Parenting quotes are some of my favorite things to reflect on, especially when I am experiencing a particularly challenging day as a mom.
They bring me great insight into the problem at hand, or at least improves my mood and my sense of humor about being a parent.
Out of the hundreds of quotes I have come across, these are the 10 quotes that I believe every parent should read, appreciate, and keep on hand.
“Never do for a child what he is capable of doing for himself.”— Elizabeth Hainstock, author, educator
Seeing your child grow up is bittersweet. Of course you want them to become independent individuals, but you also miss the sweet moments snuggling in their soft little necks, cradling them in your arms.
Still, the joy at seeing my kids learn to do things on their own is rivaled only by their hugs and I-love-You’s. Stuff like tying their own shoelaces, putting on their own pull-ups, feeding themselves with a spoon.
I made the mistake with my eldest son of not realizing that it was okay for him to try being more independent much earlier—even if that meant bigger messes and later mornings.
But by stepping back and giving him room to grow, his confidence also grew by leaps and bounds.
Letting your child do for his/herself is sometimes hard, but it is one of the best things we can teach our children.
“I came to parenting the way most of us do — knowing nothing and trying to learn everything.”— Mayim Bialik, actress and neuroscientist
As a new mother, I quickly realized I had no real idea about what I was doing. No matter the number of articles and books I had read on parenting, nor the lessons I thought I picked up from being parent-ed.
It truly was a learn-on-the-job type of training.
Every day of being a mom is a learning experience. I never know in advance the full picture of my children’s needs and wants.
They could wake up in the best and most cooperative mood, making the morning routine a complete breeze. Or they can be moody and uncooperative, refusing to eat anything, or put on their carefully laid out clothing.
They may be running a fever though they were perfectly fine the night before. Or maybe they came home from school sad because a friend said something mean.
Every moment of the day is unpredictable. And how I need to respond for each child can vary widely. Being a parent means dedicating yourself to growing and learning everyday.
“Everyone should have kids. They are the greatest joy in the world. But they are also terrorists. You’ll realize this as soon as they’re born, and they start using sleep deprivation to break you.”— Ray Romano, actor and comedian
This is one of those quotes that are hilarious, but also very accurate. Kids are amazing. They are my greatest joy. But they are little destroyers.
It was only when my eldest son turned 9 that I realized I hadn’t actually had a full night’s sleep in almost a decade. Between my parent anxieties and his sleepwalking and restlessness, my sleep was consistently disturbed night after night.
When my littlest one came along, he was a hyperactive little bundle of energy. Unlike his brother, who was deceptively calm and easygoing for the first half of his life, little Idris was a true terror.
He ran, jump, and hurdled his little body everywhere. He was loud and demanding…and still is as evidenced by the roaring lion that runs past my back as I type.
And the list of items that have been broken and destroyed by their antics are too numerous (and painful) to mention.
Kids are terrorists…but they are the most loveable bunch of you’re sure to ever meet.
“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”― Benjamin Spock, pediatrician
Okay, I know this seems in direct contradiction to Myam Bialik’s quote, but stay with me here because it really isn’t.
Before becoming a parent, you think you know everything. How patient and supportive you will be. How you will never have a child that throws a tantrum, embarrassing you in the middle of the busy food aisle.
Then you become a parent, and all your preconceived notions fly out the window. You think to yourself, “I actually don’t know jack about this gig.”
But, let’s take a step back.
Yes, it’s true that you really just learn as you go. But the way you know whether you are making good decisions for you and your family is because you actually do know more than you think.
If you are an attentive and loving parent, then you know that Johnny is fussing because he wants his binky. You know that your child is throwing a tantrum in the food aisle because they missed their nap time. You know that Janet is giving you a hard time with her math homework because she feels that she’s not a smart enough kid to figure things out.
You know that you have to do a 3-step good-by routine before dropping Shaun off to daycare makes the day better and easier for him and his caregivers. You know that a kid-friendly early morning workout helps keep your energetic child focused and easier to handle throughout the day.
And you know that a 30-minute television break after school helps Brittany focus better on her chores and homework after school.
Pay attention to the individual needs of each of your kids and trust your instincts. If something feels wrong with a parenting choice and vice versa, then it most likely is.
“My worst parenting moments, the ones I am least proud of, happened because I was trying to impress a bunch of strangers I’ll probably never see again.”— Janel Mills, blogger
As an 80’s baby, I grew up in a period where parents strongly believed that their children were a direct reflection of themselves…and their parenting style.
Because of this, parents (like mine) were “embarrassed” whenever their children displayed less than perfect behavior. A child received extra discipline if they stained the family name by misbehaving at school, church, grocery stores, public events, etc.
As a mom, I vowed never to discipline my child solely for the benefit of others, strangers or otherwise. And this has made a huge difference with how I interact with my kids both at home and in the presence of others.
Whenever either of my kids were “acting up” while we were out, I found myself starting to react because of how other’s were perceiving my mothering style.
That initially reaction made me what to lash out and loudly chastise my children to “get them in control”. It wanted me to be harsh and unforgiving. It wanted me to forget that children are sometimes just that…children.
They don’t have the advantage of the years we do as adults to learn to restraint and control. We are teaching them this, but they won’t be perfect at it for a very long time.
As I pull myself from the brink of hulk-smash parenting mode, I remind myself that my parenting style is not and should never be solely dictated by others.
And each and every time I have reflected on my personalized style of parenting that works for my family, I may feel burnt out and frazzled, but I do not feel embarrassed at how I responded to my own children.
Don’t let strangers dictate how you interact with your child. Be an attentive, loving, and open-minded parent, but don’t let your actions be directed by people who have zero investment in your little ones.
“The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tires.”— Dorothy Parker, poet, writer, critic, and satirist
This is also another funny quote that is 100% on the money.
I remember when returning back home from school my mom offered for me to live with her. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my mom.
She raised her kids by herself without any real support system for half of her parenting years. Her authoritative parenting style, however, does not resonate well with my personality. We never really developed a deep mother-daughter connection, and I sought independence at a very early age. Living with her as an adult was not in the least bit an exciting thought.
Although this quote is talking about kids that are a bit younger, the lessons I learned from being a child that wanted to get away sticks with me today. They remind me that I want to do things a bit differently with my kids.
So for me, I create an environment where my kids not only feel safe, but always loved. That they feel interesting as a person, not just based on what they can achieve.
I spend time talking to my kids about their days and nights, so that when they grow up they still feel like I am someone they can connect with. I give them their space to learn what they like and don’t, and learn how to interact with their peers in a low-pressure setting.
Neither of my kids are teenagers as yet, but I hope I am balancing love, mentorship, and discipline enough to keep them from running away from me and home until it really is time for them to spread their wings.
And I hope they’ll at least want to visit me on special occasions because they really miss me, not just out of obligation.
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”— James Baldwin, novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, and activist
Truer words never spoken James.
Children are such pains in the butts. You can tell Charles a hundred times not to jump off the sofa…and I can guarantee you will have to tell him the same exact thing a hundred more times after.
It is funny how kids just impulsively do things. On more than one occasion I have asked Axel why he did something—like maybe broken a piece of furniture or a pair of headphones. Imagine my shock when he looked at me the first time and says with complete confusion and honest, “Mom…I don’t know.”
But even if a child doesn’t listen to you most times, you better believe they are always watching you.
They are watching how you talk to others, how you behave while under stress, how you show love, anger, and other emotions. They are watching and learning from your behavior.
Which is why as parents we need to model how we want our children to behave. Because they will always do a better job consistently following your behavior than your words.
It reminds me of a time that my son began shouting at his classmates when “instructing them” in class. I realized then that I had been raising my voice recently in the house, screaming instructions rather than having discussions like I had before.
I immediately worked on correcting that behavior on my part, and discussing with my son the proper tone in which to speak with others. Of course, he only really understood what I meant when I displayed this “proper” behavior.
Remember, your little terrorists are always watching. Model the behavior that you want them to learn.
“Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them.”— P.J. O’Rourke, political satirist and journalist
Oye. Sad to say it, but I was definitely one of these people.
You know them, the Mr. and Ms. Know-it-alls. They look down their noses at you if your kid hits another kid on the playground. Or they know exactly what you need to do to get your child to bed on time, sleeping through the night, before the kid even breaks the 3-month mark.
These are the people that are certain about all of the tings you are doing wrong with your child, and also certain that they have the formula all figured out. Because, you know, parenting is just as easy as 1 + 1 = 2.
Oh, did I forget to mention…none of them actually has children of their own.
Like Bialik implied above, we come to parenting really knowing nothing—definitely knowing much less than we thought we did. But to lightly rephrase Spock’s quote as well, we can trust that we will figure it out.
So yes, the world around you will judge you at times, will express little faith in your ability to properly raise your children. But do your best to figure it out day-by-day and you’ll be fine.
Leave the holier-than-thou non-parent parenting experts in their own little bubbles. Besides, life will squarely hit them in the face one day…just like it did me.
“It is time for parents to teach young people that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”— Maya Angelou, author, actress, screenwriter, dancer, poet and civil rights activist
As an American mom of brown babies, the challenges that we face due to issues with diversity are huge.
And people are not just being judged according to the color of their skin, they are also being judged because of their relationship preferences, gender identification, political beliefs, religious beliefs, cultural origins, able-bodiness, and much more.
It is definitely the time for parents to teach the beauty about diversity and inclusiveness. But I argue that it is actually pass time for us to do so.
Just look at the world around you. The beauty in a field of flowers are the various shapes, sizes, and colors of those fields. The variety of creatures they attract, their critical role they play in environmental balance.
There is beauty and strength in diversity, much beyond even our wildest imaginations, if we all just open ourselves up to the possibilities.
“One thing I had learned from watching chimpanzees with their infants is that having a child should be fun.”— Jane Goodall, primatologist and anthropologist
I love this quote so very much that I wanted to end this post on it.
Being a parent is hard. I feel that is especially hard for us working moms in these modern times.
We struggle every morning with getting our kids ready and out the door while we head to work and school.
We struggle with homework, career needs, homemaker activities, and maintaining our own adult relationships.
We struggle with potty training, bedtimes, brushing teeth, dinner menus, and tantrums.
But even with all of this on our plate (and more), we should never forget that having children should be fun. That being a parent should be fun.
In between it all, let’s remember to have fun with this gig. Instead of always focusing on everything that needs to be done, remember to enjoy your role and your little ones. Because they all do really grow up much too fast.
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Plus, let’s chat a bit. What are some of your favorite parenting quotes? Any of the ones I picked a personal favorite?
Comment below, let’s discuss!