img_3498Last week, my youngest daughter turned one. And, I couldn’t help to (again) swell with pride at having survived the first year of infanthood. I think we can all agree that the first year—whether it’s your first or fourth child—is a special kind of WTF-am-I-doing version of hard for most moms.

It’s during that terrifying year when you grow a swath of gray hairs in place of all the strands that have fallen out (thanks, pregnancy!). It’s the year you live in three-hour increments called a feeding schedule. You desperately wonder what sleep feels like. And, of course, you’re just now getting over that whole slew of pretty effed-up emotions thanks to your readjusting hormones.

And, while the kid gets all the presents and jubilee, we know that it’s mom who is secretly celebrating the most intently. [Eat a second helping of cake, Mom. You deserve it.]

At the same time, we’re entering a whole new phase of life for the kiddo. And, while we attempted to absorb the downpour of advice shelled upon us during the baby shower (“sleep when the baby sleeps,” “never wake a sleeping baby,” etc.), somehow we’re left to fend for ourselves after the babe turns one.

What do you wish someone would have whispered in your ear as you watched your kid blow out that one, big monumental candle?

Here’s 25 pieces of sage advice from veteran moms:

  • “Moving into the second year, I think it’s a good reminder for parents to know that toddler emotions are often big emotions. Toddler feelings (even about things that seem tiny to us) can be overwhelming. And parents can benefit from remembering that’s developmentally appropriate. We’re parenting toddlers. Not adults. I think that’s a good piece of advice because I know I had times when I felt completely ineffective because I couldn’t ‘reason’ with the kid.” – Rebecca
  • “Don’t compare your child to others the same age. It will drive you nuts! While it’s important to be aware of developmental milestones, every kid is different and does things in their own time.” – Rachel
  • “The best days will not always be the birthday parties, Christmas or Halloween. Sometimes those days will be the best. Other times, your kids putting away their laundry will be the best. Just learn to appreciate the best. No matter what the best looks like that week.” – Maureen
  • “Your kids will model your behavior. This has bitten me in the butt many times.” – Crystal
  • “Get a recording of their sweet little voices, because even when they turn five or six, their voices change. I wish I had a record of my little boys talking to me in their innocence.” – Gina
  • “If something just isn’t working anymore, make a change—try something different. Whether they all admit it or not, this whole parenting thing is ALL trial and error. What works for someone else’s kid may be completely wrong for yours. And, the parenting tips you swear by may not always work like they used to—but you have roll with it.” – Jen
  • “Write down the funny things your kid says even if it annoys you. Create a diary for your child that is yours until he is old enough to write them down himself.” – Candice
  • “Get in the [photo] picture!” – Chrissy
  • “Enjoy watching your little one continue to develop his/her own personality and try really hard to not push your ideas of the perfect one-year-old. Every one-year-old is at a different place and not all of them will succeed by putting stress on them to learn. Play is the important thing.” – Sharyn
  • “I wrote my daughter a letter recapping her first year. I have done it every year since.” – Sharon
  • “Be an example for them at every stage of their life. Parents may be the only positive example in a child’s/young adult’s life. Don’t downplay that important role as a parent.” – Missy
  • “Take the time to do simple things like sitting in the grass, snuggling on the couch, doing nothing or taking a slow walk. Really watch your kids having fun. We spend so much time doing music class, story time, tumbling, etc. The simple times are when I feel most connected to my kids.” – Sarah
  • “Enjoy the quiet moments. I wish I would have slowed down and just enjoyed him more.” – Deanna
  • “Keep kids toys out of your bedroom. That space is for you and your spouse only. Keep it that way. This is your sanctuary.” – Brit
  • “Always take time each day to do something they enjoy no matter how obnoxious it may be! Soon enough they won’t be interested in hanging out with [you]. Cherish it while you have it!” – Vicki
  • “When you stress and are hurried, they act out and push back. They sense it. So, who cares if you’re late somewhere or if dinner isn’t on the table right on time? Stressing out to try and get your kid to move faster doesn’t work and makes the experience unpleasant. Relax. Take your time. He/she will get their socks and shoes on eventually. Getting out the door will be that much more enjoyable.” – Jennifer
  • “Take a group photo of everyone who attended [their first birthday] party! Wish I would have done that.” – Jordana
  • “Be the parent, not their best friend. They need parenting at all stages of their life. Sometimes it is hard, but it is the best for everyone. And, really, they want a parent just as much as they need a parent.” – Missy
  • “Put your kids to sleep in their own bed, even if you believe in co-sleeping (I do). But sacrifice that first year in their room, not yours. – Mariam
  • “Definitely do a little smash cake [at their first birthday party]. I finally figured out with baby #3 that we didn’t need to do a lot of presents.” – Lindsay
  • “The Terrible Twos last a lot longer than to their 3rd birthday!” – Jaime
  • “Take more video. Ages one through five go so fast and you all will love watching old home videos. The kids think they’re hilarious!” – Kelly
  • “I saw a viral video about having all the guests at their first birthday party write him or her a letter to be read on their 18th birthday. Gosh, I wish I would have done that!” – Steph
  • “Your children are not going to remember their first birthday.” – Marsha
  • “See another mom dealing with a tantrum, meltdown or crying child? Give her a smile, a laugh, a look of understanding, encouragement or an extra hand. Because (if nothing else) karma.” – Lexi


What would you add to the list?