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.
Wasn’t I so cute?! 😉
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.
“Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory”-Betty Smith
I am married to an optimist, who has helped me see life with a little more positive view. I am trying to find the beauty before the ugliness, to look at each day as an opportunity for greatness instead of challenges, to first notice and recognize the good-before anything else. I have always been really hard on myself and have in moments lacked any compassion for myself. There were many days that I laid my head on the pillow at night feeling as though I made too many mistakes to be redeemed. I wasn’t a good mom, I wasn’t a good wife, I didn’t use my time wisely, I didn’t get all the laundry done…the list could go on. When I learned to give myself some compassion and grace, with my head on that pillow, I knew tomorrow would be a bright new day with a chance to do it over. Yes, some days my patience run thin, I am full of complaints rather than gratitude, but I’m still going to make the choice to acknowledge the things I do right. No, I’m not perfect, and I never will be but why shame myself? Why keep myself trapped in negative thinking instead of learning to forgive myself and move on?
- Let’s forgive because Jesus loves us even though we fail. God loves us despite our behavior. He sees past the outward actions to the inner reasoning behind the action.
- When we acknowledge the mistake for what it is it can no longer hold us captive. I’m reading an amazing book by Brene Brown called Daring Greatly. One of my favorite things she said is this “Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Good, right?! I remember feeling so guilty for a long time about getting really excited for my daughters nap time. What kind of stay at home mom gets excited for their child to nap? Once I confessed this to a good friend she said she does the same thing, and she reminded me that their nap time is a time to rejuvenate ourselves too. We can only give what we have, using nap time to regain some patience, tenderness, creativity is a blessing not something to feel guilty about.
- Let’s forgive ourselves because we are truly a miracle. I find it interesting and sad that we all can look at a baby or a child and not be able to deny how much of a miracle their life is. However, when we look at ourselves we see flaws and shortcomings instead of the miracle we are. Let us remember that our Creator had an intimate idea of who we would grow to be when He created us, let’s hold onto that idea instead of allowing ‘life’ to dull that image.
- Unforgiveness (even with ourselves) is harmful to our physical bodies. Numerous studies have shown that holding onto unforgiveness can lead to awful things such as: sickness, high levels of stress, depression, etc. This reasoning alone should be enough for us to learn to forgive a little more easily.
Friends, today can be a new day for you, a new season. A time to start investing in things that will have positive effects on your mind, body, and spirit. Even if you feel as though your heart is too hard, it’s not. There’s still time to uproot the ‘weeds’ in our lives and in place of them plant beautiful flowers.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” -2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)