The Best Parenting Advice I Ever Received

The Best Parenting Advice I Ever Received

Sometimes the best parenting advice comes not from experts but from other moms.

By Judy Koutsky

I’m one of those moms who is always looking to pick the brains of moms who have been there. Their kids are older and they can look back with some objectivity on what worked and, sometimes more importantly, what didn’t. Raising young kids can be such an all-consuming job, and you’re often so in the moment that it’s hard to step back and get perspective. Fortunately, other moms are often willing to share their pearls of wisdom. Below, some of the best parenting advice I’ve received.

1. The days are long, but the years are short. When my oldest was born, I was exhausted all the time. I was working full time, from home, and often would have Jack sleep in my arms as I would finish up projects and writing assignments. I felt like I had to keep up with my intense work schedule while still trying to be there every minute with Jack. Before I knew it, Jack was 2 and my youngest, Matthew, was born. That’s when a mom friend told me: The days are long, but the years are short. The gist is the kids can be exhausting and the days seem to go on forever, but each phase passes all too quickly and the years suddenly fly by. Work will always be there, but the kids won’t always be young. Yes, two high-energy boys can make the days seem very long, but now that they’re 3 and 5, I can’t believe how quickly the years flew by. I’ve learned to appreciate each day with my kids and pull back on work when needed.

2. Don’t be best friends with your kids’ friends’ moms. This advice came from a mom who had high school kids. As moms -- and as women -- we often share very personal information with our mom friends, which makes for rich, meaningful friendships. However, my friend pointed out that it’s not really fair to our kids to be sharing their business with friends who might inadvertently pass along the information to their kids. You can certainly be friendly with your kids’ friends’ parents, but setting boundaries is a good rule of thumb.

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3. Breakfast for dinner doesn’t make you a bad mom. On my worst mom days, I make scrambled eggs for dinner. Why? Because I’m usually under deadline for a bunch of stories, I’m tired, my kids might be cranky, and I simply need something to be easy. My kids love scrambled eggs, and it takes all of two minutes to make. This advice, which came from a neighbor, implies that some days in motherhood are just plain rough; don’t beat yourself up over it. Do what you need to do to get by and start fresh in the morning.

4. When it comes to your mom personality, own it. My good friend gave me this advice. The gist is don’t try and make yourself into a mom you’re not. Some moms love play dates, some moms love being the soccer coach, some moms don’t like to get involved at all. Whatever your comfort level, own it. Don’t try and change who you are, you’ll just end up unhappy.


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5. They call it mother’s intuition for a reason. At the end of the day, you know what’s best for your kids. For first-time moms, this is hard advice to swallow. I know. I asked everyone what I should do for sleeping, feeding, and crying. In response to one of my questions, my pediatrician told me to just go with my gut. There are so many ways to come at every challenge and situation. Only you know what works best for you. The nice thing about having a second child is you tune out others’ advice and really start listening to your inner voice. It often sounds pretty good.

What’s the best parenting advice you’ve ever received?

Judy Koutsky is the former Editorial Director of KIWI magazine, a green parenting publication. She was also Executive Editor of, AOL Parent and Follow her on Twitter @JudyKoutsky.

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