At a recent baby shower, the guests—young moms and the young moms' mothers--were asked to write a few sentences of advice for the mama-to-be. A pretty, pastel memory book was produced and slowly passed from hand to hand.
The young moms seemed to eager to share what they'd learned on parenting's front lines. They specified brands of baby food and listed infant-friendly restaurants. They wrote with authority about food mills, BPA-free bottles, and baby-safe detergents.
The women my age jotted down a sentence or two, no more. When my turn came, I peeked at what my friend Hannah--another woman old enough to be a grandmother--had written: Let the housework wait while you rock your baby.
Hannah could have filled pages with what she's learned over three decades of child-rearing, but she didn't because no new mama wants to hear that BPA-free bottles won't protect kids from bullying, drugs, or heartbreak.
When my children were little, I believed a car seat rated tops by Consumer Reports would keep them safe on the road-- and protect them from life's hard knocks. If only.
I didn't think I had all the answers but was pretty sure I had eighty percent of them. Now I know that number was closer to fifteen—or ten. At the time, could anyone have told me differently? No.
So what did I write in that pretty pastel book? I chose a tip I'd received from my mother many, many years ago: Nap when your baby is napping.
It's good advice. I wish I’d followed it.