Keep Your Advice. You’re Not In My Shoes. With Love, A Mom of Three.


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Originally posted on Rachel’s family blog Photo Credit to Dream Photography Studio.

So much lately I have found myself longing to slow down and set my own life standards. Imagine that! I keep wanting to “rebel” against what others or society thinks I should be doing/how I should do it! Basically I want to break free from the mold. You know the one that expects a mom to be the perfect homeroom mom, perfect chef, an around the clock housekeeper, etc. I had to start asking myself…how come I can’t keep up?! Why don’t I have all my i’s dotted and t’s crossed?! Then I realized something very important. I can’t be categorized with the masses. I asked myself how many friends or family do I have with three kiddos toddler age and younger? One. That’s right in my massive network I currently have exactly one close friend in a similar situation to ours. Oh but eeeeeeeveryone has opinions/advise/tips on how to successfully parent three littles. Things like spending an hour after we get home cleaning. Purging all their toys. Pack everything the night before for the next day. Having a paper calendar. Make chore lists. And MANY MANY MANY MANY MANY more suggestions. I’m a major advocate on doing what works best for YOUR family.

I’ll let you in on a secret, I don’t have it together and I currently am not doing any one thing successfully to today’s standards AND really not even my own standards if I’m being honest. I’ve been flaky volunteering at church, I feel less involved in my daughters preschool school this year, house cleaning is always a struggle (I’m aware it needs to be done but can’t find time to do the deep cleaning), clean eating/cooking (I won’t even go there), mommy wellness (what’s that?!), etc. I was talking to my Mr. about this today and thinking out loud. “What if there were no standards to which we were held? I wouldn’t feel so bad about falling short in so many areas.” How freeing that would be I thought!

Well me, I have armed myself with my own internal response to the advice that makes me feel so judged. I will simply nod my head and say, “Great idea!” What I will know is that person right there, even if the advise is coming from a place of love, is NOT in my shoes. They don’t have my three kiddos to care for on a daily basis. And there you have it. MY ANSWER. I will say to myself, “Self, do they have three kids ages 4, 2 and 11 months?” If the response is YES! I will promptly break out my notebook and scribble the “answers” down as fast as humanly possible. But so far the answer is NO they don’t. I find a comfort in that. And that’s a little selfish of me. I know there are probably people out there in my situation but none who are in my life with a similar set up.

So I think that this outlook should be used by others too.

  • Consider the source.
  • Are they experiencing what you are?
  • Do they think they know what it takes OR actually struggle with the same daily challenges you do?

It only took me a third of my lifetime to figure this one out. My hubby and I become more and more happy with our set up the older we get. Even though it’s not up to so many of the standards that others have for us. Because this Harding family…we would rather snuggle with our kids than start a load of laundry at 7:30PM at night. We would rather give a bubble bath to three splashing sweeties than do dirty dishes from dinner. We would rather spend the very last 30 minutes to hour of our day with our partner not planning out the next day. We would rather giggle than organize our garage (you guys I’m not kidding our garage is a disaster and a HOT HOT HOT TOPIC among many in our lives). Many think we are crazy and maybe we are but ask yourself….do you have three kids ages 4, 2 and 11 months? No? Then you know my loving answer to your advice.


  1. Greatly written
    I love this and looking back wish I could have been a grandmother first and know what I know now.
    I love love spending time with my children and Grandchildren, I recommend giving them hugs and kisses on a regular basis
    Ask your children about their day every part of it
    Give them another hug or even a air high five
    Let them dance and entertain you LAUGH WITH THEM
    Tell them how great they are ,how beautiful they are
    When you are tired, sit down with your children the other stuff can wait
    I loved all three of my children raising them I never miss a moment even to this day to tell them how proud I am and I Love them all
    You never know if this is the day God will want them home with him
    We as women always wear so many belts and are usually pleasers
    So sit back and write down what are the most important people in your life’s that’s where your focus should be,
    Don’t feel quilty about what other people think. Remember the writer here is right. They are not in your shoes and the outcome of your children are not on them.
    Remember hugs and kisses and a I LOVE YOU DAILY

  2. Oh man! This is great. I certainly do not have three kids but I am pregnant and have a fourteen month old son. I’m an older mom, 37 when my son was born and will be 39 shortly after this one is born. I’ve had all these young moms with kids my son’s age trying to tell me I should do this or that – I have six younger siblings for goodness sake! – I know my kids won’t be stupid if I don’t breastfeed til they’re four years old and only give them a paleo organic diet. I know putting a toy in his mouth from a hardwood floor I haven’t swept in a week isn’t going to give him some kind of poisoning. But I struggle with a response to these young parents – mostly from shock of what they tell me I should be doing for the good of my son. My house is a wreck, there are toys on the floor of every room, and I have to hand wash bottles as I need one for his naptime or bedtime, but do you know what I do all day? I get to spend the entire day with my son from the time he wakes up til he goes to sleep. We have fun at home, we go visit grandparents, we go to the park, we walk the mall and I wouldn’t trade a clean house for a single one of his giggles. Then one day a week my sister comes over to do my laundry and dishes (paid of course) and one morning a week my mom has my son over for a play date with her. That’s when I go to my doctors appointments and take naps. I haven’t ever met a happier, more confident, or friendlier 14 month old than my son. He’s snoozing right beside me now making little sleeping toddler noises. So really who needs advice? Just do what works for your family!

  3. I have two kids, and have just recently started to feel less flaky (now that they are 3 & 5), but I still struggle with the same things you do. Clean house, garage, laundry, dishes, deep cleaning? What that?
    My advice is come over and let’s have a glass of wine and laugh about it. I’ll kick the toys out of the way so you can sit down!

  4. Good for you. I have three children. My husband, who is in college athletics, said the best decision we made was when we went from playing man-to-man to zone. Enjoy every day, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

  5. I’ve got three kids: 6, and 4.5 twins. (Three in 18 months). My advice? Don’t pay attention to others! 😉 As long as you have true empathy and love– you’re golden.
    Happy Family Raising Days!


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