It was a long week with my husband traveling, pregnancy fatigue, and a testy toddler. I was putting said toddler to bed when we had one of those “one more….” episodes. You know the one more story, one more kiss, one more drink, one more prayer, and then the most awesome of them all “I need to poop” and then doesn’t actually go. I remember being so tired and just needing some time to myself and for her to go to bed so I snapped at her. I hated the look on her face after it happened, I instantly felt guilty and sincerely apologized. She was so sweet about it and instantly forgave me. Later, as I was thinking the event through I could sense this overwhelming feeling that I needed to give myself a little grace. I love my daughter so much and I do believe I am a good mom, but sometimes I mess up. Sometimes, I allow my emotions to get the best of me and I snap at my family. I also know that everyone else on this planet is human and struggles with the same things I do too. But how can we use these moments of weakness in ourselves to teach our children a better way?
Have you been in my shoes mama’s? Have you ever done or said something to or in front of your kids and instantly regret it? I think most of us would say yes, but if not, I think you are missing out. Hear me out before you think I’m crazy. I believe it’s extremely important to teach our kids how to screw up. Yes, I’m serious. I don’t believe in the “perfect” mindset because it doesn’t exist. When we mess up and apologize, or make things right, we show our children that it’s okay to make mistakes (because even your sweet little baby will make mistakes as they grow). Mistakes allow us to grow and learn from different situations. When we teach our children how to fail in safe environments they won’t be so afraid to fail as they step out on their own at school and in friendships. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could help our children succeed at life by allowing them to see that failure doesn’t have to be the end?
I have a distinct memory of getting into an argument with my mom and sitting in my room so upset, I remember just hoping and praying she would come to my room to say sorry. Note: I’m sure my pre-teen self was in the wrong, but I still needed that feeling of acceptance, reconciliation and forgiveness. Like she always did, my mom came to my room after we both had time to settle and we both apologized. I used to love those moments because they were so freeing, I felt as though my mom would love me even if I really messed up (and sometimes I did-I know your shocked right?!). I think one of the best gifts we can give our children is to allow them to be free to make mistakes without the fear of ridicule or shame.
So next time you find yourself wanting to protect your children from real life situations or from allowing them to see you cry/yell/get mad, think again. Give your children the gift of learning to deal with emotions and our imperfect beings. Apologize when you mess up, and forgive when they need to apologize to you.