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Everything You Need To Know About Parenting In 19 ‘Humans Of New York’ Posts

It’s likely that kids dominate your social media feeds — either those belonging to your oversharing friends or those being profiled by Humans Of New York. Everyone’s favorite photographer of ordinary people dishing extraordinary insights, Brandon Stanton has a particularly good eye (and ear) for parents with something to say. New Yorkers are famous all over the world for speaking their minds, and New Yorkers with kids? Fuggedaboutit.

“I must warn you, I don’t think I’ve ever posted a picture of an infant without the type of carrier being criticized in the comment section.”
“Oh, don’t worry. Part of being a mom is getting used to the fact that every other mom knows better than you do.”


“My wife and I are trying to cut back on the language at home. Something fell off the kitchen table last week, and my four year old daughter said: ‘Oh shit!’ So not only has she learned to cuss, but she’s learned to cuss correctly.”


“I don’t pay much attention to my surroundings anymore. If she’s happy, I’m happy. That’s about it.”


“I can see both of our families in him. When I look at his face, I can see my brother, my mother, and her grandmother. It makes me feel like I’m extending something much bigger than myself. It makes me feel powerful.”


“My youngest son was fooling around with some friends, and somebody got called a ‘pussy,’ and then somebody got shot. And now he’s doing 20 years. That’s my baby boy. I always told him it would happen. I used to come home from work late at night, and he’d be gone, and I’d find him in the streets and chase him back inside. After he went to prison, I asked him: ‘What more could I have done?’ And he started crying and said: ‘Nothing, Dad. You raised me right. Everything you told me was right. There was nothing you could have done.'”


“My family doesn’t like my appearance. They ask me why I can’t look normal.”
“What do you wish they would say?”
“You can dress however you want, because of the person you are.”


“I’m supportive of anything that keeps her focused and moving forward. All I can do is try to clear away as much bullshit as possible so that she can access her future. The older she gets, the less I can control, and the less I can protect her from. It’s a bit nerve-wracking. I did get her a Swiss Army Knife last week. Because you never know when you’ll need one of those.”


“Humans do everything they can to try to forget they are animals. We create these institutions and customs that deny our animal nature. Take our relationships with our parents, for example. No other animal keeps a relationship with its parents after its been raised. It’s not natural. Yet we insist, because we think that’s what makes us human. Think of the people you know. Are they happy when they go visit their parents? Is it something they naturally want to do? No. They bitch about it. But then they go anyway. Because that’s what makes them feel human.”


“I work in the family business, which is tough. There’s too much overlap. It can be hard to work together when you’re still sore over something that was said at Thanksgiving.”


“I’ve got a seven month old daughter at home. I want to be her favorite so I’m always trying to make her smile. I might slip her a little ice cream when mom’s not looking. Then I pretend like I don’t know why she’s having trouble falling asleep.”


“I never had any family growing up. But I still went to school everyday. One day, when I was in eleventh grade, my English teacher came up to me and said: “If you graduate, I’ll adopt you. I’ll show you the life. You’ll do things you never dreamed of.” And he kept his promise. He made it legal and everything. On the day I graduated, he was the only family I had there. My father’s taken me everywhere since then. I’ve done all kinds of things.”


“She speaks more languages than anyone in the family. Because she plays with all the children in the street.”
(Erbil, Iraq)


“I’ve been working for 45 years, and so has my wife. But we have no money. You know why? Because my five kids have two bachelor’s, a master’s, and two doctorate degrees. They are my wealth.”


“What’s surprised you most about being a parent?”
“The feeling of being called ‘Dad.’ It’s the best feeling on earth. The first time my daughter called me ‘Dad,’ we were playing hide and go seek. I was pretending that I couldn’t find her, and I kept searching and searching, until finally she screamed: ‘Dad!’ It almost made me cry. It made me feel like Superman.'”
(Nairobi, Kenya)


“My wife had four kids from a previous marriage. I had three. When we first got married, we had seven kids between us under the age of nine. My wife is a better stepmom than I’m a stepdad, but I’m getting better. I’m learning when to keep my mouth shut. Even though I’m super protective of my wife, if one of her children has a disagreement with her, I need to step back a bit. Ultimately I just want everyone to ‘buy in’ to the idea that we’re all on the same team, and that we’re all pulling for each other. Whenever it’s someone’s birthday, we’ll send a group text to all the kids, inviting them to the birthday dinner. It’s such a great feeling to get eight or nine text messages back, saying: ‘I’m in.'”


“What’s your greatest struggle as a parent?”
“Just getting information out of her about how she’s doing. Her mother and I got divorced, so it’s been a tough year.”


“I’ve always been drawn to children with special needs. I had a bunch of stuffed animals when I was a kid, and I’d sit them in rows and pretend to be their teacher. There was one bear named Moscow who had a broken eye and ripped ear, and I’d always make sure that the other animals were especially nice to him. So I knew early on that I wanted to be a special education teacher. This is a photo of the first play group that I organized outside of class. I was teaching at the time, and a lot of my parents were telling me that their children weren’t socializing with other members of the family, and it was very painful for them. So I organized an after-school playgroup in my basement. I’d work with the children on their interaction skills, while the mothers had a support group upstairs. The support group was very important for them. It’s very hard to be the parent of a special needs child. Your child develops at a slower pace than his peers, and you’re constantly hearing other parents say: ‘Mine is sitting. Mine is talking. Mine is crawling.’ And with each missed milestone, it’s difficult not to grieve the child that you didn’t have.”


“His grandmother and I are raising him. I worry about putting him into the public school system. I was a teacher for many years. I’ve seen so much confidence destroyed by the standardized system. Every human is born with natural curiosity. I’ve never seen a child who wasn’t inspired. But once you force someone to do anything, the inspired person is killed. I dropped out of school myself in 7th grade. So I know. I taught a GED course for years, so I’ve seen the end results over and over. I’ve seen so many kids who have complexes and insecurities because they were forced to do something they weren’t ready to do, and then they were blamed when they weren’t able to do it. What we call ‘education’ today is not organic. You can’t take something as complex as the human mind, compartmentalize it, and regiment its development so strictly.”


“What’s your biggest dream for your child?”
“We’ll let him dream for himself.”
(New Delhi, India)