As a mom, I mess up ALL THE TIME!
Before having kids, I knew exactly how parenthood was going to be, exactly how I would handle problems, melt downs, etc. And honestly, with my first son, things were going pretty smoothly and according to my plan. Then came my second son-and everything went out the window. Our oldest began competing for attention, and by this, I mean he started making some pretty bad behavior choices. And as an exhausted mommy, so did I.
It’s not everyday that I feel proud of my parenting ability. Sometimes it takes a few days to go by to feel as if I’m doing anything right. Have I cried myself to sleep after a stressful day full of meltdowns? Absolutely. Have I gone to sleep with my last thought being how my sons showed amazing manners to a complete stranger? Yes. As we all know, there are good moments and there are bad moments. On days when the bad outnumbers the good, it’s HARD to feel like you’re doing anything right. But I know I try. And I try, and try and try…but the patience runs out and other life stresses take their toll.
There is one thing I know I am doing right. I am letting my kids know it is ok to mess up. Every single night I talk to my boys about the day and I make sure to apologize if I’ve lost my temper or handled things the wrong way. We also review our day together and discuss what was the most fun, what we thought was best, and also we talk about situations that went wrong, how they could have handled things differently to make things better, and what choice they can make the next time. I make sure to also discuss how we all could have handled things differently in certain situations.
We talk EVERYDAY about how it is ok to mess up. That EVERYBODY does it. That every single person on the face of the earth makes bad choices and/or has a bad day. But how you handle the mess up defines who you are. You can fix the mess up and make things better or you can throw a tantrum (or a toy) and make things worse. You can try to blame someone else (“but he hit me first”) or you can take responsibility for your own actions and FIX THEM. You can be the solution to the problem or make the problem even bigger.
So yes, I probably raised my voice today. Yes, I may or may not have threatened to take away a Christmas toy or a future playdate-BUT-I said I was sorry and I FIXED the problem. I talked it out, kissed it out, and hugged it out-and we moved on.
My kids know it’s ok to mess up. But they also know they need to fix their mess ups and try to make things better.