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Sit Down, Be Humble!

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Black Mother Kissing Daughter

I looooooooooove this Kendrick Lamar song, with the exclusion of everything ‘%$#*&’ he said between Sit Down and Be Humble. And I have low key adopted it as a mantra to keep myself in check.

For example, when I’m feeling like being unnecessarily heady, what do I tell myself? Sit down…be humble. Act like you know it all? Sit down…be humble. Hating on someone for no reason? Sit down…be humble. Think you’ve got parenting figured out? Sit down…be humble.

Yep, you read it right (lol). Being a parent is one of those life-changing events that makes you eat humble pie, and that’s what this post is all about. If you keep reading this, you’re either currently a parent, planning to be one, know someone who is or you’re just simply curious.  But regardless of your parental status, welcome to it.

My personal experience

I waited for 7 years after I got married to have a child- it was a deliberate choice my husband and I made. So, you can say that when our daughter was born, we planned as much as we could for her addition to our family. Biggest caution here though- there is no amount of planning, preparedness, forecasting, parenting algorithm, life coaching or predictive parenting analysis you can do (if there’s anything like that) that can prepare you for the realities of being a parent. It is a lot of work, a life-changing event that takes its toll on your body, emotions, sanity, your sleep (I could write a book on this one trust me), your entertainment (because you are subjected to watching Shaun the Sheep 10 times a day), your day-to-day  routine, your bank account and your patience levels.

It can make you worry about what the life holds for your child and how good (or bad) a parent you are etc. If you didn’t have a life plan before, your life suddenly has a meaning because you are now a parent and you take conscious steps to make life work for you. Your social life gets lulled for some time. You suddenly have someone who is dependent on you for Every.Single.Thing. And it doesn’t even matter if you were the default babysitter for your nieces, nephews, godsons/daughters, friends’ children or little cousins and you have gained ‘experience’- when you have your own child/ren, everything changes. You become humble. How?

4 ways being a parent humbles you

  1. Because there is no filter with children, they are brutally honest- sometimes even bruising your ego in the process

My daughter is a feisty 6-year-old who remains the only one capable of testing my limits without me retaliating. She speaks the truth with no filter (which is always so amusing as she is too young to be tactful) and she is brutally honest. She lets me know that I am spending too much time on the phone, that I gave someone a rude look, that I should stop lying about the tooth fairy, that I don’t look nice in an outfit, that I showed up too early to pick her up at school and I ruined her afternoon in the process because she can’t play for long anymore (mind you, other kids are just too happy to see their parents), that my legs are too long, that she doesn’t like her dad’s new haircut, and, and, and. Enough said here though, I’m sure you get my drift.

  1. You learn to slow down, let go and not take certain things so seriously

We know that when children do things, they take their time because they are not as quick as adults, which is understandably so. They also make mistakes in the process (good for their learning), they do what they think is right and they make you wait. Literally put, they get on your nerves. But the look on my child’s face when I nag her to hurry up, or when she says ‘but Mummy, you don’t have to shout’ makes me slow down and let go of control. I then think to myself, but where am I hurrying to, will the world end if I spare my girl an extra 3 minutes? As someone who likes to do things as quickly and as soon as is possible, my daughter has taught me to slow down. She dislikes someone else doing for her what she can do for herself and I’m just learning to let her be.

  1. They make you less selfish, providing you with opportunities to gain new perspectives

When kids are infants and unable to do anything for themselves, we are generally unselfish, because we know we are meant to be at their beck and call. But when they are grown enough to change the TV channels without being assisted, know how to get the yoghurt in the fridge without asking you, can go to the loo without help etc. we tend to think we can be a bit selfish with our time. But it is the time they need us the most. Because they are discovering themselves and realise that they have a voice and an opinion, they always have a need to talk. You’ll find my daughter saying things like ‘Mama, stop nodding, look at me in the eyes when I talk to you or Please drop your phone and let’s watch this movie together’.  When such things come from a child, you become more aware of your actions, realise the impact such actions have on the child and see things from their point of view.

  1. They make you realise that simplicity is essential and not just a buzzword.

Children don’t need a lot and in our bid to make them well rounded, we enrol them in all sorts of activities, they have busy schedules, we buy them stuff and give them all the extras. We do everything we can to ensure that they get the right ‘stimulation’. However, children are simple beings and they have enough stimulation than we think. They don’t need all that noise. Sometimes, they want some silence in the home, they sometimes want to play on their own, they want to discuss their day with us even if all they talk about is the verdict on what should be in their lunch box. They want to sit outside with you when you are exercising, they want to be sat with on the floor to play that board game, they want to hold your hands while feeling your warmth beside them on the couch (even when you are rolling your eyes at the proposal of watching her favourite show for the 8th time that month), they want to choose their clothes without any help from you, they know what hairstyle they want and they want to be treated like they belong etc. They want to talk about their challenges .e.g. a classmate who says mean things at school is a challenge. She wants to know how to deal with the girl who keeps interrupting her in the class. They want to be taught how to do things, an opportunity that will not be explored if there’s clutter and noise all around them.  Yes, we want our children to be achievers, but what is more important is that they are groomed to be independent, happy, creative and at peace.

My conclusion

Parenting is hard work and is no walk in the park. With all the ills of the world, I truly understand why some people decide not to have children because every little bad thing makes you think- what if that is my child? Nonetheless, deciding to and having a child provides an indescribable feeling, it is fun, tedious, an adventure and a life changer.

Now that my child is older, her levels of reasoning and interrogation are heightened and we have great conversations. I can see how she is becoming her own person, expressing her joys and anger, choosing her own clothes, how observant she is- how she notices the slightest changes in my facial expressions, how she looks at her dad and can tell he just had a haircut, how bold, strong and sensitive she is, how she sticks to her guns and speaks her mind, how she stands up for her friends at school, how she is able to negotiate her way out of situations, how extroverted she is, how she calls me out when I act out of line and how she likes to be the life of the party.

No manual can tell you how to be a parent and no one knows it all when it comes to parenting. There is no foolproof method to adopt when it comes to this as children have a mind and grow up wanting to make their own decisions. Parenting has made me step out of my comfort zone, gain new perspectives because I see things through the eyes of my child, I’m more patient and adaptable. I pray more, I now know what the Teen Titans are all about, I know the words to some songs in the Frozen movie, my freezer is stacked with boxes of chicken nuggets and I try to be better.

Being a parent is a job- it is hard work but one that is extremely rewarding and worthwhile in the end.

Are you a parent? If yes, how has having a child ‘humbled’ you? And if you’re not one, how do you think it will change you?  Go ahead and post a comment on the link below. I’ll really love to hear from you.

Wishing you all the best this new month of May has to offer. Chat again soon xoxo

Image Source: Pixabay

4 Comments

  1. Mandla

    May 10, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Couple of items come to mind

    * Do you desire control or power over of your child, What would that power over your child afford you, What would it make your daughter ?

    * Humility, best expressed by Simon Sinek’s story of the retired General …

    * When last did you fail, Do you appreciate failure, How would you go about instilling a love for failure in your daughter, and what would that mean to the kind of challenges she would take on, the type of problems she would solve …

    * How do you balance being humble, and being confident & assertive [a trait that might be desirable for the corporate world].

    * There is a lot we can learn from our kids, Playing hard, Resting, Being ernst in our interactions, authenticity, going all in, the power of belief, …

    * Your daughter sounds like a well rounded little person, There is something amazing in their eyes, when they look up to you, and you can see that this love, this affection, has no malice, has no agenda, it just is ….

    Thank you for the intriguing read

    Reply

    • Eniola

      May 10, 2018 at 7:12 pm

      Your 5th point sums it all up for me, as well as what you said about them having no agenda, they are just themselves. Kids can teach us a lot if we become less hurried and are open to learning. Awesome feedback Mandla. Thanks so much

      Reply

  2. B2melo Motlepa

    June 26, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Wow, what a mouthful…the joy I had just reading this Eniola 🙂

    I have never met your daughter but from what you have shared with me so far, she is quite something. I think I can learn a thing or two from her, LOL

    I have a 2 year old daughter, my goooosh…she never seems to amaze me. I have learned a lot of things about her and myself in the process. Being her mum has changed a lot of things, I mean EVERYTHING…parenting is not only about taking care of the little one or having new responsibilities. It is a Life-changing event indeed, your life literarily changes. I have gained a whole new perspective about life.

    I have learned to love more, be more open and patient. I have learned that taking a shower is a luxury (laaaaaaawd I can never forget the day I longed to shower and she was just in control, I literarily cried), I have discovered inner strength that I never thought I had, things that once seemed important are now meaningless, the word TIRED, now has a different meaning to me.

    Reply

    • Eniola

      June 26, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      Such awesome feedback Tumi. Agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. Thanks for reading and sharing. xoxo

      Reply

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