Moms: Let’s Stop Apologizing

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As moms, it’s in our nature to apologize. We apologize for our children’s behavior. We apologize to family, to friends and even to strangers. We are constantly apologizing for what our children are doing. Why? Why are we apologizing? Because our kids are misbehaving? Because we’re embarrassed? Because we feel like it’s the ‘right thing to do’?

Well I say it’s enough! Moms, let’s stop apologizing. I went to Target solo the other day and had a mom apologize to me on the way out. She was with her four children all under the age of 6 and they were taking some time getting out of the store. “I’m sorry,” she said looking exhausted as she tried to hustle them along. “Please, don’t apologize,” I told her and smiled as I waited for them to get through the automatic doors. I know she felt the need to apologize but she didn’t have to, she shouldn’t have to.

We shouldn’t need to constantly apologize for our kids behavior because guess what, they’re kids! They’re going to dawdle, whine, cry, yell, throw fits, run where they shouldn’t, touch things they’re not supposed to and do a lot of things that we can’t always control but THEY ARE KIDS! Don’t get me wrong, I will never condone behavior that warrants apologies because certain behaviors are unacceptable and do require reprimanding (purposely hitting, smacking, biting, etc.). But let’s just stop apologizing for everything else, okay? Let’s stop feeling like we as moms have to be sorry for how our kids act at times because face it, we’ve all been there. Those of us who have children understand. We UNDERSTAND and we ACCEPT. We accept because that’s what we do as moms. We don’t judge. We don’t condemn. And if we do, then shame on us because one day we might be there!

Prior to kids, I was the ‘please don’t be a screaming kid on this flight’, eye roll to the child crying in the restaurant followed quickly with a ‘when will that kid stop crying’ comment, person turning around to see the yelling child in church and scoffer at the kids melting down in any store. Yep, that was me. I was completely unaware of what it took to be a parent and how difficult it can be to travel and do something as simple as going out to eat (especially with a toddler!). I am embarrassed to say I was judgmental. I didn’t understand why kids acted up or why their parents couldn’t get them ‘under control’. Fast forward to life as a parent and now I know. I cringe for my previous ways of thinking. I am a mom now, and I get it. I get how hard it is to keep your children entertained with public places. I get how hard it is when you’re trying to grocery shop and your children are completely losing it because they want to goooooooo, can’t touch anything and are wiggling (and sometimes physically trying!) to get out of the shopping cart! Kids at a young age are not easy, but they are also incredible to watch with their inquisitive minds, constantly learning and exploring this new world.

So moms, let’s unite together and take a stand. Let’s stop apologizing for our kids being kids. Let’s stop apologizing when we feel embarrassed. Let’s stop apologizing when we feel judged or as if everyone is looking at us and our kids. And let’s especially stop apologizing to other moms who get your struggle. We are not perfect. Our kids are not perfect. And it’s OKAY!

Maybe if we all worked a little harder to live in a more accepting and understanding world, it would be easier as parents not to feel like failures so often. We wouldn’t feel so judged and insecure. We wouldn’t get little or large amounts of anxiety going into public places. And for individuals without kids, please know we realize our children may be an inconvenience or even annoyance to you. We get the looks…but we’re just asking to maybe consider a more empathetic approach to our parenting struggles. Because no matter who we are (parents or not), we are all facing our own personal battles each and every day. Spread the love, find the patience and give the acceptance.

You Made Me a Mom

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Three years ago you made me a mom. I never thought time could go by so fast. There was a time when you were so dependent on me. I cradled you in my arms, you fell asleep on my chest, you cooed and gave me that first smile. You began walking ten days before your first birthday and now here you are, little miss independent, running and jumping, peeing in the potty and telling me, ‘look mom, I did it all by myself and I didn’t even need you’ which while I was so proud, I also felt my heart break a little.

You are doing so much on your own. You are so incredibly smart that you amaze your father and I each and every day. You make us laugh. Your little personality and gentle sweetness make you such a special little girl. I never thought your birthdays would be so hard on me, but they just remind me that you’re getting older, you’re constantly growing and changes will only continue. You’ll eventually go to school, make friends, maybe play sports or an instrument or dance or all…you’ll come across great challenges and great accomplishments, your first crush and first heartbreak and all the things that make growing up so exciting but also a little scary.

But one thing that will never change is that you made me a mom. I will forever be your mother and I will love you with every ounce of me. I love you into the depths of my soul. I love you with a love that only a mother understands. So as you turn another year older, I will try not to cry too hard as I remember the little one you used to be. You will always be my baby girl and you will always be the reason I am so blessed that God made you my daughter and me your mom. This song says it all and every year as your birthday draws near, I listen to it and smile (but mostly cry). You made me a mom and for that, I am forever grateful.

Why Kids Are Mean

Let’s face it, we hear the saying all the time “kids are mean” or “kids are cruel”. But why is that? Has anyone ever stopped to think about it? We say it like we condone it, like it’s okay. But it’s not…it’s not okay. And it’s time someone spoke up. 

Why are kids mean? Because their parents are mean. Because their siblings are mean (who also got it from their parents). This shouldn’t be shocking to anyone. It’s just never talked about. Ever seen Mean Girls? Well they grow up and eventually become mean adults and mean parents. And it’s not just women. Men are mean too.

I know, I get it. Parenting is tough. I struggle daily with it. But our children are sponges and if we don’t stop to think how we’re acting or what we’re saying then we shouldn’t be surprised when we see them doing it. A month or so ago my husband asked my daughter to come help him change her brother’s diaper. She told him no so he asked her again trying to coax her a little this time. She looked at him and said, “Daddy, I can’t do everything”. I couldn’t even keep it together. I thought it was the funniest thing ever. Later I sat and thought about it. She’s heard me say this to my husband and she’s picked up on it. At that point, it no longer was funny but actually frightening. 

If we yell at our children they are going to learn that yelling is okay. Maybe I’m getting an eye roll now but hear me out. I’ve yelled. And now I watch my daughter yell. She yells when she’s mad because she’s seen me do the same thing. It breaks my heart. Because I didn’t and don’t always have self control in some moments, my daughter has now learned when she’s mad she can yell because I have. 

What are we teaching our children? Are we really thinking about the things we say in front of them? Do we know when we think they’re not listening or can’t understand they actually are and really do? 

Bullies don’t create themselves. Mean girls don’t just wake up mean. It’s behavioral. It’s a learned behavior. And it starts at home. 

I’m tired of the excuses or the lies. “Oh my child isn’t mean.” Denial. Get out of denial! You don’t think your child is mean because you yourself don’t know you’re mean! Self awareness is crucial.

Don’t confuse me here, I understand about discipline but I also understand there are better ways to do it. I’ll be the first to admit my flaws, but that doesn’t mean I’m not trying like crazy to be better. We all must be better. We must be better parents for our children. We must be better for our future. 

I want to stop the vicious cycle. I want to stop the mean parents and the mean kids. ‘Love thy neighbor’ is one of the Commandments for a reason.

If you’re a parent, I hope you really stop and think how you act in front of your children and the things you say. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes, but let’s try to teach our children to love and never hate, to accept and never judge, to speak kindly and respect one another. But most of all, let’s show them. To see change, we need to be the change. 

For My Son…

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It’s crazy how much I love you. Every ounce of me just bursts for you. I cried so hard the day we found out you were you. I had a feeling…that mama feeling…and I just knew you were going to be a boy. That, and well God told me, but that’s a whole other conversation:).

You came into this world just perfect and my heart will never be the same. There is something about having a son that no one can really explain to you. It’s so much different from having a daughter. Both are equally joyous, exciting and sometimes terrifying, but the raising of two different genders will definitely be…different.

Yes, I will raise you with faith. I will raise you to honor and praise God above all things. I will raise you to not just know Him, but truly love Him. ‘It’s much easier for a woman to express these feelings than a man’ some would argue, but I don’t believe that, and I’m not going to teach you that either. I’m going to teach you that it’s okay to have feelings and to share them. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be vulnerable. And it’s okay to carry these feelings with you throughout your life.

I will teach you how to respect a woman. I hope you will see that from how your father respects me. We will both teach you about love. Although we cannot teach you how to love, we will show you. And one day, when you find a woman you want to marry, you will love and respect her just the same, if not more.

I will tell you about how the world has changed since I was little. I will tell you that morals haven’t. I will tell you how hard that will be to understand in such a casual and ‘socially acceptable’ society.

I pray for a better world for you and your sister. I pray that bullying comes to a halt and parents take responsibility for their kids and their actions. I pray that teachers get the respect they deserve and used to once have when I was young. I pray that morals make their way back into society and onto television versus what we have now. I pray that prayer continues to keep us together. I pray that you and your sister stay strong in your faith and never get mad at God for things that will happen in your lives because it’s not God’s fault. God does not cause pain and hurt, evil does. So many people will never understand that.

Your smile and laugh light up a room. You are truly such an incredible joy and blessing in my life. Seven months has flown by faster than I could have ever imagined. You have already taught me so much about myself. I hope our bond only continues to grow as you get older. I know God has great plans for you my son. I love you more than words could ever say. IMG_2818

It’s Not ‘Just a Helmet’

When I found out my son needed a helmet for his flat head I was devastated. Sounds silly but I was. Wait, what? Yeah ok I see it, but doesn’t that usually correct itself? I guess in some cases they do, but not my son’s. I developed a lot of mom guilt. What if I held him more? What if I never used the rock n’ sleep (information has now come out that this particular product is not good for children to sleep in)? What if, what if, what if?! The questions swirled my mind as I would cry and blame myself for the inevitable: a helmet. 

But it’s just a helmet right? It’s just temporary? Yes and yes. However, no one prepares you for it being more than just that. No one tells you how miserable your child will be in the beginning, how his or her demeanor will change and the adjustment period (which we are still in). No one can explain to you the sadness you feel seeing your child wearing it and knowing they are uncomfortable. No one mentions naps and nighttime sleep with be completely affected.  No one tells you that people will stare. They will look with curiosity or judgement or ‘I feel sorry for you’. No one tells you for a while cuddles will be different, kisses on the head will be extremely limited and your adjustment to it more than your child’s will be challenging and even emotional. No one, unless they have gone through this, can share it and there isn’t much information or research that really provides you with any comfort. 

Yes, it could be so much worse, I understand that. I am thankful this is something that can and will be fixed. But it doesn’t mean that I can’t be hurting. It doesn’t mean that it’s easy. And it definitely doesn’t mean it’s ‘just a helmet’. 

I am thankful we are able to correct this problem now. I am thankful there is something to correct this type of thing. But I also can’t wait for it to be over! If you’ve been here, I’d love to hear your story and ask you some questions 🙂 Thank you (and hugs!) to the few people who have shared their story with me and helped make this transition a little easier for me!