10 Things Every Mom Should Know

When you're not following your maternal instinct, motherhood feels like grade school math class-a game of trial and error and guess and check. We took a trip down memory lane to compile the best mothering tips from REDBOOK over the years to make your life a little easier-and a little happier. By Rosa Heyman, REDBOOK.

Getty Images1. You can raise a healthy eater
Get your kids into the kitchen. Christine Mastrangelo, R.D., a registered dietitian in Wakefield, MA, explains, "Children feel important when they're asked to pitch in, and because they take pride in the finished product, they're more likely to have an open mind about eating it." Chef hats come in small, too.

2. Motherhood is a learning curve
It's OK to make mistakes-everyone leaves their daughter's blanket on the roof of the car and drives off in the parking lot or snips their son's eyebrow by accident during an at-home haircut. Learn from your mistakes and move on-don't beat yourself up.

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3. Let Dad parent, too
Valerie Davis Raskin, M.D., a Chicago-based psychiatrist and author of The Making of a Mother: Overcoming the Nine Key Challenges-From Crib to Empty Nest, says, "In this culture of perfectionism, it's easy to fall into the trap of 'If I don't do it, it won't get done right.' Kids want to be loved in different ways, and to experience different aspects of love. As long as Dad's ways aren't dangerous, it's a good idea to let it go."

4. Plan outfits ahead of time
To make your weekday mornings a little less hectic, plan your children's outfits for the week on Sunday afternoon. If your kid likes to play dress-up, the routine will become a fun fashion show as soon as you put on some Glee-or Madonna.

5. Laugh at yourself, a lot
The next time you find a cheerio in your hair and catch yourself eating it, or you talk in a baby voice to thank the cashier at your grocery store, laugh. Motherhood is fun and funny and hard-enjoy it.

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6. Get over yourself, Pinocchio
If it means that your kids will pick up their toys, or take a nap, or eat broccoli, then it's okay to tell the occasional white lie.

7. Apology accepted
You say sorry to your husband, so why not your kids? Though you and Dad may be The Law, you can still be wrong. Saying sorry is just a small gesture that teaches your children that no one is perfect. Your kids will understand that we all make mistakes and it is better to acknowledge and learn from them so that you can both move on without hard feelings.

8. Don't feel guilty for working-or not working
Both child care and maternity leave were invented for a reason-for you to take advantage of! Regardless of your feelings about the current debate of whether women can have it all, make a choice that is right for your family and feel good about it. Your kids will thank you later.

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9. Motherhood is not a competitive sport
Some moms can be as competitive as Mob Wives, but that doesn't mean you have to participate in their horse-and-pony show. Instead, find a team of moms from your office or your neighborhood for support and companionship so that you can all enjoy the ups and downs of parenting together-along with a cold glass of rosé.

10. Family feuds happen
Even the Brady Bunch had their fair share of disputes. Kids are a ton more likely to fight with their siblings rather than their friends-that sort of unconditional love defines family. According to journalists Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, authors of NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, sisters and brothers who spend time together but bicker will be closer later than siblings who play separately.

For ten more nuggets of parenting wisdom, visit Redbookmag.com.

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