No Parent is Perfect: Forgive Yourself

Forgive

When life’s normal challenges weigh you down and make you grouchy, parenting a blended family can be harder than usual. If you lose your cool with your spouse or kids, acknowledge it, forgive yourself, and move on! Being lovably imperfect doesn’t make you a bad person.

Usually when I get home from work, I am thoroughly excited to have fun with my family, make dinner and hang out. I love cooking, and we have a big upholstered chair in the kitchen where the kids sometimes pile up and talk to me while I prepare our meal. Once in a while, they chip in with the prep work.

But sometimes an unreal story deadline, a bi-polar customer at the flower shop or Orlando’s hideous commuting traffic will put me in a bad mood. One day not too long ago, I arrived home to children who needed my patience and understanding, and I had none to give, or at least I thought I didn’t. I barked at one and made her cry, and then marched off to the kitchen to begin my nightly routine in front of the stove.

Todd gave me the stink-eye, but he didn’t need to. I already felt bad, and I went on to feel bad for a week. My own behavior really bummed me out. Long after everyone else had forgotten about it, I was still feeling guilty. I had to let go of that nagging weight, and the only way to do so was to apologize. Forgiveness comes readily from our kids, and what a relief it is. When I told our little sweetie I was sorry for losing my temper, she thought about it for a minute and then said, “Oh, I weememboo dat. You were mad. But dat’s okay.” And she reached out her hands to me.

Forgiveness is good for the forgiver and the forgivee. It heals the soul for both.

Our kids are small, and so eager to please and stay connected. When children get older, they can hold grudges, taking longer to forgive. As parents, we have to continue to parent in confidence and not get caught in the guilt trap when our teens hold our mistakes over us. It takes strength and maturity to guide your family even as you and they bear with your human flaws. That’s a bigger topic for another day, but what’s equally relevant to parents of children of any age is this: forgiving ourselves is the first step to moving forward, however small or large our blunders are.

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