If there were any saying that applied to me, it would be "We are our own worst critics." Especially when it comes to parenting. I think we can all agree that we want so desperately to be the best parents for our children that when we "mess up" or do something we wish we could take back, it really hurts.
I only wish I had realized this a bit sooner and hadn't spent so much wasted energy shaming myself.
I do my best to wake up every morning with a positive attitude and keep myself in check with my kids. That means speaking appropriately to them, treating them with kindness and love, and expecting the same in return.
But you know, life happens, and I'm tired or annoyed. Or tired AND annoyed and hormonal and suddenly I'm not exactly the model parent I had hoped to be.
And that's when I yell or scream or scold. And perhaps say things I wish I could rephrase or even take back.
What follows has generally been a long series of self shaming that occurs, usually with an inner monologue that goes something like this:
I'm a terrible person. My kids deserve someone better than me.
Perhaps that's a bit extreme for losing my temper with them and not doing anything near hurting them. But I want to be good for them. I want them to have a wonderful childhood. But somewhere along the way, I equated a happy childhood with perfect mother.
And so anytime I messed up, no matter how big (or, really, pretty small in the long scheme of their life), I'd spend way too much time and energy feeling bad.
But lately, after what's been a challenging few months, I'm learning that my kids don't need a perfect mother. They need an honest, loving mother who sets an example of how they should respond when they do something that hurts someone else.
They realize their mistake and apologize for what they did. And then they move on to try to make better decisions and choices next time around.
I certainly wouldn't want my kids to beat themselves up. Rather, I'd want them to learn from their missteps and take something from it to be better next time.
Be tender to yourselves, mamas. Mistakes will be made but it's what you do with the second chance that makes the difference.
What do you do when you lose your temper?
Image via Alvarez-Tostado/Flickr