Monday, June 9, 2014

One Billion Mistakes

My daughters are four and two, (five and three by summers end) and in the last five years I don't think I've gotten through one day without any spills, tears, fumbled phrases, inside-out-outfits, etc. It's been an era of my life where I've witnessed approximately one billion mistakes.

These mistakes are frustrating for them, and for me. Parenting little children requires a lot of patience, dedication, endurance, persistence, love, and binge eating. But that's life.

Mistakes are the stuff life is made of, and without them, we'd never reach our potential, we'd never grow, we'd remain stagnant.  

My daughters aren't the only ones making mistakes on a daily basis. Their father makes a lot of mistakes as well, and...okay, I'll admit, I too make mistakes on a daily basis when it comes to parenting my littles. I've been known to lose my patience more than I should, perhaps I don't speak to them as kindly as I ought to all the time, and I've used shameful tactics to get them to obey me, such as threatening to call Santa Claus and reporting naughty behavior.

Our vulnerability makes us human, it connects us to each other, it makes us more empathetic. Just today I became upset at my daughter for disobeying me, after repeated attempts to get her to follow my instructions. She didn't do anything bad or naughty, other than disregard what I was saying, but I lost my temper and yelled at her. She cried, and of course I felt bad. Nobody ever feels good when they've treated someone they love with anger. I took the opportunity (after I'd cooled off) to apologize to her, and explain that I shouldn't have yelled, that even though she should have listened, I reacted inappropriately.

After instances like these, my daughter always forgives me immediately, but what's more important is she takes these things to heart, and when she makes a mistake by lashing out irrationally, she apologizes for her behavior too. It helps me realize, that even when I make mistakes, I have the opportunity to teach while learning.

I just had my third child, a son, and I'm sure he will be the unfortunate recipient of many of his mother's imperfections. That's okay, because every day is a new opportunity to improve and get better, and even though it's frustrating and, at times, utterly humiliating to make mistakes (sometimes repeatedly), I'm never going to give up on being who I hope to become. 

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