20 Things Every Parent Should Hear

20 Things Every Parent Should Hear

1. You are a hero for your kids. You are. You’re a go-the-distance, fight-the-dragon, face-the-challenges hero for your kids. Taking a beating makes that more true. Not less.

2. We all struggle. Every parent. Everywhere. We all second-guess ourselves. And we all want to quit sometimes. Hold the good times close, and when things are tough, remember “this, too, shall pass.”

3. Finding the funny may not save your soul, but it will save your sanity. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, look for the humor and embrace the crazy. Laughter is a lifeline.

4. Every day, you will feel like you have mishandled something. Like you’ve been impatient. Like you’ve misjudged. Like you’ve been too harsh. Like you’ve been too lenient. You may be right. Apologize if you need to and then, whatever. Seriously. Just whatever. Let it go.

5. The crazy, the crying, the cuddles. The screaming, the sacred, the scared. The minutes, the magic, the mess. It’s all part of it. And it’s all worth it.

6. Family is the best. Even when it’s not perfect. And it’s never perfect. Ever.

7. At the end of organization, at the end of patience, at the end of perfection, we die to ourselves. And then love rises from the ashes. It sucks. And then it gets better. And then it sucks again. Still, love rises.

8. You will never regret parenting. Except for the teeny, tiny tons of times when you secretly wonder if you maybe regret it just a little. But, overall, never. And overall is what counts in the end.

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9. Parenting is like climbing the big mountain. Look for the base camp. That’s where you rest, meet other climbers, take in oxygen and acclimatize. Base camp is what makes summiting possible.

10. You are not alone in this strange, vast, parenting ocean. Even in the dark of night. You are not alone. You’re not.

11. Kids know the way to magical and they’ll give you a free pass to come along. Breathe in the magic as long as you can because that same kid is going to poop his pants in just a minute.

12. There’s a very fine line between enjoying the chaos and barely surviving. Actually, there’s no line at all. It’s all mixed up together. That “fine line” thing is a lie.

13. If you pay attention, kids will teach you how to laugh loudly, how to love deeply and how to live fully. They will also ruin all your stuff.

14. Any number of kids is a lot of kids.

15. Look for joy. You’ll find it in the middle of the busy. Or under the ridiculous. Or hanging from the overwhelmed in its underpants. Joy’s like that. It’s in the middle of everything. It’s completely unpredictable. And it will surprise you when you’re not expecting it. Like vomit and diarrhea, except good.

16. You will fall apart and do it all wrong. Forgive yourself. Ask your kids to forgive you. Set an example of resilient fallibility. Set an example of practicing the art of love — both loving yourself and loving others. No one does this parenting gig right the first time. Or the last time. Or the times in between. Showing your kids how to keep going after getting it wrong is a wonderful gift to give them.

17. Kids are difficult, gross, confusing and awesome. So are you.

18. Parenting will bring you face to face with yourself. It may be terrifying. It may break you. But it will also rebuild you, and you will be stronger than you ever thought possible.

19. Balance is a myth. Parenting isn’t a tight-rope walk; it’s a dance. Strive for rhythm instead of balance, and trust yourself to move to the ever-changing beat.

20. Yes, you will have days where you wonder where the hell the capable and organized you went. Yes, you will sit on the floor of the main aisle at Target by the check-out area with a child who is thrashing, screaming and calling you names. Yes, you will have to tell your child that the dog is not a napkin and to put down the urinal cake. If you do not do all those things literally, then you will do them figuratively. And yes, you will also hold that child and rock back and forth and tell him you love him and tell him he’s safe and tell him you’re not leaving even though he will someday leave you. This is parenting. It is tragic and triumphant. Messy and magical. Sacred and spectacular. And it is, always, fiercely worthwhile.

……….

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece titled You Don’t Have to Choose a Parenting Method to be a Great Parent. Today, hand in hand with that post, I’m sharing the words above. Your words. Words I picked up in the comments of this blog post that I’ve captured and rewritten and molded and framed. Because together? We know stuff. And it is good

Thanks to Yabby, LizD, Aurora, Ellen, Marci, RubyKatie, Jenny, Jessica, Cathie, Meredith, Not Evan, Meghan, Bethany, Kristi, Michal, Ronda, Darcie, Taylor, Rebecca, Isa, Corrie, Silvia, Lindsay, Jen, Sarah, JJ, Kris, Rebekah, Helen, Olivia, Maria, Katie, Emily, Joy, Karen, Ryann, Tamara, Shannon, Sarah, Jenny, J, Leah, Jesse, Heather, Melissa, Holly, Ann Marie, Debbie, Delia, Tracie, Sara, Laura, Nicole and Denise for inspiring this list. I’m grateful to you and everyone here at the Five Kids blog for being my base camp and constantly reminding me I’m not alone on this mountain. 

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
56 comments
  1. All of them are so true. every single one.

  2. Love these. Thank you for sharing your life with us. #20 got to me as I face doctor appointments to find out if I get to see my kid grow up. I really want “I’ll never leave you” to be true, at least until he is an adult.

  3. […] 20 Things Every Parent Should Hear – Beth Woolsey, Five Kids is a Lot of Kids […]

  4. […] A Lot Of Kids. This week I wanted to share with all of our readers who are parents her post about 20 things every parent should hear. Krista and I long for the day when our future kids say some of these things to […]

  5. I am the parent of two girls: 20 and 16 years old. I guess “girls” isn’t quite right anymore. They are young women. I am also a preschool teacher. This list is spot on for both of those jobs. I still find myself doubting my ability to parent my pretty-much-grown girls. And, I feel so fortunate to get to live the joy of a 4 year old every day. I am saving this list to give to the parents in my class. Thanks!

  6. i’m not a parent but i am a teacher and i needed this today. thanks! and also thanks for taking your kids home at the end of the school day. 😉

  7. I love them all, but I LOVE LOVE #19 – in fact, I may print it out and hang it on the way.

  8. Thank you. We’ve been snowed in for 2 days now…and it’s getting a little intense. I’m hiding in my bedroom under the guise of a work phone call (that’s been over for 10 minutes now.) #19 is my favorite-and people always look at me funny when I refute their supposed “comforting” statement when I express frustration of having a 5 and 2 year old of “everything in balance.” Gag me. Seriously. Nothing is in balance-If I tried for “balance” I’d spend each day feeling like a total and utter failure. Sometimes I work 12 hours and spend 30 minutes with my kids-“working too much”…sometimes I sneak out of work 2 hours early just to hang with my kiddos “slacking at my job.” So, yes, Beth, it’s most certainly a dance…finding that rhythm, and refusing to judge yourself or other parents cause we are all just learning the steps. XO

  9. Teary. Working on it. This is so, so powerful!

  10. This is beautiful and so true! In just 3 years as a mother, these words resonate deeply. Thank you!

  11. Perfectly captured–thank you for the reminder. I will post this in the bathroom so I can read ti every morning (and evening) and when I feel like I am loosing it!

  12. […] I found while surfing the net…. 20 Things Every Parent Should Hear Love this post by one of my favorite bloggers!On the menu for this […]

  13. […] 20 Things Every Parent Should Hear by Beth Woolsey […]

  14. Thank you. I’m 55 and a grandparent, and my daughter linked to this post on her Facebook. I just read it, and I can tell you…it’s all true. It’s ALL true. And no matter how old your kids get, it doesn’t stop being true. Ever. THANK YOU!!!

  15. I cannot tell you just how much I needed this today. Thank you! ♥

  16. I happened upon your blog via Pinterest today and honestly, at the risk of sounding like a creeper, I’ve already devoured 5 or 6 of your posts and can’t wait to read more. Yeah, that sounded creepy. Sorry. 🙂 Anyway, this list, total awesomeness.

  17. […] Look for joy. You’ll find it in the middle of the busy. Or under the ridiculous. Or hanging from the overwhelmed in its underpants. Joy’s like that. It’s in the middle of everything. It’s completely unpredictable. And it will surprise you when you’re not expecting it. Like vomit and diarrhea, except good. – Beth Woolsey, 20 Things Every Parent Should Hear […]

  18. I was reading this article to my husband and got to this one:

    10. You are not alone in this strange, vast, parenting ocean. Even in the dark of night. You are not alone. You’re not.

    His response: “Yeah, the kids are always right there with us.”

    😀

  19. Thank you. I needed this. especially today.

  20. Perfect! I have one amazing son and do it alone 90% of the time, but I love every single minute of it. Yesterday, in the midst of eating cupcakes at his friend’s birthday party, he mouthed and signed to me “I love you.” Awesome. 🙂

  21. “…and tell him you love him and tell him he’s safe and tell him you’re not leaving even though he will someday leave you.” I was just fine until I read that! My oldest, a sophomore in college, is only going to be home one short week, before he spends THE WHOLE SUMMER in Asia. I’m missing him so much already.

  22. […] will stop here. You may find the rest of 15 ‘things’ on the Five Kids Is A Lot of Kids, […]

  23. This is the first post of yours that I have ever read. I got it from a friend’s fb page. I read it and immediately bookmarked your site. Amazing! Thank you!

  24. Can you please add…”your kid WILL show his penis to someone sometime! It happens, don’t flip out…it happens!
    Thank you.

    1. HAHAHAHA! YES AND AMEN. Penises will be shown inappropriately. Like, from the upstairs window while you’re talking with the neighbour in your front yard. Yep.

  25. I did so need to hear this today! I can’t even pick a favourite because there are several. You captured the wonderful-crazy-exhausting-amazing of parenting so beautifully. Thank you!

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