I’ve always been an over-apologizer. I can’t say why or when it started. My parents never held me over burning coals or lashed me with bamboo while forcing me to apologize, so it’s kind of a mystery. The worst part isn’t that I say “I’m sorry” on occasion; it’s that I find myself apologizing for almost everything. Including my kids.

At restaurants I find myself apologizing to the servers, “I’m so sorry, but can my daughter have more lemonade?” I find myself groveling, “I’m so sorry!” to other customers nearby when one or more of my kids gets up from the table. And God forbid if my child spills their drink. I feel so guilt-ridden that I practically scrub the floor with my pocket mop. (Note: I don’t really own a pocket mop.)

The grocery store is my biggest apology-eliciter. If I have my kids with me, you can assume I’m asking for forgiveness from everyone  I pass even if we haven’t made eye contact. I may as well be apologizing for the plain fact that my kids were born.

It’s ridiculous. I’m tired of it.

I have always been told by friends and family that I need to stop apologizing. I guess I always saw it as a sign of authenticity.

It’s not that I’m not genuine. I find myself to be a nice person and accommodating to other’s needs. But I have started unnecessarily apologizing on behalf of my kids and that’s not okay. I don’t want them to grow up and think every little thing they did in their childhood warranted an apology.

The time my four-year-old threw a floaty at his swim teacher’s face as an evil gesture? THAT warranted an apology. Or the time the same child smacked a stranger’s bottom so hard while we were at a museum? Yeah, that was a good time to express a little bit of regret.

But the time my six-year-old was dancing in the aisle at the store and blocked someone for about four seconds? Not really apology-worthy. Is it frustrating? Sure. Or when my oldest lingers a few seconds too long at the frozen yogurt bar? Is it annoying to others? Perhaps. But asking a stranger to forgive your kid for doing something that wasn’t really wrong in the first place isn’t necessary.

If I keep asking strangers to forgive my kids for being normal kids, what kind of confidence will that give them? Will they always fear that their actions are wrong or apology-worthy?

As of today, I’m going to stop over-apologizing. I’m going to make some changes to how I react to my kids’ behavior. So from now on, if you see me in the store with my kids and one of them happens to be in your way for a few seconds, I’ll kindly say, “Thank you for understanding!” because I won’t be sorry.

Amy Stine

Amy Stine is a stay-at-home mom of three crazy children, a dog, cat, and husband. She writes her own awkward stories at Tales From The Circus and is also a Contributor for Austin Moms Blog. When she’s not fetching snacks or cleaning up spills, she’s chasing the family dog to retrieve stolen socks out of his mouth. She hates mayonnaise and chin hairs equally and is still perfecting the art of the arm fart.