Starting Over

April 26, 2011 at 5:42 am (General)

Sometimes I need to start over.  Like when I forget a crucial ingredient at a critical step in making what is to be edible deliciousness.  It could be fantastic.  It should be.  But, because I messed up somewhere along the way, it’s not going to turn out wonderfully.  So I’ll start over and, this time, do something different that will lead to a more palatable outcome.

I have moments like that in my parenting, too.  Plenty of situations that call for a do-over.  I don’t seem to hesitate to point my kids’ do-over moments out to them (“Let’s try that again, but this time, please ask in a ‘nice’ voice.”), and I’m trying to be just as vigilant at recognizing my own.

I love the concept; being able to erase the past (minute, hour…year?) and start fresh with a new perspective and a new approach.  But it’s not that I want to completely disregard my mistakes and never think of them again.  On the contrary, I think of them often.  Like when I tossed out a batch of sub-par mayonnaise I made the other day, I wanted it gone but definitely not forgotten. I need to remember that batch so I know what to do differently next time, and the time after that, and for every future batch of mayonnaise I make.  Less vinegar, keep stirring.

As a parent, my starting-over points are moment-to-moment.  I have daily moments of regret in which I know I didn’t handle a situation well, or I could have responded to my kids differently.  OK–if I’m being honest–much, much better.  I also make sure I give myself the opportunity to practice my (much, much) better response, by allowing myself to start over. “Hey, I’m really sorry about what I said/ did/ the way I acted.  You were frustrated.  I was frustrated.  You needed me to help you, not to get angry.  Can we try this again?”  But I don’t want to forget what happened; I need to hang onto the memory of “take 1″ so I can work on improving take 2, 3, 4, 5….

I try to remind myself that making mistakes in my parenting efforts are so normal and very much OK.  Mistakes are how I learn, grow, and ultimately become a better mom for my kids.   Thankfully, my children are very forgiving and on-board with do-overs.  With enough starting over I can change the way I respond to stress.  I can have a markedly different day, hour, or minute than the previous one.  I have infinite chances to try again; to make changes that take my parenting from passable to really-quite-satisfying.  Less vinegar, keep stirring.

1 Comment

  1. Amy said,

    Well said Kelly! And, something I can totally relate too. How fortunate that we get “do-over” moments in life. Beautiful post!

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