Mr. Rogers is Not Just for Children: Lessons in Parenting

Young happy mother and her daughter relaxing on sofa in the living room and watching TV.

Mr. Rogers is Not Just for Children: Lessons in Parenting

Every day when I was little, my parents recorded Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on a VHS tape so I could watch the episode after school. Today, my son loves watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Turns out, Mr. Rogers is still speaking to me, and I believe he has been speaking to all of us all along.

Sure, I learn as much about parenting from watching Daniel Tiger as my son learns about being a child. That was surprising to me. But even more than that, Mr. Rogers instructs me how to be a person – a person who parents and loves people and wants to live meaningfully.

The following quotations ring in my ears these days. I want to continue soaking up the profound magic and lessons in parenting Mr. Rogers gave us and share his words with you, too.

1. “You’ve made this day a special day, by just your being you. There’s no person in the whole world like you, and I like you, just the way you are.”

You are the only you, and you are remarkable. You are enough. So often we judge ourselves.

We define ourselves by one part of our identity. A mom who works outside or inside the home. Or a mom who juggles multiple children or one. A mom who parents independently or with a partner. Or we define ourselves by what we do. I got the laundry done today, so I’m a good mom. I have time to pick up napkins, but not to make cupcakes, so I’m a bad mom. Or we define ourselves by the actions of other people. My child was so polite. I’m a good mom. My child forgot her homework. I’m a bad mom.

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Mr. Rogers reminds us to suspend judgment and remember that we are humans, just like our children. Your presence alone makes each day special to your family. And Mr. Rogers likes you.

2. “Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.”

To love is an action, and I can’t think of any action a human being does perfectly every time. Abby Wombach didn’t score every goal she shot. Celine Dion hasn’t hit every note. Jennifer Aniston doesn’t always choose box office hits. Mr. Rogers reminds us that the best we can do is set our intention, prepare, welcome what each moment brings, learn as we go, and repeat. That is the reality of love.

3. “If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”

They say it takes a village, referring to the needs of the children. Mamas need the village, too. When women share their honest, sometimes less than sexy, sometimes totally triumphant experiences with each other, all mamas benefit. Everyone feels less alone, and that makes for a healthy village.

4. “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.”

Ignoring or hiding our struggles is like putting a cat in a bag. (With air holes. Because even in a metaphor we want to keep all cats safe!) Imagine it. That cat will claw its way out eventually, and it will be MAD.

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Acknowledging the hard stuff we feel or think or do, while scary, actually makes it easier to manage. And the sooner we acknowledge our struggles, the sooner we can deal with them, and the less intense they will become. All that’s to say, please ask for help when you need it. Maybe you journal. Maybe your partner or best friend listens really well. Perhaps you’d like an objective ear, and a therapist could provide that. Somehow, find a way to mention and manage what’s really going on.

You care best for others when you care well for yourself!

About the Author /

Elizabeth Hentschel, Ph.D. is a psychologist and founder of The Parenting Well. She specializes in working with individuals who are parents or parents-to-be. Elizabeth lives in Houston with her husband, two sons, and two puppies.

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Instagram post 17990835490280335 I totally felt this way when I was pregnant. And kind feel this way after all that turkey. 🤣🦃 Happy turkey day to all you expecting mamas!!⁠
📷: @madiford2 via Twitter⁠
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#pregnancy #pregnant #funnypregnancy #momtobe #pregnancylife #thanksgiving #mamatobe #turkeymama #babybump #pregnancyjourney #bumpie #thirdtrimester #preggo #pregnancyhelp #maternity #motherhood #momlife #expecting #mumlife #mommytobe #pregnantlife #babyontheway #inspirepregnancy #mommychick #babychick
Instagram post 18094211479105476 I spy with my little eye the cutest turkey ever. 😍 Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Hope it's filled with love, laughter, and cuteness like this. ❤️⁠
📷: @emilyshapaka⁠
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Instagram post 17852562805720320 Loneliness is a real thing in new motherhood and I want to be sure we talk about this. It's okay to say, "I feel lonely." We normalize one another's experiences when we share the reality of our journey. It can be so isolating when we bring our small human home and our lives revolve around his/her care. We feel detached from the outside world. The monotony of new motherhood can be heavy.⁠
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Here are some tips to combat isolation:⁠
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1️⃣ Get outside when possible.⁠
2️⃣ Video chat with friends/family.⁠
3️⃣ Join a virtual group.⁠
4️⃣ Invite someone to come over.⁠
5️⃣ Find a local mom's group.⁠
6️⃣ Listen to the radio or a podcast (it's interesting how this can make us feel connected with others)⁠
7️⃣ Run an errand--even grabbing a coffee via drive-thru can feel good.⁠
8️⃣ Get to know your neighbors.⁠
What would you add to the list?⁠
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Repost: words and 📷 by @psychedmommy⁠
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Instagram post 17867282176536875 ⁠For the week of Thanksgiving (and longer if you can!) let's focus on what we DO have instead of what we lack. The more we express gratitude and appreciate our blessings the more we recognize all of our blessings and everything we should be thankful for. 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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Instagram post 17855722339639264 ✈️ Tips to Survive a Plane Ride with Kids ✈️⁠
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Flying on a plane with your little one for the first time can be terrifying. Are they going to cry the whole time? How will they handle the airport, the turbulence and the landing? Well we have some tips that will help prepare you for your flight with your kids. Here's what to do to have a more enjoyable experience 😊 {Link in bio!}⁠
📷: unknown⁠
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📷: Martiza Elizabeth on FB
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Instagram post 17851960762699775 Sums up exactly how I feel during the holiday season . . . Wanting to do all the things to make Christmas magical, but also being so tired from adulting/parenting that sitting down and watching Hallmark Christmas movies sounds magical enough. ✨😂🎄🎅
But I still end up doing all the things for my baby. 🥰
(quote: @torturedbytoddlers)
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📷: @debiandbebi⁠
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📷: @hallmarkbaby⁠
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📷: @fransandflora⁠
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Instagram post 17850175066728361 You feel like you should be done, but you're not . . . 😳😫⁠
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Instagram post 17853710218663622 ⁠When you put her in everything pink and even pink hair ties but everyone still calls your baby a boy. 😒😂🤷‍♀️⁠
📷: @newmumshub⁠
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Instagram post 17936649685321666 How many babies do you see?⁠ 😮⁠
📷: @danielmarquez33⁠
Repost: @maternity⁠
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Instagram post 17851276954712844 When you're at the end of your pregnancy and you have to start answering the phone with "No, I'm not in labor." 🤦‍♀️😂⁠
📷: @chelsabryan⁠
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Instagram post 17866700860543087 ❤️❤️❤️ Play is a love language for children.⁠
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Instagram post 17905061554388493 A little compassion can go a long way. ❤️ Here are some things that can help when in doubt ⁠what to do.⁠
📷: @healthline⁠
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Instagram post 17850784273708011 From fab to feral. 😹⁠ Love you, honey!⁠
📷: @mommymemejeans⁠
Repost: @onefunnymummy⁠
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Instagram post 18004974676264288 Or try to open the door mid-pee⁠. 😑😑😑 Thanks, kid.⁠
📷: @aleeandria⁠
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Instagram post 18070428667166782 My nightly skincare routine. 🤣🤣 For real though . . . I need all the help I can get. #latherup⁠
📷: unknown⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17852873872664390 Harvesting colostrum . . . look at all of that liquid gold!⁠ 😍 If your baby comes early or you are already lactating before baby arrives, it’s great to hand express into a teaspoon and gather what you’ve collected into a syringe. #breastfeedingtip
📷: @boo.b.ltd
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Instagram post 18081663985089005 Do you SEE me struggling as I try to open the door?? Nope? Cool . . . just walk on by. 😑😫👿⁠
📷: @modernmomprobs⁠
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Instagram post 18113982706026763 Praying that all the babies sleep through the night! 🙏💤⁠
📷: @hallmarkbaby⁠
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