There is a fine line between self-deprecating and self-defecating. Just a quick switch of the pr with an f and you’re there. As a parent, I’m all too familiar with defecation. On more than one occasion I’ve found my kid’s poop on the cuff of my suit jacket half way through the work day, courtesy of a hasty diaper change before I left the house. (I’ve since learned to roll up my sleeves, I promise. But I’ll understand if you politely refuse to shake my hand after reading this.) As someone with a job that requires annual self-reviews, I’m also familiar with self-deprecation. I’ve sat through more than one women’s empowerment lecture on the topic of effective self-promotion and I’ve read plenty of articles and books that describe the tendency of women to minimize their roles in the success of their organizations. Too often, according to the experts, we ladies hide our lights under the team bushel. “My team had a great year, and I’d like to believe that I played a significant role in our success.” This is shitty way to promote oneself, according to those experts. I agree.
But I still think a little self-deprecation can go a long way, and conversely, there is such a thing as getting carried away with the touting of one’s achievements—e.g., any bald attempt to steal the light from someone else’s bushel is not a good idea. A little self-deprecation adds credibility in some situations and, in others, it can soften a hard target or make someone else feel a bit better about themselves. There’s a time and a place to be self-deprecating. Yet, when it comes to parenting and evaluating our own performance in that realm, I think most of us are too self-deprecating. You might be thinking: Oh no, you are sooo wrong. You should scroll through my Facebook feed and see all the shameless self-promotion that goes on! Continue reading