We Are Both Right

Best Of: Advice on Being a Mom

What motherly words of advice were like a life saver for you? © Arjun Kartha / stock.xchng

Whether it’s your very first Mother’s Day or your twentieth, you have undoubtedly received some great advice that helped you along the way.

You know the kind we mean. The few words that picked you up when you needed it most. Or the detailed instructions that got you through those first few days home with baby.

Whatever they were and whoever uttered them — those words of wisdom made you realize that you were not alone in the sometimes overwhelming world of motherhood.

We’re sharing ours and we hope you will too:

AMANDA: One of the best pieces of advice about motherhood came, from all people, my husband. Now while he’s a great dad and the best father for my children that I could ever want or hope for, he is undoubtedly not a mother, nor will he ever be.

Still, I will always be grateful for his words of wisdom.

Start a blog.

I know, it’s not a sentimental pearl. Heck, it can’t even be classified as practical. But it was what I needed at the time and personally and professionally changed my life.

For years I had been writing professionally. Writing. Writing. Writing. My dream right? I thought so. Except I wasn’t happy. I was in a total rut. Because for all the words I was churning out on a daily basis, none of them were mine really. It’s not like I was plagiarizing or anything, but I wasn’t writing for me. I was writing what other people wanted me to write. And I was tired.

And then I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant with my youngest. We were freaked to say the least. I mean, we had talked about maybe having a third, but I think we were just about over it. My elder two were in elementary school, I had just lost about 35 pounds (all the baby weight!) — we were happy with our little unit just the way it was. And then two lines.

Big picture I was excited, but acutely, I was overwhelmed. Totally on so many levels. T. and I decided to keep the pregnancy under wraps for a while — we wanted our kids to be the first to know and before we told them about their new little sibling, we wanted to be sure everything was OK. The problem was, I was having trouble not talking about the pregnancy to my family and friends, especially under the surprise circumstances. I was hormonal. I was having mood swings. And I had no outlet, except for one person. And I think he was tired of hearing me talk.

So in his infinite wisdom, or maybe it was desperation, my husband suggested I start a blog.

The thing was, blogging definitely helped me work through my feelings, but it did other things too. Because suddenly I was writing again. Really writing. Like back in high school, dear diary, writing for myself writing. My voice was there all along, I just hadn’t been using it.

It felt so good to write what I wanted and how I wanted to write it. Not the repurposing I was doing in my paid jobs — press releases and stories on parenting that had been written umpteen times. But the funny thing was, the more I wrote about the soon-to-be-S., the more relaxed I became with my other projects. Everything improved. It was amazing.

So short term, the blog was helping me professionally and emotionally. But as time went on, I realized it had a much greater, valuable purpose. It’s S.’s history — his life and my pregnancy with him.

Now I haven’t been as good as I used to be as writing in it, but when I go back and look, I can not only read about S.’s “firsts” in great detail, but incidents and milestones that I would never think to record in a baby book. Funny yarns like the time C. lost S.’s exersaucer and all of his funny nicknames, as well as things from my pregnancy like how I was a childbirth class delinquent.

When I look at C.’s and A.’s baby books I see a lot dates and grasp at fuzzy details at the edge of my memory. When I read the blog about S., I remember.

SUZANNE:  It was my first job out of college and I was an assistant in the public relations office of a hospital. At the helm was this vibrant woman in her forties who was the best mentor you could want. She was a Fulbright Scholar. Be it in the Board Room or on Broadway, she had stage presence. She spoke as passionately about breastfeeding as she did her career. She was a fabulous cook, a gardener and looked as put together in Chanel as she did a barn jacket. In other words, you could say she knew a little about doing it all.

And even though I worked for her years before I had my first child, there was one piece of advice from her that I never forgot.

Superwoman. Stupid woman.

Yes, that was her advice. The woman who seemingly did it all said you were stupid if you thought you could do it all.

Which means a lot more to me now than it did then.

By nature, I’m the consummate multi-tasker. I feel accomplished when I fill my days to the max. But lately it seems to have reached a crescendo. My mind is now racing around the clock. My children are seeing way too much of a harried mom who is short on energy.

And I’m beginning to realize that if I keep pushing the limits, instead of having it all, I might actually lose it all. How I wish she was still around to ask her what to do next.

But I guess that’s the thing about advice. It’s like someone coming along and cleaning the eyeglasses you didn’t even know were dirty. And then it’s up to you to find your own way.

Or meet someone with some more great advice.


What’s the best advice you’ve received since becoming a mom? What advice would you give to a mom-to-be? (Besides telling them to visit We Are Both Right!)

Our Two Cents: When Kids Outgrow Their Friends

Do these boys have to be friends for convenience? © homer_seav @ stock.xchng

Dear Suzanne and Amanda:

My best friend “Daisy” and I each have a son who is 10. We live around the block from one another, the boys go to the same school and are in many of the same activities. Daisy and I help each other out often. We both work part-time outside of the home and have come to depend on one another when we are in a bind childcare-wise — she’ll pick my son “George” up after school and mind him until I get home, I’ll drive her son “Fred” to baseball practice, etc. It’s a good, informal arrangement and has served us very well over the years.

The problem? My son doesn’t like her son. It wasn’t always this way — little kids seem to make friends with everybody — but as they’ve gotten older, Fred and George have made their own friends and cultivated their own interests. Fine. But they just don’t get along.

I’ve been trying to find other people for George to go home with, but I don’t think Daisy realizes that the boys aren’t best buddies and is hurt that I’m seemingly avoiding her. What do I do?

–Friends No More


While that’s certainly an awkward situation to be in, I think that some honest communication all around would make it more comfortable for everyone. First, would it be so terrible if you could each still depend upon one other for childcare like you used to — maybe not as frequently — but once in a while?

If you’re not absolutely opposed to that, then you should start by having a conversation with your son. Explain that sometimes friends grow apart and even though he and Fred aren’t the best of friends any more, maybe there’s some common ground they can find for the hour that they are together. Tell him that you lost your good friend from fifth grade — all because she didn’t share your obsession with the boys of NKOTB — and that you regret it to this day. He’ll roll his eyes. But remind him that at least Fred hates Justin Bieber as much as he does.

Then, your next move should be to call Daisy. And don’t kid yourself — she may very well have noticed the disconnect between the boys herself. Just ask if she’s seen any changes between them and mention that when they’re at your house, they just don’t seem to be interested in the same things anymore. Be ready for her to say that everything seems perfectly fine, or that she really relies upon the arrangement to get by.

At that point, it’s your call — either make the best of it or be prepared to watch the relationship unravel.


Does your son George like going to baseball practice and after-school activities? Is he happy to not have to go home to an empty house when the school day is done? I’m guessing the answer is yes. And therein lies your answer.

Things can stay the way they are.

Yes, I understand as kids get older they sometimes outgrow friends from when they were super-small. But the reality is, it sounds like you and Daisy both need this arrangement in order to make certain things work. So George has a decision to make — does he want to continue to participate in programs and sports teams he likes to do with the stipulation that he gets to and from these events with someone who isn’t his favorite person, or does he want to sit them out altogether?

It’s not like he has to spend every second he’s at baseball practice  with Fred, they are just getting there the same way. As I remember, there are a lot kids on a team right?

And as for going someplace after school, for me that’s a no-brainer. Until you feel comfortable with him staying home alone (and it’s legally OK for him to do so), he needs to stay with an adult until you are home from work. If you are able to secure care that involves people other than Fred and Daisy, fine. But until you can (if you even choose to) feel no guilt about sending George to their home. I’m assuming at Daisy’s he’s well-cared for, fed and not forced to do manual labor. And like the activities, he doesn’t have to spend every minute he’s there with Fred. He can do his homework, read a book or find something else to entertain himself.

Lay it all out on the table. Address his concerns, but let him know where you are coming from too. That even if he isn’t a fan of the situation, life isn’t always fair and this is what you need to do in order to make your crazy schedules work. If it’s possible and not too much of a hassle, try to find another form of transportation for George — but realize you could be leaving Daisy out in the cold if she is depending on you to bring Fred places. Remind him that even if he and Fred don’t get along, he still needs to be kind to him and treat Daisy with the utmost respect. People can grow apart and still manage to behave civilly to one another.

Then you need to have a talk with Daisy. Chances are, if George has expressed displeasure and you’ve noticed the tension, she has too. But it might be she doesn’t want to say anything because she knows you guys have a good thing going and she doesn’t want to lose it either. Maybe the pair of you can brainstorm. Was there a specific incident that caused the boys to stop getting along or are they simply growing apart?

It’s definitely sad when a child outgrows a friend they’ve had for a long time, but it’s a reality of life. How you help your child handle it will set a tone that will accompany them into adulthood.


What do you think? Should “Friends No More” find alternative care and rides for George or should he have to stick it out? Has your child ever outgrown a friend?

If you’ve got a problem that needs pondering and you need some outside perspective, send an e-mail to advice@wearebothright.com.