Apologies are the mainstay of my parenting. I fuck up all the time. And then I apologise. And then I hope like hell that I don’t do it again, that I haven’t totally screwed my kids up for life, and that they won’t need therapy to get over my appalling mothering.
I wrote a blog post a while back, which I haven’t published (yet) about how very frustrated I get when someone raises their hand to silence me. It was an impassioned plea to men everywhere to stop fucking doing it to women.
Well, the other day I raised my hand to silence my son and thought, “Oh, fuck.” And then I have been keeping tabs on how often I tell him to be quiet, or stop talking, or not bring that up in front of his sister, or not to wind his sister up, or just don’t talk to me while I concentrate on… and I do it A LOT.
So, tonight, lying in bed, after asking both my children to be quiet so that we could go to sleep, I rolled over and softly spoke to my son. I said, “I’m really sorry – I’ve noticed that I tell you to be quiet A LOT, and I don’t like that I’m doing it.” I gave him some space and he said, “YES! you do! and it’s really annoying and sometimes I have really good ideas and you tell me to be quiet and tell you later BUT THEN I FORGET!” and then I said, “I’m really sorry. I’m going to be making sure that I don’t do that as much anymore, ok?”
And he said, “That’s ok Mama.”
And just like that he forgave me and trusts that I’ll do my best to do better.
So, apologies. Parents’ greatest tool since forever.