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Dear Mom,

It’s Mother’s Day and it’s finally the day that you’re truly happy. Not because it’s a day off for you but because you’re finally happy. You and Mother’s Days don’t mix. There have been countless times where you were hurt on those Sundays in May (not by me, just to be clear). Mother’s Day is supposed to be a day rest and relaxation.

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Are you a new mom? Are you tired of hearing advice on how to raise your children from people who haven’t even reproduced themselves? Or are you a seasoned-veteran, raising a troop of kids, who still receives unwanted advice from people who think they know what they’re talking about? Are you in need of some legitimate advice from real moms from all levels of motherhood? Then you have happened upon the right place.

Raising kids is tricky. You are constantly being bombarded with advice from people who think they are helping, but in retrospect, are being mentally squished by you as they continue to ramble on about how you should do this and shouldn’t do that. If you’re tired of advice, stop reading now, but below is some advice from mothers of all areas of motherhood that may just be the thing you need to read. Besides, these people aren’t related to you, so maybe their advice will mean more. (I’m kidding. Kind of.) Being a mother is hard; you’re definitely not alone.

Perfection is Overrated

“Don’t plan on getting a gold star for parenting. You won’t! As a matter of fact, you’ll probably consider yourself a failure more times than you can count! Your house will never be spotless. You will always have at least one child that tells embarrassing family gossip at the LEAST opportune time. You’ll probably have a minimum of one family picture ruined by bodily fluid (if you’re really lucky, it won’t be snot across your shirt, shining like a beacon for lost ships in the night!)  No family is perfect! (Especially if you have a toddler in the house!) But, every family is perfect in their own way!! Nobody else makes it worth all the chaos! Nobody else makes my heart smile mere moments before I snap!! And nobody else wears snot quite as well as I do. No, you won’t get a gold star for parenting, but you’ll be having too much fun to give a damn about that stupid star anyways!! Besides, it’d just be one more thing to dust….” –Joie, mother of 3

“One thing I learned – after much anguish – was to “pick your battles”.  I had to relax a bit.  So what if my boys had messy rooms – they were healthy and well taken care of – so what if I wasn’t a “super mom” – my boys knew I loved them. Let you children see your emotions.  Don’t be afraid to cry in front of your children when you hurt.  Parents are not supposed to be perfect.  Quit trying so hard to do it all.” –Sara, mother of 2

Potty Training

For potty training I’d say go straight to undies and skip the pull-ups. The important time to take them is right when they wake up from a nap and every half hour to an hour–and be consistent. –Angela, mother of 3

I highly recommend having a potty chair in your van/car.  In our van we used it as a step stool for the children to get in their carseats.  Several times I’ve pulled into a parking lot and let my children use the potty chair rather than lugging all of them into a public restroom. My philosophy is, the more you can contain multiple toddlers, the better off you are because when they run, they always seem to go in opposite directions.  Plus you never know when you, as the adult might need it.  It would be horrible to have to wake sleeping toddlers, run them in to a store, get them all in a stall (that is a petri dish of germs) with you just because nature was calling at an inconvenient time. –Melanie, mother of 3


All Kids Are Different

If you are a mother of multiples (twin, triplets, etc.) do NOT wake your babies in the middle of the night in order to get them on the same schedule.  They are different people; one may require eating through the night and one may not.  But if you wake the one that may not need to eat, you are stuck with that wide-awake baby, until they decide it’s time to sleep again… and that may not be as soon as you’d like! –Melanie, mother of 3

One thing that I find difficult that so many people fall into is playing the comparison game. Parents beat themselves up over what other kids can do and how fast they can do this and that. That stuff doesn’t matter. Every kid is different. –Megan, mother of 1

Godly Parenting

First – your kids are not your kids. They are God’s children that He has entrusted to you. He cares about them abundantly. One thing that has immensely reduced my stress level is trusting that when and where I screw up, miss out, overreact, and in general unintentionally mess up my kids, God has got me covered. He created them, He loves them, and He knows what is best. In that same vein – pray. Pray. Pray. And pray some more. There are tons of good things about parenting in the Bible – use it. –Rachel, mother of 2


Praising and Disciplining

Teach your children “no”! They will not hear “yes” their entire life – it’s your job to teach them the benefit and value of boundaries and how to deal with not getting everything they want. Also, teach them what a fit is, and teach them “no fit”. It comes in handy when they get to the age where they have a harder time being told no. … They still need to learn that there are boundaries, there are consequences, and there are things that will hurt that you have to learn to deal with. … It is important to comfort your kids when they are upset or hurt–to help them when they are frustrated– but if you always solve their problems for them, they won’t learn how to figure it out on their own. Spanking, in the right way, can be a useful thing for training your kids. I know that not everyone agrees with it – and it’s hugely controversial. But I spank when I need to – and it works. … Put just as much effort into cheering your kids on for the good they do as you put into correcting and disciplining the bad. You have to do both.   –Rachel, mother of 2


Tips and Tricks

Warn your children about automatic toilets and hand dryers!  They are very loud and an un-expecting child can become very frightened if not given some warning.  We always said, “this is one of those magic toilets” before having them use it. –Melanie, mother of 3

Give children choices, whether it’s what’s for snack or what game to play. Limit it to 2-3 choices or it gets crazy. Kids love to feel important, even if it’s little decisions. Angela, mother of 3


Growing Pains

The first couple of days after the baby is born, take advantage of the nursery at the hospital throughout the night because once you get home you will not be getting any sleep! … Be prepared to cry the first time you have to hold your baby when they get a shot.  It’s difficult to be partially responsible when your baby becomes a human pincushion. … On your child’s first day of school, do not let them see you cry.  They are supposed to grow and it’s a good thing they are going off to school.  If you, as the parent cry, this will upset the child.  Be proud of them, tell them you love them, give them hugs and kisses, tell them you can’t wait to hear how their first day goes!  And after you turn away from them, then let the floodgates break open… and they will!! –Melanie, mother of 3

Your child will grow up to act/be just like you.  So be careful of your words and your actions.  You will see the good and you will see the ugly directly reflected in your children.Ivy, mother of 3


Journal the Memories

Journal, journal, journal!!  I can’t stress this enough.  You think you’ll remember the cute things your child says or does, but you won’t.  As a parent you are way too busy to remember unless you scratch it down on the calendar, make a note in your phone, write it in a child keepsake book or something along that line.—Melanie, mother of 3


Have Fun With Your Kids

Be silly with them. There is no greater sound to me in the world than a giant belly laugh from my daughter. I am not yet out of the stage where my kids don’t want to cuddle – but I know it will come sooner than later. Cuddle with your kids. Soak it up. Kids love music – teach them songs for things – it helps. And read to them. Over and over and over. If you haven’t memorized a few of your kid’s Dr. Seuss books, you need to read to them more. –Rachel, mother of 2


I would like to give a great big thank you to all of the moms that were so willing to give their advice! Since I am not a mother, I posted on Facebook asking for help and received a plethora of motherly advice, so thanks for being so awesome.

Gold stars for all of you.