My senior yearbook quote went something like this: "Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children." At the time, I thought it was just a cool line from the movie 'The Crow.' Then, in doing research for this post, I found out the phrase is actually a famous quote by William Makepeace Thackeray (famous English novelist from the 19th century - thanks Wikipedia!). And the closer I get to having a little nugget, the more I realize how much I believe in those fifteen words.
My mother's advice when it comes to raising children is gospel. There is no one whom I trust more. I know I am lucky. Some people have been forced to say goodbye to their moms way too early. This makes me unbelievably sad and ridiculously attached to my mother.
We don't live close. She is in the Sunshine State, I live where the sun don't shine (at least it didn't this summer). This distance makes our relationship tricky. We are very good on the phone; speaking a few times a week about grandmother (and her cat), the weather (it's great there, sucks here), my brother and his family (a trio of kids under age 6 - yikes!), anti-aging miracles (flax seed, fish oil, Greek yogurt) and whatever sporting adventure she's up to lately (also an anti-aging miracle).
In person though, we need a warm-up period. I'm still trying to figure out why that is. Perhaps it's distance. Maybe it's that we are both adults with our own opinions, methodologies and beliefs. Or it could just be that our mother-daughter dynamic has altered with age.
But there is one area where we always mesh - raising children. The reason is simple. She is the best mother I've ever seen (and, obviously, known). And that is why her advice trumps all others.
So here, in no particular order, is the best mothering advice I've gotten (so far) from my mum:
*Babies always need to wear socks (unless it's wicked hot out)
*Kids need structure and a set routine
*Naps are a must - everyday
*If you don't like a food, your kid won't either (even if the nugget has never tried it)
*Breastfeed (if possible)
*Sleep when your baby sleeps (screw the housework)
*Babies need to go to bed early and that means they will wake up early - Deal with it
*No overnight pull-ups
*Use a pack-and-play
*Babies and toddlers must have the fat of whole milk
*Have a sit-down family dinner as often as possible when the kids are old enough
*Cut the end off the pacifier when you don't want them to use one anymore
*Have a cartoon character "steal" their blanket when it's time to grow out of it
*Take trips just for mom and dad - Leave the kids with the g-rent's
*When breastfeeding at night, sit in a rocking chair with the lights off - Just be there in the quiet together
I'm not deluded enough (yet?) to think that I'll be able to follow all of these things to the letter. But if my mum says that's the way to go, then I trust her.
Now, if only I could believe her when she tells me that labor does not hurt.....