How Parents Can Make the Most of Mercury Retrograde

These tips can help make the misunderstood astrological event not only less frustrating but rewarding for the whole family.

Family together looking photo album

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If you’ve ever felt like there are weeks when you feel like you might as well be speaking a totally different language than your partner and your child, trying to get anywhere feels like running through mud, technology keeps glitching out, and you’re baffled by out of the blue blasts from the past, it’s not just you. It might very well be that Mercury, the planet of communication, is retrograde. This astrological event occurs three to four times a year for three weeks at a time—and it's happening right now until May 14 (yep, Mother’s Day). It's often billed as a total nightmare that can upend your life, but it’s not without its bright spots, too.

As the author of the new book, Raising Baby by the Stars: A New Parent’s Guide to Astrology, here’s what I encourage parents to know about Mercury retrograde, the messenger planet’s current backspin in Taurus, and how to make the most of the transit with your child.

What Is Mercury Retrograde?

In astrology, Mercury is the messenger planet that rules communication, transportation, and technology. It’s the speediest planet in the solar system, and direct movement leads to smoother sailing when it comes to getting your kid to their playdate on time, texting with your BFF, and even your ability to use BeReal on time. But three to four times a year, Mercury appears to move backward from our position on Earth, which is a cue to slow down, revise, recharge, and reflect. 

Given the hustle-bustle culture we live in, we’re all accustomed to hitting the gas, so contending with slowdowns and delays that are astrology’s way of nudging you to brake can feel jarring. It doesn’t help that Mercury is the “trickster planet,” which means sometimes its retrogrades wreak havoc that don’t really serve any real purpose other than to perhaps test your patience. But they’re also a reminder that it’s pretty tough to move forward unless you look backward and tie up loose ends from time to time. 

Parenting Tips for Mercury Retrograde in Taurus 2023

Until May 14, Mercury will be retrograde in the earth sign Taurus, one of the fixed signs of the zodiac. The fixed sign crew, which also includes the fire sign Leo, the water sign Scorpio, and the air sign Aquarius, are known for being down-to-earth and resolute as well as obstinate. That said, while Mercury backs up through the sign of the Bull, wires can get crossed at the same time that we’re all more apt to dig our heels in.

Whether you’re raising a toddler whose mantra is “I’ll do it myself” or a teen who is intent on striking out on their own, this transit can make for extra head-butting. Not to mention the fact that May 5 marks a powerful lunar eclipse and full moon in Scorpio which is adding even more stubborn, dramatic fuel to the fire.

There are a few ways to make it through this particular Mercury retrograde.

Review money lessons and give back

Taurus is associated with the second house of income, so Mercury’s time in the sign throws a spotlight on finances. In turn, this can be a productive moment for rehashing and reviewing conversations about allowance, saving, budgeting, earning, even investing. The second house oversees material possessions, so you might use this retrograde as an opportunity to sift through and donate old clothes or toys, which can open the door for thoughtful conversation about giving back. 

Embrace as much flexibility as possible

Yep, some kids are going through a tough phase that goes hand-in-hand with digging their heels in. And/or they were born with astrological placements (e.g. their sun sign, moon sign, rising sign, et al.) that make them more apt to be more strong-willed. Any of that behavior is bound to be cranked up to the nth degree right now—not to mention exacerbated by the fact that delays, slowdowns, miscommunications, and technological glitches are especially likely. Cue lots of frustration. 

One of the ideal ways to cope is by trying to lean into more adaptability. It’s tougher to do right now, to be sure. But when your toddler wants to watch the same Daniel Tiger episode for the gazillionth time, your big kid is refusing to eat anything other than PB and J, or your teen insists on wearing those oversized pants, doing your best to pick your battles and go with the flow can serve as a stress reliever for the whole family. 

Prioritize activities that involve all five senses

Taurus rules the five senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. So Mercury retrograde in this sign is the perfect opportunity to slow down and enjoy a leisurely Taurean walk around a local garden. Observe and learn about not only the blooming flowers but all the buzzing insects and singing birds, the soft grass beneath your feet, and maybe a homemade picnic lunch. 

Or have a movie night in, letting your kid season their own popcorn before watching a classic movie the whole family enjoys time and again. Mercury retrograde is, after all, made for making what’s old, new again!

Raising Baby by the Stars

Tips for making the most of any Mercury retrograde as a parent

Consider the following tricks to make parenting through any Mercury retrograde a tiny bit easier. 

Take walks down memory lane

During Mercury retrogrades, you could be more inspired than usual to bust out an album of your child’s baby photos, to scroll through old videos of when you were expecting, or to go even further back and soak up some family history by connecting with older loved ones. That said, these periods can be opportunities to introduce your little one to the past in ways that are equally educational and bond-bolstering. 

See it as an opportunity to practice mindfulness

No doubt about it: There are moments during Mercury retrograde that push you to lose your cool, but there are also plenty of chances to choose to take a deep breath and see if you can respond in a different, more present way. Whatever mini-disaster has popped up, do your best to focus on what you can control at that moment versus what you might have wished you had done in the past or would like to do differently in the future.  

Try to have a sense of humor

A miscommunication with your child’s daycare leads to headache-inducing delays with paperwork. You specifically scheduled the pediatrician appointment at a time that’s not at all during rush hour, and you get stuck in an inexplicable traffic jam. The digital files from your family photo shoot won’t open. Remember, Mercury’s the trickster planet, so quite often, the frustrations that pop up during this time are the kind that makes you shake your head, roll your eyes, want to pull your hair out, OR—ideally—laugh.

Know there’s light at the end of the tunnel

When you know that Mercury might very well be the culprit, it’s easier to shake it off and remind yourself that in however many days, life will get a little less glitchy. As my mentor April Elliott Kent puts it, astrological events like a Mercury retrograde are called “transits,” because they’re transitory! Knowing there’s an endpoint in mind—just like you know teething or the “threenager” phase will eventually come to an end, too—can be calming in and of itself. 

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