How can I be a better mom for you?

Yesterday was an interesting parenting day. It was full of happy moments, but also a couple very difficult parenting moments.

The day’s lesson was all about intentions. Mine and my daughters.

My intentions were to get out of the house and have a fun day for big sister. After rushing around to get everyone ready I stopped to check on a fussy baby. I realized sister had piled baby-dolls and stuffed animals on top of him. I overreacted. I spoke to her in a way I’m not proud of and wasn’t necessary or appropriate. Immediately, I regretted it. She immediately broke down crying. A real, stress filled, tearful cry. She lunged for me with arms open and I caught her and held her. She sobbed in my lap and the following conversation took place.

I asked, “Are you sad?”

“Mad.” She cried. “You hurt my feelings.”

“Why does this hurt SO much?” I asked.

“Because I was trying to make him happy.” She managed out between tears. “I just want to be helpful.”

That’s it. She had good intentions, but it didn’t work out. I know how hard that feeling is. As an adult I’m currently working through the complex emotions that surface when the best intentions go wrong. Asking myself the question, “what are my intentions worth?”.  If I struggle with these emotions I can’t imagine how hard it hits my 4 year old.  When others choose to meet me with anger or allegations it doesn’t feel helpful; it’s hurtful.  

After we had all settled down, and I had time to think about what had just happened, I asked my 4 year old a question I plan to ask her over and over during our life together.

“How can I be a better mom for you?”.

Her response was quick and direct, “Be nice.  Talk to me in a calm nice voice”.

So simple.  She was asking me to consider her intentions and always assume she’s trying her best. To. Be. Nice.

My response was, “I’m always trying my best. Thank you for reminding me how important that is to you. I’ll try harder.”

What I was saying was, “Do my intentions count even when I fall short?”.

I’m sure this won’t be the last time I fall short at being her mom, but I hope she remember that mama tried. I hope when she thinks of the times I lost my temper she always remembers that I took time to speak to her about what happened. I pray she continues to show me a lifetime of grace. In turn, I’ll try to remember to give her the same understanding when her big emotions get the best of her. I’ll find comfort in the fact my outbursts show her I’m human and it’s normal to lose control. I’ll pray that she sees my example in my words after my outbursts and shows others the same kindness.

Comments

In the comments below, answer the following question: How do you handle talking to your kids about your own short comings or mistakes?