The one word parents need to know
There’s one word that can ease all your parenting dilemmas, and Tracy Engelbrecht knows it. And it’s not Valium...
The bizarre world of new mom or dad is fraught with danger at every turn. Most especially, beware those offering advice (except me, naturally. I’m quite nice, really).  Figuring out who to listen to is hard.  Much of the loud unsolicited advice you get will be a leetle suspect.

Turn your bullshit filter waaay up and tune out the extreme stories from both ends – those who delight in peddling tales of horror and gore, and those who insist that parenthood is a walk in the park complete with fuzzy ducklings. Quack.

Even the experts don’t always get it right, because of course they have books and seminars to sell and there’s only one expert on your child, and that’s you.

Now me, of course, I’m different. I HAVE in fact figured it all out, and after years of intensive hands-on research, I have discovered the magic word that will make it all okay. AND I’m willing to share it with you out the goodness of my heart. Serious.

I’m not saying that my not-yet-patented Magic Mommy Word will make all your fears disappear. It won’t raise perfect children for you. It won’t make you the world’s best Momma. It won’t turn a crap parent into a good one, but it might help a good parent be a better, happier one. At the very least, it might get you through the day, one crisis at a time. (No, the magic word is not Valium, Ritalin or Chardonnay!)

So listen up, sweeties. The magic word is ACCEPTANCE. Of the following:
  1. Parenting is HARD WORK. From the first day to forever – it is going to be HARD. No getting away from it.  Ever heard a new mom wailing “I didn’t know it would be like THIS!” Yes, it will be EXACTLY like that.
  2. Your life is going to change. Don’t roll your eyes at me, dear. It WILL change, whether you want it to or not.
  3. You are going to be tired. Mind-numbingly, bone-achingly, drooling down your shirt tired. For many years.
  4. Nobody on earth has complete control over another human being. You can plan your pregnancy, birth and mothering experience down to the ground with flow charts and all, but in the end, it happens how it’s meant to happen.
  5. The physical work gets less as your child grows, and the emotional stuff gets harder. Body, brain and heart are all stretched to the limit at one point or another.
In a nutshell – don’t fight it. Mentally fighting against what is, only makes you tired, stressed and fearful. Let go of your frantic attempts to find the Right Way to be a parent. There isn’t one.

There’s only YOUR WAY. And unless you’re a complete tosser (which you’re not, right?), if you have even a drop of common sense, your way will be quite good enough.

I could go on, but you get the picture. Acceptance is not going to make you any less tired or confused. It’s not going to make the hard work any less. It doesn’t mean you don’t take help when you can; it doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to have a meltdown occasionally. But it IS going to take away that breathless, stomach-churning stress caused by the idea that you must be doing it wrong because your child doesn’t do what the book says.

I know for a fact, from experience, that an accepting parent is a calmer parent. And a calmer parent is a stronger one.

And another thing. This is the hardest, most important job you’ll ever do. If you’re getting THIS right there’s not a thing on earth you can’t do. Imagine that.

What do you think is the one magic word new parents need to know?

Read more by Tracy Engelbrecht
More on

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.

Jobs - Find your dream job

Perm Consultant

Johannesburg CBD
Teleresources (Pty) Ltd

Contracts Manager

Cape Town
Tumaini Consulting
R600 000.00 - R700 000.00 Per Year

Pharmaceutical Buyer

Tailormade Solution

Property - Find a new home