March 26, 2014

When You Make a Mistake

When you make a mistake, what would you do? 

I'm talking about the kind of mistake that hurts and does some damage to other people. What would you do when you make a mistake like that? 

Last Friday, I had one of those moments. The moment of failure as a parent. 

I had a huge temper tantrum in front of our boys and my husband, Steve. Is a mother like me even allowed to have a tantrum in front of her kids? 

Perhaps, tantrum isn't exactly the right word for what happened. I was frustrated with Steve and got emotional. I yelled, did some name calling, exaggerated facts, and stomped my feet. Yes, I'm a feet stomper, and I'm not proud of my own behavior.

How and why that happened isn't important here, because we all know life happens. Your day-to-day stress builds up. You may be undergoing hormonal changes like I am. Some days, your life feels like a never ending juggling act rather than a blessing or an exciting adventure. You feel worn out. Your mind gets foggy and you aren't sure what really matters anymore. 

When you're feeling like that, it only takes one trivial thing to put you over the edge and let the floodgate open. 

And I lost my cool, completely.

The kids had seen everything that happened. The damage was done. Why couldn't I just stay calm? 

Curled up in my bed, pushing my head against a pillow soaked with tears, I felt like a failure.  
I was feeling guilty, ashamed, and still upset about the stupid little thing that brought that much of anger out of me. I wondered what kind of damage I did to our kids.

The damage has been done and I can't erase what happened. What should I do now?

I knew I had to so something. But my mind was numb and the feelings of guilt and shame kept coming back in waves.  

What should I do? 

I said a quick prayer asking for help, and then I turned to facebook. Isn't that what people do when they are desperately seeking for answers? Probably not. But somehow that's what I did.

Then, I came across this video clip that gave me the answer I needed.

                                                                                                     (You can also watch the clip HERE.)

When you make a mistake, can you turn it into something good?

After watching this video, I realized I didn't want to be wasting my precious minutes moping around in bed. I wanted to make every moment count. Staying in bed while knowing my kids are still upset from my behavior was not what I wanted. 

When you make a mistake, can you have a do-over, or is it too late? 

So, I took a deep breath, gathered up all the courage that I had, and went to talk to Steve and the boys who were getting ready for bed.

I left all the self-defense, pride, and justification behind on the wet pillow. The only thing that was left inside of me was honesty. I was feeling raw, vulnerable, and authentic. Those were the only things I could offer to the boys. Would they be enough to patch up the scar?

I wanted our boys to see what it's like to make a mistake. I wanted them to know how we humans fail sometimes and still have to move forward, hoping to make something good out of our failure.

I had a heart-to-heart conversation with my boys. 

I apologized and told them I'm not perfect and I do make mistakes.
We discussed why it's so important to learn from our mistakes.
I told them I love them more than anything in the world and would do anything for them.

When the conversation was over, the boys gave me a big hug. Their wide smiles assured everything would be okay. We cuddled each other and went to sleep dreaming of a brighter day tomorrow.

It hurts to make a mistake when you are a mom and you are feeling like a complete failure. It hurts to make a mistake when you know you're hurting your loved ones. 

But I'm not perfect and I know I will make a mistake again.

I understand some mistakes are bigger than others and may never be forgiven. The damage you've done may be too wide and deep that the scar may never heal back to normal again.

I want to believe, however, we can always ask for a do-over. You can always try to put things right again with your offering of honesty and love.

I hope something new, unexpected, and beautiful would come out of our failure when we ask for a second chance.

It's never too late to have a do-over. 


  1. Sometimes as humans, we can't help but act human. I'm impressed that you were able to flip this into a learning experience in such a short time. If not for second chances, I would literally have or be nothing. I do wish you wouldn't be so hard on yourself!

    1. I agree with you - we all make mistakes and that's part of who we are. You should've seen me throwing a temper tantrum though! Oh it was that bad (and probably hilarious at the same time...)

  2. Well, I can't count the number of times I've done exactly as you described. It's a testament to your maturity that you were able to address the situation with your family so quickly. I would let things simmer and sulk. It's taken me my lifetime to mature (slow learner). :)
    “To err is human; to forgive, divine.”
    In forgiving yourself and learning from this experience it shows how willing you are to grow and embrace change.

    1. I've had a fair share of sulky moments myself :) I was just talking with my friend the other day and found out it's not that uncommon for moms like us to have a meltdown (or a tantrum) in front of the kids. Love the quote. Thanks for sharing your insight! ox


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