I have stacks upon stacks of parenting books sitting on my (very overloaded) bookshelves, but most of them are only half read. As I flip the pages, I just think to myself, “This isn’t real life.” Sure, they’re great ideas to aspire to, but at the end of the day, different things work for different moms. So I started turning to less-conventional outlets to find the practices that worked best for me: other moms, blogs, websites, and, you guessed it, Scandal.

I remember walking through Michael’s looking for craft supplies for my two-year-old who was throwing a bit (read, a lot) of a temper tantrum and I told myself, “Just wear the white hat. Do the right thing.” That got me thinking about what other little nuggets of wisdom I could find in my favorite show.

So I binge-watched the series (for research, obviously), and came up with these pointers:

1. Always wear the white hat

Dinner is wrecked, your baby is screaming, the laundry isn’t folded … the list goes on. You may want to burn the white hat, but don’t do it. The only thing that can keep you sane is the thought that you can and will rise above. Do the right thing: wear the white hat. Because if you take it off, let’s be real, who knows what monsters may arise.

2. Gladiate

Fierceness is a quality that comes along with parenting territory — it’s your right as a protector and parent to that little human you made. Don’t apologize for being your child’s gladiator. It’s a title not easily won, but it’s one that you deserve.

3. Utilize your resources

Pope and Associates have a lot of resources at their fingertips, but sometimes they have to take the back way in. Now, I’m not saying you should threaten and blackmail to get your kid in that private school you’re eying, but take stock of your natural talents, and see how they can get you where you want to be.

4. Know the power of wine and popcorn

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. We all need those moments of bliss when the kids are in bed and we forget about the to-do list. Uncork that bottle, pop that popcorn (extra butter, thank you), and for the love of Olivia Pope — relax.

olivia pope wine

5. Stand in the sun

Where is Jake Ballard when you need him? At the end of the day, you have to live in the truth as it presently is and face it head on. Otherwise, things stay broken, and you never end up moving forward. In my mind, this mentality is paramount when raising children, because only when you acknowledge the truth of the present can you amend your plan for the future.

6. Make jam

With that being said, you also have to have an element of “making jam,” that is to say, a dream or fantasy that you look forward to but isn’t quite reachable yet. Take that vision, hold on to it, and make it your happy place when you’re certain that invasion of the body snatchers has happened and your child has taken momentary reprieve from normal human behavior.

7. Handle it  

Part of parenting is being 10 steps ahead in terms of thinking of a solution. This goes hand in hand with multi-tasking and looking at every side of a situation, all things that Olivia Pope excels at. Next time your spouse asks if you’ve done the grocery shopping and/or paid the bills, just tell them, “It’s handled.” They’ll respect you for the force of nature you are and feel discouraged from asking any further questions — a mother’s dream.

While I’m not quite at Pope & Associates’s level yet, remembering these things in the heat of battle (also known as when you’re trying to cook breakfast with a baby on your hip and she burns her arm on the toaster) has restored a minor sense of sanity in this crazy thing they call parenting.

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