A Mom Beautifully Reframes The Saying 'You Only Have 18 Summers With Your Kids' To Show Parents They Have So Much More Time

As this mom sees it, being a parent lasts well beyond those first 18 years.

Emma Heaphy tiktoker TikTok

Parent and poet Emma Heaphy offered her TikTok followers a new perspective on parenting, one that is gracious, nurturing, and entirely uplifting.

Heaphy beautifully reframed the common saying, ‘You only have 18 summers with your kids’ to show parents they have so much more time with their children. 

Sitting in her car with sunlight streaming through the windows, Heaphy said, “Everyone tells you, ‘You only have 18 summers with your kids.’ Everyone tells you, ‘You only have a few years before they start school.’ Everyone tells you, ‘Blink and you’ll miss it.’ But I want to offer you a new perspective.”


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“How about we tell people, ‘If you do it well, if you love them hard, if you show up for them when they need you to, it is not just 18 summers.’” She offered words that parents — and their children — will find soothing and hopeful, words that act as a balm to everyone growing older.



Heaphy believes parenting is a lifelong journey, one that continues blooming even as kids grow older.

“What if I told you that these years when they’re young, when you’re both young, are creating a lifetime of love and that you have the ability to shape that. That right now, you are creating the start of a love story that will continue on,” Heaphy said.


“If you do it well, not perfectly, but if you do it well, and what is ‘well’ will be different to everyone, motherhood doesn’t need to be limited to the early years,” she explained. “Motherhood continues until you take your last breath.” 

A Mom Beautifully Reframes The Saying 'You Only Have 18 Summers With Your Kids' To Show Parents They Have More TimePhoto: Alena Ozerova / Shutterstock

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Heaphy holds tight to the idea that the relationships parents cultivate with their kids lay the groundwork for how their future might unfold. When parents are present, when they hold space for their children, loving and accepting them as they are, those children will grow into adults who continuously love and appreciate their parents, in turn.

“So you have more time,” Healy said. “You do. You have so much more time. And what you’re doing right now, although it may seem like it’s fleeting, is building a really solid foundation for the years to come.”

Heaphy’s gentle reframe provides a nuanced outlook on parenting that extends beyond those first 18 years when children live under their parents’ roof.

Her statement holds so much truth. I’m the 38-year-old daughter of a 70-year-old mother. Our relationship has deepened as we’ve grown older, something I never could have foreseen as a teenager or as a young adult. As Heaphy said, it is its own form of a love story.

A Mom Beautifully Reframes The Saying 'You Only Have 18 Summers With Your Kids' To Show Parents They Have More TimePhoto: Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock


What surprises me most is how we show up for each other as grown-ups — honestly, openly, entirely present. Our relationship has shifted. It is always shifting.

The ways my mother cared for me when I was younger allow me to be the fullest version of myself, now. That kind of love will exist beyond the time we have together. Heaphy said it so very well. Being a mother, and being someone’s child, is something we’ll hold onto until we’re no longer here.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers parenting issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.