Owning Motherhood: Throwing Advice Out the Window

Written by Dawn Alsept

There are few things in life that illicit a barrage of unsolicited advice like becoming a parent does. It begins from the time a well-meaning stranger in the grocery notices your burgeoning belly, and it does not end when your child goes off to school. Most of the advice gurus really do have the best of intentions, however, some can be forward or pushy in their deliverance of said advice.

I have now parented six children and therefore been on the receiving end of an ocean of advice. It took several children, and some age under my belt, to realize this sage wisdom. I only need less than 10% of the advice I am given about raising my children.

Before you shake your head and assume me a know-it-all, let me clarify. We all need to learn that each child we have is different from the rest. What works in one person’s home often needs to be altered significantly to work in another’s.

The amazing realization is that I can trust my gut on most things, as can you. It happens when all the other moms are giving you breastfeeding advice but you just know how you should handle something. It happens at the pediatrician’s office when there is a nagging suspicion that you need to push for further testing. It happens at the playground when you just know there is a child you should have yours avoid. 

You are the best mom for your child and it’s time to own this motherhood thing.

Skim the surface

When you are sinking under the layers of advice heaped upon you, skim the surface and take the highlights.  Don’t get bogged down with excessive steps that many will tell you about, just skim the surface of the advice, and heed the Cliff’s notes.

Let it roll

When you know in  your heart of hearts that you are making the right decision, and there are naysayers, let it roll off your back.  You were designed to be your children’s mom and you know what is best for them.

Listen to your gut

If your gut tells you that someone or something is not right, listen to it.  There will be people you don’t feel right about, there will be situations that don’t sit well, and there will be professionals who tell you otherwise.  Listen most closely though to that tiny voice inside and trust it.

Have confidence

This is the hardest when you are new to parenting and you fear failing.  However, this is what most closely goes along with owning this motherhood thing, have confidence that you are rocking this and that you are capable.  Surround yourself with positive influences (not wordy advice givers) and keep your head held high.  Not everyone will agree with your style of mothering, and that is okay, you don’t agree with everyone elses’, right?  That is how we raise a world full of individuals.

Now, before you shake your head and think, isn’t she telling me not to take advice, yet she’s sharing some?  Yes, I am.  I am telling you that this is the hardest job ever, this motherhood thing, but that you are going to be amazing at it, in fact, you are already.

That is the best advice you need.


Dawn is the homeschooling mom to 6 of God’s blessings and the wife to a husband she counts as her best friend.  She and her husband enjoy life on a small family farm where they strive to grow their own food, raise their own livestock, and homestead to the best of a modern day family’s ability. Though she loved running a homesteading blog for years,  at www.incidentalfarmgirl.com, she discovered a new passion with the birth of her 6th child who surprised the family with a Down Syndrome diagnosis at birth.  Now she spends her free time writing, advocating, and sharing stories to bring awareness to Down Syndrome at www.cedarsstory.com.

 Owning Motherhood Throwing Advice Out the Window | amotherworld.com

You’re an Awesome Mom

Moms, are you feeling worn down? I too am feeling overwhelmed, overscheduled, and even other people notice how tired I look.

So it’s time for a reminder about how awesome you are, mom! I realize you’re in the thick of things right now, but please know you will make it through these exhausting days.

My boys are older now, so I can look back and tell you how much work it is when your kids are little because I lived through it.

I remember what it’s like to breastfeed constantly throughout the night, and want to have a few moments to yourself without being prodded and poked.

I know how hard it is to have to jump out of bed to run to your crying toddler to soothe them because of a bad dream.

I know how often you try to stay focused on your adorable preschooler in the bath tub because they look so cute splashing in the water, but you can’t help yourself from zoning out.

Or screaming “shit! in your head when you tiptoe away from the nursery, only for the baby to wake up the moment you think you’re scot-free.

It’s okay. You’re an awesome mom.

It’s okay to have feelings of anger and frustration, and even desperation, when you just want your baby to go the fuck to sleep!

Your arms are numb from rocking your baby, your back is sore from carrying him everywhere, and you can’t feel your nipples anywhere from your baby’s constant sucking. And you cry because he won’t take the bottle or soother because you’ve reluctantly become his human pacifier.

You celebrate a 6:00 a.m. wake-up because for the first time in months, you haven’t been awoken by a crying baby at 5:00 a.m. and that extra hour has made you feel human again.

It’s okay. You’re an awesome mom.

It’s okay that you plopped your preschooler in front of the TV and let him watch shows for two hours so that you could lie on the couch because you’re as sick as a dog. You even endured two hours of Caillou for your kid’s sake – now that’s love.

You snap at your partner because you’re so exhausted, that you’re seeing blurry. As you drift in and out of consciousness, you have the wildest ideas of selling everything, packing up a few things and moving to a Caribbean island and living off the land. Your kids can become professional surfers – university is overrated.

It’s alright. You’re an awesome mom.

You’re doing your best, and some days you have your big girl panties on, and other days you struggle to keep your shit together. Because this whole parenting thing doesn’t come with instructions. Because there’s no cheat sheet.

We’re all moms just trying to navigate our way. Some days we’re rocking “adulting.” And other days we’re hiding in bathrooms and stuffing our faces with chocolate ice cream.

And that’s okay too. Because even on shitty days, you’re still an awesome mom. Your kids know that too.

You're an Awesome Mom | amotherworld.com

Motherload: Watch a Webisode and Join a “Mom Open Mic”

Motherload is a fictional show about a fictional Mom based on a very real life. In the show, Erin is a former song and dance gal turned Mom who shares the humor and experiences – big and little – that all mothers deal with. In real life, Erin, is also former song and dance gal. But more importantly, she is a storyteller with a rare talent to share the humor, love and sensitivity that are part of the daily adventures of being a Mom.

Erin Keaney is appearing at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto next week!  Why? She explains in a  perky message:

“Hey Moms, come join me at Indigo Books at Yorkdale mall on Wednesday, August 25th at 11:00-12:00 for a mom open mic!   We’ll share our funny stories about motherhood. The theme is “going back to school”.

There will also be swag bag give aways and you’ll learn that your kid isn’t really as bad as the woman’s sitting next you. See you there and bring your funny!!!  ~ Erin”

Watch one of Erin’s funny episodes… on sleep, or lack of:

Beyond Motherhood: Remembering ourselves as individuals

by Christine LaRocque

When I was a younger I was a much more confident woman. My youth afforded me a certain innocence that empowered me to be bold about my beliefs, to be forthright and to speak openly and from the heart. If I felt strongly about an issue, I was never afraid to stand behind the strength of my convictions. I was a newshound, a political junky. I was conscious of the world around me. I could argue endlessly with people, sometimes based on knowledge, but mostly just because I believed in something.

In retrospect, I remember it being a powerful feeling. I was never afraid to just speak. I never worried about what others thought because I was so sure of myself. I was brave. Somewhere along the line I lost that.

The thing is, until recently, I wasn’t even aware that I had lost this core part of myself. It was so lost, I didn’t even miss it. Returning to work after a second maternity leave, blogging, social media, and being more connected than ever has reminded me what it is to have passion, to feel fulfilled by knowledge. I’ve read countless personal accounts from those who feel strongly about an issue, felt their conviction and been moved by it. I’ve been in awe of the confidence of others, how bravely they stand behind what is important to them. Slowly, I’ve been reminded that I too was once like that. So strange, it has been like a light bulb inside of me, burning dully but growing brighter each day, an awakening that inspires me to find that part of myself once again.

I can speculate as to why I’ve been enveloped in a cocoon. Certainly pregnancy and the birth of my two sons have played a significant part. Babies, motherhood, I believe can render us numb to the outside world. They need us so completely that it can be difficult to separate ourselves, to step beyond meeting their basic needs and being available completely, emotionally and physically. Often I’ve felt there was nothing left of me to give beyond mothering my children. There is simply so little time left to be passionate for anything else.

As women and mothers our lives are often defined by the things we do for others. We put the needs of others first and our own are often last. We say yes to caring for our children, nurturing relationships with our partners or our friends, our careers, managing a house, writing our blogs, helping a neighbour or a family member, volunteering, social responsibilities, yes to endless responsibilities. I say yes to all of these things. I must.

And yet, I never feel like I’ve done enough and constantly feel overwhelmed. All of these roles, most that are about who we are to others, define us, shape us, and make us whole. Without them, I daresay, we would lose ourselves. How odd is that? To feel overwhelmed and beholden while at the same time fulfilled. Where is the middle ground?

I think I’ve moved to a safe place. I’ve become more hesitant about exposing my passion for fear of ridicule, of being wrong, of not being liked. It’s absurd really, and yet it’s true. While I should have become more confident as I’ve grown older, in fact, quite the opposite is true. I am afraid to put myself out there. I worry that what I have to say is of little value. I’m weak for fear of criticism.

Not long ago, a wise woman said to me: You need to learn to live more from your heart and less from your mindIf you can do that you will find your centre and feel stronger in your life.

How profound, complex and significant. Yes, that is the woman I want to be!

There is much I must do and learn on my quest to find myself in my 30’s. I believe though, that the most fundamental missing part is a piece I once possessed and somehow lost along the way.

My confidence. My sense of self. An understanding of who I am as a woman, as an individual.

I’m moving forward with a goal of re-familiarizing myself with the things that once fuelled my passion. I want to live in a world that I know. I want to feel passionate about things once again. Motherhood is important to me. But I’m important to me too.

How do you fuel your passion? Do you step out of your shell and stand firm in the strength of your convictions? Are you afraid to speak what you believe for fear that you will be judged or do you say who cares what others think? Do you feel you’ve lost yourself in the journey that is motherhood? Do you know who you are? Or are you still looking?


Christine LaRocque is a full-time communications professional and mother to two boys under five. She blogs at www.coffeesandcommutes.com where she discusses the roles she plays in her life while trying to find a better sense of self. There is no specific formula to what she writes. Sometimes it’s about self-discovery and inspiration and other times she shares thoughts and observations on surviving motherhood.