Why I Try and Always Say Sorry to My Kids

I am not perfect.

There I said it. Life is hard and sometimes my fuse is short. I let work stress, marital disputes, financial worries, climate change, you name it stress me out sometimes. I don’t always have the patience I should with my kids. It can feel as though there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all, to be all everyone needs.

Sometimes I yell and get angry and react in ways I know seconds later are totally disproportionate to the situation. My initial reaction or my response to chaos is totally uncalled for. I have nights where I make it that golden time when the housework is done, I’ve stopped checking emails and kids are in bed. I should just totally sink into my relaxation but I can’t because I feel guilt for how I poorly handled a situation. I know my kids deserve better in those moments, and I almost always am trying my very hardest, but I can still manage to fall short.  

Accepting My Imperfections

But I decided long ago to accept my imperfections, to try hard everyday and in those moments when I still fail, tell my kids I’m sorry.

It doesn’t do myself or my children any good to pretend I can’t or won’t make mistakes. I want my kids to be able to understand and label their feelings so I try hard to demonstrate that to them. I let them know I was feeling frustrated or angry and apologize for how I reacted. I make sure I get down on their level, look them in the eye, sometimes I will hold their hand or end in a hug. I want express sincerely how I am feeling.

Our emotions are powerful and we can’t always control how we feel.

But saying I’m sorry and showing and expressing love is what I want my kids to remember. You know what’s better than perfection? Honesty and accountability are. I want to do my best to model these to my children and admitting to them I know I made a mistake is a powerful way to show them these things. Even big and powerful grown ups don’t know everything and aren’t perfect.

I don’t just apologize for their sake; I do it for my own as well.

Forgiving myself for my mistakes and moving on is critical to my emotional health. It can help me reflect on what I did wrong and attempt to avoid repeating those mistakes in the future. After I apologize, I can let go of the negativity I am feeling and move forward with the resolve to do better.

I am still their mother. As their parents, their father and I are the ultimate authority in their lives, but saying I’m sorry for my mistakes doesn’t diminish that authority. I hope it deepens the respect they have for me and will build more trust between us.

I hope my children will remember that I always expected a lot, but I gave every ounce plus some of what I expected. I loved and mothered with a strong passion. They saw me at my best and worst, just like I did for them, and we will always be there to love and forgive each other.

Tara grew up all over south Louisiana and currently lives in Metairie with her husband Josh, and their 3 kids Dax, Dane and Delta. Tara is a buyer for a local food-service distribution company and Community Director for New Orleans Mom. During the week she can be found replying to emails, carpooling kids all around, giving out hugs and kisses, and looking forward to bedtime. Weekends are for family adventures, naps and cheering for LSU and the Saints. She loves trying new foods, travel, and she and her family love all things New Orleans, but especially Mardi Gras.


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