A mother and daughter smiling at each other


You’re Doing a Great Job — An Open Letter to Parents Everywhere

Jan 16, 2018

This post was updated on May 11, 2020.

My second wasn’t a hard baby. I pretty much had things under control at the six-month mark. I mean, I was still exhausted all the time, but I was stable.

I went to the pediatrician’s office for a regular checkup, the nurse weighed the baby, all was normal. Then she turned, put her hand on my knee and said, “You’re doing a great job, mum." I got that feeling in my throat, that one I could never stamp down during puberty, and the tears started. Frankly, as I write this, it’s happening all over again. Now I’m paying that goodwill forward.

Dear Parents,

I know parenting is hard. Even more so because it’s not supposed to be! It’s supposed to be instinct.

"Ninety per cent of parenting is being there, and we are all there."

But they didn’t have smartphones or Back to Sleep campaigns when we lived in caves. I know that none of you ever get any credit, because I get it — children have been raised successfully for millennia. Still, I want you to know one very important thing: You’re doing a great job!

You'll Also Love: What I Want To Tell My Younger Parent Self

Your kids are so endearing and interesting and sweet. I can even tell from way over here. I love how dirty they are — they must be having so much fun! I’m impressed by the way they stand up for themselves when they don’t eat their vegetables. Congratulations on raising assertive children with age-appropriate taste buds! Your kids are totally right, by the way, underwear should be optional (seriously, what’s the point?). You’re doing a great job!

"Remember that time they made a gigantic mess? The way they explore the world is fascinating. You’re facilitating that learning."

The way you overthink any decision you have to make for your family is so considerate. Good work! You care! You’re reading a website that falls under the parenting category — look at you taking interest!

There is just so much to keep track of, no single set of parents could ever do it on their own. Yet you continue to try. You program, but not too much. You take away the makeup with asbestos in it (that one was easy) and you wash their hands surgeon-style while thinking about once again fighting the good fight that is the dinner battle. Good for you!

That constant nagging toggle you feel between letting things slide while simultaneously worrying about something else? That is the exact right feeling to have. You’re nailing it!

You'll Also Love: I Am So Tired

I saw you and your kid laughing on your walk around the block the other day. What a connection you have! And I agree, grandpa’s hair does look like cauliflower. I love your child’s imagination! 

"Your kids are so endearing and interesting and sweet. I can even tell from way over here."

Remember that time they made a gigantic mess? The way they explore the world is fascinating. You’re facilitating that learning. What a great job!

I know it never feels like you’re doing enough, but that in itself is an indicator that you’re doing more than necessary. Here’s the truth: there’s no amount of kale chips or coding apps, no dearth of screen time or cookies, no toy expensive enough, no birthday party perfect enough, to replace you. Even on your worst day.

Ninety per cent of parenting is being there, and we are all there. So, good for us. Good for you. You’re doing a great job!



Article Author Yasmine Abbasakoor
Yasmine Abbasakoor

Read more from Yasmine here.

Yasmine Abbasakoor was a television development executive before leaving to pursue her dream job of being a stay-at-home mum. After five years of living it up in the sandbox and laundry room, she’s ready to share her myriad of musings with the world once again. Connect with Yasmine in her kitchen (she’s the one standing behind the island) or on Linkedin.

Add New Comment

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.