As a parent, I have many moments I wish I could rewind and do over.
One recent example was the other night after I’d given Olivia a bath. We’d washed her hair and were getting her ready for bed by putting lotion on her. She managed to rub just enough onto her hands to make it globby but not to rub it in and then she proceeded to push her hair out of her face, getting lotion in to her just shampooed hair.
I know!! The tragedy, the injustice of it all. Yes, I overreacted.
I told her to stop touching her hair with her lotion-y hands and started rubbing at the lotion in her hair. I rubbed a little rougher than I’d like to admit. She didn’t actually cry but she was bothered by the entire situation. I was bothered too, almost immediately after the rubbing. I stopped being a jerk, hugged her close and kissed her, telling her I was sorry for being rough.
But yeah, mother of the freaking year here.
I thought about that incident quite a bit that night and into the next day and I realized that the road for forgiveness for moments like that one is to make them rare. VERY rare. Like, to not do it again, ever, if possible. I can forgive myself and perhaps even deserve forgiveness from her if I strive to not be like that again, to treat her gently, to hug her more often and scold her less often.
Correction is fine when it’s needed but gentle correction is something I’d like to master.
I told myself sternly, “The way to make this forgivable is to not do it again. Make it a one-time event and fill her life with loving memories of you, moments when you kissed her and hugged her and showed her how much you love her because, hello, actions speak so much more loudly than words and telling the child you love her won’t go far if you rub her head roughly just because of a little lotion.”
I need those moments, those talks inside my head. I hope they’ll make me a better mother. My girls deserve a better mother.