Forgive Yourself

You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junk.

–          Louise Smith


Forgive Yourself.

You are not a perfect mom.  None of us are.

But you are a good mom.

Your child does not need perfection.  Your child needs you.


The other day, I lost it.  I mean, I totally lost it.

I am not a spanker.  I do not believe in hitting my children.  And yet, spank I did.

I’m not proud of it.  I’m ashamed to write it.  I will not hold my head high when folks read it.

But I did it.  I spanked my baby.

Not hard.  And definitely on his pull-up, to soften the blow.

And definitely more than once.

Why?  Because.

Because I didn’t know what else to do.  I was out of tools and I was out of patience.

It was nap time.  He was supposed to stay in his bed and go to sleep.  He is my spirited child. And when he is supposed to do one thing, he is most certainly going to do the opposite.  He takes orders from no one.  And he hates sleeping.  He fights it.

So that is exactly what he did – he fought it.  And he kept his brother awake in the process.

I have a lot to do during nap time.  Nap time is my time.  So when the kids don’t sleep….well, I get crabby.

After an hour of trying everything to get him to sleep, I finally, in sheer frustration, spanked him.  It didn’t work.  So I spanked him again and told him to stay in bed.  He looked me in the eye as he put one foot, and then the other, over the high bar on the side of his bed.  That bar is designed to keep him from falling out while he slept.  On this day, it was used to challenge his mom.  Having just been spanked twice, he defiantly climbed over.  I spanked him one last time, threw him in bed and escaped the bedroom before I did any further damage.  Oh, yeah, and I screamed.  A lot.

Nice, relaxing way for a baby to fall asleep, right?

Poor baby.  He didn’t deserve that.

I cried.

He cried.

His brother cried.

And I vowed to never, ever do that again.

They both fell asleep.

And I spent nap time working on forgiveness.

For myself.


Because this ain’t my first rodeo.  I have six children.  The twins are my babies.  I’ve been through this enough times now to know that I have moments where I just plain old suck as a mom.  They are far more often than I’d like to admit.  I’m not perfect and I do a lot of things wrong.

And you do, too.

But in order to be a better mom, we need to forgive and forget.

So I screwed up.

Yes, it was bad.

Yes, I hate myself for it.

And yes, I never want it to happen again.

None of us do.  So we say “I’m sorry.”

Even if my child is an infant, I say I’m sorry.  I ask for forgiveness.  And of course I receive it.

Children forgive so easily.

A good, solid relationship with your child is the key to all discipline.  You don’t want to damage that relationship. With a good relationship, they will grow up to be good people, and that is our ultimate goal.

But of course, we will damage that relationship from time to time.  We are moms and we are imperfect.

We are human. And our children are too.  They deserve the same respect every other person does.  Ask for forgiveness and then re-establish trust.

How do you re-establish trust?  By not making that mistake again.

Sure, I will make tons of others.  But spanking?  I’m not going there again.

I lost my patience and didn’t have the tools to get my son to do what I wanted him to do.  I said I’m sorry;  I forgave myself and he forgave me.

And then I went on a search for better ways to handle it the next time.

And believe it or not, I discovered that my spirited child sometimes simply does not know how to calm himself down.  He needs help.  So I hold him tight and snuggle him until he settles down.

Something I had been avoiding, because I felt I then had to do it for his brother too.

And that would take way too much time.

I decided it was worth the time.

Nap time is so much easier now.

Snuggles instead of spankings.

Isn’t forgiveness a wonderful thing?



Let go of the junk.  If you are a mom and your relationship with your older child is damaged, let go of the junk. Forgive yourself.   Ask your child for forgiveness if you have done wrong.  Forgive your child if he has done wrong – even if he doesn’t ask for it.

Let go of the junk.  You have a life to live and a child to love.

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