“Several weeks ago we were sitting around the dinner table sharing our ‘highs and lows’ of the day. It’s something we normally do to recap the day and share our best and hardest parts of the day. Everyone was laughing. It felt like such a good meal conversation. It was Sawyer’s turn to share his high and low of the day. ‘Alright buddy, you’re up.’
Without even taking time to think about it, he said in a firm and frustrated voice, ‘My low was mommy fighting at me. She yelled.’
It got quiet. My husband Ry looked at me. I felt embarrassed. Tears started to fill my eyes. I was mortified. Instantly I felt ashamed. Anytime I respond poorly to my kids I feel shame and guilt, but hearing Sawyer share made me feel so awful about myself! We encouraged him to express himself so I could understand how I made him feel. And while it made my heart sad, I knew I needed to hear that yelling ‘scared’ him. It was so important for me to be able to feel and listen to him as he shared. Then I hugged him tight and told him how sorry I was for yelling at him and for what I made him feel.
Shame sucks, but many of us feel it – especially in mom anger.
However, if I can tell you one important tool when it comes to your inappropriate emotional responses to your kids, it would be this: APOLOGIZE!!!
This is how we teach our kids empathy and grace. This is how we teach them right from wrong. This is how they learn that you make mistakes too. This is how we teach forgiveness and what it means to say ‘I’m sorry.’
I don’t even remember what Sawyer did that day to make me so angry. But I know it was a hard day and I was furious. There have been times when my anger has not only frightened myself, but my kids too. I know there was an unrecognizable monster that came out of me that day, and it scared us both. It wasn’t the first or second time this has happened. I have been there several times before, but I’m working on it. I’m a work in progress. I’m facing roots and the broken parts of me and doing what I can to surrender and overcome this part of me so I can learn to emotionally respond to my kids in a way that is reachable and impacting in a positive way.
Someone told me recently: ‘Motherhood is molding us into incredible human beings. It’s not just us who are molding our children. And sometimes ALL the ugly needs to come out so we can confront what needs to change. It’s okay. Forgive yourself, apologize to them, tell them you love them, and next time try better and do better.’
What a profound statement.
I have had some pretty ugly mom moments. And with those moments have come:
However, there is also beauty, strength, growth, forgiveness, and healing that is coming out of my story. Rest in the fact that your journey is molding you, too. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from each other. Make a change.”
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