It’s such a crazy journey. There’s no guide book, no how-to manual. It’s all flying by the seat of your pants and praying you’re doing something right. Sometimes we do things we aren’t proud of. That’s where I am. Sitting at the crux of feeling guilty and knowing everyone makes mistakes.
See, I’ve become a yeller.
I’m not quite sure how that happened, but it’s true. It used to take a lot for me to get upset, to yell and scream and now it seems to happen fairly regularly. It’s embarrassing and I’m working on it.
My children learn by watching. They learn by emulating what they see around them. How can I expect them not to scream at each other when that’s what they witness whenever I get upset?
It’s time for me to make some adjustments. The kids need to know I mean business when I yell, it needs to mean something.
But it’s not all bad news here. I’m learning too, almost continuously, on this crazy journey of parenting. And my latest gem?
It’s vitally important to apologize to our children.
We all make mistakes. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. US.
Our children need to know that mommy and daddy aren’t perfect, that we fail at times and that we keep trying.
Take this morning for example. It was time to leave for school and my daughter was putting up a fight. She wanted a snack and she definitely did not want to put on her shoes. I was losing my patience. I ended up growling “PUT. ON. YOUR. SHOES!” and her hands flew to her mouth..in fear.
I immediately felt my anger vanish and I reached out out to her for a hug. “Oh honey, I am SO sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. I just need you to get ready because we are running late. But I shouldn’t have yelled like that.” She quietly let me put on her shoes and hugged me back.
I felt awful. Not because I yelled; that happens and she needed to move her rear end. Our kids, cute and sweet as they can be, will also drive us crazy. There’s no way around it. But I don’t want my children to ever be afraid of me.
There is a difference between instilling respect and legitimate fear. I think children should have a healthy amount of anxiety over disappointing their parents. You want them to do the right thing and make good choices. I remember choosing the right path on several occasions merely because I couldn’t bear the look on my mother’s face if I made the wrong one.
But that’s not what this was. Her face was not a look I want to see.
I made a mistake and I told her so.
Apologies don’t have to be immediate like this one. Sometime it takes a while to see the error in our ways. But they need to be said…and out loud to every aged child – newborns to teenagers and into adulthood.
Right now I’m living the life of toddlers and preschool. The things I’m sorry about aren’t the same as the things I’ll be apologizing for when they are ten or fifteen. At that point, it might be even more important for them to hear my apology. I can only imagine the mistakes I’ll make at that time, not just with them, but with life in general, in my marriage and home life.
I’ll mess up again. I’m human and inevitably, it will happen a hundred more times – to my daughter, my son, my husband, my friends. But I’ll say I’m sorry when I know I’m wrong every time. Out loud. So my children can hear it.