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6 Motivational Mottos Real Parents Tell Themselves When The Going Gets Tough

—Molly Lopez, Hudson Valley, NY

“Real Talk”<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="I have two young sons and I talk to them all the time—to the point that my 10-year-old says, “I already know what you are going to say.” We live in a time where we are bombarded with so much information, and I feel as if I need to have certain conversations with my sons earlier than I would like to because, let’s face it, I would rather this come from me than someone else. I don’t sugarcoat much because they need to know the truth as they become teenagers and young men.” data-reactid=”60″>I have two young sons and I talk to them all the time—to the point that my 10-year-old says, “I already know what you are going to say.” We live in a time where we are bombarded with so much information, and I feel as if I need to have certain conversations with my sons earlier than I would like to because, let’s face it, I would rather this come from me than someone else. I don’t sugarcoat much because they need to know the truth as they become teenagers and young men.

I want my boys to know that I care about their ideas and what they have to say. It’s the reason why we have two ears and only one mouth.

The motto “Real talk” signifies our unwavering dedication to take time every day to have meaningful conversations about life, about the things that happen around us and within the community, as well as our hopes and dreams. I also encourage them to ask questions and to voice their concerns.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Make Tough Conversations with Kids Easier <p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="I realize the importance of these discussions around the dinner table, during afternoon walks, or while driving, when I think about how much technology has taken over our minds and the minds of our children. Some people can’t function without it, and to some extent it destroys the family structure. I want my boys to know that I care about their ideas and what they have to say. It’s the reason why we have two ears and only one mouth.” data-reactid=”66″>I realize the importance of these discussions around the dinner table, during afternoon walks, or while driving, when I think about how much technology has taken over our minds and the minds of our children. Some people can’t function without it, and to some extent it destroys the family structure. I want my boys to know that I care about their ideas and what they have to say. It’s the reason why we have two ears and only one mouth.

Courtesy of Marquita Hammock

—Marquita Hammock, Philadelphia, PA

“Dirt Don’t Hurt”<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="With three active, outdoorsy boys, I have learned to go with the flow! We usually spend the day trying to stay busy and burn that boy energy in the great outdoors—hiking, fishing, backpacking, canoeing, and camping. At home we love to be outside gardening, sandbox playing, and critter finding. On every adventure there is plenty of dirt-digging, rock-turning, and bug-inspecting fun. And if we can throw in creek water or mud, all the better! After learning to appreciate all my kids’ interests and curiosities, I have learned to say “Dirt don’t hurt”… and a good bath doesn’t either!” data-reactid=”86″>With three active, outdoorsy boys, I have learned to go with the flow! We usually spend the day trying to stay busy and burn that boy energy in the great outdoors—hiking, fishing, backpacking, canoeing, and camping. At home we love to be outside gardening, sandbox playing, and critter finding. On every adventure there is plenty of dirt-digging, rock-turning, and bug-inspecting fun. And if we can throw in creek water or mud, all the better! After learning to appreciate all my kids’ interests and curiosities, I have learned to say “Dirt don’t hurt”… and a good bath doesn’t either!

Courtesy of Jamie Noble

—Jamie Noble, Jamestown, OH

“Not the Best, But Certainly Not the Worst”<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Some days (more like moments), I feel like Mom of the Year. But much more often, I find myself counting the minutes until bedtime and praying that I haven’t caused any long-term psychological damage to my kids with one of my crazy mom rants. Parenthood is a marathon full of both magical, heart-warming highs and guilty, tear-filled lows. The mantra that often helps me temper the roller coaster of emotion that we’re all riding is “Not the best, but certainly not the worst.”” data-reactid=”106″>Some days (more like moments), I feel like Mom of the Year. But much more often, I find myself counting the minutes until bedtime and praying that I haven’t caused any long-term psychological damage to my kids with one of my crazy mom rants. Parenthood is a marathon full of both magical, heart-warming highs and guilty, tear-filled lows. The mantra that often helps me temper the roller coaster of emotion that we’re all riding is “Not the best, but certainly not the worst.”

RELATED: 10 Things to Do to Get You Through a Parenting Breakdown<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="It’s a practical reminder for me that parenting spans a vast continuum and that I’m momming somewhere solidly in the middle regardless of how fabulous or screwy that particular moment is going. It’s a good ego check on my best days and an inspirational pep talk on my worst.” data-reactid=”109″>It’s a practical reminder for me that parenting spans a vast continuum and that I’m momming somewhere solidly in the middle regardless of how fabulous or screwy that particular moment is going. It’s a good ego check on my best days and an inspirational pep talk on my worst.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="I’ll never be the supermom who sews amazing Halloween costumes by hand, has a spotless (or even clean) house, or takes her Elf on the Shelf on 101 adventures during Advent. That’s just not me! I do, however, always change my son’s diapers before the blue line turns completely back to white, read bedtime stories like a pro, and take all the big things like car-seat safety very seriously.” data-reactid=”110″>I’ll never be the supermom who sews amazing Halloween costumes by hand, has a spotless (or even clean) house, or takes her Elf on the Shelf on 101 adventures during Advent. That’s just not me! I do, however, always change my son’s diapers before the blue line turns completely back to white, read bedtime stories like a pro, and take all the big things like car-seat safety very seriously.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="I’m the only mom my kids will ever have, so I also try to be kind to myself and remind my mom friends to do the same. “Not the best, but certainly not the worst” may not sound like the most ambitious motto, but then again, I’m not trying to be the most ambitious. I’m just trying to be myself, survive another day, and raise two kids who will be comfortable being themselves too.” data-reactid=”111″>I’m the only mom my kids will ever have, so I also try to be kind to myself and remind my mom friends to do the same. “Not the best, but certainly not the worst” may not sound like the most ambitious motto, but then again, I’m not trying to be the most ambitious. I’m just trying to be myself, survive another day, and raise two kids who will be comfortable being themselves too.

Courtesy of Jessica Hazzard

—Jessica Hazzard, Winter Park, FL

“Embrace the Chaos”<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="As a woman with Asperger’s, I very carefully avoided situations that I couldn’t control in my life pre-motherhood. Even though I wasn’t diagnosed until after age 30, I had long known that unplanned events or deviations from my routine were enough to cause a “record skip” in my brain—if not a dreaded Aspie meltdown.” data-reactid=”131″>As a woman with Asperger’s, I very carefully avoided situations that I couldn’t control in my life pre-motherhood. Even though I wasn’t diagnosed until after age 30, I had long known that unplanned events or deviations from my routine were enough to cause a “record skip” in my brain—if not a dreaded Aspie meltdown.

When we surrender to what we can’t control, we find the beauty and the joy in even the hardest moments.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Then my son was born. While I was pregnant, I had no idea how my brain was going to react to the intrusion of a little human into my life. I don’t know if it was the hormones or the overwhelming love or simply the responsibility that comes with keeping another person alive, but everything changed in the moment of his birth. Chaos didn’t overwhelm me anymore. If anything, it motivated me.” data-reactid=”134″>Then my son was born. While I was pregnant, I had no idea how my brain was going to react to the intrusion of a little human into my life. I don’t know if it was the hormones or the overwhelming love or simply the responsibility that comes with keeping another person alive, but everything changed in the moment of his birth. Chaos didn’t overwhelm me anymore. If anything, it motivated me.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="If there was one thing that I soon could predict with certainty in my life with a child, it was that life was now unpredictable. Whenever I fought against that chaos, I recognized the first signs of a meltdown tingling in my brain. But what we resist persists. When I remind myself to “embrace the chaos,” my panic passes.” data-reactid=”135″>If there was one thing that I soon could predict with certainty in my life with a child, it was that life was now unpredictable. Whenever I fought against that chaos, I recognized the first signs of a meltdown tingling in my brain. But what we resist persists. When I remind myself to “embrace the chaos,” my panic passes.

RELATED: How a Tantrum on a Plane Taught Me That Parenting is Pure Chaos<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="I’m not the first to preach such a philosophy, but I am happy to shout it from the rooftops. When we surrender to what we can’t control, we find the beauty and the joy in even the hardest moments. I carried this philosophy forward as my son aged from baby to toddler and from toddler to preschooler, and then carried it forward again as my mother load increased from one human being to two.” data-reactid=”138″>I’m not the first to preach such a philosophy, but I am happy to shout it from the rooftops. When we surrender to what we can’t control, we find the beauty and the joy in even the hardest moments. I carried this philosophy forward as my son aged from baby to toddler and from toddler to preschooler, and then carried it forward again as my mother load increased from one human being to two.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Is every day with my two children chaotic and crazy and full of curveballs and surprises and things I can’t control? Of course. But is every day filled with more joy and beauty than I would have ever imagined possible? Absolutely.” data-reactid=”139″>Is every day with my two children chaotic and crazy and full of curveballs and surprises and things I can’t control? Of course. But is every day filled with more joy and beauty than I would have ever imagined possible? Absolutely.

Courtesy of Rebecca Lemaitre

—Rebecca Lemaitre, Concord, MA

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="emThis article originally appeared in Parents magazine’s December 2019 issue as My Parenting Motto Is…/em” data-reactid=”158″>This article originally appeared in Parents magazine’s December 2019 issue as “My Parenting Motto Is…”