For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.

~ Cynthia Occelli


Growth is painful. I’m pushing myself this year, to step outside of my comfort zones. I decided to conquer, once and for all, my fear of public speaking, and what’s happening is I’m growing beyond the former boundaries I had set for myself.

This week I participated in the Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest. I won first place within my club.

My youngest child had come down with a strep throat the night before, therefore I was nerve-wracked, sleep-deprived, and over-wrought. It perfectly exemplified the point of the topic I’d chosen – for my second speech ever for Toastmasters – “The Perils of Parenting!”

This is the transcript of the winning speech! ~


Contest Chair, fellow members,

Parenting is not for the faint-hearted. To do a good job, we, the parents, need help every step of the way. In the old days, the young generation had the wise women of the tribe, the grandmothers, to turn to for advice on these important life matters.

pregnant with Nat0002

I invite you to imagine that I’m this tribe’s grandmother, and you are the young people come to listen to my wisdom.

“I want to speak on a subject that should TERRIFY you…the perils of parenting.

New Nat0002

‘But, Grandma,’ you ask me. Go on – ask me, ‘What about having babies?’

 No. Don’t do it.

I’d like you young people to make a list of the “mistakes” your parents made with you – the things you DO NOT intend doing with your own precious child. Then take that list and throw it out. I promise you, when you become a parent, you will do every single thing on that list, probably more than once. Put your baby on a leash in a public situation? Yes, you will do it. Use the television to keep them entertained for more than half an hour? Yes, you will do it. Feed them MacDonald’s for dinner and sometimes hot chips for breakfast? Yes, you’ll do that too.

Picture 252

“But, Grandma,” you ask me. Go on – ask me, ‘What about having babies?’

No. Don’t do it!

I remember the first time my firstborn let me know who was really in charge.

It was a sunny day in December, 2008. I was eight months along. My boyfriend and I had decided to join our friends on a nice picnic at the Beach.

It wasn’t until we got home that my ankles started to swell. They had gotten badly sunburned and combined with the fluid retention; my feet and ankles were swelling up like rugby balls. I was carried, raja-like by my friends to the couch – where I stayed for three days, swapping my feet between buckets of ice and raising my legs on a dozen pillows, taking painkillers and crying.

And the baby wasn’t even born yet!


I felt a tremor in me waters then.  Like, they do on Jurassic Park, when the liquid in the cup ominously trembles and someone whispers, ‘It’s coming!’

Parenthood doesn’t sound that bad, you say. No? Well, listen to this!

Newborn Nat

The next thing to go when you become a parent is your sense of dignity.

Within eighteen months of my eldest child being born, I had sniffed the business end of my baby in public. I had also gone shopping at Countdown while still wearing my pajamas and my gardening crocs.

You will shout, “Ooh, look, a dog!” or even worse, go, “Woof, woof!” when you see one. You’ll SHOUT OUT every time you see something that could potentially interest a small child. It’s a hard habit to break! I still find myself, saying, “Ooh, look, a truck!” And the boys are 10, 12, and 32.


The next thing to go when you become a parent is your wallet. That hurts the worst of all. My father likes to say, when you’re expecting a baby, to save time, simply start up the automatic payments immediately for half your wages to go to the supermarket and the other half to go to the doctor. Because you won’t see a RED cent for yourself for many years to come!


The marvelous thing about having babies is that every day is a magical new adventure. You never know what’s going to happen. Mostly, what will happen is dealing with dirty nappies, vomit, and sleepless nights.

However, sometimes, gorgeous things happen. Like the first time you witness your child being kind, or, when you get a chocolate-covered kiss, (the milky acids are good for the skin).

But, the next minute, the same beautiful child will stand on your toe, stick their elbow in your eye and drop your Iphone down the toilet. That’s kids, for you.

Nat & Phil

So I say to you young people brimming with hope, that parenting is full of perils and woe, especially if you’re unfortunate enough to have boy babies like I did. You will suffer! You will curse. You will raise a pointed finger to the sky and cry, “Why?”

You’ll give everything you have to your child and still give more…until you’re nothing but a shriveled up pile on the floor. When your child will ask you, “What’s for dinner?”

boys & Phil0002

So, I say to you, ‘Parenting is not for the faint-hearted.’

“But, Grandma,” you ask me. Go on – ask me, ‘What about having babies?’

Yes, of course you must do it!

One day, when you’re old enough, you’ll have babies of your own. You have to!

Because, while having kids may be hard work, I hear having grandchildren is absolutely wonderful!

Thank you.

Picture 166

Keep Striving!

Talk to you soon,

Yvette K. Carol


One’s destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things. ~ Henry Miller

  1. What a great speech and tons of fun! i love all the photos, too! Cheers to taking First Place, Yvette!

    Liked by 2 people

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks, Lynnie! You helped along the way, too, remember! Now, I just need to do it again, only in a larger auditorium, in front of even more people, right? Piece of cake! 🙂


  2. Well, no wonder you won first place! 🙂 That is such a lovely piece on the joys and pains of parenting.

    But, I actually do tell my kids not to have kids (and I’m not joking!).

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Ha ha, your comment made me laugh, Teresa! And thank you.

      I admit this speech was all floppy when I first wrote it, standing at about six pages long, a few weeks ago. I honed it on poor, unwitting family & friends, who were roped in, one-by-one over the last week, and made to sit and listen! By using everybody’s feedback and cutting the fat, I ended up with nearly four pages of just the best bits.

      With this speech, I took a risk, because it was supposed to be funny, I decided to ‘ham it up’ a little. So I do a little ‘bit’ where I pretend to be everybody’s grandma. There’s quite a funny video of me rehearsing the whole thing before we left for the contest, that I’ll put up on YouTube. I’m about to put out the Newsletter so I’ll have the link in there for you. 🙂

      I think it was a little extreme for some of the older, more genteel members of the fraternity. Bruce, my beloved centenarian friend was standing at the back, and I caught his stunned expression a few times as I was speaking! 🙂 It was hilarious.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Catherine Johnson says:

    Great speech, Yvette! The calling out truck part is funny. Mine never look.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks that made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

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