The Bottom Line

What you do speaks so loud that I can’t hear what you say.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every moment of every day, at least until they leave home and often beyond, your kids are checking you out. They are paying attention and absorbing it all. Like osmosis, you are soaking into their skin.

When you coo and smile.

When you breathe in that delicious baby smell.

When you mimic and repeat silly sounds.

When you clap at the tiny poop in the potty.

When “Oh SH*T” slips out of your mouth when the milk spills.

When you turn around and search for a glimpse of them until you’re way out of the preschool parking lot.

When you lose it and yell, “I can’t stand you right now” (or worse) at Dad in the heat of battle.

When you glow with pride at the 1st grade “Citizen of the Week” award.

When you bravely wave goodbye as the summer camp bus pulls away.

When you bravely drop them off at the middle school dance.

When you resist the powerful urge to call the chemistry teacher and complain about the B- on that lab report.

When you throw caution to the wind and rewrite the college essay that’s supposed to reflect who they are — just this once.

When you look the other way when they come home reeking of tequila after the prom (while they’re waiting for you to call them out).

Say whatever you want; they hear “blah blah blah blah blah”. It’s what you do that counts.


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Rachel Zahn, MD is a pediatrician turned health writer who had three kids during medical school and pediatric training—crazy, huh?


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