As a community of moms and dads, the stories we cover at TODAY Parents range from inspiring stories of parents coping with tragedy to funny parody videos that totally nail the absurdities of raising children.
But our stories have one thing in common: They show us that we're all in this together.
We've rounded up 16 inspiring and thoughtful quotes from moms, dads and children who shared their stories with TODAY Parents in 2019. Whether it's finding work-life balance, adding to your growing family or learning to love your post-baby body, chances are, we've heard parents talk about it this year.
1. "We all have that pile of clothes somewhere in our homes — dirty or clean — it's if we choose to show it or not."
—Jessie Roberts, Modern Day Mumma
Her husband was busy with work and she had to pack her entire family up for a holiday vacation, so blogger and podcast host Jessie Roberts combined holiday decorating with household chores and made a Christmas tree out of her family's folded laundry. An Instagram post about the "tree" went viral and Roberts said she believes it resonated with so many parents because we all have less-than-perfect moments that we hesitate to share.
2. “Sometimes the storms in our lives make us better people, and they give us an appreciation for all the things that other people take for granted.”
—Shannon Striner, This Life We Got
In October, as part of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, TODAY Parenting Team contributors who have children with Down syndrome helped us list 21 things they wished they'd known before having a child with the condition. Shannon Striner, who blogs at This Life We Got, shared inspirational words about her experience raising a daughter with Down syndrome.
3. "Sure, they say a rainbow baby is the rainbow after a storm, but maybe that rainbow is meant to shine through a person for their entire life, continuing to cast a light on the darkness in this world."
—Alexander Kacala, TODAY Weekend Editor
TODAY contributor Alexander Kacala sat down with his mother to talk to her about her miscarriage and the fact that he was her rainbow baby. In a beautiful essay, Kacala shared how the baby his mother lost between his sister's birth and his shaped their family.
4. "Motherhood doesn't have to be so serious and structured. There's something freeing about poking fun at yourself and being silly from time to time."
—Eliza Morrill, Momstrosity
After she and her friend, Stephanie Hollifield, created an epic Lizzo parody about motherhood, Eliza Morrill of Momstrosity told TODAY Parents she thinks it's important for moms to laugh and be light-hearted to get through the more stressful parts of parenting.
5. "I might run out of space in my brain, but I never run out of space in my heart."
—Allison Slater Tate, TODAY Contributor
After Carson and Siri Daly announced they are expecting their fourth child, mom of four kids and TODAY Contributor Allison Slater Tate penned a sweet essay about what it's like to be "a walking party." Slater Tate shared that having four children is "hard and expensive and loud and logistically a nightmare," but that she wouldn't trade it for anything.
6. "Whatever you're stressing out about, would you want your child someday to put that same pressure on themselves? If not, it's totally reasonable to set it aside."
—Dr. Deborah Gilboa
After one mom's post about making more realistic New Year's resolutions went viral, Dr. Deborah Gilboa chatted with TODAY Parents about the pitfalls of putting stress on ourselves to be better parents.
7. “I have a newfound respect for my body, even with my extra jiggle and stretch marks."
—Sophie Mayanne, model, #BodyProudMums
Sophie Mayanne, a mom who posed for a modeling campaign 39 weeks after giving birth to twin girls, said being part of an ad campaign for British company Mothercare made her feel strong and proud of her postpartum body. The campaign, which featured ten women showing off their stretch marks, loose skin, swollen tummies and less-than-perky breasts shared a simple message, “Beautiful, isn't she.”
8. "I think it's easy for adults to forget our children are humans, too. They also need space. They also need time to decompress and be left alone."
—Laurie Koch, Justifying Jane
After her 8-year-old son, Kade, had a bad week at school, Laurie Koch, who blogs at Justifying Jane, helped him shake it off by creating an elaborate relaxing bath for him one evening. Koch's post went viral, and the mom of four reminded us it's important to teach our kids how to care for themselves and de-stress in a healthy way.
9. "I couldn't control Samuel's diagnosis. I couldn't control his life or his death, but I could control what I did afterward."
After her son, Samuel, died three hours after birth, Sierra Strangfeld pumped breast milk for for 63 days and donated more then 500 ounces to her local milk bank on what would have been his due date. Her powerful story was a reminder of the power of love in the face of tragedy.
10. "We all need space to be human and to have our personal lives. It's OK if you aren't checking email every night and if you aren't working all day, every day."
—MaryBeth Ferrante, career coach
After executive Ian Sohn posted an open letter to working parents on LinkedIn stressing the importance of work-life balance, TODAY Parents talked with MaryBeth Ferrante, a career coach who agreed with Sohn's sentiments.
11. “Diversity is our strength."
After a video of Lau Patrón helping her 7-year-old son, João, who has cerebral palsy, skateboard went viral, the Brazilian mom said the best part of sharing her son's story with the world was getting the chance to show the importance of including people with disabilities. “May João's smile wake up other people,” she said.
12. "Why should a guy stop me from getting what I've always wanted, which is to be a mom?"
After a relative asked Brandy Smith to consider adopting her baby, Smith, 32, took a leap of faith and became a single mom to a baby boy. Smith shared her inspirational adoption story with TODAY Parents, saying although the road has been hard at times, she is proud of herself for raising her son on her own.
13. "It is lonely. It sucks a lot of the time, and there is nothing glamorous or mentally stimulating about taking care of a small child day after day, even if you are a duchess."
—Dr. Bethany Cook, author
After Meghan Markle opened up in an interview about her struggles as a new mom, moms around the internet spoke up to support her and say "it's OK to to not be OK" when you're adjusting to life with a baby. Dr. Bethany Cook, author of "For What It's Worth: A Perspective on How to Thrive and Survive Parenting Ages 0-2," agreed that whether you're royalty or not, having a newborn at home can be tough.
14. "We can never pick our cards, but you can learn to play the cards that you are dealt in a way that is healthier than you might have thought you would."
—Alicia Stillman, The Emily Stillman Foundation
Alicia Stillman's 19-year-old daughter, Emily, died from a strain of meningitis that was not included in vaccinations in the U.S. at the time she became ill. In the wake of her daughter's death, Stillman created a non-profit organization that advocates for vaccination and organ donation, and went viral after sharing her story of building a relationship with the man who received her daughter's heart, and other donors who received Emily's organs.
15. "We are all doing the best we can. And while we can learn from each other and admire each other and grow, which is natural, it’s good to remember that no one’s life is 'perfect' all the time — or ever."
—Cat Deakins, Mothers You'd Like to Friend
Cat Deakins, one of the funny moms behind Mothers You'd Like to Friend, spoke truth about the realities of women allowing other moms' social media feeds to make them feel inadequate after she co-created a parody of the Lady Gaga song "Pokerface" that addressed social media fakery.
16. "You don't get extra points by letting your child cry themselves to sleep."
—Muhammed Nitoto, The Chronicles of Daddy
A video of California dad Muhammed Nitoto climbing into the crib with his toddler daughter to help her fall asleep went viral after he shared it on his Instagram page, the Chronicles of Daddy. Nitoto said the reason for curling up next to his 1-year -old, Zuri, was simple: She needed comfort and he wanted to be there for her.