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10 Things Old Moms Want New Moms to Know

Next month, I will have been parenting for 10 years. Now that I am mothering my very last toddler, I am aware of just how much my parenting style and strategies have changed in that time. They say when you know better you do better. I'm sure there's truth in that. But it's also true that things you thought were important once upon a time, well, just aren't.

When I see new moms now, part of me feels wistful for all the joy and beauty they are discovering. Part of me feels relieved—whew, it's good to not be in that place of uncertainty. Ten years in, I've got this parenting thing down. HA! Not really. But a few other veteran moms and I put our heads together to create this list of parenting advice, which is as practical as it is real.

You're welcome, new moms.

1. Calendars make fine baby books

Really. We all mean to get to those perfect scrapbooks we got at our showers, but not too many of us actually do it. Invest in a calendar every year with a little bit of space for each day. Jot down funny things, cute quotes, milestones like first words and first steps. Your kids will love this down the road, and you will eliminate any guilt.

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2. Ins and outs

Never fight with your kids about what goes in their bodies (food), or what comes out of their bodies (pee and poop, yo). Seriously. A wise mom shared this advice with me when my first was little, and its wisdom has withstood the test of time through three kids. Fighting about these things only leads to power struggles where no one wins.

3. Recycle

For the love of all that is holy on this planet of ours, remember that we share this world with one another, with our kiddos and our kiddos' kiddos. Let's leave it better than we found it.

4. Remember you are the mom

That means that you are the one in charge. The screaming, tantruming, irrational 2-year-old should not be calling all the shots. This one is tough to remember in some moments, but our kids need us to remain in charge, even when it makes them angry.

5. Perfection is for suckers

In motherhood, as in all things, perfection is unattainable. We might try for it, but we are kidding ourselves. It won't happen. Let it go and move on.

6. Love the one you're with

One of my very favorite moms reminded me of this gem. When we are pregnant or caring for itty bitty babies, it's easy to make them into who we want them to be. As our kids grow, they become themselves— who they are meant to be.

7. Shots hurt like a mother$%^&er

Sometimes it's important to tell the brutal truth to our little ones, especially when you can't hide it. We aren't helping our little ones by trying to sugarcoat everything. Tell them that some things hurt and help them learn to trust that you will be there to hold them when they do.

8. Big Brother is watching

Except Big Brother is not who you think it is. Our kids watch us. All day. Every day. Be the person that you want your kids to be. Model gratitude and manners and morals and compassion.

9. Pee first

When you're on an airplane, the flight attendant always reminds us to put our own oxygen mask on first before helping our children. Middle of the night diaper changes are just the same. If you wake up to feed or change the baby, check your own needs first. Once that babe is settled in your arms, the last thing you want to do is put them down because you need to pee.

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10. Park next to the cart return

Always. Trust me on this one. Even if it's further from the doors of the grocery store. Even if it's raining. Even if the spot in front is open.

Photo via Twenty20/silly1971

Grateful thanks to the supportive moms at the Mary Tyler Mom Facebook community who helped with these pearls of mothering wisdom.

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