Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

You always carry her.

You hold her a lot.

You pick her up so much.

Carrying my baby brought on a lot of commentary when I was a new mom.

“Up,” my daughter would signal upon arriving at a park, preschool or playdate. She was “spirited,” as author Mary Kurcinka described: extra sensitive, perceptive, uncomfortable with change.

She’ll become too dependent.



I still lifted.

Museums? Mall play areas? Movies? Big, busy and loud equaled my child’s need for smallness, space, and security.

Colorful play structures that lured toddlers, made mine draw back. Attending children’s concerts usually led to vacating our seats and heading to the quiet room.

I envied free-at-the-knees moms with empty laps who enjoyed eating and having a conversation at parties. They didn’t have to reply, “Mine just needs time to warm up,” when asked why their child wasn’t participating.

As the onlooker sitting on waiting room benches during birthdays at kid gyms, I tried to look amused by the squealing of children yet didn’t want to look discouraged by my downtrodden daughter. We’d roam the room or I’d escort her to the circle of kids gathered around the instructor.

Let her go alone.

Stay back.

You’re coddling.

I still lifted.

“You have to raise the child you have, not the child you wish you had,” says author Dr. Kathy Koch.

Now that nearly-raised child is as independent as July 4th. At 15, she loves going to movies with friends and eats in noisy food courts. She manages her schoolwork and communications with teachers. The one who once ran from the masses now performs on stage during choir shows. She auditioned and made her school’s mock trial team . . . another public performance, oriented activity.

Each year since having left her former school, she is invited to give tours to perspective parents at the annual open house. The principal feels she is a confident leader, poised, and a clear communicator. She volunteers Sundays in a first grade class and landed a camp counselor job, desiring the opportunity to work with kids. This once fearful child decided to step out from her small, private school to attend a large public high school where she did not come in under the security of a friend group. She marched in alone.

I list these examples not to brag but to say that if you are a Coddler Mom, years from now, you may see a gap from where your child was teetering to where she is standing. Baby steps taken have left imprints of self-assuredness and independence in my daughter’s life. She’s still cautious, doesn’t rush in, and there are still hurdles to jump in getting through uncomfortable situations. Here’s what helped:

Knowing and Accepting My Child’s Temperament

You can change and control your response but not your child’s personality. Rather than trying to talk my child out of being uncomfortable, learning about temperaments, development, and approaches that elevate children’s spirits, builds esteem, and honors readiness, was invaluable.

Respecting My Child’s Discomfort

Offering empathy with, “I know you feel afraid,” or “I know the noise hurts your ears,” relaxes an anxious child and gives words to their feelings. Suggesting to return another day, communicates that fears don’t always stick around and strength develops in trying again.

Communicating Plans Ahead of Time

My daughter did better knowing what to expect before an event. When walking into a store I’d suggest, “I’ll carry you until we reach the door and when we get inside, you can ride in the cart or walk next to me.” Laying out the plan enabled her to step in with more ease and giving choice gave her the opportunity to make a decision comfortable for her.

After a day out, I knew my daughter needed quietness to recharge, which she still needs today. She schedules the timing of activities with her temperament in mind, and knows when she needs down time to recharge. She directs her choices based on what she knows about herself. Isn’t that what we want our children to be able to do?

I wish I had seen that every lift up to my hip provided security to later step alone. I should have trusted the passing stages of development more, my fears and words of others, less. For that baby who needs holding now, just might be coddling you when it’s time to live life beyond your hips.

To a Coddling Mom I say:

One day, your arms will retire and be put to rest from lifting. Carrying will have its final day.

You are giving your child love and support.

She’s going to feel accepted, unhurried, and have freedom to launch at her pace, emotionally strong.

Keep lifting.

You may also like:

I’ll Hold You Instead

Mama, You Feel Like Home

The Nights Are So Long

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Linda Tang

A wife and mom of two daughters, Linda has authored a YA romance novel and writes for parenting publications. Her PR and marketing career has circled the globe working at Miss Universe, Inc, ‘TEEN Magazine and KABC TalkRadio in Los Angeles.

This is the Bittersweet Goodbye to the Baby Years

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Little girl pushing toddler brother in baby swing, color photo

Last August, I had my last baby. Oof. Even typing those words makes my heart ache. There’s something so final, so sad, so unreal about acknowledging the end of having babies. Maybe it’s because I’m the type of person who likes to keep all the doors open. I love possibilities. I hate goodbyes. And this, my friends, feels like a very hard goodbye. When I think about being done having kids, it feels like a goodbye to the baby years. For six years now, all I’ve known is the baby years. And while the baby years can drain me and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes God Sends a Double Rainbow

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
Two sacs as seen in early pregnancy sonogram

I lay on the ultrasound table prepared to hear the worst. While this pregnancy wasn’t totally expected, it was a miracle for me. I knew with the current stress in my life and the symptoms of a miscarriage, I may have to face another heartbreak to my series of heartbreaks over the last two years. I questioned what I did wrong to deserve it all. I prayed I had been stronger in my prior life: to have made better decisions. So I lay there, I held my breath, and I waited as the tech put the cold jelly over my...

Keep Reading

When Your Baby becomes a Big Boy

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler boy smiling with hoodie on

My son recently learned how to climb out of things, so I asked my husband to take the side off the crib to convert it to a toddler bed today. I snapped one last picture of my son in his crib before I hurried off to get him dressed for school. As I got to work, I saw my husband had sent me a text of the transformed crib, and it just about killed me. I know, I know . . . what even changed? It pretty much looks the same. But it’s more than just the side of the...

Keep Reading

I Know This Baby Is Our Last and It’s Bittersweet

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Woman snuggling baby by window

Three is our magic number. It always has been. It feels like the perfect number of kids for us. Everyone who belongs around my dinner table is here. Our family is complete. And yet even though my family is complete, I still find myself grieving that this is our last baby just a little bit as I pack up the teeny, tiny newborn onesies and socks. I’ve folded up swaddle blankets that saw us through the all-nighters of the newborn phase, ready to be passed along to a new baby in someone else’s family. But they won’t be swaddled around...

Keep Reading

I Wasn’t Sure You’d Be Here To Hold

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother with newborn baby on her chest in hospital bed

I stood naked in my parents’ bathroom. Even with the tub filling, I could hear my family chattering behind the door. I longed to be with them, not hiding alone with my seven-month round belly, sleep-deprived, and covered in pox-like marks. For three weeks, I’d tried Benadryl, lotions, and other suggested remedies to cure the strange rash spreading over my body. No luck. By Christmas Day, my life had been reduced to survival. Day and night, I tried to resist itching, but gave in, especially in my sleep. At 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 3 a.m., the feeling of fire ants...

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

My Second, It Only Took a Second To Fall In Love With You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother with newborn baby on chest, black and white image

You were the second. The second child who, as a mother, I wondered if I could love as much and as fiercely as my first. It’s true, I’m ashamed to admit. As much as you were so desperately prayed for, I was scared. So, so scared. I was scared I was going to fail you. You were the second. And already so loved. But, you see, your brother was my whole entire world. My everything. He made me a mother and gave me all the firsts. My lap was only so big. My heart was only so big. There was...

Keep Reading

Dear Helmet Mama, It’s Not Your Fault

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mom holding baby with helmet, color photo

I’m a helmet mama. It’s something I never thought I’d say, but there it is. And I’m not going to be ashamed of it. Of course, at first, when the doctor referred us to see a specialist for “flat head,” I thought, “Oh, please no. Not my baby.” I’ve seen those babies, and I’ve always felt bad for them and wondered how their heads got that bad. And I’ll be honest, I’d usually pass judgment on the mother of that baby. So how did I end up with my own baby having a helmet on his head? It’s called torticollis—and...

Keep Reading

Thank You to the Nurses Who Cared for My Baby First

In: Baby, Motherhood
Infant in hospital isolette, color photo

I wish I knew who she (or he) was and what she looked like. Was she young or older, experienced or just starting out? How had her weekend been? Was she starting or ending a work shift at 2:30 a.m. that Monday morning when they ran me into the surgery room? The first few days after my son was born, he was kept in intermediate care as we recovered from an emergency C-section that saved both our lives—his by just a few minutes. I occasionally managed to shuffle over to see him, but was pretty weak myself, so the nurses...

Keep Reading

Hey Mama, This Is Your Labor & Delivery Nurse Speaking

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby looking up at labor and delivery nurse and smiling

First of all, mama, I want to congratulate you! Whether this is your first baby or not, I am honored to be here with you through this experience. Before you ask me, no, I do not care if you shaved your you know what. There are plenty of other things I’m thinking of, and that is not one of them. I’m so happy to be here for the birth of you and your baby, but most importantly, I’m happy to be here for YOU. It doesn’t matter to me if you want to breastfeed, it doesn’t matter if you want...

Keep Reading