One minute, you’re having a conversation about healthy eating with your child. The next minute, you’re stealing a cupcake from the batch your wife made for her committee meeting. Yes, the expert and the hypocrite can be the one and the same. You’re not perfect, and that’s part of the deal.
Even as I look at me writing these blog posts to you, the greater public, I think about this. Who am I to impart such wisdom on all of you when I sometimes let my kids get by without finishing chores? Well, I am a parent and I have some professional training. That doesn’t exempt me from being human.
Even after I write and post things, I sometimes still mull on them, wish I had changed something, roll them over in my mind. Even a day later, I can move on to a higher level of understanding about the topic I wrote on. So the post is simply a snapshot of my thoughts at the time, but my actual thoughts are much more fluid and constantly evolving in real life. Even the comments prompt deeper thoughts, and the original post becomes the first stepping stone. Writing and parenting, both are constantly in motion.
When you become a parent, that’s when you realize just how much you don’t know about a lot of stuff. Well, you do “know” things, but having to explain and follow through on them yourself is a trickier task. Much easier said than done. So while family development theories are nice for a term paper, they’ve got nothing
on parenting experience from the trenches.
You are often an expert in your children’s eyes, especially when they are young. You simply have more accumulated knowledge and experience than they do, and you have to literally teach them so many things as they grow. However, it can be easy to feel kind of like a fraud. You know “something” about black holes, more than your kids, but you aren’t exactly sure you’re telling them the right things. You aren’t truly an expert, only in relative terms. Until your kids hit middle school – then you won’t know anything. Maybe a few lucky parents out there will have kids who still think the earth turns around them, but not many.
Your kids will really catch you in something sometime – don’t think you can escape it. That’s the moment your humanness will overtake you and you become vulnerable. This might be something simple like the cupcake incident. Or, you might be caught doing drugs or stealing money. No matter what, it can be hard to
reconcile your human individual self and your parenting self. Both have to exist at the same time, and there is so much to learn about both.
That’s why the job of parenting is so difficult – it humbles and exalts you at the same time. The weight of the task can make it easy to falter at times. But the purpose behind parenting can often reveal strength of character you didn’t think you had. It’s a beautiful and troubling mix. But both can certainly complement the
No matter how consistent your discipline is, no matter how nutritious your cooking is, no matter how strong your hugs are, you will always be a fallible complex human being. You aren’t a supermom or superdad, you are a person AND and a mom or dad. That might be one of the hardest lessons of all to teach (and learn).