By Lisa Smith
A friend of mine recently posted this on her Facebook page:
“I totally screwed up as a mom this morning and the mom guilt is killing me. The pressure of a constantly traveling husband, an upcoming move, and other everyday stuff was building and I didn’t notice how bad it had become. I should have known something was off when I bought ice cream last night. That only happens when I’m stressed…I don’t even like ice cream that much!
My son did mess up, but I went into full on lawyer mode which is great as a lawyer and awful as a parent to sweet boys. In the light of a new day, my mom guilt makes me want to go pick up my boys from school and take them to Disney World. Maybe overkill?”
I can feel her pain and heart break. I can feel her regret and I am sure we can all relate. I imagine you can because we have all been there.
Even the most peaceful parents occasionally lose their shit.
I know I do, and it feels awful every time. Yep—every time. So the real question is, what to do once you’ve had the melt down, lost your shit, and gone into attack mode? Then what? Do we take them to Disney World? Get a new toy? Favorite treat?
No, no and no. Those are bribes to cover pain and sometimes leave us with a hangover feeling.
Instead, try a three step process for repair and recovery
Forgive yourself. Really forgive by having empathy and compassion for yourself and this hard job that is parenting.
Tell your child that you are sorry. Explain what happened for you (such as stress got the best of you) so they know it’s on you and not them. When we sincerely apologize, we are modeling responsibility and forgiveness for them. (A word of caution: don’t do Step 2 until you have completed Step 1; don’t do Step 2 until you are sincere about your apology. And I beg you…don’t launch into explaining what they did wrong. This is about us taking responsibility for our actions. If you want to address their actions, do it at a different time in a separate conversation.)
Step 3: Move on and be fully present with them and in the moment. Maybe seal the deal with a hug, high five or big smile (or all three).
That’s like Disney World for you and them. Mistakes happen. We are human and flawed and stressed and often triggered while parenting, and therefore we lose it occasionally.
The lesson is in The Repair and Recovery. This teaches our kids so many valuable lessons like accountability, recovery from mistakes, forgiveness, taking responsibility, doing better next time and communication skills.
So next time you lose it and the parent guilt mounts, try this Repair and Recovery Process. It will feel like Disney World for both of you. I promise.
Lisa Smith is a mom, certified parent coach and international best selling author of, The Angry Parent: How to Find Peace in Your Parenting Through the Message of Anger. When she is not coaching, you’ll most likely find her at a basketball game rooting on her son or traveling somewhere new. She is obsessed with cross-fit, personal development and romance novels.
Her free Peaceful Parenting mini-course, full of tools, tips and support has been enjoyed by parents all over the world.
This article was originally posted on the author’s blog here.
Editor: Dana Gornall
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