The Humility of Parenthood

There is no escaping humiliation as a parent.

Even if you think you’ve done everything right, your kids will reveal to you ways in which you didn’t even know it was possible to fail. You cannot stand blameless before the world and say, “I made no mistakes as a parent”. It’s not possible.

The mistakes that are easy to identify aren’t the most humiliating. Saying, “I didn’t know what I was doing here, and I would do it this way now” is hard, but not that hard.

What’s really hard are the times when you know you haven’t done things well, but you don’t quite know why or what you would’ve done differently. The known unknowns of parenting.

The grace in all of this is that this kind of humility is good for a person. There aren’t many other ways to get it, and none quite as powerful.

Being backed into a corner, forced without escape to see in yourself shortcomings, errors, and screwups you can’t even pinpoint removes the feeling of smug superiority from the field of options. You know too much about what your kids reveal in you to maintain it.

Being stripped of that sort of pride and learning to be ok with the inability to defend yourself at every turn is a kind of freedom that only comes with pain. But it’s good.

%d bloggers like this: