The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines humility or the state of being humble as not proud or haughty, not arrogant or assertive; reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission; or ranking low in some hierarchy or scale.

Humility or the quality or state of being humble is considered to be one of the seven heavenly virtues that counteract the seven deadly sins.

Seven heavenly virtues – chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility.

Seven deadly sins – wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

I’m here to tell ya that if you weren’t a humble person before you have kids, you most certainly will be after having them.

I’ve been working on a committee with several other women.  Several other accomplished women.  One has an MBA, one is a CPA, and one has Ph.D.  But we all know each other in our jobs as mothers.  Accomplished mothers.

We have children ranging in ages from 20 months to 19 years.  The mom with the youngest children recently talked about changing one of her kid’s diapers and how a piece of poop fell out and she caught it with her bare hands before it hit the floor.  We all laughed as she held up her cupped hand, holding the piece of imaginary poop in it, and shared the story.  Because we could all relate to it.

Nothing quite teaches one humility more than handling your kid’s poop.  Or having a kid spit up or vomit or pee all over you.

I remember some of my humbling, mothering moments.

I still had my career job when I had my first two children.  I got to travel and meet with important people and negotiate national contracts for medical supplies for our customers.  I wore nice suits and high heels and makeup everyday.

But when I came home, I was just Mommy.  I wiped asses and snotty noses and cleaned up spilt milk from the floor.  My kids didn’t care that I had met with the senior executives of a major, multi-national company that day.  Or negotiated a great new contract.  Or landed a new account.


My second oldest daughter was very attached to our nanny – an older woman named Frances.  Frances doted on her.  She read books and played with her all day long.  When I got home I had to make sure that she ate dinner and had a bath and got to bed on time.  That wasn’t as much fun as what she did during the day.  It’s no wonder that when Frances left each day, she would stand at the door and cry for her.


Later on, I would abandon my career and stay home with my growing brood of children.  But, since DSH worked a lot of hours and traveled a lot, I was in charge of managing the home including most of the discipline and rules and day-to-day stuff.  The not-so-much fun stuff.

When Daddy was around, the girls were in heaven.  He was always so much more fun to be around than Mommy.  Mommy, who was in charge of all of the day-in, day-out tedious details of life.


They did go through a period, a very brief period in retrospect, where only Mommy could do this or that.  I remember being so physically over-stimulated that I couldn’t bear to be touched one more time.  The day that the tide turned and Daddy became the hero, well, it broke my heart.


My precious middle child wrote a recipe for a mother for a class assignment which was posted conspicuously on the bulletin board in the hallway.  Every child’s list of ingredients for their mothers included lovely things.  My child chose the honest route – my main ingredient was “mean beans.”


I am blessed with extremely smart kids.  After a certain age, when we would argue about something, I noticed a trend.  They were almost always right.  I was wrong, and they were right.  Oh, how they relish those moments.


To be a parent, especially a mother, is to learn the meaning of humility by experiencing it on an almost daily basis.  Sometimes on an hourly basis.

But it’s interesting.  DSH talks to the three little girls almost every single day even if it’s just via text message.  They share their accomplishments with him.  They talk about school assignments and social activities and roommates and all of the things that are important to college students.

But they call me for the other things.  Health questions or issues.  Problems with friends.  Financial aid snafus.  Questions on taxes.  When they are upset and crying.

Nothing can quite prepare you to hear your almost adult children call you when they are crying and knowing that there is really not too much you can do about it.  They aren’t close enough for you to wrap your arms around them.  You know that, ultimately, they will have to take care of whatever problem it is that they are having.

Sometimes when they call, my stomach turns as I wait for the other shoe to drop.  To hear the question or problem.  To listen to them.

Somehow, I’ve learned to mostly just listen.  To wait to offer suggestions or solutions.  When I jump in too soon, they shut down.  We’re learning, together, these changes in our roles and how we relate to one another.

But always, they seem to be able to give me a lesson in humility.

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