You Aren’t Lucky … You’re a Great Mom!

Untitled design(1)I am generally good at letting people’s advice and comments about my parenting roll off my shoulders. I know they are usually well-meaning and not trying to insult my intelligence or capabilities (they just haven’t read Amy Poehler’s book). And truthfully, I know we are doing a pretty good job raising our kid. She’s awesome.

The one comment that I just can’t stand? “You’re SO lucky!”

I know, it sounds harmless. Hear me out.

When Ruby was an infant, everyone’s favorite question to ask with a slight chuckle and sympathetic eyes was, “Is she sleeping through the night?” And I would always answer with a giant smile and well-rested eyes, “Yes, she’s been sleeping through the night since she was 2 months old!” The response, every time without fail? “You’re so lucky that you got a good sleeper!”

RubySleepingNow, I don’t doubt that luck played a role there (along with some genetics, as she was born of two people who love their sleep), but it also has to do with our parenting. We read the books, established a sleep plan before she was born, and even had the sound machine with us in the hospital. We dutifully followed her cues and developed a rhythm that had us all well-rested, well-fed, and happy early on in the game.

RubyEatingWe still often hear about our “luck” when we take her out to eat. We have been taking her to restaurants since she was, oh, 6 days old. Now entering her toddler years, she’s not always the most pleasant dinner companion, but she’s mostly good. Again, I don’t doubt there’s some luck at play here, but I also give a heavy dose of the credit to the not-so-fun dinners out where we taught her boundaries and acceptable behavior that have led up to all the fun ones.

Here’s the thing about telling parents that we’re lucky: it implies that it’s luck, not good parenting, that has made our kids so awesome. We’re totally removed from the equation. But when our kids aren’t being so awesome, no one chalks that up to being “unlucky.” For those of you whose newborns didn’t sleep through the night, I’m sure no one said, “Oh, you’re so unlucky! You didn’t get a sleeper! Too bad!” No. They probably offered you piles of sleep advice with the undertone that you’re not parenting well enough. For those of you whose kids don’t like eating out, no one said “Oh! You unlucky thing with your screaming toddler! Nothing to be done!” No. They probably side eyed you through your entire meal and whispered about your parenting juuuust loud enough for you to hear. We only get credit for parenting when things aren’t going well.

Untitled design(2)Let’s change that. The next time you talk to a mom about something parenting related, try telling her “Wow! That’s awesome parenting! Good job!” instead of “Wow! You’re so lucky!” and watch her glow. Let’s give each other credit for the good stuff too, because that’s what can carry us through the not-so-good stuff. And we’re all pretty much nailing this parenting thing.

Have you been told you’re “lucky” about something parenting related? What was it?


  1. Huh? You’re kind of doing the same thing as the people giving the side eye at the restaurant by saying you’re child is so well behaved because of you… I can assure that it’s not fun to live through something like colic. I too watched the videos and learned about cues…. but it did nothing. We had to wait him out. I can assure you each child is different, and sometimes you are just “lucky”. I had a 2nd child who never cried. She was the absolute best baby, complete 180 from her older brother. I was not a “better” parent to her. In fact, since I had a 2 year old and an infant I was spread very thin…. and I work outside the home full time. Then we welcomed a 3rd baby…. and guess what?? He too was different from his brother and sister. All kids are different. Some sleep, some don’t. Some cry, some don’t, some eat, some don’t. It has very little to do with how many videos you watched about their cry cues before birth, I can assure you, but the next time my 3 year old has a melt down in target I’ll think…. maybe there’s something I could be doing better, maybe I’ll listen for that cue….. but instead I bribe with cheetahs because I don’t have the time I’m just trying not to lose it while my other two children are patiently waiting by the cart. But that’s just me.

  2. Yeah, so do think it is a case by case basis, and if someone does put in all the work and it works out for them, that is great! More people should do that. But those books are based on what is likely to work in a standard situation, and the main thing in life seems to be that nothing is standard. You coule have done everything right and followed the books and had nothing work out for you. The more children you have, the more you see how much up to “luck” it really seems to be, but you learn best through experience and understanding, not through books of suggestions compiled by studies of a bunch of strangers and their babies, but by your own. The screaming kid at the restaurant? Should not be in a restaurant. He is noticed because the parents are behaving selfishly to want to have a meal out in a restaurant so badly that they are willing to disrupt everyone else’s meal with their screaming child. Babies don’t scream just to be annoying. That child needs something, and the parents are neglecting that need. The one that climbs all over the table and wont sit still need to be disciplined, and people recognize that. They whisper what they would do if that were their child. Because it isnt normal and it isn’t unlucky, it is most likely lack of discipline, possibly a dietary issue, but the parents really don’t need to be there unless they are actively using it as a teaching experience and most of the time they are not. Get a babysitter. Don’t go out. The kids come first and sometimes that means not going out to eat for a few years, but they will live through it. It is always a learning experience, and I am sorry that you aren’t getting enough attention for your efforts. Welcome to parenthood.

  3. Old post but I have to say that this is something that bothers me too! My kid was not a good sleeper! I had to hold him during naps from an early age. Around 6 months I did the hard work of cry it out with my kid and he is a fantastic sleeper now! I’m very blessed, but not lucky. I think people often say this because it makes them feel better about their own shortcomings. I don’t think that having a bad sleeper makes you a bad parent, but me having a good sleeper is from hard work and lots of prayer. Not luck 🙂

  4. Amen sister! My MIL always says how LUCKY I am that we have a calm baby and how “I have no idea” what it’s like to have a difficult child. I have spent every waking moment since she was born keeping her healthy, happy, well fed, (created a sleep routine) and being unbelievably strict about having a good schedule. As a result, she feels safe, secure, and comfortable. The reason she is so calm most of the time has very little to do with luck! I definitely think she says this because of her own shortcomings with her kids. (And I always think it’s interesting that when she watches my daughter, my daughter becomes fussy)


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