Saturday, April 23, 2016

Keep Calm and Ignore Inspirational Quotes

I have to hold my hand up: I'm not a sentimental person. I'm just not. So, inspirational quotes don't really do it for me. You know the sort of thing - motivational sayings in fancy fonts overlaid on soft-focus images of nature, clouds, or smiling children. I'm afraid I find most of them a teeny bit annoying, and some downright demoralising. Especially the parenting ones. Nothing like a 'quote' telling you that every word you speak has a profound and life-changing impact on your child to send you into a deep pit of despair.

Or maybe that's just me.

Anyway, here are a few inspirational parenting quotes that uninspire me on a regular basis!


"A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie."


(Tenneva Jordan)

I get it. A mother should be self-sacrificing, putting others' needs above her own, perhaps even a touch of the martyr. But, and here's the thing, I really like pie. I really, really like it. I don't care if there isn't enough. I want pie and I'm not going to lie about it! This should say, "A mother is a person who jolly well makes sure there's enough pie! And cake!"


"Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don't listen earnestly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them, all of it has always been big stuff."

(Catherine M Wallace)

This, I agree with, I really do. It makes sense. But . . . did the originator of this quote ever actually spend any time really listening to any children? I have made an effort and, believe me, it's a sure fire way to say goodbye to a few thousand brain cells. Only today, I have arranged my best 'earnest face' as I've listened to about two thousand requests for food and drink, a similar number of requests for TV time accompanied by double the number of complaints about perceived lack of TV time, a LOT of Lego talk, and one complex tale about something unfathomable that may or may not have happened in the distant past, with my best efforts to untangle it all resulting only in anguished cries of, "You don't understand what I'm saying!" No I don't! And, honestly, if at the age of 14, my son doesn't come bounding into the room each day desperate to tell me all about the 'big stuff', I'm going to feel seriously short-changed!



"The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice."

(Peggy O'Mara)

Again, it's not that I disagree, but, oh, the guilt! I dread to think how much my son's inner voice goes on about hanging up his coat, using his fork and keeping his hands and feet to himself. Mind you, on the plus side, if that's what his inner voice is saying he clearly isn't listening to it all that much!


"Please excuse the mess - my children are making memories."

(Unknown, but on cutesy signs everywhere)

Because it's not enough that my children are fed, clothed, and, you know, alive, they have to be "making memories" every minute of every day. Let's try a few alternatives to this: please excuse the mess - my children are incapable of tidying away a single toy; please excuse the mess - my children don't understand the purpose of the coat hooks; please excuse the mess - my toddler enjoys emptying the DVD drawers and then sitting there laughing like she's in some DVD ball pool; please excuse the mess - the mum in this house would rather sit on the sofa with her feet up after the kids are in bed than spend hours cleaning and tidying and isn't that bothered what you think about it. And let's face it, when I plan things with the intention of "making memories" they usually end up a total disaster! So, yeah, excuse the mess if you like - I'm pretty much ok with it either way.




"Be the change you want to see in the world."

(Supposedly said by Gandhi, although the NY Times says not!)

I know this isn't really a parenting quote, but I see it all the time, everywhere, and it always makes me roll my eyes. Earlier today, I grovelled about on my knees on the floor trying to retrieve food items my toddler had thrown down, while she threw more food which landed in my hair. Seriously folks, I had bits of chewed up fruit in my hair. I can't even manage to "be the change I want to see" at the dining table, never mind in the world. It's the grandiosity of scope that gets me down. I honestly can't aspire to be the change I want to see in the world. Much of the time my greatest aspiration is to be in bed with a massive box of chocolates and some box set playing endlessly on the TV.



I could say so much more, but I'll leave you with this.


3 comments:

  1. Before we adopted our kids, a friend told me the first quote. He was having a tough time with a very sick mother, so I didn't mention my first thought to him. Which was - my Mum, on discovering there were only 4 pieces of pie for 5 people, would promptly eat 4 pieces of pie and give everyone else a biscuit. Or she would have promptly announced that there wasn't enough pie for Dad. I fervently hoped I would be the same kind of mum. I am.
    Thanks for sharing these. X

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    1. My real thoughts are probably that I'd get a massive pie, give everyone a reasonable-sized piece and then hide the rest to eat by myself after the kids are in bed!

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  2. I am so with you on this one! I think you should start writing your own versions...

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