• 35 +SHARE

    Back when I was a brand new mom, or heck, even before I had kids, I was pretty judgy of other moms. I admit, it's easy to see someone loading their children up on candy or strapping them into a kid leash and say to yourself, "I'd never do that."

    Granted, there are some things that I will never, ever not judge; Coca Cola in a baby bottle will make me cringe every single time.

    But overall, I've realized that parenting context is everything, which is why I bite my tongue way more than I ever did before.

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    I ran into a new, very tired mom the other day and I couldn't help but remember back to when my now almost-10-year old was a baby.

    God, she never, ever slept.

    But the more kids I added, the more I felt okay letting them cry it out a bit, and surprise, the better they all slept, which led me to believe that it wasn't necessarily her. Maybe my sleepless nights were my own fault.

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    After I finished breastfeeding my fourth baby and lost most of my baby weight, I was pretty depressed about my boobs.

    I realize I'm not supposed to say that because it sounds vain. Plus, they fed my children and that's amazing! And awesome!

    And yes that's great, really it is, but I miss my old breasts.

    As it turns out, half of my problem was that I was wearing the wrong bra. Maybe you are too.

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  • 16 +SHARE

    I was visiting a friend this past weekend and we got to talking about baby advice. As you might guess, with four kids, I often get asked what tips I'd give to new moms.

    Over the years, I've come up with some pretty great answers, but the advice my friend gave at a recent baby shower topped any of mine. In fact, it's so awesome, I'll be doling it out whenever I can (with credit to her, of course).

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    I was one of those germaphobe first-time moms armed with hand sanitizer and shopping cart covers, doing what I thought I could to keep my then tiny baby healthy.

    Yes, I was more than a little obsessed.

    Now that I have four kids, I look at all the moms I see whipping out the wipes and the gels and the high-chair covers and roll my eyes because it's a total waste of time.

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    I wore all my kids in various slings and baby carriers when they were little, and I'm very glad I did, especially when I had more than one and needed my hands free.

    But as much as I understand the benefits of babywearing, it wasn't until I had my fourth baby who didn't really love being worn that I could have used the break.

    Is that being selfish? I used to think so. Now I'm pretty sure it's just being smart.

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    When my first baby was ready for solid foods, I remember obsessing over it like it was some sort of dire situation. I mean, eating is sort of an important thing, but the energy that people put into baby food is a little extreme.

    Okay, a lot extreme.

    I have tried every single method out there when it comes to feeding babies solids, and I will tell you that I really wish I had calmed down and just done what was easiest for me. 

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    I have a love-hate relationship with HBO's Girls. I loved the first season, sort of hated the second, and now I'm just not sure how I feel about the third. But I watch it nonetheless. 

    I don't generally take much away from the episodes, other than feeling glad I'm not a 20-something anymore. After watching the episode two weeks ago when Hannah spent almost the entire time in a small green string bikini, I sort of had an epiphany about postpartum bodies, even though Lena Dunham has yet to have any babies herself.

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    I spent much of my life looking about five steps ahead of me, always planning my next move without ever actually experiencing or enjoying what was happening right at that specific moment.

    Perhaps it's because I'm getting older (and my kids are getting older), but I've decided that focusing on today is not just the healthier choice, but also the happier one too.

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    I'm not quite sure when I decided my own instincts weren't good enough to protect me. I suppose when you grow up in a household where you need to control your emotions, you learn to do just that so you can survive another day.

    Now as an adult, I struggle with knowing whether those twinges, those gut feelings (sometimes literally), are to be acknowledged and listened to, or quashed and excused as defenses.

    Well, here's how I finally figured out my instincts are always right.

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About This Column
Kristen Chase

If we knew then, what we know now, some of our choices would most certainly be different. In a few cases ... very different. Maybe we wouldn't spend so much money on our wedding day -- or we would resist the urge to satisfy grandma and give our baby a name we actually like! Hindsight may be 20/20 but don't be fooled, there is plenty we can learn from it. Here, Kristen Chase will go through her laundry list of lessons -- all in the name of saving us from making the same mistakes she did.

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