10 Things Doctor Who Taught Me About Parenting

As devout fandom goes, I’m a bit late to the Doctor Who game. I never grew up watching the original show and only just discovered the reboot this past year with my family. My eight and nine year-old devour it like fish sticks and custard, and I find myself reflecting on the gleaming nuggets of parenting wisdom hidden in every episode.

The Doctor has taught me many things about being a good mom.

1. We All Need a Companion

Like travelling through space and time, parenting can be pretty lonesome. If you don’t have the right partner it can make things go all wibbly-wobbly, and NOT in a good way. That doesn’t necessarily mean a spouse, either. Expand your Village, and ask for help when you need it, or else you’ll get all mopey and stressed out.

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2. Not All Victories are About Saving the World

It’s so easy to get caught up in the Big Picture that you miss the small moments. I’ve never been more fierce, or made more difficult decisions than since I became a parent. But that doesn’t mean that every battle is a war, or that every problem will lead to your kid’s adult psychotherapy. Give yourself a break now and then. Which leads me to…

3. Stop & Smell the Jammie Dodgers

Seriously, they’re delicious. What’s life without relishing your favorite things, and sharing that joy with your kids? Those are the memories your children will take with them out into the world, and make the heaviest impressions on them. Plus, you never know when a handy cookie might save the world… or you from a public meltdown.


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4. “There’s No Point In Being A Grownup If You Can’t Act a little Childish Sometimes”

So sayeth the Fourth Doctor. And he’s right! Play tag, catch fireflies, have tickle fights until you’re both crying. I make a fool of myself for my kids on a daily basis. But… when it comes down to it I know I’m Mom first, buddy second. Somebody’s got to be able to fly the TARDIS.

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5. The Answer to Everything Is In the Library

One of the biggest pieces of advice I give to new families in Huntsville is to be sure to visit the public library. Thankfully, ours are not full of shadowy Vashta Nerada, but of really friendly librarians that can help families adjust to their communities, meet new people, and find important resources. There’s also an entire Parenting Center at your fingertips.

You want weapons? We’re in a Library! Books! The best weapons in the world! This room’s the greatest arsenal we could ever have.

– Tenth Doctor


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6. “There Is a Time to Live and a Time to Sleep”

The Eleventh Doctor was right, but I’m talking about actual sleep here. Sweet, blissful, impossible, sleep. I’m done with feeling guilty about snatching a nap on the occasion that I can – the laundry’s not going anywhere. And if you’re a new or expectant parent, for the love of Gallifrey get it whenever and however you can!

7. Bow Ties Are Cool

I learned very quickly a cute kid in a bow tie can pretty much get away with anything.

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Photo by Paul Hudson via Flickr Creative Commons
8. The Universe is Vast and Complicated and Really, Really, Beautiful

ALLONS-Y!!!! There’s not much my husband and I enjoy more than travelling with our kids. It’s the big thing we make room for in our lives, the gift of wanderlust we hope to distill in them. We have to sacrifice a lot of resources to do it, but it’s a priority for us. Exposing kids to new foods, places, and people – especially if they are very different from what they know – can foster curiosity, empathy, and adventure!

9. Being Away From Someone You Love Makes You Appreciate & Love Them So Much More

Every parent needs to know it’s OK to take a break. Hopefully you have that Village to help you when you need one, and I think when you do you’ll find your appreciation and devotion will only grow stronger. No need to go all Last Centurion, but short and scheduled breaks like a book club with friends, a monthly Date Night, or a weekly exercise class at the gym all go a long way. I’m a much better parent when I’m able to take a breather, however brief.

10. Don’t Blink

It’s over so fast. That squalling infant becomes a baby, then a toddler, then a lanky child sitting next to you, watching The Doctor, and questioning the Universe. Everything has its time, and everything ends. – Sarah Jane Smith


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It’s no mistake that The Doctor has two hearts and no weapon, only a tool to fix things. I hope you teach your children empathy, and so much compassion that they have to have two hearts to contain it all.

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