What I Wish I'd Known ...

24 June 2015

... AND we're back! With more pearls of parenting wisdom answering the "What I'd wish I'd known before I had kids ... " prompt (hello, obvious post title) from some of the e-greats.


Amelia at The Homebook:

I wish I'd known how tender and wonderful and difficult the first few weeks of motherhood would be. I wish I had known that it's okay to love your baby, to be in complete and total awe of your new beautiful baby, and to also be slightly terrified of it. It's okay to ask the (lovely, well-meaning) visitors to leave so that you can hold your own newborn without feeling like you have to hand the child over to a guest, and so you can openly complain to your husband about how bad your bottom hurts without being impolite. It's okay to fall asleep and hold your baby at the same time. (Why was I so terrified of that?) You will be fine. You will find your groove. It's okay, it's okay, it's okay.

Ana at Time Flies When You're Having Babies:

Before having kids, I wish I had known how very unhelpful parental comparison is and that my successes as a mother should never be defined through trying to measure up to other moms. Way too often my big successes were another mom's failure. I would be rejoicing in only showing my girls one full length feature film for the day and another mom at a play date would be bemoaning the 15 minute video she caved and put on for her little ones, then I would go home from that play date feeling like an utter failure. So silly! So unnecessary! I am learning slowly not to look too hard at the way other moms do things, and to just be confident in the way we parent our children.

Kate Wicker: {and on insta!}

All my children want is me. They don't need anything fancy or highly orchestrated moments together. They don't need me to pretend to be like So-and-So's cool mom. Their biggest desire is focused attention from plain, old, nothing-I-ever-make-will-be-
worthy-of-Pinterest-me. Finally after wasting so much time suffering from chronic twinges of inadequacy, I have this little entourage who thinks I am enough.

Kate at The Rhodes Log:

My first baby cried a lot. Like a lot a lot. From two to eight weeks he was nursing, sleeping, or crying. I generally tried to paint a rosy postpartum picture for the world - even though I was an overwhelmed, overtired, oversized-T-shirt-with-milk-stains-on-it mess. I wish I'd known that it was important to open up to people about how hard a time I was having. I thought: Good mothers can make their babies stop crying. I wish someone could've corrected me and said: No, good mothers hold and walk and rock and soothe their babies, even though the babies won't stop crying.

Audrey at Putting Me Together:

I wish I'd known that not all nursing covers are the same!  The first cover I had was small and the "structured" neckline was flimsy so I couldn't see anything.  I had the hardest time nursing in public with it and thought I was just bad at nursing.  Finally I tried this nursing cover and could nurse anywhere with ease!  It's much bigger and the structured neckline is way better.  Two other new moms had the same problem, and when I told them about the bigger nursing cover it solved their problems too!

Shana at The Mom Edit:

What I wish I had known before I had kids:

That all of my super-helpful, loudly vocalized, pre-kid opinions on child rearing just made me sound like an idiot.  

That you get who you get who you get.  So if you end up with a non-sleeping baby who can't nurse and who then grows up into a toddler who won't eat...IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.  You get who you get who you get.  Get it?

And also?  That non-sleeping, non-eating baby/toddler will grow up into a really amazing, delightful kid who both eats and sleeps normally.

That "good sleep hygiene" is a made-up phrase, not a medical one.  

That most of the really difficult phases passed before I even finished all of those books I bought to cope.

That 99.9% of the power struggles with my kids could've been avoided if I had just changed my own behavior. 

That the second baby grows up so fast - they go right from newborn to toddler.  

That I learned more about unconditional love in the first few weeks with a new baby than I did in 15+ years of marriage.  And because of this understanding, all of my relationships - with my husband, my own parents, his parents, my friends - strengthened.

If you can only choose one thing, choose connection.  Everything else will work itself out.

(And that the best maternity jeans have a SIDE PANEL.  Like this.)

Kayla from Freckles in April:

Before I had kids I thought parenting was a more solid thing and there would be a script or something I could follow. I had no idea how much would involve me just making crap up as I went along.

Telling my kid he needs to eat 5 more bites of dinner before he will be excused? Totally arbitrary. Making them hug for 2 minutes because they were fighting? I came up with that .2 seconds before the words left my mouth. Trying to come up with an age-appropriate explanation for how their baby sister ended up in my tummy? I'm winging it.

When you're a kid it feels your parents are working with something universal and immutable but that's not the case. There is no script. There are no rules. We're all making this up as we go!

Rachel from Testosterhome:

The best way to mother is to be comfortable in your own skin. Know who you are and what makes you tick, operate out of your strengths instead of what you think a "Good Mother" should be.

I think you have to figure this out (took me a while) exactly what brings you peace as a mother. There will be a million articles on the importance of one way of operating or another and I've found, after 18 years in this motherhood gig, that if I operate out of love for my child, everything will fall into place. Want to be an attachment parent? Go for it! Want to sleep train your baby three months in? Sounds great. There is no "one way" to any of this, except to love. That's the only right answer.

I noticed myself feeling really stressed a few years ago because I was trying to operate in a way that didn't come naturally to me. I wanted a certain kind of behavior from my children (or so I thought) but my natural parenting style, and the makeup of our family (five boys who don't sit still) didn't lend itself to what I wanted my kids to do. So I had to take a step back, assess the situation and realize that what I was doing was admiring something I saw in other people that didn't necessarily bring good fruit in our home. I had to embrace who I was as a mom and who our family was as the Family Balducci.

There is so much freedom in loving who you are and in how you roll. Whether you homeschool or send your children out the door at three; whether you wear a baby on your back from dawn to dusk or train them to walk and wander. if you serve homemade organic applesauce or a to-go chicken nugget six-pack -- figure out what brings you peace and joy and just love them. Love those babies and everything else really will fall into place. 

(Grace again!)
and believe it or not ... I've got even more diamonds to come! Along with a tiny update on the never EVER ending Patton Floridian relocation. Stay TUNED. 


  1. This is beautiful. I wish I had known all of it and I'm thankful I didn't have the internet moms to compare myself to. Give your children two parents that love each other (if possible) and be excited just to watch them being themselves. That's all any of us really need. My favorite phrase:I'll take care of you. xo Jana

  2. I love this series! I'm pregnant with my first baby, and all of posts lately have really struck a chord with me. Thank you! And keep the family updates coming!

  3. This post is oh-so-helpful. I will definitely be referring back to this, especially on days I feel like pulling my hair out ha ha. Amelia's comments are my absolute fave. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I appreciate all the sweet, reflective advice, but my favorite is the practical one about the nursing cover. That's the kind of stuff I wish I had known, and with all three of mine I learned new things like that!

  5. I could write a book on "the best laid plans" - I could shorten it to a small chapter (or even a paragraph) if you need a few more contributors : )

  6. Love you Kate!! And Mom Edit's made me cry. Love this series!

  7. This is so perfect! I've only been a mom for 10 weeks and it is so totally different than anything I could have expected in the best way possible. I wish I hadn't been so ridiculous about my opinions and views of what kind of mother I was going to be because I sounded so stupid. You just don't know what motherhood is like until you know.

  8. So glad to see my good friend Kate on here!! :) She is definitely a mother I look up to!

  9. Totally agree with Shana (when do I ever not?) with the you get who you get and the changing of my own behaviour to avoid power struggles. My poor boys were born to a very stubborn mother and she is still learning everyday how to be a non-stubborn mom.

  10. You are a total rock star! I can't believe moving with 4 young kids PLUS a BRAND NEW BABY! Seriously - you are amazing. And, to move from your house to an apt (and give birth) and move SEVERAL STATES to a new house - total rock star, Grace! I can't wait to hear about it! (We are moving too, but we have 4 OLDER kids (9-14), and I can't imagine what it's like to be you. I'll pray for you! Enjoy the sun and warm weather of FL! (I like the warm weather, too - we are moving to Austin!)



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