These five words could change everything

Five words that could change everything: Parent like someone is watching. | Clean

You know the saying, "dance like nobody's watching"?

I have my own version.

Okay It's totally different.

But it's still worth remembering.

Mine conjurs an image that's a little less Woodstock and a little more Mr. Rogers.

It's one that I can lean on in my hardest days.

"Parent like someone is watching."

When things get real – like they so often do – just pretend you are not alone.

Simple, yes.

But more powerful than you might think.

Imagine that in the room with you is someone you respect.

Not anyone who would ever judge you, but someone who's attitude, opinion, and parenting is an inspiration.

Someone who helps you tap into your own patience and compassion.

Whether fictional or real, imagine them at the edge of the room.

Your sister. A friend. Or heck, Mr. Rogers himself.

Then parent like they're watching.

And watch as you find a hidden well of patience and kindness that you didn't even know was there.

Five words that could change everything: Parent like someone is watching. | Clean

Because here's the thing.

When I'm around like-minded friends or even strangers I can rock this.

I'm on my game.

I don't act like a bully or cave to constant distraction.

And when things go haywire I rise when I could dive.

Just knowing others are there gives me the strength I need to draw on.

I suppose that is community – in one form or another.

It's connection.


And yes, accountability.

To see ourselves more clearly through the eyes of another.

To feel like we are not alone.


The truth is, you are not alone.

We are all walking our own paths, but they are parallel.

We're each there doing our own work, just out of each other's line of sight.

And we have up days and down days.

Magical days and disasters.

We all struggle sometimes.

With patience.


Or presence.

Today I was briefly a jerk to my kids.

They both needed compassion and I was shorter and less tender than I could have been.

And then I realized that I might have acted differently if someone was watching.

Not because anyone else matters more than my child, but because I would have been more self-aware.

It was awakening.

Because my kids are more important than that.

And yours are, too.

Five words that could change everything: Parent like someone is watching. | Clean

 So today – wherever you are and whatever goes down – parent like someone is watching.

Someone you adore, respect, and love.

Someone who matters more than anything.

Parent like someone is watching.

Because someone is.

Yes. Of course.

Someone is.

Parent like your child is watching.

Because indeed. And of course.

They are.





Originally published in 2014.



4 thoughts on “These five words could change everything

  1. Cassidy says:

    Oh wow – I needed to hear this today. I recently found I was pregnant (with number 4 – a total shocker and surprise, but definitely not unwanted) and my energy tanked this week. I have been shorter with my children as a result and have been a jerk more times than I wish to admit. I needed this to remember. Though I am tired and ill feeling – I can still watch my tongue and offer it up. Thank you.

  2. Sharon Large says:

    Love this post! As usual you are so on the mark. Yesterday was a crazy day, getting ready for New Year’s Day and finishing up the old year. Being a parent and now grandparent and having aging parents there’s a lot to deal with and also trying to get back to work after an extended accident recovery period. Your kind words and yes it’s tough being a parent with all the responsibilities are very encouraging and wise. I’m going to try to remember these five words and use them daily in my life. Thank you so much ;-), your friend, Sharon

  3. Beatrice @threadandladle says:

    You are amazing. I’m not a daily reader, but somehow your words seem to reach out to me when I need it most, when I’m tired, grumpy, distracted and not my best parenting self. And your words lift me up, always. Thank you, dear Rachel.

Leave a Reply