We’ve all done it, haven’t we? You get up in the morning thinking, “Today’s the day. I’m not going to yell. I’ll keep my cool. We’ll be on time. Everyone will get along. It’s going to be a great day!”
And then no more than an hour later you’re yelling at your kids to get their shoes on as you rush out the door because you’re already late. (SMH).
“Welp, maybe tomorrow…” we think as the mom guilt sinks in. “I shouldn’t have screamed. I should have been more patient. They didn’t need a time out. I just need to fix myself. It’s not their fault I’m a jerk.”
But momma, it’s ok to mess up sometimes. And there’s just one trick to forgiving yourself for being a bad parent.
Here’s The Trick: Stop Believing You Need To Be Perfect!
As moms we seem to always want to beat ourselves up when we don’t get it right every moment of every day. But the reality is, no one does. And if you think they do, well then they are just really good illusionists! It’s time to start forgiving yourself for being a bad parent! There are three lies we tend to believe as moms that make us feel like failures…
Instagram (and other annoyingly shame inducing social media platforms)
Yep. We’ve all seen those flawless photos of Pinterest Perfect Patricia with her clear complexion, flawless hair, perfectly manicured nails, and stylish clothes. Her kids are always clean and smiling. Oh look, they’re on their third vacation this year…must be nice!!
Reality check: those photos are only one tiny little window into their real lives. What Patricia didn’t share was the fact that her kid threw up on her literally 3.5 seconds after that picture was taken.
That she happened to capture on film the one 5 minute period of time her kids weren’t fighting in a whole week.
That her and her husband have felt more and more distant these last few months with his new job and constant traveling. Their vacations are the only time they get to really connect.
Don’t let what you see on Instagram (or whatever other social platform you use) lead you to believe that everyone else has it together and you’re the only one riding the struggle bus. I promise you – that struggle bus is packed full of other mommas just like you!!
I’m Gonna Screw Up My Kids
Yep. Probably. If you don’t, someone else will. It’s just life.
Look, you’re never going to get it right every time. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to be perfect!
Adversity builds resilience in our kiddos, anyway. Not that you shouldn’t strive to be your best. But just know that when you’re not your best 100% of the time, your kids aren’t going to be scarred for life.
Instead, they will learn how to adapt and thrive and grow into awesome people who do awesome things!
And, yeah, they will probably have some flaws. They will have some struggles. And they’re going to have to work through that in their own way.
We will probably (almost definitely) contribute to that. But we’re not the only influences in their lives. Their peers, their friends, other authority figures, even the shows they watch or the songs they listen to will all influence who they become, too.
Do your best. But know that good enough is good enough when it comes to parenting.
Welp, I’m done – I made a mistake
Girl! Your mistakes don’t own you! We all make mistakes. Pretty sure I’ve made at least 100 just today (and I don’t even know what they all are)!
The key is what you do after you make a mistake.
First of all, the world would be pretty dang boring if everything was perfect, wouldn’t it?
Secondly, like I said before, mistakes teach us things. Honestly, would you have made the same mistake if you knew then what you know now? No? Good! Then take what you know now and apply it from now on!
No need to beat yourself up when you screw up. Acknowledge your mistake, take ownership of it, learn something, and move forward. Your kids (and everyone else) will respect you 1,000,000x more if they see you own up to and fix your mistakes rather than wallowing in self pity and giving up.
Earn respect. Don’t throw a pity party.
Change How You View Your Failures
The next time you slip up or do something you wish you hadn’t, remember that it’s ok. We all do it.
So take my advice, and let your failures refine you instead of define you.
Failure is an opportunity for growth
When we fail, it’s because we either didn’t know something or didn’t know how to implement something.
So instead of telling yourself you can’t do it. Tell yourself you can do it after you learn how.
You can choose to let your challenges be obstacles or turn them into opportunities!
If your goal is to not yell at your kids anymore, but then you do, so what?
I mean, yeah, ok. Yelling doesn’t make anyone feel good. I get that. But it’s not likely to ruin anyone’s life forever.
A consistent pattern of yelling over a long period of time might have some long term negative effects. But if you were *that* parent – you wouldn’t be here. You care about your kids and about their wellbeing (physically, mentally, and emotionally) which is why you don’t want to yell.
That fact in and of itself proves that you are a good mom. Take this time to evaluate why you yelled and come up with a better plan for next time. And then start forgiving yourself for being a bad parent.
Failure is an opportunity to lead by example
When we fail, we almost always do so in front of our kids. 🤦♀️🤷♀️
But that’s a good thing! Wanna know why? Because when we fail in front of our kids, we also get the opportunity to fix our failure in front of our kids. And that’s one of the best lessons you could ever teach them!
Did you yell at your child or say something mean out of frustration or anger? Take the opportunity to apologize and let them know that you shouldn’t have said what you said or did what you did. They will forgive you and they’ll learn that it’s ok to admit when you make a mistake and apologize for it.
Did you forget about something that was important to them? Let them know that you’re sorry and that you’ll work harder next time to remember. Let them see you write it down in your calendar the next time you need to remember something.
They’ll learn that people aren’t infallible but there are ways to make improvements so we can do better in the future.
Did you get angry over something silly and react negatively? Again, apologize. Talk to your child about the fact that you’re having a bad day and you’re stressed out.
Tell them it’s ok to get angry sometimes. Everyone does. We just have to work at not letting our anger make us do or say things that hurt other people.
Failure is an opportunity for forgiveness
When we fail, it’s the opportunity to model forgiveness of ourselves and to accept forgiveness from others.
This forgiveness piece is so important because forgiveness allows us and those we love to heal and move past the struggle. Forgiveness breeds love and joy while unforgiveness – yes even unforgiveness of ourselves – breeds pain and suffering.
When we hold onto shame and guilt from our own mistakes, we may think we’re not hurting anyone. But that shame and guilt transforms into ugly things that come out in our words and actions, most of all on the people we love.
Don’t let your unforgiveness become a bitter root that eats away at all the good in your life. Learn to forgive yourself and to accept the forgiveness of others.
You don’t have to be a perfect parent to be a good one. In an ideal world nothing would ever go wrong. But we don’t live in an ideal world. We are flawed humans who hurt each other and hurt ourselves.
And that’s not likely to change this side of heaven. So instead of letting ourselves go down that winding path of shame and guilt for our mistakes and mess ups, let’s use them as opportunities for growth and teaching.
And if all else fails, remember – perfect is boring anyway! You are a good mom. You got this!