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Kinsa

Would you have thought I was an annoying freak if I...

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"Excuse me, ma'am, I can't help but notice that you have four young boys, all close in age. I, too, used to be in your shoes, and I lived to tell the tale! Hold on to these years, dear mama, because they will fly so fast! I know that most days you just count down the minutes until they all go to bed, but dearest mama, hang onto each moment while you still can! You are so blessed, and you have a beautiful family! "

 

 

 

I get this kind of stuff all the time.  I like the gushy side.  I laugh off the implications that I am stressed-out, and on-the-edge.

 

The older you get the more license you have to impart your wisdom to strangers.  Go for it.

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I get a lot of these types of comments because I have baby twins and two olders who are not so old. It only really bothers me when I'm feeling pretty put together and like things are going great, and someone says, "It gets better! You will survive!" I'm surviving! I'm doing fine! No, I'm doing great! Then I wonder how terrible and frazzled I must look to be getting the comments.  :laugh:

 

They think having 4 little kids must be depessing.  They had a hard time with their kids.  Sometimes I feel sorry for people who say stuff like that.  Don't take it personally.

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Wouldn't have freaky to me at all. It's said to me almost daily when I hit the grocery store with all three of my Minions. I think it's a lovely thing to say :)

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They think having 4 little kids must be depessing.  They had a hard time with their kids.  Sometimes I feel sorry for people who say stuff like that.  Don't take it personally.

Really? I don't think that at all (that they think having so many littles is depressing). When a similar sentiment is expressed to me, it's always given with a wistful tone, like they would give anything to have those days again.

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Haven't read the other responses.  I am a mom of many, and I always enjoyed hearing the "you have a beautiful family" comments.  If someone had stopped me in a parking lot on the way into McDs or other place so give me a well-intentioned, but rather long-winded speech, I probably would have felt a little impatient inside.  In those days it was a miracle for me to get everyone presentable enough to go somewhere, anywhere.  If I had been making my way into someplace someone would probably have had to go to the bathroom, was hungry, needed a diaper change, etc.  Probably something short and sweet would be best in that situation.

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Those comments always made me feel uncomfortable. For one thing, I felt like it would have been impolite to not respond back, but I was busy. I didn't care for the responsibility to make some strange older lady feel good reminiscing when I had more pressing things on my hands at the time. For another thing, I had a special needs child and even if it didn't show to that person at that time, it was a reminder that my family would never be like others. I wouldn't have the opportunity to just watch them grow up and grow out of some of these phases. Then I would have felt bad because I knew a nice stranger lady could not have known that, thus the polite, friendly response (even though I was busy). A smile and a thumbs up would have meant the world to me. Then again, simply not having unsolicited advice from strangers and glaring looks in response to temper tantrums in public places from a child who was old enough to have "known better," would have made many days more tolerable. 

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The kindest words that were ever said to me during those times were, "I remember those days!" Empathetic, general.

 

That's the kind of thing I try to say, only I don't offer it unsolicited. Often kids will be acting like kids and the mother sees me, an older lady, assumes I'm judging her, and apologizes  I just say something like "Oh, I've been there it's okay", or "They remind me of my grandsons", or something equally general that makes her not feel so bad for actually having children who act like children.

 

See? It goes both ways. A younger mom often thinks she's being judged by an older one, when in reality neither of us has any idea what's going through the other's mind.

 

I've never offered advice, but maybe that's because it's just not a personality trait of mine.

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I can't speak for large families, but to me it would sound judgemental and condescending. I'm not a sentimental type though; much as I've truly loved every stage, I don't miss any of them. I'll never think it went too quickly or wish he was still little. Being accosted in a parking lot while a random stranger waxed nostalgic about her emotions would squeak me out.

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It makes me cringe a little thinking about you saying this to a stranger.

 

Honestly, no matter how good your intentions I am not sure there is any way to say this without offending a probably very stressed out mama.  There is something annoying about a stranger telling you to "cherish" your children, and assuming you aren't doing the very best that you can at the moment. 

 

So, it's probably best that you didn't say anything :laugh: !

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Really? I don't think that at all (that they think having so many littles is depressing). When a similar sentiment is expressed to me, it's always given with a wistful tone, like they would give anything to have those days again.

 

These are the kinds of comments I have heard that make me think people are not exactly jealous of my motherhood.

 

Hold on.

You'll survive.

I bet you count down the minutes until they go to sleep.

I know things must be so chaotic now.

Don't worry, one day they'll be grown and gone. (Said to me when I have newborns.  Lol!)

That [baby] is the last one, right? (When I say I might have another they looked SHOCKED) 

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Note to self- Shut the heck up and don't try to say nice things to other moms.

 

I never thought any of these comments from other moms were annoying or offensive. I just figured they were trying to be kind.

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Yesterday as I was leaving the McDonald's parking lot, I was parked next to a minivan with both side doors wide open and a semi-frazzled looking mama was unloading her four young sons, probably the oldest was 4 or 5, down to lap baby age. I patiently waited to pull out of my parking spot until all her kids and she were up on the sidewalk because I remember how it used to be herding four little boys around.

 

I watched her with such a heartfelt... what's the word? ... understanding? Empathy? Blast from my own past? A whirlwind of memories came flashing back to me.

 

I made a comment to my 15yo son. I said, "See that lady walking into McD's with the four little boys? That used to be me. And the baby she's carrying used to be you." He just nodded his teenager head and grunted his teenager grunt which is used to communicate all manner of meaning. In this case, it meant, "Yep, Mom, you're getting old! "

 

For a couple of fleeting seconds I seriously considered getting out of my car and approaching this young mama of four young boys and imparting all of my hard-earned matronly wisdom upon her:

 

"Excuse me, ma'am, I can't help but notice that you have four young boys, all close in age. I, too, used to be in your shoes, and I lived to tell the tale! Hold on to these years, dear mama, because they will fly so fast! I know that most days you just count down the minutes until they all go to bed, but dearest mama, hang onto each moment while you still can! You are so blessed, and you have a beautiful family! "

 

Then I would've gotten back into my car and driven away.

 

So... exactly how freaky would that have been? Cuz I tell you what, if it happens again, I'm gonna do it!

Well, I talk to everyone everywhere, so I would have enjoyed talking to you.

 

But some people are pretty unfriendly.  I don't know.  I probably would speak up if I were you. 

 

My kids have seen me do stuff like this.  In fact, I have made a new friend with young kids and find myself saying a lot of things like that, and also feeling envious a bit that I am no longer needed in the same way. She and I hang out a little now and she calls me with questions because I've already done it. 

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I can't speak for large families, but to me it would sound judgemental and condescending. I'm not a sentimental type though; much as I've truly loved every stage, I don't miss any of them. I'll never think it went too quickly or wish he was still little. Being accosted in a parking lot while a random stranger waxed nostalgic about her emotions would squeak me out.

Wow. 

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You never know when a person could use an encouraging word!...as long as you don't say something like: "You poor thing. I had five and they wore me to a fiddle string." :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Note to self- Shut the heck up and don't try to say nice things to other moms.

 

I never thought any of these comments from other moms were annoying or offensive. I just figured they were trying to be kind.

 

Well, I think there is a difference between "You have a beautiful family" or a grandmother talking fondly about her own experiences and hearing say something like "I hope you're enjoying every minute.  This time goes so fast" when someone could have been awake all night with a barfing child or could have a child with difficulties that won't get through phases.  Or could just be someone that rolls easily with phases.The 2nd CAN feel judgmental or condescending depending on the circumstances IMO. 

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If I ever want to say something, my go to phrase is a genuine smile with eye contact, and a quick, but clear "Good job, Mom!"

 

It seems to work well for harried moms being strong with a tantruming toddler and a mom who appears to have it altogether. Doesn't take long and they understand I am trying to be encouraging.

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Note to self- Shut the heck up and don't try to say nice things to other moms.

 

I never thought any of these comments from other moms were annoying or offensive. I just figured they were trying to be kind.

 

I LOVE hearing kind comments from older mums. I've needed it at times, and it's been so encouraging on a bad day to hear a little encouragement.

 

But, like others here, I HATE the 'cherish these years' comments. I love children, adore children. But I dislike toddlers and tolerate babies. Don't get me wrong, I love my baby snuggles and I pour out affection on my toddler constantly, but I struggle to connect to them, I struggle with their total lack of independence and their only half being able to follow directions. I struggle with not being able to have real conversations with them. I have so much fun out alone with my oldest, not because she is a favourite or anything, but because she is not a toddler anymore, we can talk, and if I ask her to do something she will generally listen. I love my children, but I will be quite happy when they're a few years older, because even if I have more, I'll have older ones which will help (even now, my second child is much easier simply from following the lead of my eldest, and being able to play with her. She has learned to do things quicker by doing them with her sister, etc)

 

I do cherish parts of this time, I love the memories I have of snuggling with three little girls on the couch, I love the funny things toddlers do and the lovely relaxed days we have had on good days, playing at the park and stuff. Today we are going into the city with them and I can't wait, it will be a 'memory building' day, with what we have planned.

 

But when I was pregnant, suffering from some major hormonal issues in pregnancy, with a 3yo and a 1yo misbehaving, the lady who came up and said 'cherish this time, they'll be so big soon' was lucky not to get her head torn off by a crazy pregnancy hormone monster. I was already feeling SO much guilt over not 'enjoying' my children enough or cherishing these moments 'enough', I did not need someone who had gotten a full nights sleep and had a peaceful quiet morning telling me how I wasn't doing, yet one more thing, well enough. 

 

Tell me i'll get through it and it's so worth it, tell me how wonderful kids are, or that my kids are being so well behaved. Tell me how you remember when your kids were that age and it's hard but there's good points too, tell me anything that focuses on my children or that I am doing a good job. But don't tell me to cherish this time, which also implies I am not cherishing it enough, or enjoying it enough.

 

I don't think I'll ever miss those days. I'm finally beginning to love life with one older child, I'm finally able to start doing a few of the things I always dreamed of doing as a mummy, and while I do look back fondly on some wonderful memories, I don't miss those in between years of diapers and screaming one little bit. 

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I would've appreciated the "You will make it! I promise! I had 4 also, and it was hard but very worthwhile. "

 

I don't appreciate sentiments like "Enjoy them while they are little; they grow up so fast."

 

I don't handle the infant and toddler years very well, and the second bit of advice made me feel even more guilty because I didn't "love" those years. I enjoyed them as much as possible but the chaos and sleep deprivation really was hard.

 

:iagree: 

 

As for talking to strangers, just about everyone talks to strangers where I'm from. It's very unusual here--remarkably so. It took me a long time to get used to feeling isolated when I'm out of the house here; now it takes me a while to get used to people talking to me in public when I'm home. I prefer the friendliness.

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I used to get comments like that from older ladies in my church and it made me want to slap them. Well, maybe not that, but... It definitely didn't make me feel better. And it induced a tremendous amount of guilt because I was not enjoying it and people said that I should because they grow up so fast (even though I kind of did wish my kids were all grown up and away in times like those) and I felt bad because I was hating the moments I should be cherishing, but somehow I just couldn't. I could barely survive them.

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My first 5 were boys and I've gone up to people with lots of little boys before and said something along the lines of "I miss when my boys were 5 under 8 years old, time flies so quick and now my oldest are no longer interested in playing with dump trucks and forts. Those were the best days of my life. Crazy, but so much fun." They've always been receptive, but I can see how some people wouldn't be.

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I'd have enjoyed the "You have a beautiful family," or something like that, but probably appreciated more the fact that you waited patiently for me to get all the kids from the van safely. Actions speak louder than words. You did great!! 

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I loved the occassional encouraging word and I give them out freely when I feel moved to do so. I do try not to sound like I'm assessing the mom to be a stressed out mess, but believe me, I vividly remember times when someone went out of his or her way to tell me my family was beautiful/wonderful/brought back happy memories for them.

 

One time, I told a mom how lovely I thought her children were because they were each (4 kids) buying gifts for someone with their own money, as their own purchase. The check-out procedure took longer than average and I thought the mom was getting stressed that it takes a while for each kid to count money, etc. So I told her I found it wonderful that they were buying things themselves and learning how to make purchases. I could see the relief wash over her face.

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My first 5 were boys and I've gone up to people with lots of little boys before and said something along the lines of "I miss when my boys were 5 under 8 years old, time flies so quick and now my oldest are no longer interested in playing with dump trucks and forts. Those were the best days of my life. Crazy, but so much fun." They've always been receptive, but I can see how some people wouldn't be.

See, that reminds me of when I was in high school and older people told me those were my best days. Great, I've topped out at 18!! It is depressing enough that my kids are growing up, I don't need a stranger telling me it is all downhill!

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I appreciate kindly comments from those who see my busy family of young kids and tell me sympathetically that they have been there too.

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I love getting comments from moms of older kids. It helps me remember that I won't always be stuck in a teething, no sleeping, toddler place. Hearing "cherish every moment" isn't always my favorite (really? this moment? with a screaming toddler and an infant whose diaper just exploded?), but I usually take it in the spirit it is offered.

 

It's kind of sappy, but I love feeling like I've joined a "mom's club" and knowing that older moms get to have a happy moment of remembering their little ones even if I'm feeling like a frazzled mess.

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I used to get comments like that from older ladies in my church and it made me want to slap them. Well, maybe not that, but... It definitely didn't make me feel better. And it induced a tremendous amount of guilt because I was not enjoying it and people said that I should because they grow up so fast (even though I kind of did wish my kids were all grown up and away in times like those) and I felt bad because I was hating the moments I should be cherishing, but somehow I just couldn't. I could barely survive them.

Yep.

 

"Excuse me, I just wanted to say the expression on your face suggests you are having the wrong feeling. Also, someday you will look back on this as a great time. Don't think too hard about what that implies about your future, given that you are probably washing poop out of fabric on a daily basis."

 

Neither my partner nor I miss the baby days.

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Yep.

 

"Excuse me, I just wanted to say the expression on your face suggests you are having the wrong feeling. Also, someday you will look back on this as a great time. Don't think too hard about what that implies about your future, given that you are probably washing poop out of fabric on a daily basis."

 

Neither my partner nor I miss the baby days.

Laughing so hard at this. I read it again and get the giggles.

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I appreciate comments like, "You are a great mom. It gets easier," even if that's not the truth. I would not have enjoyed your planned comment.

 

I have a VERY challenging second child, a child who caused the postpartum nurses to make I nappropriate comments about his screaming and inconsolability when he was only a few hours old. He's been that way for the four plus years since birth. No, you haven't been there. And if you have, you'll say something remarkably sensitive because you understand me. If you dealt with 9 months of chronic colic, nearly lost your marriage over your child's issues, and feel every day that you can't raise your child, I want to hear what you have to say. And that's just my middle. My oldest is yet undiagnosed, but is likely ASD, ADHD, and countless other acronyms. I am trying to raise three boys who challenge me every moment of every day. Most days, I think I won't make it.

 

I nearly broke a few heads when unexpected baby #3 was younger. Including my MIL. She had to learn that it wasn't cute or kind to tell going-crazy-me that I would miss these years. No, I will not miss having a child permanently damage my hearing because of his wails. I won't miss the constant bruises. I won't miss the incessant questions...about the same thing every day. I won't miss locking my house with six locks to keep them inside so they don't run into the street. I won't miss the ER/hospital when they escape the fortress house. And this was all the orders. The youngest is neurotypical. I won't miss this. I don't need you to pile guilt onto the reality that I can't wait for this to get better. I love and adore my children, but anyone who has been where I stand would never say I'll miss this. And those kind people are the people who give me a gentle smile as all three of my kids scream at the top of their lungs and say, "Hang in there, Mama. You are doing an awesome job."

 

Please, don't ever tell a Mama that she'll miss these days. She might be getting through today simply by sheer desperate grip on the idea that these days will end someday.

 

Sorry. I ranted a bit there.

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Note to self- Shut the heck up and don't try to say nice things to other moms.

 

I never thought any of these comments from other moms were annoying or offensive. I just figured they were trying to be kind.

 

I don't think anyone doubts the kind intent. I don't think anyone begrudges someone for going out of their way to be kind. But if you find that something you said or did was unintentionally hurtful, would you really not want to know? Or would you rather know so you can express the same, kind sentiment without inadvertently brushing up against raw nerves? 

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In general, I think the person has good intentions so I don't try to read to much into what something someone else says.  I am not always eloquent myself.  One thing I really remember is a person in back of me in the grocery line, saying please hold your baby (who was cranky by the end of our shopping trip), and then saying "It's hard being a mama trying to take care of everyone's needs, let me unload your cart for you.  I know the little one only wants you.  Some days can be rough."  It was empathetic towards the situation without any guilt to what was happening in the moment.  Really nice gesture.

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I would feel a little weirded out by an exchange like that, but not much.  I think I'd prefer a genuine smile and a nod --- something like that.  It says you understand and care and approve, but it assigns no semantics -- those can always get so tricky. 

 

 

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I only have two children and as much as I try to cherish the now, I have always had what seems to be difficult stages. Ds had colic for a few months after birth. Do I miss that? Lol. Dd and I are struggling to nurse and during our vacation we have gone to a pediatric chiropractor and have another therapist appt this week. We have to wake her up every night to do stretches on her wound from her Frenectomy. I get to lug my pump and parts to my families' homes. I love her at this age but also will not miss some of the junk I am dealing with. I was nodding about the poop comment. Ds has had so many constipation issues I cannot tell you how often I have scrubbed dirty underwear.

 

It's pretty early now but I think I may have two strong-willed children.

 

Soooo no I may not appreciate certain comments Lol. But, "beautiful family, doing a good job" and the like are sweet.

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Well, I think there is a difference between "You have a beautiful family" or a grandmother talking fondly about her own experiences and hearing say something like "I hope you're enjoying every minute.  This time goes so fast" when someone could have been awake all night with a barfing child or could have a child with difficulties that won't get through phases.  Or could just be someone that rolls easily with phases.The 2nd CAN feel judgmental or condescending depending on the circumstances IMO. 

 

 

Yep.

 

"Excuse me, I just wanted to say the expression on your face suggests you are having the wrong feeling. Also, someday you will look back on this as a great time. Don't think too hard about what that implies about your future, given that you are probably washing poop out of fabric on a daily basis."

 

Neither my partner nor I miss the baby days.

 

 

I'm one who actually loves babies. And toddlers. And children. And teens. Yet I still don't like those comments nor do I miss the early years as though today doesn't have moments to cherish too. "Cherish every moment" and "They grow up so fast" both suggest there won't be enjoyable moments as they get older. While I wasn't around dss when he was really little, I did come into his life early enough to see him grow and change and become the fantastic husband and father he is today. There were some great moments when he was younger and there are great moments now. There's no sadness that he's not still little.

 

My biological son will be 18 in less than 2 months. I did love his baby/toddler/childhood years, but they were hard. ADHD doesn't just happen when a child reaches school age (another poster already alluded to this). A baby and toddler with undiagnosed ADHD still has ADHD and can be difficult. No older mom watching me in those younger years would have known what I was starting to suspect. Did I love those years anyway? Yes. Do I miss them? Not really. I would have had more children if I could have and enjoyed more time with little ones, but that doesn't mean I wish my young man was still little. I cherish the moments now as I watch his transformation into an adult. There are difficult times and wonderful times, just as there are when they're younger. Even as someone who loves the baby/toddler years I don't like the suggestion that the years to follow won't be enjoyable also. 

 

Someone else compared such comments to the ones that tell you the high school years are the best years of your life. If someone had told me that back then I would have been quite depressed. I was painfully shy and high school was among the worst time of my life. This is the best it's going to get? Ack! College and adulthood are when things got better for me. I was glad when high school was over. And, as many posters who don't like the baby years have pointed out, they're actually glad those moments they should have been cherishing are over.

 

Generalizations and assumptions don't work, and that's why such comments to mothers of young children aren't always the right thing to say. It's not because the mother doesn't know how to accept kindly advice, it's that the advice should not have been given in the first place. A smile, a nod, body language that tells her you're not judging her are all better than unsolicited advice.

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I don't usually say anything to strangers, sometimes I will give them a big smile just so they know I'm not annoyed with them or their kids.

 

Recently we were at a church convention that lasted all day.  Mom behind us had a handful of a little boy who kept kicking my daughter in front of him. (I don't mean kicking the chair, but accidentally kicking her head and body as he flailed around.)  Mom did tell him to stop, but part of me was annoyed she didn't have "better control of him" or just remove him.  I realized how judgmental I was being though and what a lousy day she must have had.  At the end of the day I turned around and said, "Wow, you did a great job making it all the way to the end of the day!"  She was so grateful and I felt better also that I let the "judgy" go. 

 

From this thread, I'm not hearing not to comment, but just to keep it short, sweet, and complimentary.

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From this thread, I'm not hearing not to comment, but just to keep it short, sweet, and complimentary.

And appropriate to the situation. I would prefer to be told to enjoy these years when my kid is doing something sweet, or all dressed up on stage during their piano recital or something. When my children are fighting, obstinate or unco-operative I would prefer to be ignored or a sympathetic word may be appropriate, but that's all for me.

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I think I'd rather hear, "You're doing a great job."  I don't like the implication that I'm somehow not appreciating them enough because I'm tired or stretched thin or whatever.

 

I agree. It meant SO MUCH to me at that stage to have someone say I was doing things well because I'd gotten critical comments from others whose opinion actually mattered to me. Also, telling me I was doing I good job did more to give me a surge of confidence that I could get through the tough stuff than people indirectly implying that I might not be appreciating what I had or commenting on how I'd eventually survive it all. I think new/young moms (oh, heck, really all of us) need to hear that kind positive reinforcement.

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