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From scoring Taylor Swift tickets to telling decent jokes, parents share why they’re awesome

I asked parents to brag. You didn’t hesitate! I got so many responses, ranging from major to mundane.

Parents are superheroes every day. Here's why, in their own words.Adobe Stock

There’s so much in parenting media to remind us of what we’re doing wrong and how the system is stacked against us: Child care is expensive. It’s impossible to sign up for sports without waking up at 5 a.m. to secure a spot. Summer camps require you to commit in blood before Halloween. MCAS scores are in the toilet post-COVID. Society can be a deeply inhospitable and occasionally alienating place for ordinary families. All bad, all true, and exhausting to consider.

I think we need to revel in what we did absolutely perfectly, things that are within our control — the small, awesome moments that make up the totality of our lives. These things can be inconsequential. They can be downright basic. (I folded a fitted sheet this weekend. It was as gratifying as popping a pimple.) And what better time than Thanksgiving to share our wins? So I asked parents to brag. You didn’t hesitate! I got so many responses, ranging from major to mundane.


And, while this column is usually geared toward the 12-and-under set, I had to include a few from parents with kids at college, too. We’ll all be there someday (hopefully?). Read on, enjoy, and savor your tiny triumphs where you can.

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“I survived my first year as a first-time, single foster parent. My kiddo was 11 months when he came to me in July 2021, and he is still with me at 27 months.”

“Our baby graduated to whole milk and finally transitioned to drinking it cold! Good riddance to the formula shortage and our trusty bottle warmer.”

“Sleep. Sound, uninterrupted, sweet, quiet sleep for everyone at home. My 5-year-old has finally made peace with his own bed and his own room, he loves the wind-down routine we created together, and even our two cats look restful the next morning. Onto the next challenge now (picky eating), but our restored nights are our small, big triumph this year.”


“My son is autistic and nonverbal and, at 13, just identified the emotion ‘frustrated’ when his favorite ice cream was out of stock at the store. Never did a mama cheer so loud at a correct emotion ID.”

“My 14-year-old ‘graduated’ from therapy and has a huge new skill set and is rocking it. Last night, she started training at a gym facility where she is currently the only female athlete. She’s a different person than she was two years ago … confident and in charge of her emotions, and it’s beautiful. That’s all more her accomplishment than it is mine. But her dad and I supported her all the way. And paid the out-of-pocket insurance bills.”

Logistical Miracles

“Our kid is happily taking piano and trombone lessons, which were a challenge to secure at the start of the school year.”

“My wife scored good Taylor Swift tickets for the whole family at face value today. Kind of a big deal.”

“Got both of my kids into Ninja Warrior classes, at the same time, not on the waitlist or drop-in classes. Had four alarms set on two different devices (phone, calendar app) and several browsers open slightly before the time the classes opened.”

“I got the kids signed up for next summer’s camps by the end of October.”

“I got my son into speech therapy after he aged out of Early Intervention and we sat on waiting lists for five months.”


“I got my kid into a new day care that is cheaper, better, closer, and I don’t have to pack lunch!”

“I got both my kids registered for swim lessons at the same time.”

“I got my oldest registered for sleep-away camp. Registration opened at noon on a Saturday. We had to be at an out-of-town event that Saturday afternoon. The registration needed to be done on a computer. The phone was turned into a hot-spot, and we registered ... on the side of the road. To make things more fun, the youngest was car sick and throwing up in the back seat while I tried to fill out the overly complicated form for this niche overnight camp. Amazingly, the 6-year-old grabbed the seat organizer and made himself a bucket. He didn’t get any throw up on himself or the car.”

“My kids’ activities (soccer twice per week, skating twice per week, gymnastics, chorus, trombone 3 times per week, Lego team twice per week, and a weekly counseling session) were all able to fit into our before- and after-school schedules and my work schedule without any conflicts. All the moons and stars aligned. Total miracle for a single mom.”

“My parenting win this year would be that I got a job offer from a cold call and took a huge risk to quit my job (I had been teaching at the same school for the last 10 years so therefore lost my tenure, sick days, professional relationships and job security) for a new teaching job much closer to my home with much better hours so I could be home in time to meet my kindergartener off the school bus.”


Confidence and Independence

“My 2-year-old is thriving in her weekly ballet class after fighting everything from wearing her leotard to being in the studio. She now asks us to practice the songs with her and calls her teacher by name, saying she can’t wait to go to class.”

“I convinced my non-joiner kid to join the robotics team.”

“My kid was able to overcome separation anxiety, and now drop-offs at kindergarten are very smooth.”

“All three of our kids can swim! And one can ride a bike without training wheels.”

“My 9-year-old went to the store for milk by himself for the first time yesterday. He was thrilled with the independence.”

“[My 10-year-old] lobbied to stop going to after-school and walk home alone or with a friend. It’s great for his burgeoning independence, and it saves me some money. Also, I can get another 30 to 40 minutes of work done … because I don’t have to pick up, so maybe I’m doing less catch-up work at night and on weekends.”

“My 8th-grade son was not looking forward to the summer English class that I enrolled him in. But after a couple of days, he warmed to it, thanks to a lovely teacher, and he ended up doing extremely well.”


“One day, on the way out the door to the bus, my son said, ‘If I don’t know how to do something, I’ll just ask my teacher.’ I was taken aback. This is after, say, 12 years of us telling our kids that teachers don’t mind questions, and in fact, they like questions. For some reason, both my kids had the impression that they must figure everything out on their own. … It was shocking to hear him finally repeat back to me the words I’ve been saying over and over. They really do listen.”

“I encouraged my daughter to take her time and pour her beautiful soul into an art piece she envisioned for a PTA competition. She ended up winning first place in the state of New Hampshire. But what I’m most proud of her for is the message of her piece: ‘Spreading Kindness with my Own 2 Hands.’”

Happy Hacks

“I got my 9-year-old daughter hooked on ‘The Muppet Show.’”

“I learned how to do a French braid.”

“I learned how to play video games, so I can play with my son.”

“I untangled a toy helicopter from my child’s hair without tears or cutting her hair or breaking the toy while talking on the phone for work and actively cooking dinner. Felt like a superhero.”

“I stopped answering stupid questions. If the answer is otherwise findable — ‘Where are my socks? Why is there no milk? When is soccer practice?’— these now get a standard response of: ‘That’s not the kind of question I answer.’ Liberated from the mundane!”

“I’ve started using Hannaford to-go to order groceries and then pick them up.”

“I organized “pizza Mondays” for my son’s school so that I would have one less day to pack lunch each week.”

“I made my kids in charge of lunches on the weekends.”

Maybe You Did a Decent Job After All?

“My 16-year-old wants to spend time with me.”

“I raised my son as a struggling single mom in New Hampshire, and this year he graduated from Amherst College. His accomplishment much more than mine, but I still celebrated myself a little, too.”

“My kids thanked me for giving them a ‘good childhood.’ They’re all still children [at] 11 and 17 years old, but I still appreciated it.”

“This year, both my kids actually know and understand what I do for my job.”

“Through some light bribery, my 5th grader is now practicing his trumpet every day. Did I mention he’s a beginner?”

“I got two-fourths of my children to laugh at my jokes.”

And my personal favorite

“I let my kid quit soccer. Midseason. He said: ‘Coach Kevin, I quit,’ and walked off the field.”

Kara Baskin can be reached at Follow her @kcbaskin.