I’ve been dreading this post all day. You see, committing to being real and honest on this blog means that I share the bloopers and the fails. It’s not all fun and giggles around here – it’s tears, apologies, and screw ups too. The last few days have been a series of fairly bad parenting screw ups. And I’m writing about them. Because real is real folks, and I’m not perfect.
Good grief am I not perfect! In the past 2 days I’ve managed to make some of the worst parenting decisions that I possibly could – one of those was this afternoon. I opened my big mouth and said something that I shouldn’t have because I was angry. I was frustrated. That tends to happen when your 3-year-old does his level best to kill himself with the electrical socket.
I’m not going to share what I said. Just believe that I shouldn’t have said it. It was hurtful, it was mean, and it was not something you should say to someone you love. I screwed up.
Sure, I apologized and I gave hugs, but that doesn’t take the words back. It doesn’t change the fact that I let my frustration slip and say something he’ll probably remember for the rest of his life. If any of my early childhood memories are an indicator, this is the one thing he’ll remember when he’s older instead of all the good memories.
I’ll be perfectly honest and tell you that I’m stressed out. I’m overdoing it. The holidays tend to have that effect on me anyway, and I’ve committed to enough stuff that I’m starting to freak out a little. But that’s no excuse and I refuse to use it as one. I screwed up. It’s my fault.
So often you read mommy blogs or perfect little Scary Mommy stories about parents doing wonderful things with their precious little bundles of love, and you don’t see the reality hidden in the background. You don’t see the jam-smeared counters, the mom with her last thread of patience raveling thin, or the mouthy six-year-old. You don’t see any of that.
It’s like driving around our neighborhood looking at the pretty Christmas decorations – it’s our family tradition to drive around after dinner and see all the lights in the dark. You see the lights shining, you see the twinkling Christmas tree just inside the window. You might even see people in the kitchen or the T.V. on in the living room through the outside – but you won’t see the arguments. You won’t see the frigid fights or heated discussions. All you see is the twinkling exterior.
We all screw up. We all have failures. I promise, even the people who look like their lives are perfect screw up. It’s human.
So now what? How do I fix this?
I can’t. I can’t fix it. I can tell my kids I’m sorry and I can ask them to forgive me, but I cannot fix my mistakes. All I can do is try to be a better parent tomorrow. I can try to be kind to myself and not beat myself up over it. And I can try to de-stress a bit, because that’s the biggest reason I over-reacted the way I did.
If today was a parenting fail for you too, don’t beat yourself up over it. Just apologize. Tomorrow is a new day. New beginning. New chance to do better. And don’t ever think that you’re the only one. We’re all flawed, we all screw up.
I’m already looking forward to tomorrow.