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The Power of an Apology
Let’s face it. We all have our bad mama moments: those times when you know you’re overreacting but just can’t stop yourself, when you lose your cool and yell at the loves of your life, when you say things that you really don’t mean. It happens to the best of us.
I’ll never forget the day when I had fussed at my six-year-old son so much that he finally looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “I feel like I just can’t do anything right.” And do you know what I did? I basically told him to get over it. Ouch. I experienced some pretty serious mama guilt after that one.
But I’m going to let you in on a little secret. There is tremendous power in an apology. Yep, you heard me right. Unfortunately you won’t be able to take back the not-so-nice things that you said or did, but you are capable of apologizing, Mama. And you know what? A humble, heartfelt apology from you has more power than you can possibly imagine.
I know this because I lived it. I have a fantastic mother–really, she’s one of the best–but there were plenty of times when I was growing up that she lost her cool, overreacted, made mistakes. But she would always sit down with me afterwards and apologize. And to be completely honest with you, I can’t remember any of those mistakes that she made. All I remember are the sweet talks and long hugs that we shared while sitting in the floor of my bedroom.
And that teary-eyed six-year-old I mentioned earlier? He got a heartfelt apology from his mama a few minutes later (with a heaping helping of humble pie on the side). We hugged, I wiped his tears away, and then I had the opportunity to praise him for all the things that he had done right that day. And I can guarantee you that our heart-to-heart talk after the bad moment will stick with him much, much longer than my unkind words.
So keep that in mind, Mama. You are going to make mistakes and have bad days, but kids are resilient. All children just want their parents to love them, so when you offer a sincere, loving apology, your kids will be able to forgive and forget more quickly than you think possible.
And your mistakes can be such valuable lessons for your kids! Our children need to know that it’s not possible to be perfect, that screw-ups and bad choices are an inevitable part of life. Let them see you handle your own mistakes with humility and grace, and your example will teach them how to handle their own failures in the future. Your heartfelt apologies have the power to mold your children into kind, considerate adults who won’t be afraid to make mistakes and who will be much more successful in their adult relationships.
Being a mom is a tough job. You don’t need to make it tougher by holding onto tons of mama guilt. Say you’re sorry, hug, cry, kiss, wipe tears away, and let it go.
(Disclaimer: Please know that I’m not excusing parenting mistakes that fall outside of the realm of “normal.” If you find yourself struggling with a bad temper, violent and/or abusive tendencies, depression, or any other serious issues, please, please, please get the help that you need so you can be the best mom possible to your kids. And don’t be ashamed if you have to ask for help…your kids will see that as a sign of strength!)