growing up

‘My friend started her period. I was so jealous, I could barely talk with her about it. I wore my mom’s pantie liners. Somehow it made me feel better.’: Mom says she will tell her kids things

“I told both of my children about the time I agreed to kiss a boy in the back of the school yard when I was way too young. How I really, really liked this boy. I told them how mortified I was when friends gathered around us and agreed to cover their eyes, but didn’t. Instead, they watched it all and laughed. Love can make you do stupid things.”

‘I miss you already, my baby. You used to need me so much. I cherish the times I was the one to feed you, hold you, calm you. Time is a funny thing.’: Mom warns ‘it goes by so fast’

“So tonight, while you were sleeping, I went to your room and counted your freckles. I gently tangled my fingers in your curls. I listened to you breathe. I sat beside your bed and tried to meet you in your dreams. We laughed and sang in silly voices until it was time for me to go to my own room. I whispered, ‘I love you,’ in your ear. I knew from the beginning you were going to grow. I had no idea how it would simultaneously rip me to pieces.”

‘Well, why didn’t you?’ She stared at me blankly. Her question stuck with me for months.’: Mom learns important lesson in politeness after daughter’s candid question

“Stunningly, two women said disparaging things about a close family member of mine. Instead of responding the way my inner voice wanted me to, engaging in a verbal street fight, I was polite. I pulled my daughter aside, got eye-to-eye with her and told her my lie. ‘I want you to know it’s always OK for you to not interact in situations like that.'”

‘I was pregnant at my college graduation ceremony. Ready or not, we were parents. We were young and dumb.’: Mom realizes she ‘needs to slow down’ as her children grow older

“‘My entire adult life, I’ve been a father. Now I am not sure who I am without them,’ my husband said, sitting across from me at the restaurant. I wasn’t ready for this. I failed to anticipate this. ‘Slow down. You are fast-forwarding,’ you might say. And you would be right. I need to slow down.”

‘Things will droop. Little people are watching. The physical features you once hated now define you. Embrace them.’: Mom shares candid lessons on ‘self-love’ learned in her 30s

“People will try to cheapen your self-love with promises of the perfect glow, hair color, or skin tone. Don’t chase the elusive rabbit. Aim for healthy, and you will land on confidence. Little people are now watching. Show them a woman doesn’t have to run herself into the ground to be loved. The woman inside only needs you to love her. No man will make her come alive.”

‘I was separated from my husband, left a toxic job, and lost most of my friends. Then I thought of the women in my life.’: Woman realizes she is a ‘strong woman’ because she was raised by ‘stronger women

“My great grandmother had 9 children. My great grandfather had spent time in prison for bootlegging, and drank heavily. How she was able to keep it together with 9 kids, no money and an alcoholic husband and stay sane is completely beyond me. My grandmother then made something of herself after losing her husband. She was determined. She was beautiful but tough, sometimes just downright mean, but she was who she was and if someone did not like it then, ‘they can leave.'”

‘Here buddy, I can help you down.’ The man I’d tried to wave around us couldn’t hold it in any longer. He was obviously annoyed.’: Mom urges importance of teaching kids lessons by letting them do things on their own

“I met his eyes and told him nicely, ‘He doesn’t need help, he needs time to problem solve. Why don’t you go around us? We may take a minute and I don’t want to hold you up.’ He mumbled something, obviously annoyed that I didn’t just hoist the kid down myself. I was standing there to guard against danger.”

‘How about you actually help? Since you know, my nipples are inside the mouths of 2 of their sisters.’ Awkward silence.’: Mom urges empathy for parents of young kids, ‘This stage is hard too’

“I’ll never forget visiting my dying father with my 4 daughters. My 18-month-old wanted to play with a doll her 2-year-old sister was playing with. It turned into tug-o-war, both girls screaming at the top of their lungs. I was nursing their 3-month-old twin sisters, struggling to figure out what to do. A family member proudly stated, ‘Just wait until they’re teenagers!’ How is that helpful? I couldn’t even hold back my smart mouth.”

‘I’m beautiful, Mama!,’ she whispered, beaming. I found myself in tears as I watched my baby girl twirl.’: Mom learns lesson from her little girl’s winter coat, ‘She didn’t need affirmation’

“We fluffed up the coat and zipped it up snugly on her petite frame. She twirled, danced and giggled inside the purple puffs. Then she stopped to look up at me, so sweet, so pure. It struck me that she couldn’t actually see herself. She wasn’t looking in a mirror. I felt the tears pooling behind my eyes.”

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