Inspiring Parenting by Dorka Herner

Inspiring parenting

I live a life without issue. I have no children. I wasn’t living in Ireland when my nephews were in nappies so I’ve minimal experience with babies or toddlers. I’ve babysat on very rare occasions; I could count the number of nappies I’ve changed on both hands. I think that when God was dishing out the maternal genes, He shorted me. Some would (and have) argued that my lack of desire to have kids is quite selfish as, according to them, by virtue of my being a woman, it’s almost a duty to procreate.  Whatever.

I’ve been known to rail at the preferential treatment given to parents in the corporate world. As the lone single, childless member of staff, I drew all the evening duties  – I had nothing to go home to. I rarely got to take my leave in the summer as I didn’t have kids who were out of school and needed to be entertained. I drew the short straw on many occasions, losing out to those women who had taken their duty more seriously. I got over it though, as I doubt it’s something that will ever change.

I still get het up at Mass though, when parents allow their kids to run riot. Can you really reason with a three-year-old? I think not. Were they at a concert or a play or somewhere everyone else had paid to get into, the rest of the audience wouldn’t be as accommodating. I doubt they’d stand for the disruption. Why the kids are not kept at home until they’re old enough to sit quietly is beyond me. Parents could easily take it in turns to go to Mass. It’s not like they’re doing anything by way of prayer anyway, as they spend their time shushing little Johnny, bribing him with his favourite toys, and smiling indulgently as he provides the background screams to the sermon from the pulpit.

Why then, you might wonder, did I find myself reading a parenting book of all things?

I was introduced to author Dorka Herner by mutual friends when she was looking for someone to read the English translation and comment on the language rather than on the context. What would I know about bed-wetting and sugar allowances? A mother of five who’s also a practising psychologist, Herner writes as she speaks. Her funny, tongue-in-cheek accounts of her own parenting experience are a far cry from the prescriptive texts that I’ve seen on the shelves of friends who are first-time parents themselves. Her focus is more on living with children than textbook parenting. She’s short on advice, preferring to give personal examples from which others can learn. I found it all highly entertaining… and very human.

Herner sees parenting as a joint effort – she has learned so much about herself from her interactions with her kids.

Whatever my children do, it says something about me as well. More often than not, it says a lot of things. If my five-year-old doesn’t go to sleep alone, am I the one who needs our evening cuddles? If I am disturbed when he is bored, do I see myself useless if I don’t have enough tasks to do? If I think they are careless, am I the one who is too [much of a] perfectionist? For me, getting to know myself, or shaping the way I function, is an exciting and efficient way to form my kids’ behaviour.

It’s an easy read, and an insightful one for parents and non-parents alike. Hidden amongst the parenting insights are comments on relationships and sharing space with other beings. It gave me a better feel for what parents go through. Selfishly, it’s a book I wish more parents would read. It might make life a little easier for those of us who have to deal with their kids.

As Herner says:

Situations, solutions, and parenting styles are neither good nor bad in themselves; we add the qualifying adjectives. Shouting can be positive, cuddling can have drawbacks, illness can bring kindness, or good advice can harm. When I have an eye for seeing new levels in everyday happenings, I can fully enjoy my parenting years.

Available on Amazon.

Inspiring Parenting by Dorka Herner




Subscribe to get notified when I publish something new.

7 Responses

  1. Is this book a translation from Hungarian? If so, is the last sentence that you quote meant to be understood as future tense?

    1. There’s a very interesting play with tenses in the book, as there is with punctuation. It’s far from traditional and a definite reflection of how she speaks in Hungarian, I’d imagine.

      1. I see that the advertising doesn’t attribute to a translator – perhaps she wrote in English?

        1. Definitely not… It was translated – and I thought that there was a translator’s name somewhere… maybe not on Amazon but definitely on the book. Not a name I recognised – and from memory, Hungarian.

  2. I must seek this out. As the Dad to an 11 year old, I never cease to question how my own upbringing shapes my parenting. Like many of my generation (I think that includes you, Mary!), I have avoided the ‘family’ restaurants and places where a toddler would be an intrusion on others. Now he’s older, we have some great nights, but your comments about taking turns resonate so loudly.

Talk to me...

%d bloggers like this:

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information on cookies and GDPR

Cookies and GDPR Compliance

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

General Data Protection Regulation

If you have voluntarily submitted your email address so that you can receive notifications of new posts, please be assured that I don't use your address for anything other than to do just that - and that's done automatically. I might use your address, if I knew how to, but I don't.

This blog does not make money, it does not carry sponsored content, it has no ads for which I receive any form of payment. If I review a place or a restaurant or a book, I don't receive any compensation from anyone. I wish I did, but that would require marketing myself and life is too short. If something changes, I will be sure to let you know.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe or manage subscription links at the bottom of every email you receive. When you comment on a blog post, Google Analytics tracks where you're posting from. This is stored and I can check my stats to see how many clicks I had today, where people clicked from, and what they clicked on. That's it. Nothing more.

I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, particularly to other commenters. If you want to have one of your comments deleted, the please get in touch with me at: I'm all for the right to be forgotten so will happily oblige.

So, in a nutshell, if you give me your email address voluntarily to subscribe to new posts or if you opt to subscribe to new comments, then you email is just used for this. Nothing else. Promise.