A few days ago I yelled at my kids. It's not a moment I am proud of and it is certainly a moment I will add to my "Things I wish I could do-over" file. The story behind why I yelled isn't that relevant. Yelling happens when stress levels top out at the same time that kids push their boundaries and the reasons let lead up to it really don't matter. And then the explosion has to occur somewhere and the fasted way out is through the lips. Any parent alive knows exactly what I am describing. And any parent alive knows how much stress those quick spoken angry words can carry on their backs to get it out of your body. It is so cleansing and heart-wrenching all at the same time.
After my rant blasted out of my mouth, I remembered something my own mother said to me a few years ago. She said, "I wished I hadn't yelled as much as I did." This struck me in a confused way because I don't really remember her yelling much at all. Sure, maybe a few times come to mind but now as I am grown those times make sense to me. I definitely wasn't an innocent bystander and I will take ownership of my part in being an instigator at her expense.
But when I think of my mother I don't remember her yelling. I remember her being the most loving, supportive, and nurturing mother she could possibly be. I do my best to model my parenting with my own kids the way she did with me. And to do that, my kids need to see me as a human being. They need to know I am not perfect. I get angry. And it is normal for parents to get angry and say things that may not be so pleasant for their tender insubordinate little ears. Because to teach children about being human, we have to be human in front of them.
And then we have to apologize. Which I did. I sat down and told them I was very sorry for yelling and then explained to them what was going on around me that caused me to lose my temper. I let them see the raw side of parenting and then the humble side of asking forgiveness. My mother taught this to me even though she wasn't ever aware she was teaching this to me when I was little. I'm hoping I can teach my kids the same lessons I learned. Because I think my mother was pretty much amazing and would love to be just like her.