‘Start Where You Are’ And 6 Other Perfect Mantras For The Modern Mom And Dad

Despite how tough parenting can be sometimes, throwing temper tantrums is frowned upon for adults. (How unfair is that?!) Yes, a big part of parenting is just trying not to lose it; and by “it,” we mean our cool, our patience and our marbles. But how?

Many very wise people believe strongly in the power of positive thinking. Unlike a day at the spa or a trip to Hawaii, it takes no time and no effort, and it costs nothing. So what do you have to lose? With that in mind, we partnered with Quaker Real Medleys to bring you seven affirmations that you may want to use the next time life gives you lemons or — more likely — the next time your toddler accidently poops in the bathtub.

Tennis legend Arthur Ashe famously said: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Isn’t this the perfect advice for a new parent?! (Don’t answer that. It’s a rhetorical question.) When we first get home with our newborns, things can feel strange and difficult. Forget not knowing the “right” way to breastfeed; some of us couldn’t figure out where to put our babies while we showered. We question everything as new parents. But have faith — it gets easier. “Start where you are” and go from there. Why? Because you can’t start from anywhere else.

The grass is always greener on someone else’s Facebook page. Because of social media, we literally see more of other people’s lives than ever. Way, way more of other people’s lives. But we need to remember that things look better when they are filtered, color-corrected and heavily edited. What you don’t see in your feed are the 20 deleted photos of your friend’s preschooler as he scowled, blinked and picked his nose before flashing that share-worthy smile. Water what’s yours and don’t let social media trick you into thinking the grass is so much greener everywhere else.

When there is nothing you can do about it, accept it and move on. If you and your son are invited to a wedding and you realize — the morning of — that his pants are too short and none of his dress shoes fit, then stick on some high-tops and roll with it. If you are on an airplane and your baby won’t stop crying (despite all of your attempts to calm her), then you are going to be the mom or dad of the crying baby on the plane for another hour. And if your first-grader is the reason that the school’s latest “lice letter” was sent home, so be it. Nothing is going to undo any of it, because — you guessed it — it is what it is.

Parents worry about their kids. It’s what we do. (Some of us are really good at it, so we do it often.) Thankfully, a lot of the things we worry about are pretty small in the grand scheme of things or never end up coming to pass. And the fact is that worrying, in and of itself, doesn’t accomplish anything. Actions accomplish things — but not worries. As Mary Schmich once wrote, “Worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.”

Life is made up of little moments, not great big ones. What is parenting? It’s help putting socks on wriggly feet. It’s changing a wet diaper. It’s listening to a made-up song in the car. It’s refereeing an argument between siblings. It’s making a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day and giving a kiss on the cheek at bedtime. These things might feel ordinary and even mundane on a day-to-day basis — but when you put these little pieces together it creates a pretty extraordinary picture.

One of the beautiful things about parenting is that humans — unlike many other species in the animal kingdom — get years and years to improve. So when we make a mistake as a parent — whether it’s showing up for a birthday party on the wrong day or losing it in front of your kids after stubbing your toe — there is always tomorrow. And the one after that. And the one after that. Yup, it’s a marathon.

No crystal ball needed. The meltdowns at bedtime will go away. The irrational fear of baths is just a phase. The refusal to eat anything green will eventually subside. And one day you will go to the bathroom alone again. Really. Just remember that there are two ways to look at it. As Susan Kaiser-Greenland wrote, “Nothing lasts forever can be the slogan you use to justify putting aside the work, chores, planning, organizing and other heavy-lifting of parenting to be there for the guitar playing, wreath making, recitals, ball games, birthdays, bath times, bed times, laughter and tears.” Because, this too shall pass.

Mothers and fathers are master jugglers — the ultimate planners, playmates and positive influences for their kids. Quaker Real Medleys is here to help you keep up the good work. With wholesome multigrains, real fruit pieces and crunchy nuts, Quaker Real Medleys helps parents grab, go and power through the morning.