A Baby Shower Gift for All of Us


I’m going to a baby shower today for my one of my best friends.   I met her when we both taught together at a small Christian school, 12 years ago, though truthfully it feels like eons ago.   She’s the kind of person that once your friends with her, you feel like you’ve always been friends.   She’s also the kind of person that makes everyone feel like her best friend. 

I was thinking this morning what a blessing she was to me during my early months and years of mothering.  She wasn’t a mom.  She didn’t really like babies all that much.  In fact she refused to hold my son the first SEVERAL times I offered him to her to hold.  She had no opinions whatsoever on co sleeping, Baby Wise, cloth or disposable, nursing or bottle.  She was just there.  No judging, no telling me the right way to do it, just sitting in the front seat of my escape while I spent close to an hour nursing my son in the backseat before we could make a “quick” Target run.  Or taking my cart through the check out when my son could no longer be shushed, and all I wanted was to buy a Father’s Day card for Scott… I remember vividly standing at the card section trying to pick the perfect 1st Fathers Day card for Scott while our son cried and cried.  And when I found said card, she took my credit card and bought it and the box of diapers and wipes I needed, while I took my crying 2 month old to the car to nurse.  I can’t tell you how many hours she probably spent with me that summer while I nursed my son.  Which could have been so awkward for her, but she graciously stared at the window and kept me company.  She didn’t roll her eyes at me when I would sterilize his pacifier in boiling water after it hit the floor of our home… though she did tease me when child 3 came along and I’d say “oh no you don’t need to sterilize it, it landed right side up.”  She bought me a bag of Oreos in my last month of pregnancy and was there when I chastised Scott for eating 4 of MY Oreos.  (Yes, pregnancy moment of shame…. and explanation as to why I gained over 40lbs with that pregnancy).  Even though the thought of holding a new baby scared her, she came to the hospital to meet our son and brought me Rita’s Italian Ice. 

She was and is such a gift to me.  For the last 10 years she’s been there for me.  I was and am still amazed that she’d want to be friends with me because we have always been in different life stages. 

When we went out a few months ago and the subject of motherhood came up, I felt the need to warn her.  Watch out for moms.  They are a scary bunch.  I truly feel like moms can be some of the most judgmental people on the planet.  So many passionate views on everything from natural birth to epidural, bottle or breast, co sleeping or cry it out, pacifier or thumb, cloth or disposable, work or stay at home, the decisions and passions continue to grow… home school or private or Christian.  I feel like you are bombarded with questions and opinions and unsolicited advice the second you announce your pregnancy.   I personally feel that underneath it all, moms are insecure.  They want to do their best for their kids and often when they see someone doing things differently then them they take it as an attack on their motherhood.  Why did you do it differently than me?  Am I a bad mom?  Let me convince you to do it the way I did so I get some affirmation for my choice. 

If I could give moms one gift it would be this:  GRACE.  Grace for themselves and for other moms.  You aren’t going to be a perfect mom.  Your going to let your kids down.  Often.  There is no perfect mom.  Stop comparing.  Stop trying to measure up.  Stop trying to feel better about your mothering by looking down on the choices of others.  Stop assuming others are looking down on your choices just because they mother differently than you.  

Chances are they are doing the best they can and really don’t care that you served your kids a Lunchable in the back of your messy car.   Give yourself some grace.  And accept the fact that while we all might go about it differently, we’re all going to probably end up in the same place.  The fact is there are about as many different ways to tackle those very important years, as there are kids, but there is NO ONE RIGHT WAY. 

Happy Baby Shower Day Megh!  I am so thankful for your friendship and support as I’ve trodded down the crazy, chaotic and fun filled world of motherhood the past 10 years.  And I am excited to cheer you on as you embark on your own journey. 


  1. Crystal, you hit the nail on the head. Stop comparing and judging. The bottle fed babies have grown up into adults just as the breast fed babies. Is it a regular conversation among adults as to whether they were bottle or breast fed? Did that make them a better person? Both of the at home birth and hospital birth babies have grown up to be adults. Even the in-car birth babies have grown up just fine! Can we really see a difference in who they have become? In the end, does it really matter which way you did it? I think I worked so hard at being a good Mom in others' views that it was easy to overlook "just loving my kids". Its always good to hear what others are doing and to share with each other, but base your choice on what works best or you and your family and circumstances without comparing yourself to others or judging others. This only adds to insecurities and motherhood brings on enough of that without having external sources!

  2. I wish I would've read this 12 years ago. You have spoken to my heart today and I now see why many of my relationships didn't last when I was a new mommy. Thank you for your honesty and sharing your gift of writing with us.

  3. Spot on, Crystal. In an orientation I had at the hospital before our first baby, the nursed asked who was planning to get an epidural and who wasn't. Then she told us that she had 3 kids, two with epidural and one without. And that she has never ever caught them arguing about who she loved best because of that. I was really grateful to hear that.

  4. And happy baby shower, Megh!!

  5. Wow, this is just such a wonderful tribute and so full of truth. You are a gifted writer and true friend.

  6. Crystal, thank you so much. You are an amazing friend and an even more amazing mom. I've watched you for over a decade now (wow, we sound old, huh!?!?) and stored away hundreds of little nuggets of your mothering gold. Thank YOU for extending me grace during all those years. I love you dearly...we have so many great memories and laughs and I am excited for decades more memories and laughs. Thank you, friend :) much love, megh

  7. Crystal,
    Thank you so very much for this very humbling and incredibly kind post. You are an amazing friend and an even more amazing mom. I have watched you with your very blessed kids for over a decade (wow--we sound old, huh?!?) and picked up hundreds of nuggets of mothering gold. And thank YOU for the grace that you extended to me over and over and over. I have tons of great memories from those early years, from the recent years, and am excited for all the decades of memories to come :) And, luckily, you are on my speed dial list for all those questions I'll have in just a few weeks...is 3 a.m. too late to text?? ;)
    I love you, my friend...much love, megh


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