Dear Mama–

You looked so lovely at your baby shower Thursday night. With one arm wrapped protectively around your belly, you laughed and chatted and nodded as your friends heaped mounds of gifts and advice into your expectant arms.

As surely as a swollen belly entices people to reach out and touch it, a new mama is a magnet for advice from friends and strangers alike. My children are all well out of diapers and the counsel and ideas of how I should raise them continue to pour in.

So here’s my advice to you: listen, nod, smile, ask questions, read books, find mentors and then raise your baby however you please! You’re the mama now; this is your baby; and no one else in the world knows how to raise it better than you.

Right now you are surely being bombarded with counsel on sleep, feeding, immunizations, bonding and absolutely everything to do with childbirth. Later you’ll get input on pre-school, lessons, sports, nutrition and on and on. Just keep listening, learning and trusting your own instincts.

So much advice is based on a person’s own experience. But only you know your baby, your needs and your family. You’ve never been a text-book case and your baby isn’t either.

My babies wouldn’t sleep through the night. This fact drove my friends crazy and they bombarded me with books, articles and detailed “baby-training” plans. But the truth is I really didn’t care if they slept all night. I loved answering a baby’s call in the middle of the night, snuggling him in and nursing him back to sleep. Miraculously, they all sleep through the night now.

I’ve only been mothering 16 years or so now, but “the experts” have changed their tune enough in those years that I’ve found it’s much safer to listen to trusted mentors and your own heart.

More than anything, I believe God gives special dispensation to mothers. Turn to He who knows your child best of all. God created your child; surely He’ll lend a little assistance in potty-training. And I honestly, truly believe God helps all mothers– believers or not.

Ah, my friend, enjoy your new little love. One admonition from strangers still rings true– “They grow up too quickly.” I’m hanging on to my little ones as long as I can.

April 29, 2008



  1. Katie

    April 28, 2008

    So sweet and so true! I have to admit- when my babies finally slept through the night… it was a little sad- because, I too, loved that time with them… Speaking of them growing up so fast… I desparately need to have you take Amanda Jane’s pictures… I am going out of town next week… does this week work?

  2. Chelle

    April 28, 2008


    Your advice?

    Perfection. I wish I would have figured it out sooner than I did.

  3. Jan Russell

    April 29, 2008

    Great advice! And you don’t always need to nod politely either, whenever some brave soldier of a mommy suggested “natural” childbirth, I felt it was totallly justifiable for me to laugh. Same goes for cloth diapers, actually…

    Good luck to the new mommy to be! She looks adorable at her shower!

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