We’re on a short break this week, so we are passing today’s newsletter over to you. A few months ago, we started the Wins and Woes series, with your parenting successes and struggles and your questions. Among the best things about this series have been your comments to one another. They’re warm, they’re comforting, and they’re helpful. They remind us every time of the motivation for this series, which was this post on your best parenting advice.
Today, in case you hadn’t had time to read all these in real time, we’re re-upping some of the questions and comments. Hopefully you find something here that resonates. And if you want to contribute, share your story here.
Reader question: I have two daughters: a 16-week-old and a 26-month-old. When we had the first, I was very confident staying alone with her from the get-go; it was natural. After the second arrived, I cannot even imagine taking care of the two on my own. I completely freak out at the thought of it, and I feel like a wimp. How old does the old one have to be for this to feel a bit easier? Does this feeling ever go away? Am I going to feel like a superhero mom ever again?
Top comment: I just wanted to add that obviously there are a ton of moms in here saying they are right there with you, but I did experience this as well, and at least part of the problem was actually postpartum depression/anxiety. I went to therapy all along, but I finally started on medication when my baby was 10 months, and it made a huge difference. I no longer stress about having them both at home or taking them out. I do think some of it was also time and practice (actually being alone with them), but for sure the meds helped. This may not be your situation at all, but I just wanted to mention it in case it resonates. Postpartum Support International is a good place to look for resources. And even if it isn’t PPD/PPA, having someone to talk to is always helpful. Thinking of you!
Reader question: I just found out I’m having identical twins and am freaking out. I have your books but am looking for something more specific to the twin experience that isn’t going to be too fluffy and can help me prepare. I’ve looked myself, and there is so little — it’s so isolating! Any recommendations on what to read?
Top comment: Mom to identical twin 14-month-olds here. Found When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads to be very helpful. You’ve got this!!
Reader question: I am a female founder, run a company (bootstrapped from scratch, no investment, no inherited wealth), and parent two kids (5 and 7). I had a miscarriage and went through IVF for one, and the Roe v. Wade news has hit me pretty hard. I’m struggling with believing that my daughter will have the same choices as my son. It’s such a grind to be a working mother and so hard to continue to reinforce gender equity at the moment. I welcome ideas, support, and general positivity. Everywhere I turn, everyone is so down and depressed and I have to believe our daughters have something to look forward to!
Top comment: Seventy-year-old Granny Bear here (yes! I subscribe to ParentData to better support my daughters). Having marched in the ’70s in support of a woman’s right to choose, I can’t believe where we are now. But from my 50+-year perspective, I truly, truly believe that the arc of the moral universe always bends toward justice. Hang in there, Mama. You are doing the world’s most important work.
Reader question: Our nearly 2-year-old son still throws tons of food on the floor at every meal — even food he likes, once he’s had enough, and a lot of food he won’t even try! This gets very messy. We’ve asked him to hand food to us or let us know when he’s done, but he seems to get joy from throwing it. Teachers say he does the same thing at day care. Anyone have tips?!
Top comment: I read somewhere to have a special empty bowl on the table where they are supposed to put icky or extra food in. It starts by having a concrete place to put the food they don’t want so they specifically know what to do instead of throwing. Same logic as having an assigned spot for the sippy cup so they don’t throw that!
Reader question: My 18-month-old has started to bite her friends. It’s the first time we are being challenged to really react and discipline her, but as first-time parents I honestly don’t know where to start. She is so young that methods like time out or explaining it all to her just don’t seem realistic. Where do we begin with our discipline journey!?
Top comment: For the biter — we use this type of phrase from Big Little Feelings: “It’s okay to feel mad/frustrated/silly, but it’s not okay to bite/pinch/hit. I’m going to move my body/little brother away to keep me/him safe.” Repeat ad infinitum.
Reader question: My maternity leave is ending next week. I’m really struggling with missing time with my daughter but also continuing my career that I worked so hard to achieve.
Top comment: Be intentional about expanding your circle of working moms. Many of my friends cut back or quit their jobs after kids, which of course is a valid choice, but seeing them take their kids to the zoo in the middle of a workday was so hard. I still love and spend time with those friends, but I’ve also cultivated more friendships with those who go through the same working-mom struggles. It makes the whole thing feel normal, which helps with the guilt. Also, one day soon your sweet cuddly baby will be a toddler, and I promise some days you will practically throw them into their classrooms 🙂
Reader question: My 3.5-year-old has been potty trained for over a year but goes through phases where she has multiple accidents a day. WTF do I do??
Top comment: As a pediatrician, I unsurprisingly might advocate that “Sick of poopy pants” visits their pediatrician. Are accidents only poop or pee or both? Does it happen overnight? Could be constipation, or behavioral, or something that requires medical attention. But either way, the pediatrician could help suss it all out.
Reader question: What are the advantages and disadvantages of moving away from family? We love our family but also dislike where we live. Feeling guilty. Is moving away bad?
Top comment: We live about 2,000 miles from both sets of parents. My son is now 1.5 years old. Pros: We have great, high-paying jobs and feel very professionally fulfilled. We also really love the area we live in. Cons: Babysitting is harder to come by, holidays require a long plane flight, which is always stressful, we have to be picky about what things we fly in for, and there’s the not-so-subtle comments from the grandparents about how we’re so far away. We deal with this by doing weekly video chats and at least two weeklong visits per year (affordable thanks to our jobs!). We’re thinking about kid #2 and asking ourselves if it’s worth moving back East. Ultimately, I think we will stay where we’re at, but when we buy a house I will place a very high priority on a guest room!! The way I see it, I know I would have some big regrets if I moved, and that would probably make me cranky around my kids. I also ask what advice I would give to my own child if he were struggling with this decision. I’d like to think I would have the courage to say, “I love you so much. I’ll visit you anywhere. Do what makes you happy.”
Reader question: How do you respond when your toddler says he needs to sleep in your bed because he “doesn’t want to sleep alone”?
Top comment: This is so hard! I often say, “You’re not alone, we are just on the other side of the wall taking care of you”” or remind them that one of your jobs as parent is making sure everyone gets good sleep, and you’ll all sleep better in your own beds.