Apologizing: The One Thing I Completely Own in Parenting

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I originally intended for this blog to be about childbirth and all that goes with it.  While I still love a good birth story and will talk to you for hours about all the having baby things, I feel led to share more.

Being a mother of 4, 4 and under, one thing that I am constantly struggling with is…DISCIPLINE.  Oh my goodness.  I can birth babies (thankfully) and breastfeed (again, thankfully) like nobody’s business, but discipline and training… I need all kinds of help with.

Now that my twins are nearly one, and I have a few more moments throughout the day to just BREATHE (or shower and use the bathroom without an audience), I know I need to start training them with certain things as well.  Like not to eat paper, books, or bugs.  Not to splash in the toilet, or drink water out of the bathtub.  These girls need some serious work, and I am dreading a year or 2 from now when I will want to drive them all the way to Arizona and leave them with their Grandma…FOREVER.

Yes, I said a year or 2.  No, I’m not being dramatic… just being as honest as I can be. My 2 and 4 year old are miniature teenagers.  I’m sure you parents get it.  We’ve all heard the threenager term thrown around.  But my daughter skipped the terrible twos and just went full on twonager.  She talks too much, thinks too much, the girl just does too much.  And I am not exaggerating this.  We almost paid for her to get into the zoo because we forget – she’s only 2.  That’s how completely ridiculous she is.  (And can’t forget that we have our darling twin girls, with her as their example…) Don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset that my little girl is smart.  I’m just not ready to be having full on debates with her, especially at 6 in the morning.

And then there’s…the boy.  This child knows me much too well. I guess after 4 years of living with someone, you probably should know them pretty well. Anyway, he has all these emotions (so weird) and he really shouldn’t be acting the way he does. (Have no idea where he gets this stuff from…)How do I fix it? How do I fix him???

So…I’m a yell-er.  I hate, hate, hate yelling.  But I yell.  Makes perfect sense, right???  RIGHT?!?! Okay, I’m joking. But seriously, I yell at my kids.  It could be because I don’t feel like getting up from my just-sat-down position, or because I just really don’t know what else to do.  I react more than I respond.  I don’t often give myself time to process and use the situation as a “teachable moment”.  I forget my kids are still so young, and I have had more time to learn and know what I know.  And no, they don’t always remember or think about what I just told them 2 minutes ago.  I mean it’s not like they have animals to impersonate, ninjas to be, messes to make or anything.

When I’m not all flustered and stressed out because my children aren’t behaving like perfect little angels, I understand these things.  I know that they need me to teach them, to remind them, and to sometimes just let them figure it out.  But in those moments when they mess up, like I NEVER do, I want them to know that they should already “get it”. That I shouldn’t have to keep repeating myself over, and over, and over again.  And I want to just do it for them, so it gets done the “right way”.

I fail at parenting, daily.  And obviously I don’t always have it all together. And because of this, there is a lot of apologizing in this family.  If there is one parenting skill that I am good at, it would be asking for forgiveness.  I have had to do it so many times, that I should be.  I think that if we are willing to humble ourselves and admit our mistakes and short comings to our children.  They will be more open to our correction and understanding of consequences that may come with some of their choices. Not that I’m an expert, clearly.

The point?  As parents, I think we just need to get really good at the whole apologizing thing.  Really.  Even if we get really good at the whole not losing it part, we won’t always get it right.  And we need our kids to know that we know what it’s like to mess up, and we know that we are not perfect.  Even though sometimes we absurdly expect perfection of them.