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happy friday + the pause…



I'm currently reading the best parenting book I've ever read called Bringing Up Bébe about the wisdom of French parenting. I've read a lot of books while pregnant and also after having our baby, and there is something about this one that speaks to me in a way that no other book has. Not only is it an easy read, but I love how it mixes in an interesting story with prose on how the French parent and why their kids tend to be very polite, well-behaved, and patient. But it's also not preachy and lets you take what you will from it. It's a book I seriously want to give to every new parent I know…

Anyway, there is a part in the book that talks about "The Pause". From birth, when babies cry, French parents don't come running to them right away. They certainly don't leave their babies crying forever, but they'll wait a few minutes to see if the baby settles themselves or if they are truly in distress and need something. Something as simple as waiting just a few more moments before rescuing the baby not only teaches them to self-soothe {one reason French babies sleep through the night sooner} but it also teaches patience and that they will not get everything they want right away. These babies turn into toddlers and children who can sit at the dinner table and play on their own and be calm yet attentive while everyone is enjoying their dinner together…not rushed, chaotic, or what you'd imagine a dinner with kids to be like. I love many of the ideas in the book—some which we were already practicing with Ruby and some which have inspired me to rethink the way I interact with her.

But I've also realized that taking this pause, might actually be good for myself in my own life {separate from anything having to do with my baby}. Sure, maybe pausing before downing a whole pint of ice cream is a good idea, but also, waiting just a bit longer before replying to a negative comment that someone left on my blog, or letting myself marinate on a new idea that I have and waiting till morning to see if it has legs. Because sometimes things turn out better when I don't rush into everything. What do you guys think? Do you take that pause sometimes?

I hope you have a great weekend filled with lots of happy pauses… — Joy

ps. Congrats to Kristina M. from Philadelphia, PA for being the winner of our LemLem giveaway. Everyone else, you can still receive a 15% discount on the tank through May 11th. Simply enter code OHJOY15 at checkout

{Instagram photo by Oh Joy of Ruby happy, then not so happy!}


  1. I just added this to my kindle. I think that second babies benefit from the pause more than first babies simply because I can’t tend to all needs immediately like I was wont to do with my first child. I should try and pause even more though. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. yes! i often don’t reply to support emails right away… give people some time to think, and sometimes they do find out a solution for their problem on their own. this is good, not only because it’s one less email to answer, but also ensures that the user will learn something new with the experience 🙂

  3. I couldn’t agree more. Learning to be patient and let things work themselves out is one of the hardest things for me! I don’t have kids but still want to read that book!
    Love this quote by John Steinbeck “The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.” I posted about that today as well. Must be a timely subject 🙂

  4. Oh my goodness “the pause”. I can’t speak to parenting since I am not a mother but I can speak to pauses in my personal & work life! I always make better decisions when I pause and wait for my immediate emotions to subside. In fact, I think that is what the pause is all about…getting rid of the raw emotion! I am always working on being better at this.

  5. I’m down with the concept. But do French babies REALLY (scientifically) sleep through the night sooner? It seems like there are so many variables when it comes to sleeping and I honestly think a lot is the luck of the draw. (I was not lucky; my child had acid reflux and was the worst sleeper as a baby.)
    I know so many parents who (presumably) treat their kids basically the same way and they slept so differently. Not to mention, their personalities are often totally different.
    So, I’m more a believer in the idea that your kid is who he/she is naturally. That said, I do believe how you react to who that kid is.

  6. I have definitely been adding “The Pause” to my daily life after changing up some eating habits. It helps! I got a particularly rude e-mail from a client who was having a bad day but I paused for about an hour and then replied calmly. Sometimes you just need some time!

  7. I so agree with this. The Pause really helps in all parts of life. I used to do everything at once. Then I realized some of my ideas were half baked. Now, even if it’s just a short paper, I take time to brainstorm, and work slowly, setting up a timeline giving me pauses to break away an think or relax. It has made my life so much easier!

  8. My Mom had read about this book in a newspaper in Toronto and told me about it. I read the preview on Kobo, but wasn’t too sure I wanted to jump in (I’m always hesitant to read parenting books)… but after your recommendation, maybe I will give it a try! It’s nice to know that it’s not preachy!
    We’ve always tried to wait a bit before rushing the babe… well, probably more now that we did when she was younger. For the most part these days, she will fall back asleep, but once in a while she legitimately needs us. Taking a pause is always a good thing I guess!! 🙂
    Have a great weekend… and thanks again for the book recommendation. Maybe I will order it for our trip next week!

  9. I’m not a mother, but in terms of taking ‘The Pause’ in other areas of my life is something I really try to work on! My actions are almost always influenced by my emotions, and while sometimes it works out for the best, other times it doesn’t – and that an really wear down yourself and especially others. Taking that small pause makes me stop, think, wait, and then speak my mind (or do something). It’s so helpful!

  10. I’m a mother of 3 girls and believe me I rarely pause for a moment, but lately I have realized I need too! I have a 2 1/2 year old and 6 month twin girls. I have started to realize they are growing up so fast and I should start taking the time to enjoy them because they won’t be babies forever. I have to remind myself to step back from the chaos and just enjoy the ride…

  11. I’m currently pregnant (almost there!) with my first and I have heard of this book from a couple different people and was intrigued – after reading this I’m buying it right now!

  12. I agree that taking a “pause” is good for baby, mommy and in life. However, I have two babies under 3 (18 mths, 2.5yrs) and they are both very different… personality and temperament wise.
    At this point in my mommy journey, I am realizing that what works for one does not work for the other so the idea that any method will shape behavior is still foreign to me. I will read the book and report my findings, but frankly for me right now a toddler that behaves at a dinner table has more to do with personality, timing and if the day included a successful nap.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Dayamis from BellaMarchesa | Baby Planning

  13. This is one of my favorite posts you’ve written thus far. 🙂 Clever you are for giving the pause a thought. I shall try it this weekend for sure…starting tonight when I go to babysit twin girls!

  14. I can appreciate the pause both in my mommy life and my personal life. Oh dear, those pics of your little Ruby are too much. Killing me with cuteness =)
    – Sarah

  15. I had a baby a couple of weeks after you had Ruby and, while I haven’t read the book, we implemented ‘the pause’ with Teddy pretty early on. We didn’t know what approach we’d take until he arrived, but allowing him the time to sooth himself and figure things our felt right for his development (and our sanity).
    In the interest in bringing up a charming dinner companion, I’ll be sure to pick up the book. Thanks for that (and all your other) recommendations!

  16. First, those pictures are too cute! I recently finished that book and totally agree with wanting to implement some of those French parenting techniques. I’m two months away from having our second and will be using The Pause with her. I had heard that young babies don’t cry “for no reason” so to go to them immediately. But with my son I’ve learned that it is good to let them try to figure things out on their own. Of course, you don’t want to let a baby cry for a long time, but oftentimes if you give them a minute they’ll settle down.
    I also liked reading about the science behind their sleep cycles and that they’ll cry out in their sleep; if you pick them up right away you’re actually waking them up. Definitely recommend the book!

  17. First of all, your blog is awesome.
    Second, Bringing up Bebe is definitely a good read. But as an anthropologist, I have to say that this book, along with the “Tiger Mom” book, and others like these (e.g. American obsessions with scientific studies on the one end and attachment parenting on the other), all offer very idealistic models that are extremely ethnocentric. Every parent/culture likes to defend her own way of doing things. I think it’s about managing both cultural expectations and individual ones, regardless if it is French, Chinese, American, Dutch, South African, etc.
    I think what these books teach us ultimately is that in another culture, there is a different way of doing things, so that when someone says, “if you just do this, then..” or “all babies do x, y, z” that you have to maintain a bird’s eye view of things.

  18. Hi Dayamis,
    Yes, I agree that every baby is different and Im definitely not saying that every baby will 100% become a certain way based on these methods. The book talks about just general ways of being and thinking differently that I really liked and how you apply them (or not) is up to you!

  19. Thanks Rebekah for your comment! I agree that there is no one way to do things nor will those ways produce the same results every single time. For me, I like the way the author presents the information and its a great look at how another culture does things. For me, I get inspired by books like this because it simply changes your way of thinking and then its up to every parent how they choose to take (or not take) those ideas from there and apply it to their own parenting.

  20. This post reminds me of something my French teacher used to say to the class, “marinate on that idea.” I often think about that phase when I have a hasty urge that seems unnatural. I also think that there are times when impulses are good, especially when paying attention to your intuition.
    P.S. I don’t know which picture of your little girl is cuter… a sweet diptych!

  21. I too found this book to be the best parenting book and only wished i read it before my daughter was born (she is now 2.5).
    I especially found comfort in the notion of stepping back and letting your child explore the world in their own way at their own pace. It’s really easy to get caught up in the ‘competition’ of parenting and obsess over milestones and achievements, forgetting that kids learn what they need to know simply by playing – not flashcards and dvds.

  22. I picked this book up from the library a few months ago and I got through it in a few days. The best thing the book did for me was to help me not to get caught up in the competition of parenting (which I normally do not lean towards anyway) or comparing my child to other children the same age (which I did catch myself doing) and feeling stressed that my child was not hitting the same milestones at the same rate. I also found myself wondering less what the other Moms at the playground were thinking. It also helped me let go of feeling guilty at needing me time.

  23. Completely obsessed with this book. It makes such perfect sense and I can’t wait to use the author’s wisdom when my little one arrives.

  24. I wish I would have read this book and “paused” with my Ruby when she was a baby. I picked her up every time she cried and held her A LOT. She has always been very clingy and it drives me nuts sometimes. On the other hand, it could just be her personality, she always wants to be around people and interact. We are very close, so I guess I can’t complain too much. It will be interesting with the second because I won’t be able to pick her up right away and I won’t be able to meet Ruby’s needs right away either. It will probably be the best for all of us. 🙂

  25. The concept behind Le Pause is AWESOME. I’m not sure how it’ll work (or if it’ll work) once I give birth, but Bringing up Bebe has been the only book that makes sense and appeals to me. The author’s damned funny too. Vive la France!

  26. Hey there, we may be trying for a baby next year and I would like to read a book on pre-pregnancy preparations. Any good read to recommend? 🙂

  27. I read this while nursing in my rocker during the weeks following the birth of my first child. I love the sentiments about not always putting your child on stage as we american moms tend to do. I also hope my daughter develops a taste for fine cheeses in her early years : )

  28. I read this book a few weeks ago when I first found out I was pregnant with my first. It was such a relief to have someone layout how to set boundaries for yourself and your children…and know that both of you will be better for it. My only concern is how am I going to raise “a little Frech baby” among all this snacking and child worship around me. I know it’s going to be tough, but I know in the end it will be for the best. Thanks for the post…

  29. Even though I’m not even close to being pregnant, I love the concept of the book, from what I’ve heard. That’s always how I planned on parenting.
    Also, I just don’t understand the blog haters. What gives? Why? And why you? It’s such a waste of time. I hope you don’t let any of the bad comments on any of your social media outlets get to you too much. (Although I know it would bother me, so I’m sure it does.)
    Those pics of Ruby are darling.

  30. i’m glad you mention this book! i ordered it, and have had it on my shelf gathering dust, but i’ll dust it off and get some reading done! i’ve gone back to work part-time and having a baby (she’s 6 months!) has been tiring AND amazing. keep going strong joy! we all have so much to learn, and reading – talking with friends/strangers/family – all helps gives us perspective. and in the end, i’ve noticed i’ve been blending a little bit of this and that…to make my own way…here’s to motherhood!!

  31. Joy – you should also read the 3 martini playdate. It’s definitely tongue in cheek but there are some kernels of truth and pearls of wisdom in there. It’s hilarious and I’d think you’d find it a lot of fun. Plus the writer is a fellow LA mom

  32. Sounds like a good read. I will have to check this out!
    I just found your blog and love it! Would love the follow back 🙂
    The Pretty Pinhead

  33. This is an amazingly poignant observation and fits so much into some thoughts I’ve been having for a long time. While I’m not going to start a family for many years, I hope to be someone whose values transition naturally into looking after little ones (and then nourishing their growth and so forth). Despite how different things actually are in practice, being able to pause or appreciate moments are life skills, and being centered in such a healthy way will almost always have a positive impact on those around you.
    This is so inspiring and I am longing to read this book at some point!
    Have a magical weekend xx

  34. LOVE this post. Im not a mom yet, but was inspired to read this because I went to Paris and was in awe at how well behaved and calm all the young children seemed! This book is so wonderful and a must read for all moms.

  35. I love this concept, and I’m going to have to read the book! I have a two year old son, and am actually due to have a girl in one week (so soon, yay!) and I’m interested to try “the pause” with her. I attempted to do it with my son, but the sound of him crying made me so concerned, I couldn’t help but immediately jump up to make sure he was okay.
    I feel like the second time around, when you’re more experienced, it may be easier to do!
    Sweet photos… Ruby is beautiful!

  36. Just finished this book and I loved it. I agree- it has definitely helped me rethink how I parent. I am using some of the strategies with my little boys (aged 4, 2, and 8 months) with success!

  37. I have been going back and forth with gentle discipline and attachment parenting. (How’s that for a confused 6-month old?) I’ve had this book on my Kindle for a while but haven’t read it yet… maybe I’ll start this weekend. 🙂

  38. As a French mom I had no idea that our way of educating our childs could be shown as an example (or even that we have a way to educate!).
    Trust me, we also have lots of childs who don’t behave good!
    I think that our foody culture with long meals (with entrée + plat + fromage + dessert) can also play in the fact that children are calmer at the table.
    I do “the pause” and my son (almost a year old) soothes by himself half of the time. He also started to sleep in his room and sleeping through the night (midnight to 6a.m.) when he was a month old.
    The way that I educate my child might have help but I think that it depends also on your child personality and I’m very lucky with my first one 🙂
    I’m enjoying it as much as I can as I tell myself that it can’t be that easy twice 😉
    PS: Little Ruby looks like an angel and she has the prettiest shoes!

  39. Hi Sophie,
    Thanks for your note! I was hoping a French mom would comment so its nice to hear your perspective. I think we can all learn from different cultures and ways of doing things and than use that information to the best of our abilities for our children. And yes, I agree, every child is different for sure! Thanks for your nice words about Ruby too 😉

  40. I definitely do the pause with inquiring emails about jewelry pieces which at first glance I feel are crazy rude but after an hour or a day just seem curious, however blunt. And as for writing papers, perhaps I pause a little too much…though it seems to be working so far! (knock on wood)

  41. i love the fundamental ideas in this book, particularly “the pause” and the importance placed on mealtimes and cooking. i am hoping i can apply some of this to my own parenting when my baby arrives in september…and i can’t wait to bake the yogurt cake with my little girl!

  42. I just read this book and loved all the advice. My husband and I hope to have a child soon, so “the pause” is extremely important to me. I want to set boundaries. I also hope to find the balance that Druckerman describes between providing structure and allowing freedom.
    Ruby is the cutest!!

  43. Love hearing about “the pause” in terms of parenting and life outside of it. I’ve been reading “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff” and one of the little chapters talks about taking this pause when having a conversation too. He says that too often we’re not even listening because we are just waiting for our chance to speak. Take a breath or pause after someone finishes lets them know you heard what they’ve said fully and then if you still feel the need to say something, say it. Pauses and breaths can be so important! Now it’s time for me to practice. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  44. thank you. especially for the last part where you wrote about taking pauses for yourself in your everyday life. I think it helps to be more aware and present in the moment. thank you for reminding me of that!

  45. I just finished the book and haven’t been able to stop talking about it! But applying it to other aspects of my life – haven’t thought of that yet – what perfect sense that makes! The “pause” is just as applicable to me and my life – I need it to see if I can work things out on my own and assess what my need really is – as it is to my son’s life.
    Thanks for the revelation!

  46. I’ve had the book on my “list” and will definitely pick it up… What surprised me about this post was that you get negative comments?! I can’t even imagine what about, but I guess some people are just ugly and will use any outlet they can find? Unfortunate that you have to waste any of your brain space thinking about that!
    Here’s to people who don’t like something moving on to another corner of the vast Internet!

  47. I’m currently reading this, although I’m not a mom yet, it’s because I am a Francophile. It is fascinating how you see kids act in France at restaurants. I’m headed back to France later this month with a new perspective on le bebe.
    BTW, Ruby is the bee’s knees. So adorable.

  48. I live in France and agree with Sophie and Julia that food culture is a big part of discipline in France. Kids do not snack except during “snack time” and are expected to participate in family meals at a very early age.
    However, babies do not sleep through the night here at 2 months (hahahahahaha!!!)


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