Parenting advice. We’ve all gotten it, and it’s usually unsolicited. Most of it is junk. Like the “don’t-take-your-kid-to-a-restaurant-if-you-can’t-control-it-kind, or the “put-a-hat-on-that-baby-it’s-sixty-degrees” kind. Snarky people who’ve never procreated, old ladies who’ve forgotten what it’s like to have a little one. Everyone needs to weigh in on how you raise your children. It’s a bizarre societal compulsion, something meant to draw people together that just ends up breaking people apart.
But some of the parenting advice, a few shining gems, stand out from the stew of assholes telling you to let your baby suck bourbon for teething or insisting hot dogs will slowly poison your child.
Some parenting advice actually helps.
So we asked some of our readers for the best parenting advice they’d every gotten.
Some of it was totally original.
1. “I’m a better parent with witnesses,” one mom said she heard as a very fragile new mother from another mom wrangling three kids under five into carseats. Several other moms agreed that this was the best parenting advice they received too.
2. “Always wash baby socks in a lingerie bag!” This was given to a mom from her brother, while fishing teensy baby socks from the depths of her washer.
3. “Don’t listen to anything that follows, ‘Oh you just wait…’” one mom advised. A great way to weed out snarkers and mean ladies.
4. “Quit breaking his Cheerios into fourths. You’re heading into overkill territory. He’s not going to choke on a whole Cheerio. Babies are much more resilient than you’d think.” THIS.
5. “When they start leaking through diapers, move UP a size.” Practical advice is always helpful.
6. “Popsicles count as hydration. Bubble baths can change the mood.” Life-changing, I tell you. LIFE-CHANGING.
Some we needed to remind us of the important things.
7. “Every day is different.” So obvious, yet still a good reminder.
8. “When someone offers to come help after you’ve had a baby, put them to work. Don’t feel you have to be dressed with a clean house and snacks for them.” This was from a mom of two who’s been there, done that, and has the medal to prove it, so we’ll take it.
9. “Ask for help!”
10. “Accept help!”
11. “100 years from now, no one will know the difference.” This came from someone’s eternally wise grandmother and it applies to nearly everything in life that we stress about.
12. “Stop making comparisons.”
13. “Every child is different. What worked for one could be completely wrong for another.”
14. “Be the parent your child needs, and that may be a different parent for each child. It is not about being perfectly equal, but being fair to each individual.”
15. “Parent the child you have, not the child you thought you’d get.”
16. “Do what’s right for your family, not what others think you should do.” This came from a mom with a vast store of experience from tinies to teens.
17. “Trust your instincts, trust yourself.”
18. “You are the mom … do what you think is right.”
Most people agreed what to do when you lose your temper.
19. “Apologize when you f*** up, because you’re going to f*** up.”
20. “It’s so important for kids to see the adults in their lives model how to apologize and admit to making mistakes.”
And most agreed on some old saws.
21. “For my twins, other twin parents told us to keep them on the same schedule. We already had a toddler so we made sure (99% of the time) that the babies ate and slept at the same time. Otherwise we would have been dealing with someone every 30 minutes.”
22. “My bestie told me not to stress about potty training and it would happen when they were ready, and she wasn’t wrong. That little tidbit saved my sanity—not an exaggeration.”
23. “Pick your battles. Some stuff is not worth arguing about.” Another mom agreed, and added, “Especially with teenagers.”
24. “Listen when they tell you stuff that’s going on in their lives when they are little so they always feel like they can talk to you about anything.”
25. “Have some of those difficult conversations in the car…sex, drugs, etc. — they are more likely to listen and open up because you aren’t looking directly at them.”
Some of them got sappy.
26. “Make love a verb.” This came from a dad, who literally wrote a book on the subject.
27. “Just be. Just be in the moment because babies don’t keep.” As a mom whose kids are growing up too fast, I can relate to this one all too well.
28. “The days are long and the years are short. Enjoy them today because they will be grown off on their own in the blink of a eye.”
29. “Take pictures often.”
30. “It’s not what you buy your kids, it’s the time you spend with them that they will remember.” Yeah, it’s sappy. But it’s God’s honest truth.
31. “Pick two or three parents that you absolutely trust and admire the way that they have raised their children and seek advice from those people.”
And other moms just lifted us up.
32. “You’re good enough. There’s no such thing as being perfect, just good enough.”
33. “It’s okay to not be okay. We all struggle. It does not mean you have failed at being a parent.”
34. “Do not forget who you are just because you are a mom.”
35. “Forgive yourself because you will make mistakes.”