Everyone makes mistakes.
Mistakes are not limited to children who are learning and growing.
Parents mess up too. And that’s OK.
There is a notion out there that since you are perfect in the eyes of your child, you SHOULD be perfect. You SHOULD keep that image going for your kids.
I am here to tell you, that’s some bullshit.
Nobody is perfect. Sure, your kids idolize you, and that’s great. But tell me, do they love you less when you aren’t wearing makeup? Do they love you less when your dinner sucks?
See where I’m going with this?
They already love you through the day-to-day imperfections. Why should owning up to your mistakes go any different?
“I Should Not Have Said That”
We try so hard to set good examples for our kiddos. Teach them kindness, empathy, passion…But sometimes, we parents screw up. We misstep. We say or do something stupid when the kids are watching. And they are ALWAYS watching (and listening).
For me, the best example I can cite is when I swear.
I have a pretty foul mouth. Shocker, right? I do try to keep it in check around my kids. I do not want to turn them into mini sailors or become the kids who teach their classmates the dreaded F-bomb. But – sometimes, I mess up and let the swear words roll when they’re around.
“I should not have said that.” I have flat out told my two oldest, reasoned with them even, that I am wrong for speaking this way and would hate for them to pick up my bad habit. I tell my daughter that those words don’t sound nice coming out of such a beautiful little face. I tell them I am sorry for using bad language and I will try to watch my mouth to better myself.
“I Should Not Have Done That”
Have you ever inadvertently broken a promise to your child?
Most recently, I promised my daughter we were going to bake cookies. I got busy doing other things around the house and it slipped my mind until later in the evening. When she finally reminded me close to bed time, she was devastated that I made a promise and did not follow through.
“I should not have done that.” I should not have made a promise I would not keep. I should not have made a promise and forgotten. It was wrong to get her excited about something and then lose myself in something else. I told her that I’m sorry and next time I make a promise, it will be my priority.
“I’m Sorry. How Can I Help?”
When I’m wrong, I tell my kids, “I’m sorry.” They need to know that I’m going to make mistakes, but I don’t mean to. They need to know that if they make a mistake, “sorry” is alway a good place to start.
“How can I help?” My oldest son is the most sensitive. He easily feels overlooked. If something is bothering him or not going his way – “I’m sorry I made you feel that way. How can I help?” Telling him that I’m sorry also helps validate the feelings he’s having. It tells him it’s OK that something is bothering him and I want to make it right.
I Am Not Always Right
I’m not perfect and I’m OK with that – what’s more, I’m OK with my kids knowing that.
I absolutely sometimes feel like a failure. But, ya know, these kids didn’t exactly come with a manual.
I say and do dumb shit all the time. The way I see it is – the least I can do for my kiddos is to set an example for how I handle my mistakes.
It’s not always going to be enough.
But it’s always a good start.