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The REAL parenting mantras.

Bern Morely takes a look at parenting mantras and decides whether they are truthful or baloney.

Parenting is a tough gig. From the minute your beautiful little baby is born right up until they finally leave your care and become independent, you are forever second guessing yourself and wondering if you are getting it right.

Recently I came across an article discussing ‘Parenting Mantras’ which were and are essentially quotes to inspire you, the parent to be a better parent. And whilst I agree with them all (well most all), I thought I might interpret them a little…

1. This too shall pass.

Well yeah, most everything DOES pass. Usually, rapidly through a toddler who doesn’t wash his hands after going to the toilet. Seriously though, most every difficult period of time or phase in a child’s life does pass. Granted, it usually only goes on to be replaced by a much worse, much more difficult passage of time in their lives, one that will make you long for the days when your biggest problem was having mashed pumpkin spat in your hair, but it most definitely, will pass. The good news is, eventually you will look back fondly on this trying time. Whether it be a surly teen or a wilful 2 year old, before you know it, they’ll have moved onto that phase in their little lives where they no longer need you quite as much and you’ll have forgotten all about how gruelling today was.

2. I have enough. I do enough. I am enough.

Be Here Now

Ooooh, can we really say we ever have enough chocolate? Or cheese? Honestly though guys, we do, in this modern society, have more than enough. Enough technology, enough furniture, enough toys, you name it we all now own it. Plus, you seriously do, do enough. There are only so many hours in a day and you know what? If that cup has to sit unwashed on the sink because you want to sit down for a few more rounds of Uno or kick back on the couch, then don’t sweat it.

3. Be here now.

To be fair, unless someone has recently invented an actual time machine, we’ve got no other place to be. Seriously though, I get it. We are all too busy Instagramming and Facebooking and I don’t even know if these things are actual verbs but you get the picture. We are so busy trying to show off to people how great our lives are online that it’s quite possible we are actually missing out on the real thing. Put down the phone, step away from the laptop and go outside and remember the pure joy of blowing bubbles and seeing the wonder on your child’s face when they finally catch one.

4. Comparison is the thief of joy.

The thief of joy is also a small child that comes into your bed every single night at 3am. It is also the child throwing an ungodly tantrum on the supermarket floor after being denied a chupa chump. Comparison, yes, it can equally steal away your joie de vivre. Wanting what others have is a natural instinct. To forget that you already have something precious is however, our greatest loss. We all want what we haven’t got and worse still, we all imagine that those who have what we want, have a better life. This may well be true yet none of us know how hard someone else has had to work or what it is they’ve had to sacrifice to achieve it. Be happy for them and if you look around, you’ll probably find that you’re already rich, just in a different way.

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5. Let them be little.

Remember when you were a kid? Remember what YOU got up to. So many parents now are too busy taking their children out to cafes, ordering them babycinos and dressing them like 30 year ironic hipsters. Let them eat dirt, run around in their undies under the sprinkler. Let them trail in some wet dirt behind them from time to time. You can always clean it. Just let their little imaginations get a work out. Only too soon they’ll be sipping real coffees as real 30 year old ironic hipsters. Don’t make them grow up sooner than they have to. 

6. Nobody said it was easy.

Um, yeah they did. So many people told me that having a baby, raising a child was a piece of cake. Or maybe they told me I’d be eating lots of cake. I don’t remember the actual discussion because I was more than likely sleep deprived and blocking out the well-meaning advice from people who were obviously messing with me. It isn’t easy. But show me one worthwhile thing that is.

7. I can let go of this.

Look, I work with someone, in accounting, who is incredibly anally retentive (which is a great trait as a bean counter). As a parent though, this isn’t as useful because the MINUTE you make plans, it’s almost certain that these plans will need to be altered. The baby will vomit mashed banana into your hair as your walking out the door on your second week of the job or that the clothes in the washing machine will be cleaned 3 times because you keep forgetting to take them out. You need to understand that letting go of some of your previous ideals is perfectly fine and in fact, very healthy. You aren’t failing if something you once held dear to you no longer gets done. Sleep is important, your sanity is important. Just, let it go.

If I can add one of my own here it is this

Keep it simple

Sounds easy right? It’s not. For whatever reason we tend to overcomplicate everything we do with our children. From school projects to birthday parties. Kids like simple, they NEED simple. The less confusion in their lives, the better.

Oh and one more

There can never be too much wine in the cupboard

I really don’t think I need to explain this one.

What about you? Do you have a parenting mantra that has gotten you through some tricky situations or simply keeps you going from day to day?