Lifting up our Mentors

Lifting up our Mentors October 22, 2012

Small things that we say (and do) can have a huge impact on other families in ways that we may never know.

When I was pregnant with my first child, 12 years ago, our friend Amy, who was the wife of my husband’s co-worker, gave me great advice: “I work at a demanding job and I train for marathons, my days are pretty hectic, but I make sure that I keep the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies on hand.” Whether it was a school bake sale emergency, a play date going sour, or a teenager having a rotten day, homemade chocolate chip cookies took just a few minutes and could lift the mood in her household.

We have followed this advice and keep the freezer stocked with a huge bag of TollHouse chips.

Today, think about one small thing that an older mother told you that has stuck and helped you as a mom. Share it below. Say a quick prayer of thanksgiving for that woman today, whether you still know her or not. I thank God for Amy and I hope that He continues blessing her family.

By the way, when we were newlyweds, and a little bit terrified and embarrassed to be announcing our first pregnancy, Amy’s husband said something quite wonderful and positive to my husband, at a time when we really needed support, and I remain grateful for that small moment, too.

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  • “God knows what your children need even better than you do, and He has a plan for your family.” A mother told me this when I was pregnant with our second child, Lucy, who we knew would not live after birth. I was so worried because I felt like my son needed a sibling closer in age – what if he would never have a sibling at all? Would he grow up to be dysfunctional somehow? Claudia, a very wise mother in our parish, told me this without hesitation, and it has been my mantra ever since. God knows what my children need even better than I do, and He is taking care of them. I do not need to worry about things that are out of my control! In fact, I can rejoice in His plan!

  • Francine

    When I was pregnant and told a teacher friend she asked my due date and then promptly told me to add a week to that. It turned out to the best advice as I have always been late and always add a week:)

  • When I was expecting my first, my older sister wrote me a letter with my baby shower gift with some wise words of advice, what she’d learned as a mother. One thing she told me stuck with me – she said to take my babies out of the house and into the world as early and as often as I could, for a walk in the woods or a quick visit to the art museum. The advice to teach my kids (and remind myself) that the world is much bigger than our at-home life has really shaped my early mothering – and helped keep me sane!

  • BMM

    By the time we had our first, most of my friends had already had their first babies and were, to varying degrees, firmly ensconced in formal parenting philosophies – as most of us new mothers are wont to do. For whatever reason, most of them found great comfort in attachment parenting (which was great for them) and were very vocal about it. I felt great pressure (mostly of my own doing!) to following the it, fearing that I would harm my baby permanently if we did not follow the tenets of ecological breastfeeding, baby wearing, family bed, etc. For a variety of reasons, mainly personal, by the time my baby was 6 months I was going crazy. I hated motherhood and feared more children. And it wasn’t so great on our marriage.

    A more experienced mom of 7, whom I had just met I think picked up on my struggles very quickly. We chatted and her advice was to throw away the parenting books. She reminded me that my husband and I alone are given the grace to parent our children and that we should pray, talk and then do what seemed best and prudent given our temperaments, situation, etc. and leave the rest to God. I don’t know why I didn’t have the wisdom to think of this before, but I finally felt like I had permission to parent in a way that was “natural” for my husband and me.

    **caveat here so as to avoid any debate on attachment parenting 🙂 – I do not attribute the difficulties I experienced solely or even in large part to attachment parenting or to my friends who very happy followed it. I kept some things that worked for us and ditched other things that did not.**

  • Kellie “Red”

    This too shall pass…

  • JMB

    My mom, a mother of eight, told me after my first was born to put him down for bed early in the evening so I could eat dinner with my husband, and later on, told me to find babysitters outside of the family because with 7 siblings on my side (6 younger than I) there will be many family events in our future and having sitters other than just family to pinch hit here and then is a blessing. I followed her advice and it did help tremendously to have children in bed early and babysitters willing to sit for us!

  • Lucy

    My friend Nina told me when my oldest was a newborn that I should come visit her right then because that was the easiest time by far to travel with a baby. I was so overwhelmed with new motherhood that I thought she was crazy and didn’t make the trip then. By baby #3, though, I had learned how right she was. It’s much easier to travel with a newborn than it is to travel with a crawler or a toddler or a two-year-old. So we went to Disney World when my 3rd was 7 weeks old. He happily snoozed in the carrier and even rode some of the gentle rides that way, and we all had a great family trip. This is now the one piece of unsolicited advice I give to other new mothers.

  • Emma

    My mother gave me the mantra, “Sometimes baby just needs another pair of arms” for when I could not get my first son to settle in those first hectic newborn weeks. It made me realize I wasn’t a failure if I passed my baby to someone else and he immediately stopped crying for them…and most of my fellow new mommy friends picked it up when we’d have little coffee mornings and just swap babies to hold.

  • Catherine

    “Only fill the cup with as much as you want to clean up!” Words of wisdom from my Confirmation sponsor and experienced mom of 5. I think of this one every morning when I pour juice for my kids!