I’m Sorry

My little boy is sensitive. He is sandwiched between two sisters. His heart is big, generous and he’s an encourager by nature.
But I’ve noticed he says two things all the time.
First (and totally not his fault), he says “Omygosh” every time he’s excited, shocked, surprised, happy, mad….
In other words, he says it a lot. So does his Momma. And I’m working on that, really, I am. Especially since my two year old picked it up the other day. It sounds horrible coming from her puckered lips.
Slap my hand when you hear me say it, m’kay?
But the other phrase he uses often is “I’m sorry.” 
In his sweet way, whenever he’s corrected or asked something, he tucks his head, looks down and says, “I’m sorry” first.
I decided I really needed to help him understand that “I am sorry” is an apology. It’s not what you say when  you think you might be in trouble, or when you’re slow to make your bed or when you ask if you can stay up a few minutes to read.
I talked with him and explained that he didn’t have to be sorry for everything. I encouraged him to use those words only when he needed to apologize.
A few nights later, we worked in the yard after dinner. We came in hot and tired. I was ready for a bath after my kids had theirs. I was also ready for them to get to bed. 
My son entered the kitchen and said, “Can I have a snack?”
“I guess,” I exhaled.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
I stopped him. “Why? Why are you sorry for asking for a snack? You’ve worked hard and you’re hungry?”
“I said I’m sorry because of the look on your face. You looked very sad when I asked you,” he confessed.
And that’s when it dawned on me. My little boy apologizes for me, not to me. My actions, the look on my face, my tone, made him feel like he had wronged me in some way.
Gulp.
I hugged his gangly body to mine and told him I was sorry. “I’m sorry for making you feel like you were doing something wrong. I’m tired, honey, and I’m ready to go to bed. It’s not you. It’s me.”
It’s in those little moments that I feel God’s finger pinpointing a place in my heart. An ugly spot that I need to work on.
My exasperation and moods affect my kids. My tone and impatient foot-tapping make them feel pressured and uncomfortable.
It was me all along. 
And I’m sorry.



Comments

  1. says

    Wow, thanks for posting that. It's a great reminder to look inward and think about how I come across to my son. Unfortunately, more often than I'd like, I'm sure he feels similarly. Poor little punkin.

  2. says

    Wow – this one hit me like an arrow to the heart. I am so guilty of this, and thank you for the gentle reminder. Tommorrow's another chance to get it right! :)

  3. says

    Print that post out and put it in each child's baby book. Please. This is something they will read when much older and know that it wasn't anything they ever did. Being a mom is exhausting! I have to hug my kids extra tomorrow and tell them that I'm sorry for making them feel bad for asking for snacks or a drink or some other small request. You're a good mom to realize this!

  4. says

    Aren't kids great~~while we are supposed to be teaching them, they teach us the most wonderful lessons!

    It's not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can't tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself.
    ~Joyce Maynard

  5. says

    I love this post so much, it actually brought tears to my eyes! You said it so well and I am guilty of it as well! Makes me want to wake my little guys up and hug them. Thanks for this wonderful post!

  6. Wynn Bliss says

    What a beautiful and honest post! My little one is not quite 17 months and I've just noticed in the past few months how differently she responds to me when I'm tired and worn down. Thank you for your honest account of this-it makes me feel a lot better about my own shortcomings!!

  7. says

    Hitting me right between the eyes tonight. Beautiful, profound post. Having been both the child who says it, and now the mama to whom it's said, you've shed new light on something that's been rattling around in my heart and mind a long while. Thank you, thank you.

  8. says

    Wow, great reminder. I too notice such a difference in my kids when I have a calm, happy attitude. Such a great lesson that while we as parents are watching their every move, they're watching our's too.

  9. says

    You hit the nail on the head with this post. This is exactly how I've been feeling lately as I am tired and exasperated with my long days. Well said!

  10. says

    One of the reasons I have fallen in love with blogging is because of posts like this. When people can be honest about their shortcomings it helps the rest of us know we are normal. Mothering is such a hard job! Totally worth it, but when moments like these take place it makes us all question ourselves and our abilities to raise good kids. Thank you for reminding us that we are not perfect and that we need to be okay with apologizing for our bad behavior once in awhile. Your kids are lucky to have a mom who is willing to recognize that she doesn't always respond the way she should. And they are even more lucky that you are willing to fix it. Great lesson and one I need to work on, for sure. Thanks for sharing with us.

  11. says

    So nice to know that I am not alone in feeling this way…I think the pure exhaustion of mothering can get the best of me sometimes & I become flat-out selfish. Not pretty. But my kids are endlessly patient, loving & forgiving. They are precious gifts, every one of them.

  12. says

    Awwww… what a sweet boy… and a great reminder to think about how OUR reactions as moms are affecting these little ones.

    I had another comment about "I'm sorry". I only let my kids use that if they accidentally do something wrong. If they have hurt someone or broken a rule, they have to say, "I was wrong to…. Please forgive me."

    I make myself say it, too. And those words do not come out easily!

    Have a great day! =]

  13. says

    What a sweet boy you are raising…..and yes, God uses our children to teach us many valuable lesson. Bless you for seeing Him in these moments and reminding us all.

  14. says

    Thanks for putting yourself out there and sharing this… I didn't read the comments, but I'm sure this is helpful to a lot of moms.

  15. says

    My grownup daughter says I'm sorry about every other breath. After reading your post, I recognize myself all too well. Thanks for giving me something to think about and work on. Good luck to both of us and our sweet kids.

  16. says

    A great reminder on how perceptive our children are to our outward display of our inner emotions. It's hard to remember sometimes that whatever we are feeling can read across our face or be felt in our actions or words.

  17. says

    I think we can all relate to that! We are all a work in progress and the important thing is to keep our eyes open for those moments when we are humbled, reminded, and see the direction we need to be heading. Great post and great parenting!

  18. says

    Ugh. You must have been inside my mind. This happens often here and I REALLY need to work on it.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  19. says

    Ouch. This post is far too convicting. Would you please step off my toes now? :(

    But seriously, thank you for your transparency and for your gentle admonishment to us all.

  20. Nicole says

    I wanna come hug you! Seriously, I have felt that way several times in the past month, and I'm working on it. So I totally relate.

    :)

  21. Alicia says

    I am guilty of this too. Thank you for sharing this reminder to be sensitive to our tone and expression because everything we do affects our precious children.

  22. Anonymous says

    You are not alone in this! Thanks for writing this, b/c I woke up at 5 a.m. this morning, and I'm NOT a morning person, thinking about just this thing! It seems that all my children see lately is a snapping turtle, instead of a Mommy who loves them dearly. Boy do I need to work on this, and the sighing, which I find myself doing way too often.
    Hang in there!
    H

  23. Beth S. says

    It's not JUST you…it's me, too. I have a feeling a lot of tired Moms have the same thing goin' on. Your post almost made me cry…'cause it made me think of all the times I've tapped my foot impatiently or raised my voice because of my own impatience! I think I'd better check myself at the door and remember they are just little kids, not little adults!

  24. says

    Of your posts, this is one of my top favorites! Very convicting.
    I know the main point wasn't that the child said 'i'm sorry,' but I had to laugh out loud, because my 2yo also says "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to" ALL the time. Literally. All the time.
    Our German shepherd ran past her, knocking her flat on the floor, and as she picked herself up off the ground, she said (to the dog), "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to." LOL!
    My husband tells me I say that way too much.

  25. says

    Going to jussst click the red cross and back on outta here! ;-)
    No, seriously – a sharp but loving reminder for me.

    I have some serious changes to make FOR the sake of my children. So often I wonder what my big(ger) purpose is in life, meanwhile – they're RIGHT here, looking, watching me — waiting for me to realize…this IS it, they are what it is all about.

    God Bless!

  26. Nicole says

    Oh Kristen! I am sobbing! You are right on! This is ME! I also have a little boy who is VERY sensitive and who says I'm sorry a lot. He also is quite sharp with his tongue as well as impatient (like someone else I know). All I can do is pray that God helps change my heart and my irritable attitude. Thanks for this heartfelt, honest reminder. God Bless!

  27. says

    Your vulnerability with your son, the way you immediately accepted responsibility – and let him see it – what a POWERFUL lesson and memory we make for our children when we do that!

    When my kids were younger, I drifted toward the responses that told my kids they were putting me out when I did something for them. I don't know what happened, some trigger, I'm sure, but I realized that my mom spent my childhood doing the same thing. She would even list the stuff she did for me in a tone of voice that demanded repayment in some way.

    As a beginning point, I decided that I would treat my kids (and my husband) – AT THE VERY MINIMUM – with the courtesy I afford to strangers. I continue to build on that with the ultimate goal that I be HOSPITABLE to my own family. I want our home to be a place they WANT to be and my company to be something they actually enjoy.

  28. says

    You got me on this one, brought tears to my eyes. I am so guilty of this. Thank you for opening my eyes. I'm going to be working on this immediately

  29. says

    All parents struggle with this! It's true that our attitudes affect our children, and it's something that we (Hubby & I) are conciously trying to work on, having our home be a peaceful sounding place. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement!
    Blessings,
    Stacey

  30. says

    I KNOW this. When is it that I yell at my son the most? When we're in a hurry & I'm frustrated with trying to get everything together to get out the door. When I'm convicted I try to apologize to him & explain that I'm just frustrated.

  31. Mrs. Querido says

    Double gulp…sigh. This post was so good and VERY CONVICTING! Thanks for sharing. I'll be working on moods right along with you.

  32. says

    Oh…ugh. Sometimes that finger-pointing hurts. This post really made me think about my reactions toward my twins. One of them drives me nuts because he's constantly thanking me for nothing. Even if I've just tucked him in bed and told him I love him…."Thank you, Mom."

    To me it seems like he feels unworthy or something, like Oliver Twist! But to him, he's just being thoughtful.

  33. says

    I am a habitutal apologizer. I say sorry too much! I didn't notice it too much before I met my husband and he pointed it out. It is a hard habit to break but I am working on it. I suppose there are worse habits to have.

  34. says

    Kristen, my mom always made me feel like I needed to apologize for her and to her – she still does. Drives my husband crazy that I "walk on eggshells" around her like I do.

    But I'm not telling you this to make you feel bad – just the opposite! I really think the fact that you realized what was going on and truly WANT to change it – is AWESOME! Good for you!!

  35. says

    Wow what a great lesson. I know someone that always says sorry like that, she is over 30. Wonder why? Thanks for sharing and what a lucky mom you are to have such a sensitive smart son.

  36. says

    So true! I also need to practice the art of patience to make sure that my little guys know that I am the one that needs to slow down sometimes! Great post!

  37. says

    First time commenting on your blog, but this one really touched me. I am a mom of two boys and I needed to be reminded of this one. Thanks for sharing.

  38. Jessica says

    Thank you! Your blog is a wonderful source of wisdom, insight, and hilarity in my life. Keep up your awesome, honest work!

  39. says

    What a wonderful post. This is such a challenge for me, too! (My daughter doesn't say "i'm sorry," but she often says "are you mad at me?" — which is almost always a good cue that I'm being a little bit snappy or irritable for something that is not her fault at all.

    I am really enjoying your blog!

  40. says

    What a beautiful post and a precious son that you have. He sounds like a pleaser. Wanting to please you. I also think it's wonderful that you caught on to his feelings and helped him see it wasn't his fault.

    One of my 3 boys is very forgiving. His brother whacked him hard in the head with a metal pole and after he was done crying he said "it's ok, it was an accident" (but it wasn't). He's so quick to forgive. He's teaching me as I'm teaching him.

  41. says

    btw.. I loved your post (I think I already said that) so I'm making you my blog of the day. If you collect the buttons for awards, there is one in my right column that you can pick up if you'd like.

  42. says

    Sad to say, I am very impatient with the boys and portray that well when they ask me questions – nice reminder to be the mom I should be!

  43. says

    Aww, what a sweetie! My oldest son who is 3 and a half is also super sensitive… 'are you mad?' he'll ask several times a day. I feel bad if he senses this in me, and I quickly try to cheer up for him!

  44. says

    Wow…I'm tearing up reading this. My son does this too. I will have to pay more attention. Sigh. It's hard when you realize not so nice things about yourself. Unfortunately I realize it all too often lately and need to also work on this. Thanks for the reminder.

  45. says

    I am not a mom yet, but I am a big sister. I have put my foot in my mouth more times then I can count. Thanks for the reminder that little eyes are always watching.

  46. freefun0616 says

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