive in a situation. Enjoy life and be happy. Sounds simple enough, right?

When I was pregnant with Truman, I was *that* first time mom who read all of the books. I researched, I prepared, I was determined to be a great mom. If I could go back to my pre-baby self to impart all of my hard-earned mommy wisdom, I would just say this: go easy on yourself. You have no idea the incredible amount of joy this thing called motherhood will bring you, and yet it will be the hardest role in the world, too. Read all of the books you'd like, dear friend, but nobody can be totally 'ready' for their own baby. All babies are different, all families are different, and if you decide to make decisions from your gut based on what you feel is right for your child you will be golden. Push all of the other outside pressures or expectations or dare I say it, mommy wars aside. 

I feel like living in a time of social media is both really cool and really unfortunate. We just know too much about each other's lives these days. Do you think moms of our grandmothers' generation really cared if so-and-so down the block breastfed or bottle fed their baby? If they co-slept or not? How they parented? Were there mommy wars back then? Competition? Or was it just a simpler time with different priorities? I've thought about having my grandma (Memaw!) write a bit for the Moms Make it Work series because I know her perspective as an octogenarian is so incredibly interesting compared to what we are accustomed to today. One thing she emailed to me after a MMIW post was that the concept of 'me time' was nonexistent back then. They just didn't think much about carving out time for themselves as mom and probably just got the job done without spreading themselves too thin to 'keep up' with all of the other moms out there. I don't know. I mean, I CRAVE my beloved 'me time' and can't imagine that not idea not being in my head. She also doesn't understand the big deal about 'mommy guilt' and thinks the moms of our generation are way too hard on ourselves. Just do the best you can and move on---simple enough, right? I love hearing Memaw's opinion on parenting especially because she says her transition from two to three beautiful baby girls was not all that difficult;) Perhaps I will get her to write something for us on this old blog---to breathe new life into this modern day mommy blog from an old school professional author.

What I'm saying is that moms-to-be can go a long way if they do their best to follow their gut and ignore all of the noise out there regarding the 'best' choice for their child. I guess that is what I'd say to my pre-baby self or any other girl getting ready to become a mom. It's more amazing than you could ever imagine and also more challenging. The highest of highs, the lowest of lows. And totally worth it, 100%.

As far as the best and worst parenting advice I've ever received? Hmmmm. I guess the best would be to follow your instincts. Enjoy the moment. Look at the big picture. Be present. You know, all of those really EASY things to do as moms;) And the worst advice would be something about how newborn babies are smart enough to manipulate you into wussy parents. As in, your baby must be crying to get attention and if you don't put your foot down and show them who is boss, they will always 'own' you or something dumb like that. I don't think babies need to be held 24/7 or that you have to run to their side with every whimper (as if that is even possible, especially with more than one child). But anyone who claims that a baby (and I'm talking LITTLE, like less than 6 months) is trying to manipulate you does not remember what it's like to have a tiny, fussy, human baby. Sometimes they just cry for no good reason. You might make yourself certifiably insane trying to figure out the cause of their crying but I truly do not agree with the notion of a baby trying to 'manipulate' a parent. They are babies, and therefore not the smartest. They have other great qualities of course (adorableness, innocence, amazing smell, squishiness) but they aren't that smart. Again, just follow your gut and if you think your baby needs you then go to him. There will be plenty of time in your parenting career to 'put your foot down' and show your child who is boss (i.e. ages 2 through forever?). 

I have heard the 'don't let her manipulate you' type comments before when CC was really little. I won't say who told me things like, 'Oh look, she totally has you wrapped around her finger' but it took a lot of self-restraint to avoid rolling my eyes at that one. Now that Cecelia is almost two? Sure. She probably tries to test my limits and see if I'll follow through with what I promise. I still don't think she wants to 'manipulate' me when she is being naughty. She is almost two and needs me to teach her the rules and limits while also proving my love and earning her trust. She is also completely different than her big brother when it comes to pushing the boundaries so I'm sort of learning this whole 'guiding a two year old' thing all over again. Gotta love how these babies keep us on our toes!

Miss Priss:

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Mister Too Big for his Britches (going back to my Southern roots for that term!):

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Love them so. Hope this post was somewhat insightful about 'advice'. One more installment of these Internet Questions to go!

17 comments:

  1. I would LOVE to read a MMIW from your Memaw! My 89 year old Oma often talks to me about when her kids were little - she made/grew everything from scratch on their farm, raised six kids + countless foster kids, almost never got to get out... definitely puts my life into perspective!

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  2. A segment written by your Grandmother would be wonderful to read I think!

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  3. I would love a post from your grandma. Both of mine passed away before we had kids, and I often wonder what their take on modern parenting would be. Also- I happened to talk to a friend of mine about how three kids is supposedly the most stressful number. She wanted to know what moms they were talking to to get that conclusion :) . Your grandma's take on that would also be interesting to hear!

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    1. Whoops forgot to mention that my friend just had her fourth (and therefore just shouldn't care anymore, right?!)

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  4. Julia, I love your blog!
    I was wondering: You refer to being from the South but weren't you born in Missouri? I always though it was considered the Midwest? I am not from the States but lived in KS for 2 years so I was just curious ;)
    -Jasmin

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    1. Hi Jasmin~I am sort of joking when I refer to MO as 'the south' because yes----it's definitely the Midwest, and technically Wisconsin is, too. But Missouri is a lot more southern than WI in many ways, mostly with the different weather;) A lot of my family is from southern MO, which is really 'southern' compared to Milwaukee, too. But you are correct--MO is the midwest and so is WI. I joke that I'm near Canada now and MO is near Mexico but obviously that is an exaggeration.

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  5. Read this after your email! WE WANT MEMAW!! :) A post from her sounds amazing. I know exactly what both of my grandma's thoughts on modern parenting would be - that we are a bunch of damn pansies ;) haha!! Seriously though - we are. There are a lot of articles on this topic too - the worth of the mother now being more tied into how the child is "performing" and how that makes parenting "less fun" or whatever. I sort of hate those articles but there is a lot of truth there. My dad was just telling me that when he was cleaning out my grandma's house for her to move to an apartment, he found a bill for his brother's birth - it was like $9, and she was at the hospital for about a day and then came home to the farm to her 4 other children under the age of 5 or something absurd like that. I remember telling my grandma that I wanted my kids about 2 years apart and she said "Yeah, I always just hoped mine would be at least a year apart - 2 years would be a break!" hahaha :) Not many birth control options back then, especially not for a good Catholic like her ;) She had 5 kids very quickly, then a huge break and then my dad, and then another long break and then my uncle - something like a 15 year spread between oldest and youngest so by the time my dad came she had lots of help in the way of older kids.

    Anyway, as you know I totally agree with your advice - perspective that can only come with time, sadly. I read a ton of books when Annie was a baby too, and I do think some of them were helpful and I'm glad I read them but I never took them as gospel either.

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  6. Your 19 week bump is ADORABLE!!! You're making me want a third baby (UGH UGH UGH, since my second [and sworn last! We've already decided M is getting snipped!] is only 3.5 months old and JUST started STTN [until 4 or 5 AM, but then only up for 30 minutes to nurse and goes back to sleep until 7:30 or so, which I love and could do forever] and I LOVE SLEEP!!! And I was almost depressed when E was in the 4-10 week range because she wasn't sleeping very well and I was exhausted all the time and she only naps for 45 minutes at a time so I could never even take a nap, and I was POSITIVE I never wanted to have another baby. But now she's 3.5 months old, and so sweet and adorable, and getting SO BIG SO FAST and she sleeps so very well . . . . . . . and you're not helping!) ;)

    I totally lost track of my parentheses up there. Whew.

    Also, I would LOVE to see your Memaw's post!!! You should totally have her write one. My own grandmother died before H was born - actually, before I even met my husband! - so she never met any of her great-grandchildren. :( But she was an awesome mother and grandmother, and I would have loved to hear her take on parenting, so I'm sure your grandmother's will be fascinating!

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  7. I too, would LOVE to see a post from your grandma. I love chatting with my grandma about her experiences in parenting and it's much like everyone else has mentioned - 7 kids in 10 years and straight home from the hospital and back outside milking cows, chores, cooking, cleaning, older kid activities (although probably nothing like kids activities these days), etc. during a time when men were not involved in the actual running of the household. Can't even imagine. On the other hand, she was so shocked that I was up & moving shortly after delivery because she had to stay flat on her back for several days after birth but then once she got home was back at it. But I do love having convos with her things like how long kids are supposed to ride in car seats, how much $$ I have invested in carseats alone, the fact that I CHOOSE to use cloth diapers & all of the other things that have changed. Just love hearing that other perspective!

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  8. Yes Yes Yes!!! A post from your grandma would be incredible! :-)

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  9. Oh my gosh, YES! I can't even tell you how many times I've been told that W has me "wrapped around his little finger"! I mean, he does, haha, but not because he manipulates me. It's because he is a freaking baby and cries all the time and I'm his mom and it's my job to soothe him!

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  10. Totally excited to read a post from Memaw.

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  11. Hearing from your grandmother would be wonderful!
    Completely agree with your best and worst advice!!

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  12. Can you please beg your grandma to at least dictate a response while you type for the MMIW?! I love her advice already!!

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  13. I would also love to read a post from your Memaw!! My own grandma's both died before I ever had kids so I've never been able to hear any "advice" good or bad from them or even what their perspective was. I do feel I model a lot of my own parenting off of what my mom did because I considered her an awesome parent, but it would be so interesting to hear what another generation back has to say!!

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  14. Love the memaw insight and ughhhh, i HATE the "they are manipulating you" crap. I dont hold back my eyerolls :)

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  15. Please have your grandmother post! I think they just "made it work" and didn't really think about it. The family was their responsibility and that was that. Maybe they had me time (going to the hairdresser) but that was also just built in.

    Also, Great advice. I would totally agree. My sister in law has 4 more weeks. i keep telling her she is prepared and will do great. To just trust herself. But it is unknown territory and it's hard. I often find myself giving her advice. I apologized and told her I just can't help myself but I don't mean it that way. Since then I have tried not to give my opinion unless asked.

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