Inspirational Parenting Quotes That Will Have You Cry Laughing Through Diaper Changes

by Team Scary Mommy
Originally Published: 
best parenting quotes
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Parenting is no joke. It can be a thankless job, so it helps to hear from people who know what it’s like to experience a toddler’s unadulterated rage, newborn sleep deprivation, or the hurtful attitude of a preteen. Parenting can be described in many ways, and easy is not one of them.

Every now and then, it’s nice to know that you’re not alone. So when you don’t feel like having a full-blown conversation about the trials of being a mama, feel free to skim through our list of parenting quotes. Parenting is hard, and let’s face it, we need all the help we can get. Even if it comes from inspirational parenting quotes you found on a parenting website.

RELATED: 100+ Hilarious Life Quotes Dripping With Sarcasm And Wit

Actor Ewan McGregor once said, “The thing about parenting rules is there aren’t any. That’s what makes it so difficult.” Being a parent is no walk in the park, and quarantine put many of those skills to the test. Between remote learning and balancing work, many mamas and papas were pushed to their limits. According to the Psychiatric Times, during quarantine, 76 percent of children reported they had trouble concentrating, 52 percent expressed boredom, 39 percent showed signs of irritability, and 38 percent appeared anxious. Around 75 percent of parents said they were stressed due to quarantine, and 31 percent of kids claimed they felt lonely. Quarantine came with many disadvantages, but there was one silver lining from a parental standpoint. It also allowed families to spend more time together.

These quotes from authors and celebrities are good, bad, and inspirational. We even found a way to include some Simpsons quotes in there! They can lift you up in a dark moment and give you the laughs you need after a rough day with kids on the parenting battlefield.

RELATED: 100+ Funny Mom Jokes Because She’s Way Funnier Than Dad

Interested in more quotes about mama life? We have quote pages on babies, miscarriages, pregnancy, and more.

Funny Parenting Quotes

1. “If your kid needs a role model and you ain’t it, you’re both fucked.”

— George Carlin, Brain Droppings

2. “(24/7) once you sign on to be a mother, that’s the only shift they offer.”

— Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper

3. “Before I got married I had six theories about raising children; now, I have six children and no theories.”

— John Wilmot

4. “When a child is locked in the bathroom with water running and he says he’s doing nothing but the dog is barking, call 911. ”

— Erma Bombeck

5. “Having children is like living in a frat house — nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up.”

— Ray Romano

6. “We spend the first 12 months of our children’s lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next 12 months teaching them to sit down and shut up.”

— Phyllis Diller

7. “Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them.”

— P. J. O’Rourke

8. “You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.”

— Franklin P. Adams

9. “Always be nice to your children because they are the ones who will choose your rest home.”

— Phyllis Diller

10. “We all have the best laid plans for our children, and they go and ruin it all by growing up any way they want to. What the hell was it all for, then? ”

— Kristina Riggle, Real Life and Liars

11. “Don’t try to make children grow up to be like you, or they may do it.”

— Russell Baker

12. “Saturday mornings, I’ve learned, are a great opportunity for kids to sneak into your bed, fall back asleep, and kick you in the face.”

— Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

13. “I’m so cool that the kids come to my bedroom and go, ‘Mom! Turn the music down!”

— Melissa Etheridge

14. “The danger of motherhood. You relive your early self, through the eyes of your mother.”

— Joyce Carol Oates, The Gravedigger’s Daughter

15. “Raising kids is part joy and part guerilla warfare.”

— Ed Asner

16. “Most children threaten at times to run away from home. This is the only thing that keeps some parents going.”

— Phyllis Diller

17. “Having children is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain.”

— Martin Mull

18. “Parenting is one of the best management training programs there is.”

— Irene Rosenfeld


19. “The interesting thing about being a mother is that everyone wants pets, but no one but me cleans the kitty litter.”

— Meryl Streep

20. “As a dad, you are the Vice President of the executive branch of parenting. It doesn’t matter what your personality is like, you will always be Al Gore to your wife’s Bill Clinton. She feels the pain and you are the annoying nerd telling them to turn off the lights.”

— Jim Gaffigan

21. “Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.”

— Erma Bombeck

22. “Becoming a mom to me means that you have accepted that for the next 16 years of your life, you will have a sticky purse.”

— Nia Vardalos

23. “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”

— Phillys Diller

24. “When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”

— Nora Ephron

25. “Because of their size, parents may be difficult to discipline properly.”

— P. J. O’Rourke

26. “That’s parents. Fucking up their kids for generations.”

— O.E. Tearmann

Good And Inspiring Parenting Quotes

27. “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

— James Baldwin

28. “Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”

— Anne Frank

29. “I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”

— Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum

30. “What it’s like to be a parent: It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but in exchange it teaches you the meaning of unconditional love.”

— Nicholas Sparks, The Wedding

31. “Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them.”

— Bill Ayers

32. “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”

— Emilie Buchwald

33. “But kids don’t stay with you if you do it right. It’s the one job where, the better you are, the more surely you won’t be needed in the long run.”

— Barbara Kingsolver, Pigs in Heaven

34. “Being a mother is an attitude, not a biological relation.”

— Robert A. Heinlein, Have Space Suit—Will Travel

35. “To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.”

— Barbara Johnson

36. “It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”

— L.R. Knost, Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages

37. “The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tires.”

— Dorothy Parker

38. “Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.”

— Barbara Kingsolver, Homeland and Other Stories

39. “There is nothing that moves a loving father’s soul quite like his child’s cry.”

— Joni Eareckson Tada

40. “Sometimes, kids want you to hurt the way they hurt.”

— Mitch Albom

41. “Parenting is really just a matter of tracking, of hoping your kids do not get so far ahead you can no longer see their next moves. ”

— Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper

42. “Be a full person. Motherhood is a glorious gift, but do not define yourself solely by motherhood. Be a full person. Your child will benefit from that.”

— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

43. “The best way to make children good is to make them happy.”

— Oscar Wilde

44. “One reason we have children I think is to learn that parts of ourselves we had given up for dead are merely dormant and that the old joys can re emerge fresh and new and in a completely different form.”

— Anne Fadiman

45. “If we never have headaches through rebuking our children, we shall have plenty of heartaches when they grow up.”

— Charles H. Spurgeon

46. “One thing I had learned from watching chimpanzees with their infants is that having a child should be fun.”

— Jane Goodall

47. “Raise your children to love and embrace others. Tell them they are beautiful; they may grow up to be stars one day, and “beautiful” will never mean as much in a magazine as it will come from you.”

— Kaiden Blake

48. “God, why does a mortal man have children? It is senseless to love anything this much.”

— Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

49. “Children are gifts. They are not ours for the breaking. They are ours for the making.”

— Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

50. “The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them.”

— Frank A. Clark

51. “Our children are only as brilliant as we allow them to be.”

— Eric Micha’el Leventhal

52. “If I had to make a general rule for living and working with children, it might be this: be wary of saying or doing anything to a child that you would not do to another adult, whose good opinion and affection you valued.”

— John Holt

53. “Hey, great idea: if you have kids, give your partner reading vouchers next Christmas. Each voucher entitles the bearer to two hours’ reading time *while the kids are awake*. It might look like a cheapskate present, but parents will appreciate that it costs more in real terms than a Lamborghini.”

— Nick Hornby, The Polysyllabic Spree

54. “Your children need your presence more than your presents.”

— Jesse Jackson

55. “My kid, her life. I want for her what she wants for herself.”

— Laura Castoro

56. “There’s a lot of talk these days about giving children self-esteem. It’s not something you can give; it’s something they have to build.”

— Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

57. “No blade can puncture the human heart like the well-chosen words of a spiteful son.”

— Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone

58. “So much is asked of parents, and so little is given.”

— Virginia Satir

59. “The raising of a child is the building of a cathedral. You can’t cut corners.”

— Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King

60. “Too many parents fail to understand that there is a difference between fitting in and being liked, that there is a difference between being “normal” and being happy. High school is temporary. Family is not.”

— Alexandra Robbins

61. “The miracle of children is that we just don’t know how they will change or who they will become.”

— Eileen Kennedy-Moore

62. “The life of a mother is the life of a child: you are two blossoms on a single branch.”

— Karen Maezen Miller, Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood

63. “The best way to guide children without coercion is to be ourselves.”

— Madeleine L’Engle, A Circle of Quiet

64. “What a difference it makes to come home to a child!”

— Margaret Fuller

65. “Parents can tell but never teach, unless they practice what they preach.”

— Arnold H. Glasow

66. “We all need a cheering committee and parents are a child’s most important fans!”

— Vivian Kirkfield

67. “Did children want sports cars for parents? No. They wanted Hondas. They wanted to know that the car would start in all seasons.”

— Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King

68. “Praise your children openly, reprove them secretly.”

— William Cecil

69. “You can’t cling to the side your whole life, that one lesson every parent needs to teach a child is “If you don’t want to sink, you better figure out how to swim”

— Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle

70. “I’m beginning to perceive motherhood as a long, slow letting go, of which birth is just the first step.”

— Sandra Steingraber, Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood

71. “We are apt to forget that children watch examples better than they listen to preaching.”

— Roy L. Smith

72. “There are times as a parent when you realize that your job is not to be the parent you always imagined you’d be, the parent you always wished you had. Your job is to be the parent your child needs, given the particulars of his or her own life and nature.”

— Ayelet Waldman

73. “I’m not a parenting expert. In fact, I’m not sure that I even believe in the idea of ‘parenting experts.’ I’m an engaged, imperfect parent and a passionate researcher. I’m an experienced mapmaker and a stumbling traveler. Like many of you, parenting is by far my boldest and most daring adventure.”

— Brene Brown

74. “We never know the love of a parent till we become parents ourselves.”

— Henry Ward Beecher

75. “Having a baby is a life-changer. It gives you a whole other perspective on why you wake up every day.”

— Taylor Hanson

76. “Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”

— Charles R. Swindoll

77. “I came to parenting the way most of us do – knowing nothing and trying to learn everything.”

— Mayim Bialik

78. “If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people’s choices. If I feel good about my body, I don’t go around making fun of other people’s weight or appearance. We’re hard on each other because we’re using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived deficiency.”

— Brene Brown

79. “I do think that there’s an art form to parenting, and I have nothing but admiration for those who do it well.”

— Elizabeth Berg

80. “If the day ever came when we were able to accept ourselves and our children exactly as we and they are, then, I believe, we would have come very close to an ultimate understanding of what ‘good’ parenting means.”

— Fred Rogers

81. “Love is staying up all night with a sick child – or a healthy adult.”

— David Frost

82. “The challenging part of parenting for me is to make sure that an individual person is an individual and not some sort of cookie-cutter version of me. At the same time, I want to make sure that I impart my sense of the world as an adult.”

— Jamie Lee Curtis

83. “My work makes me a better mom. It gives me a little door to step out of my parenting and bring the excitement from my day back home.”

— Christie Brinkley

84. “What parent has it easy? I just never make the difficulty of it an obstacle. I just do it.”

— Marlee Matlin

85. “Listen to the desires of your children. Encourage them and then give them the autonomy to make their own decision.”

— Denis Waitley

86. “Reading to children opens their minds and fills their hearts!”

— Jacqui Shepherd

87. “Trying to convince our children or something we feel is important, can sometimes be difficult. That’s why when they call us for advice it’s absolutely a wonderful feeling.”

— Ron Baratono

88. “Children don’t need you to be the best reader, just a willing one.”

— Jacqui Shepherd

89. “Having a child flips your concept of love upside down into new depths, otherwise unknown to the human heart.”

— Julieanne O’Connor

90. “Being a perfectionist does not apply when it comes to children and a tidy house.”

— Renny Adejuwon

91. “Being a parent makes you feel like a blanket that’s always too small. No matter how hard you try to cover everyone, there’s always someone who’s freezing.”

— Fredrik Backman

92. “Parenting is an impossible job at any age.”

— Harrison Ford

93. “Saying ‘no’ to your children can be an act of love.”

— Frank Sonnenberg

94. “So we must focus on reality and what our kids tell us about ourselves, which is that what they really want and need is more of what we do best – talk, encourage, and spend time with them.”

— Meg Meeker, M.D.

95. “Good parenting is not about fulfilling the dreams of the parents, it’s about helping the children become strong and conscientious human beings so that they can achieve their dreams.”

— Abhijit Naskar

96. “Good parents hardly parent. They let their kids learn, fail and grow without interference.”

— Trevor Carss

97. “Surround her with a village of aunties, women who have qualities you’d like her to admire. Talk about how much you admire them. Children copy and learn my example. Talk about what you admire about them.”

— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

98. “Your children will remember how you made them feel whether those feelings are good or bad. And they will remember the words you used.”

— Anthony Eldridge-Rogers

99. “Instruction is good for a child; but example is worth more.”

— Alexandre Dumas

100. “We are imperfect humans growing imperfect humans in an imperfect world, and that’s perfectly okay.”

— L.R. Knost

101. “Parent time is magic: Down tempo and supersonic all at once, witch’s time, sorcerer hours. Suddenly, while you aren’t paying attention, everything’s changed.”

— Laurie Frankel

Bad Parenting Quotes

102. “If you have never been hated by your child, you have never been a parent.”

— Bette Davis

103. “Children might or might not be a blessing, but to create them and then fail them was surely damnation.”

— Lois McMaster Bujold, Barrayar

104. “Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first we have to make them feel worse? Think of the last time you felt humiliated or treated unfairly. Did you feel like cooperating or doing better?”

— Jane Nelsen

105. “It’s so awful, attacking your child. It’s the worse thing I know, to shout loudly at this 50 lb. being with his huge trusting brown eyes. It’s like bitch-slapping E.T.”

— Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith

106. “We’re [parents] always bluffing, pretending we know best, when most of the time we’re just praying we won’t screw up too badly.”

— Jodi Picoult, House Rules

107. “If the sound of happy children is grating on your ears, I don’t think it’s the children who need to be adjusted.”

— Stefan Molyneux

108. “Parenthood is the opiate of the masses.”

— Chuck Palahniuk

109. “It is a violation of trust to use your kids as caulking for the cracks in you.”

— Anne Lamott, Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son

110. “Uselessness, she thought, was the permanent condition of parenthood.”

— Lisa Unger, Fragile

111. “I’m trying to break any chain of negative parenting that I might have survived.”

— Eddie Vedder

112. “Parents forgive their children least readily for the faults they themselves instilled in them.”

— Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

113. “My dad had limitations. That’s what my good-hearted mom always told us. He had limitations, but he meant no harm. It was kind of her to say, but he did do harm.”

— Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

114. “The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults.”

— Peter De Vries

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