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Cat, Galloping

well put. i would just add to try to see the humor in most situations and to be as laid-back as you possibly can about things like tossing food on the floor.


Awesome - no wonder I like reading reading your site. I've never read your early stuff, so this is "new" to me.

My basic philosophy is this:

1) Motherhood is about IDEAS. Get loads of ideas (from books, blogs, friends, families) then mix n' match what works for YOUR FAMILY (that includes you, your kid and even your husband. It shocks me how many couples don't agree on things beforehand. 3am is NOT the time to discuss sleep "strategies".)

2) Yep, you said it - YOU know YOUR child BEST.

3) Most things are temporary! Your child will eventually get all of his teeth. Your child will probably be able to sleep on his/her own by college. (My son wanted to be held 24/7 for first 6 months of his life and yep, this particular philosophy saved my soul.)

4) Include your partner. It shocks me how many mothers try to be the end all and be all when it comes to their children. I've seen some mothers basically slap their partner's hands away. Respect your partner's very different takes on parenting. It's good for your child to be exposed to it and helps develop that special bond that they will have together. And yes, you won't necessarily "get it" or always be involved, but it's essential for a child to have that special relationship with your partner and get a different stance on how to do things.


Hear, hear! I love your philosophy - how I base my parenting as well. I especially appreciated what you said about "If you can control the situation, then you won't have to worry so much about controlling your child." The one in your list I hadn't really thought of, and since my son is just beginning to test me on some little things, this is really great advice I needed to hear. That's it, I must link to you right now!


My basic philosophy as a parent probably comes down to "err on the side of kindness and love." In all honesty, at the end of the day, I would rather have a mildly spoiled child than a mildly detached-from-relationships one (if I have to have either; I realize it's not that binary either).

I also believe the natural drive of the child is towards independence, so I don't feel that I have to push that (although there are kids at some stages that are exceptions of course).

My mantras are:

As my child(ren)'s only mother it's my job to love them and see the best in them - not in some glossy fake way, but always to stay in touch with the wonder of who they are, apart from any real issues that need to be addressed.

They come with their personalities pre-loaded. I can either help, or hinder.

Don't sweat the small stuff. A mess in the kitchen is an inconvenience. A traumatic head injury is a problem.

Live in the present moment, not in fear of the future.

Avoid extremes.


Just perfect, perfect, perfect. I am so glad I found this site!


Go with your gut.

Only do things the same way every time if you're willing and able to do them the way every time. Does that make sense?

Think ahead. The more you've thought about your choice ahead of time, the more likely you are to make the one you want to be making in the moment. Be cognizant of what you're trying to accomplish and the choices become clearer.

Words matter. Use them wisely.

After a particularly great, or particularly horrific day, I sit my daughter down and, very seriously, I say this: "Can I tell you something? Something very important? Do you know that your mommy and your daddy love you exactly the way you are?" It reminds us both.


I'm not that far into this mommy thing, but something that I learned from my son in the last five (!) months is just what someone else just said.

He is who he is! If I can just get through it without messing that up, I'll have done the best I can do for him.

Another thing... if you don't like how things are going today, just wait. They'll probably be totally different next week (or as Moxie said, time will improve things generally).

And worst case scenario, by the time he graduates highschool I'm sure he'll be sleeping through the night in his own bed, eating solids, going to the potty like a big boy... but the most important thing is that he'll be HAPPY.


I love you, Moxie. Instead of feeling crappier and doubting myself as a parent, I always feel sort of recharged after reading your/your readers' advice.



The only thing I'd add is to Stick up for yourself!

If you have made a choice/decision, feel good about something, do NOT let someone berate, criticize or heckle you for it. Be polite, but tell them to MYOB. It's not fair to judged. By anyone.


Great manifesto. That is essentially how I parent too. I would add in this one though: Do what works for you. If breastfeeding is working for you then great but don't feel like you are less of a mom for formula feeding. If cloth diapering is you thing, then fantastic! It just may not work for everyone so don't condemn them for "ruining" the environment.


" No one gets to tell you what to do unless they're also willing to take a shift at 3 am."

Annnddd THAT'S why I love this site!

Moxie, you've written about how enormously fucked up it is that our culture isolates mothers of young children so much. I think this site sort of serves to overcome that; it's a place I can go when (for a recent example) the Terrible Twos are making me NUTS and I need advice about how to be more patient while setting some limits. When I know one set of mothers in my real life will tell me that they never had that problem because they are "child-centered" (read REAL and LOVING) parents and if I were just more "attached" everything would be fine, and the other set will tell me I am just too permissive and need to get strict and put her in her place like THEM, I know I can come here and get commisseration and actual practical advice, not people trying to but themselves up by putting me down.

Wow,was that ever a run-on.

Anyway, I think trusting your instincts and knowing your kid are key. I know parents who think they have great kids because they are great parents, but you know what? I think kids help make their parents better people, not the other way around. I remember, before I had kids, telling my dad that he was a great father and he said "You kids made it so easy." Now, I feel the same way about my mothering--I am pretty good but my kid makes it easy to be.


Our parenting philosophy (and yes, my husband and I came up with it together) is FEED THE BOY. All of the problems in our house from not enough sleep to testing limits come down to not eating enough before bed. It's crazy, I know, but we must feed him. And sometimes, that means he has grapes and cherry tomatoes for dinner because that's what he'll eat and it's OK.

Also, as a mothering philosophy that has nothing to do with my son, I feel compelled to tell other mothers about when we have problems so they know they are not alone. I cannot possibly be the only person on the planet with a two-year-old who drives in the car (every.single.day rain.or.shine $3.50.gas.or.not) to get her child to sleep. He then naps in his criib in the house, but the falling asleep is in the car. And sure, sometimes it makes me feel like a less than mother since "everyone else" can get her kid to nap, but I know there is someone else out there who will benefit from hearing that I do it too and it's not big deal.


Just as your child is who s/he is, and you are as a person, so you are as a mother. Don't try to be like other moms. Learn from as many sources as possible, but ultimately allow the best of who you are to shine through in your mothering.

And... babies and young children and toddlers esp. are ALWAYS changing. Rapidly. Get too attached to a routine and you'll find they are movin' on--- once you've accepted that last week's 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep is this weeks' 4, or that avocados are no longer the food of the gods, you can catch up to where THEY are, and go from there.


I'm pretty much on your planet, but then, you already guessed that, huh?

I added mine to the parenting manifesto project a while back, let me see if I can find that... Here: http://www.rebeldad.com/HedraManifesto.html

(to add yours, or read the others, go here: http://www.rebeldad.com/manifesto.html There are some AMAZING ones out there)

I'm with those who say that the child is who they are, and our job is to not break that. I have a lot of different ways of saying that - the manifesto linked above is one. Another is the gardener analogy I trot out from time to time - that it comes in seasons, and the garden cannot be forced to thrive, only tended, and experts are more useful in person than in books... pretty much everything I've found to be true in my garden, I find to be true in parenting. Including that my dreams are informed by the shape my garden is taking, and that my children and my garden will both tell me what they want to be. (My garden just told me what it wants to be about a week ago - after what, 9 years? And my kids say in words what they dream, but their actions and passions say so much more. I'm impatient to see both the garden and the children take their mature forms, but I know it will take the time it takes, and I cannot force it without stealing its vigor.)

Sigh. But generally happy sigh. Today is a good day - almost nothing blooming in the garden (the green one), but three informative and encouraging parent-teacher conferences in one day. They're growing, changing, according to their own nature. And it is always amazing to just sit back and watch them grow.

Today Wendy

Thanks Moxie. I love your site, its like a breath of fresh air. I got the Weissbluth book from the library and it was making me so upset feeling like I was doing everything wrong that I was practically crying, and my husband insisted that I return it to the library without finishing. Reading your site leaves me feeling good about myself and relatively confident about being a good mom.


The measure of a society is its reverence for its children.

Thank you all for such depth of thought and insight. I have come here time and time again to laugh, cry and generally be saved from feeling like I am the only one and like I am not going to make it.
I have learned in the past 8 months to go with the flow and always remember that young Max LOVES his mommy no matter what the hour. Max has taught me how to be truly creative with my time and to not let things like spilt milk bother me so much. Basic equanimity stuff...
Thank you hedra for your beautiful garden analogy!


Moxie, you're so awesome!! But you knew I thought so. You too, Hedra.

I think my main philosophy is that a child is a person. Just that, not something for me to direct, not a reflection of me. As such, I believe in considering, negotiating, balancing. (However much I goof up on a day to day basis.)

I also try to remember that I'm a person (hard some days) and that we both can come to an accommodation on almost any issue if we're able to keep that in mind.


A mantra that's really helping me right now: It's better to be pleasantly surprised than bitterly disappointed!

This helps me modulate my expectations with everything from how much sleep my newborn gives me... through how much cooperation my toddler gives me... to what time their Daddy is getting home to help!

Because although I'm tired and my children are demanding, I need to get past that to notice that everybody is thriving and I love them and am just grateful.


"No one gets to tell you what to do unless they're also willing to take a shift at 3 am."

This is EXACTLY why I discounted a lot of the assvice coming from my (former) pediatrician, along the lines of "get her out of your bed" (@ 4 mos) and "stop night nursing" (@ 10 mos). Although he was a father--of grown kids--himself, I felt like he was completely out of touch with the experience of living under the same roof as a small, non-verbal person.

Something that been growing in importance for me over the past 2 years (from the time I discovered I was pregnant again) is carving out meaningful (i.e. not zoning in front of the TV) time for myself, whether blog writing or reading fiction. I recharge from that, so my kids will be the ultimate beneficiaries. Tonight was my book club night and I feel more alert and refreshed than I have in a couple of weeks--plus my toddler now "gets" that I go somewhere "to talk about books." How cool.

Not to be too cliche, but parenting is hard. Even when you try to go with the flow. Ultimately we just try to get everyone through the day and hope they won't hate us too much later.


Great post!


I just love, love, LOVE this site. I flip through an occasional parenting book to get some ideas, but nothing helps and encourages like this site.

I'm going on 6 weeks of horrible, won't-sleep-in-the-crib-anymore teething from my 8 month old. (She's been sleeping in her crib since we first brought her home.)

Coming here and reading the great, warm thoughts, and the wonderful comments, gives me the strength to feel that I can get through this and I'm not a bad mother.

So many philosphies here I subscribe to, to expound on one, only ask your peditrician for medical related advice. I learned this when mine told me that 2 months old was WAY too old to swaddle, and I should stop night feedings at 6 months.




Just reading your philosophy has given this new mother to a 3 wk old some much needed peace. I have to remember that there are only 3 people involved in this relationship (me, baby, and DH) and we need to do what's best for us. Thanks!


I am new to this site and to blogging for fun. I love this site and your philosophy. I have four kids, 17,13,5 and 1--nice spaces between them but also a problem for the sleep issues. I have my 5yo girl sharing a room with baby brother but that's a problem because he's still trying to sleep through the night. The 13 yo girl doesn't want to share a room with a 5 yo and the oldest is a boy so where does that leave me...trying to figure out how to fix this problem.

Anyway, your philosophies are right on target. I was too far from family and to new in town with my first baby so I had to learn a lot of things the hard way. I read lots of books and heard advise over the phone from distant family and friends, but in the end we did what worked for us. He paved the way for how we would raise the rest of our kids.

We have rules that are not always followed, chore lists that are not always done, attitudes that are not always immediately adjusted and love that IS ALWAYS demonstrated. We make life work and our kids are happy, caring, giving little souls.

Great site, keep up the good work. My site is under construction so don't expect much if you go there.

aka "SpinDiva"

Pucky's Mom

I have a 6 mo old. I love your site from the invaulable advice about 'whatever gets everyone the most sleep'. Pucky sleeps with us and we recognize there will be a day where he will no longer tolerate hugs and snuggles so we enjoy it and everyone sleeps.


i've just discovered your blog. i love you! will be reading more...


My philosophy?
Every child, every parent, and every family is different.


I especially like the "control the situation, not the child" point because I am a firm believer in that one, too. I actually picked this idea up initially from my old organization theory reading -- people respond much better to limits imposed by depersonalized rules or constrained situations then they do to someone personally telling them what they can and can't do. To the extent that parenting is about being the boss of a very small and unproductive company, I try to implement the "law of the situation" idea (really! that's what it's called!) as often as possible.


having problems with our 19 month old (1st time mummy!) feeding habits and have just found this site... I LOVEIT! Today we did battle with dinner ... tomorrow will be more relaxed. If all he wants is smiley faces for dinner then he can have smiley faces for dinner....! I AM A GOOD MUM! I AM A GOOD MUM! Thanks Moxie.


Just found you...thank you!


There are way dumber people than me having children, and they have all survived.


My Dad said this one to me...
"All you can do is nurture their nature."
Isn't that fabulous?

At one point I decided that my new motto in light of life with a baby was "it is what it is", meaning I can't control nearly as much of my life as I was once used to and sometimes you just have to roll with it. Enjoy the moment that is, not that coulda/shoulda/woulda been. (Although, I think I actually use this saying in reference to my husband more than the baby, ha!)

Also a recent epiphany was that "baby steps" isn't actually referring to the small steps babies take when learning to walk, but the small steps we must take in our new life with a baby. In other words, don't set yourself up for these huge expectations/goals. Allow yourself to function at their pace (if you can) - it's actually a blessing and can be so good for you if you let it.

I've also had to recognize the difference between a housewife (a woman who stays home to take care of the house) and a stay-at-home-mom who is in fact staying home to take care of the kids, NOT the house (though some minimal care is necessary for survival, of course).

Otherwise a lot of "what she said"... everyone has already made a lot of great points. Go Moms!

Leigh from 123 blog

Thank you for saying that I'm not a bad parent just because my twins don't sleep like the books say they should. Or my friends :)


New mom here with a 12 week old baby girl. Racking my brain, spending hours on the internet trying to find ways to get us all some sleep in this household. Found your site through google and I'm feeling loads better. Love the By Any Means Necessary advice for sleep, as I'm currently holding Baby girl through her naps this weekend to get her caught up on some much needed sleep . I'm finding I just need to relax and not compare myself or our baby to others. It is awfully nice to hear though that there are so many other parents out there going through the same things or worse.

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I also believe the natural drive of the child is towards independence, so I don't feel that I have to push that although there are kids at some stages that are exceptions of course.


thank you ,you do well, you are so greet.I think

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  • My expertise is in helping people be who they want to be, with a specialty in how being a parent fits into everything else. I like people. I like parents. I think you're doing a fantastic job. The nitty-gritty of what you do with your kids is up to you, although I'm happy to post questions here to get data points of how you could try approaching different stages, because, let's face it, this shit is hard. As for me, I have two kids who sleep through the night and can tie their own shoes. I've been a married SAHM, a married freelance WAHM, a divorcing WOHM, a divorced WOHM, and now a WAHM again. I'm not buying the Mommy Wars and I'll come sit next to you no matter how you're feeding your kid. When in doubt, follow the money trail. And don't believe the hype.
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