Oftentimes, I spend my days juggling the challenges of working, raising boys and finding time to keep my house together. One of the larger challenges is breaking up fights between these little misters, both physical and verbal, and sometimes, that challenge exhausts me. So often I find myself saying, “Say you’re sorry!” or “Apologize to your brother” or “Be nice, give hugs, give love!” and send them along their merry way.
If there’s another thing I’ve learned about parenting, it’s that they are little sponges. They pick up everything around them. Most importantly, they learn by example. The example everyone sets up around them. But most importantly, from their mommy and daddy who they see every day. How we compose ourselves, how we act, how we project our feelings and this is sometimes a very real lesson – one I learn every single day in more ways than one.
The pressures of life mean I don’t always get it right. I yell so that we can get out of the house on time. That’s a thing, right? I speak more harshly than I sometimes intend because I’m frustrated that the boys have continued to needle each other despite my repeated requests to leave one another be. But each day, I get a new opportunity to teach my boys about the right way to act. I get a second chance to be a mom and try again and say the right thing. And there’s a lesson for them (and for me) there. It’s one of grace and second chances and in those moments of supreme frustration, I need to learn to extend that same grace to them. Because when I do, they realize that nothing they do is beyond my love for them. They realize that sometimes we screw it up, but luckily, we get another chance to make it right.
But the bigger lesson here is one from the very beginning. When I am short with them and speak quickly, harshly and out of stress. I am learning to say I’m sorry. When the pace of the day quiets down and in the still of our car before I blast the music, I let them know I am sorry and what for. “I’m sorry for yelling, boys. It’s a busy morning and we had to get out of the house, so I’m sorry if I sounded frustrated with you.” And then I follow it up with some variation of how much I love them – those sweet blessings that have been gifted to me for such a time as this. And in a response so sweet, I am reminded of that same grace, “I love you too, mommy.” And I’m suddenly thankful for a lesson in apologies. And I’m thankful they are still so willing to extend me grace as I’m learning the same valuable lesson.