Today, I had to come clean. I had to sit down and tell my children that I messed up. I made a big mistake that required me to humble myself, apologize, and fix to the best of my ability. It was not fun, I feel like crap about it, but I had to tell them.
Well, I didn’t so much HAVE to tell them, as I WANTED to tell them.
Whaaaaaat? Why would I EVER do something like that? Don’t I want my kids to think Mommy is always right? Won’t telling them that I fucked up something undermine my authority when I tell them to stop fucking up?
It has been a LONG time since I have “gotten in trouble”- so to speak. I’ve been my own boss for so long that I almost forgot what making a huge mistake feels like. If I screw something up at home, the only person who can get mad at me is me- and I don’t waste time being mad at myself for forgetting to take the trash out. That’s stupid. There are Legos to curse at that are far more deserving of my wrath than me. No, my mistakes these days really only ever involve me, and who gives a shit? I can’t really feel the kind of guilt that is caused by fucking something up that involves someone else. Someone who doesn’t live in this house and immediately forgive me because I’m the one who feeds them so it’s wise for them not to hold a grudge.
I could have lived without EVER experiencing a mistake that affected someone else ever again, but no one is immune. Today, I revisited the world of fuckupery, and it was awful. My household wasn’t strict growing up, but mistakes were most definitely frowned upon in a big way, and I often heard my full legal name shouted through the house in anger. Mistakes were bad. Mistakes were scary. Do not make mistakes! My mom was also a MASTER of the guilt trip. Seriously. I bow to her ultimate guilting powers. My brother once left a tiny bit of milk in a cup on the counter (a BIG no-no) instead of rinsing it and blamed it on me. My ass got sent to my room until I admitted I did it and apologized, all the while my mom guilted the shit out of me, telling me how bad I was for lying. How bad I was for just not telling the truth. How bad I was for blaming it on my brother. Bad bad bad. For something I didn’t even do! The mistake wasn’t even mine! The mistake was really that I didn’t just say that I did it to get my ass out of time out. Guilted if I did, guilted if I didn’t. Guilt everywhere! Guiltception! The guilt was so deep that I never drank milk again! Obviously, I’m exaggerating, but it was bad. I was in that room for a long time.
All the while- that woman NEVER admitted to being wrong. Ever! (Do I ever wonder where I got my stubbornness from? Um. No.)
Since then, guilt has been a terrible, and large part of my life. The tiniest mistakes I end up fretting about and thinking about constantly. Even years later. I feel bad about shit most people would get over in 5 minutes. I stress and worry over things I think I did or said wrong that I probably didn’t. All because I learned from a young age to feel constantly guilty.
I spent all day feeling terrible and absolutely wracked with guilt- and the situation that put me in that state? Turned out fine. It’s over. It was NOTHING to feel guilty about, an honest mistake, but I still felt like crap. It is the worst feeling ever. I did NOT miss it! After I did my best to rectify the situation, the first thing I did was tell my kids. It had nothing to do with them, but I told them.
No one WANTS to make mistakes, and we certainly don’t want our kids to be walking screw-ups, but mistakes are absolutely inevitable, and when they are made (and I KNOW they will be), I don’t want my kids to feel how I felt today. How I felt through a lot of my childhood, adulthood, lifehood. Through my experiences, and being honest with them, I don’t just want them to learn FROM my mistakes, but learn that making mistakes is just a part of life- and they DON’T need to beat themselves up as much as I do.
Kids- Mistakes are OKAY! You’re gonna make them! You ARE going to fuck up, no matter how hard you try not to. No matter how good of a person you are. No one’s perfect, especially not me. Try not to feel too guilty, too awful, too upset- an adequate amount- not enough to crap all over your life. It’s not the end of the world, but please, do us all a favor and rinse out your damn cups.
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