If we are being completely honest with ourselves, we find that our kids have the ability to humble us more than anyone else in the world. Even famous people talk about how their kids don’t think they are cool, even though everyone else in the world thinks they are! But it isn’t just about being cool or not, there is so much to the word “humble.”
When I googled the word “humble” it says, “to lower someone in dignity or importance.” I don’t love that definition at all, so I looked on dictionary.com and it said, “not proud or arrogant.” That’s a little closer. I remember seeing a poster at church one time that said, “To be humble is not to think less of yourself, but to think of yourself less.” Now that’s the kind of humbling that is a byproduct of parenting. We learn to think of ourselves less and put another’s needs above our own. This is in no way making us less important or lowering our dignity, IF ANYTHING, it makes us more important and dignified. Parenting has a natural way of making us less selfish, and what a gift that is. When we learn to think of ourselves less and put others first we get to truly experience love at its finest.
Before we had kids, my husband and I had so many judgements and thoughts of how ‘We would be when we had kids.’ I remember saying things like, “I would NEVER drive a minivan and if I ever got that low, I would clean it and it would never be like the filthy minivans all those mom’s drive.” haha oh how I am eating those words as I sit shotgun in my mom-van while my husband is driving our family on a road trip. And lets be honest here, this minivan is filthy way more often than it is clean. I feel like I am constantly cleaning it, but somehow, it just never feels clean. Maybe its the dried fruit snacks that got stuck to the seat last week, or the spilt juice that my kids forgot to tell me about. Or maybe it’s the sand left over from our trip to the beach the other day because it’s nearly impossible to leave the beach without taking half the sand home with you. Maybe it’s all the stuff I overpack; extra diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, toys and snacks. Because I know the day that I forget to bring a change of clothes will surely be the day one of my kids decides to pee themselves or fall in the mud.
I over-prepare, over-think, over-plan and over-pack for everyone but myself. Like the time I packed my sons lunch, grabbed his toy for “share day” at school, everyone was fed and ready, but when I pulled up to drop him off at school, I realized I forgot my own shoes and probably forgot deodorant that day too! Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining at all, I love and appreciate my mom-van more than any other car in the world. My doors open at the touch of a button, the safety ratings are great, the tv and built in cooler are on point. The trunk space is as beautiful to me now as a giant walk in closet was to me back in the day! I am thankful for convenience, thankful for anything that makes my life easier.
It isn’t just the minivan though, I have eaten a lot of words I once said like, “I would never let my kids sleep in bed with me” or “I’ll never give my kid candy just to shut them up” (Ok i don’t make a habit of this, but its definitely been done) or “look at that kid throwing a fit, how embarrassing” now I look at moms with total understanding and compassion instead of judgement. You do what you gotta do and we’re all just doing our best right? So maybe part of the definition of ‘humbling’ should mention that you learn to give others grace instead of judgement and compassion rather than pointing the finger.
I don’t think that being a mom taught me to think of myself less, it just happened. The moment I looked in my newborn babies eyes, I knew I was changed forever. And not the kind of change where I wanted to change or needed to change, but the kind of change that just happened without me having a choice. I knew I would do anything for my child and without my knowing, it was like God changed my perspective. Suddenly, wasting time on magazines and trashy television didn’t seem as important. My perfectly toned and tanned body with my freshly dyed hair and polished nails, weren’t a priority anymore. All the ‘things’ I did with my free time just didn’t seem to matter as much. Nothing mattered more than this baby I held in my hands. This baby that needed me and loved me, this baby that gave me a real purpose and meaning in life.
As time goes on, you just get used to not doing things for yourself. But as my children get older, I have started realizing that those little things that give me a little ‘me time’ have been cherished. Getting my hair or nails done feels just as good as going to the Ritz, when before it was just a task I don’t think I ever fully appreciated. I remember the day my husband and I looked at each other and said, “did you realize that before we had kids, every night was date night and now we have to actually plan it out?” Because just getting pizza and snuggling on the couch never felt like a date but now that totally qualifies as a perfect night together. I don’t need all the 5 star, fancy and indulgent things that I once needed to feel special. My husband doing the dishes for me and giving me a foot rub at the end of a long day makes me feel more special than him giving me a diamond bracelet!
I appreciate so many things on a different level. All in all, thinking of myself less has given me the opportunity to open my eyes and appreciate life and it’s beauty so much more. Giving will always be more fulfilling than receiving, and strangely enough, when you give, you learn to really be thankful for the things you do receive.
In the comments, share how you’ve been humbled in your journey of parenting!