Our need for certainty in an endeavor as uncertain as raising children makes explicit 'how-to-parent' strategies both seductive and dangerous.
First and foremost, we need to be the adults we want our children to be. We should watch our own gossiping and anger. We should model the kindness we want to see.
We judge people in areas where we're vulnerable to shame, especially picking folks who are doing worse than we're doing.
When the people we love stop paying attention, trust begins to slip away and hurt starts seeping in.
Anonymous comments? You're not in the arena, man. If you can't say it to me in person in front of my kids, don't say it.
I was raised in a family where vulnerability was barely tolerated: no training wheels on our bicycles, no goggles in the pool, just get it done. And so I grew up not only with discomfort about my own vulnerability, I didn't care for it in other people either.
I'm not a parenting expert. In fact, I'm not sure that I even believe in the idea of 'parenting experts.' I'm an engaged, imperfect parent and a passionate researcher. I'm an experienced mapmaker and a stumbling traveler. Like many of you, parenting is by far my boldest and most daring adventure.
The best marriages are the ones where we can go out in the world and really put ourselves out there. A lot of times we'll fail, and sometimes we'll pull it off. But good marriages are when you can go home and know that your vulnerability will be honored as courage, and that you'll find support.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn't feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive.
The intention and outcome of vulnerability is trust, intimacy and connection. The outcome of oversharing is distrust, disconnection - and usually a little judgment.
Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can't ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment's notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow - that's vulnerability.
The uncertainty of parenting can bring up feelings in us that range from frustration to terror.