Mothering Wisdom

posted in: Life’s Lessons, Motherhood, NaBloPoMo 42 comments

Five years into this mothering gig, I’ve learned things I never thought I would need to, or want to. 

Such as ……

I know the difference between what’s ‘good’ poop and what’s not.

A great gag reflex is necessary.

I can tell when it’s “I am hungry” crying versus “I am pissed off at you because you don’t move fast enough for my liking” crying. 

I can clip really tiny baby nails with competence and confidence.

I’m a boss at administering medicine with a syringe and not spill a drop or have the child throw it all up.

I know the lyrics to far more children’s songs than I care to. 

I can change a diaper in under a minute.

I know that I am not above bribing the children with chocolate.

I know how to hide vegetables in food.

I’ve realized that I will never win the negotiating battle with my 2 year old over how many cars he can sleep with.

I can do many, many things with just one free hand.

And other mothering wisdom gleaned from personal experience….

Head wounds are really bloody, and are usually not as bad as it looks.

Letting go of perfection and expectations is necessary. 

It’s okay for kids to wear their favorite shirt three days in a row.

Cuddling is good for everyone.

Ignore a tantrum. They’ll know soon enough that it doesn’t work.

Some time alone is good for me, and the kids. 

Feeling guilty about everything is normal. It’s not right, but it’s normal.

Not all kids like to be read to. Don’t force it. They’ll love books eventually.

Encourage interests, even if it’s in something you’re not interested in.

Let kids play freely. It’s how they learn.

Some screen time won’t hurt them. Or you.

Say yes often. Say no just as often.

(PS: This post took me 3 hours to write because I had to hold/ nurse babies non-stop for 5 hours.)

What would you add?


Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the worldโ€™s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Womenโ€™s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesnโ€™t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • November 11, 2014 Janine Huldie

    Aww, man Alison that last line you are truly my hero and seriously I have had two kids sick here the past week, but still no infants to write around. So, tons of credit here always.
    Janine Huldie recently wrote…The Princesses Love Miss Humblebee’s AcademyMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      If nothing, I am determined, heh.

  • November 12, 2014 Rudri Bhatt Patel

    Saying yes more often.. I need to remember that.

    You are rocking November NaBloPoMo. Kudos.
    Rudri Bhatt Patel recently wrote…Tell Stories Only You Can TellMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      I am trying my darndest! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • November 12, 2014 Kari

    Our children will always be loyal to us because we held them upside down to smell a diaper.
    Kari recently wrote…Dollar Store Thanksgiving Table. How NOT to Be a Turkey.My Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Bahahaha!!! YES.

  • November 12, 2014 Robbie

    I do not clip nails..EVER!! That is husband’s job as I caused a little bleeding the first & ONLY time I did it–13 years ago!
    Robbie recently wrote…Where I Come FromMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      I was petrified too, a lot. But no one else will do it, so….

  • November 12, 2014 Loree

    This is wonderful and a comforting read for mommies. Your wisdom is spot on. Now I don’t feel awful about screen time because, to be honest, I love watching sesame street myself. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Some screen time is really okay! My kids are doing just great. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • November 12, 2014 Bev

    Yes to all of these things. I would add it’s ok to take a hot shower if you are stressed, even if the baby is crying. She will be ok, and you deserve a break.
    Bev recently wrote…8 tips to manage your time betterMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Yes, I do that often! (take a shower while someone is crying, because really, they’re not going to stop even if I don’t)

  • November 12, 2014 Elaine

    I would add- Crying over spilled milk is really NOT necessary. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    These are great Alison!
    Elaine recently wrote…Moving OnMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Haha, yes! Thank you.

  • November 12, 2014 Tanya M

    Great list. It’s amazing how well we learn to do things one handed.
    Tanya M recently wrote…Snow Angels Secrets and Christmas Cake by Sue Watson- a Hilarious and Heartwarming Holiday TaleMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Out of necessity! It’s a survival skill.

  • November 12, 2014 Kerstin

    I would not add anything – it’s a great list! The kind of list great parenting advice is made of ๐Ÿ™‚
    Kerstin recently wrote…Auer Life – It’s a Blogoversary!My Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Aw, thanks Kerstin! A list I hope to add to as the years go by.

  • November 12, 2014 Christine

    Saying yes often is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned. Also, the magic of counting to 3. PS your post on gems brought back lots of memories of jade bracelets and necklaces that I had to wear when I was younger.
    Christine recently wrote…5 Benefits of Self-Myofascial Release (and why you need to do it daily)My Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      I’ve heard about the counting to 3 thing, but never tried it! What is it with Chinese people and jade stuff? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • November 12, 2014 Chris Carter

    Oh mama… you got it DOWN!!!!! Brilliant post!! And it was WORTH taking that long (amidst the mothering) to write it…

    Sharing your wisdom!!! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Chris Carter recently wrote…Perhaps God Moves Mountains- Afterallโ€ฆMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, as always! xo

  • November 12, 2014 janice

    I’m impressed it only took you 3 hours. When my arms were full of newborn baby when my cousin was born, I could not do anything. at. all. She was the type of baby who had to be held all the time and I was all too happy to oblige. But man, I could not multi-task when I babysat her. I can’t imagine doing it with two!
    janice recently wrote…How Lazy People Serve BrowniesMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      I usually have at least one baby in my arms, taking turns to nurse and such. With practice, I can usually hang onto them one way or other while doing something else with the free hand. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • November 12, 2014 Allie

    Ah the things we can do with one free hand!!! And yes, my boys go to sleep with at least 5 cars each. I just don’t care and it makes them happy. Win/win.
    Allie recently wrote…Fitness Field Trip: Pursuit Athletic Performance (VIDEO)My Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Some battles are not worth fighting, that’s my survival philosophy!

  • November 13, 2014 Kimberly

    Mastering giving them medicine is an art.
    I had 10 years of practice before I had the rug rat because I was a peds ER nurse ๐Ÿ™‚
    Oh the weird crap we learn as parents.
    Kimberly recently wrote…But You Look Soโ€ฆMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      My oldest was sick a lot so we had no choice but to learn fast!

  • November 13, 2014 Tamara

    ha! You know that you can change a diaper in under a minute but you can’t write a blog post in under three hours when you have four kids.
    Tamara recently wrote…A Toast To The Ones Who Make It Easier.My Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Yes, exactly! Life is weird.

  • November 13, 2014 Kim

    YES! You list so many good ones. My youngest was not a fan of being read to at all. I was a bit worried, to be honest – but now he loves reading. It just took some time for him to come around.
    Kim recently wrote…It Would Have BeenMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Yes, all kids are different! My oldest was just too distracted to be read to. Now he loves to read on his own. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • November 13, 2014 Tricia

    So good! I love that so many of the things on your list are rooted in kindness – to ourselves and to our kids.
    Tricia recently wrote…What-my-kid-said Wednesday: one-linersMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Kindness is my mantra! It makes my heart happy that you noticed.

  • November 14, 2014 heidi

    The guilt? Always. I don’t know if it’s possible to be a mom without guilt. And I love your letting go of perfection and managing expectations. And YES to time alone (when you can get it). It’s a must. I don’t know if I have anything to add…you’ve covered it well here.:)
    heidi recently wrote…thin-skinnedMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Heidi! So good to see you here.

  • November 15, 2014 Sarah

    4 1/2 years in, I still hate clipping baby nails. Great post!
    Sarah recently wrote…Reading while Driving #bookchatMy Profile

    • November 16, 2014 Alison

      I don’t enjoy it one bit. So it’s a good thing I can get it done fast!

  • November 19, 2014 Tonya

    And just think, you are only five years in! Great list.
    Tonya recently wrote…Being BusyMy Profile

    • November 19, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Tonya!

  • November 20, 2014 Rebecca

    This post made me feel great! I love your wisdoms and honestly, I found them to be helpful. Some of these made me realize I’ve learned things without knowing it and others taught me to chill the eff out.
    Rebecca recently wrote…Don’t Say the “C” Word – And Other House RulesMy Profile

    • November 20, 2014 Alison

      I think the most important lesson for me was to relax. ๐Ÿ™‚

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