I want a rewind button.
A simple little tool to take back all the things I say and do as a mom that I instantly regret. And there are a lot.
All the times I keep nagging on my kids, ranting as if I’m some toy that’s broken and stuck on repeat. Or for when I’m trying to teach them something but misspeak and say words I’m just terrified will eat away at their self-esteem. It makes me cringe. Sometimes I’m not even sure they heard it or were bothered by it, but I’d do anything to take it back anyway.
It’s as though I can see myself in their eyes and remember myself as an innocent and delicate child. Suddenly I’m transported back in time, remembering the weight of the words that I still carry. I don’t want to do that to my kids.
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And maybe it’s the anxiety in me, but every time I say something I instantly regret, I almost freeze as my mind spirals with guilt, shame, and what-ifs. It’s like I become paralyzed with fear. Fear of creating shame for them. Hurting their self-confidence and worth.
I want a rewind button, and I know I’m not the only one.
I hear it time and time again. Parents lamenting their actions and words. Willing themselves to go back in time and fix it all. Just the other day, I read a mother’s story of deep regret. In a moment of frustration, she had snapped at her kids. She apologized but couldn’t shake the feeling of intense guilt and fear. She had grown up in a broken home and was just terrified of perpetuating the cycle. But there in the comments was a beautiful line, “Bad parents don’t worry about being bad parents.” Simple and yet so true.
Bad parents don’t lose sleep over their mistakes. They don’t worry about the impact of their words and actions, but the good ones do. Good parents make mistakes, but they acknowledge them and make efforts to change because they love their kids. Good parents say, “I’m sorry.” Good parents want to be better. They’re trying to change. They’d do anything for a rewind button.
Basically good parents are the ones who are worried about being bad.
And that’s not to say we should all be anxious and guilt-ridden—no way. I’m not advocating for the spiral of shame, but it means that we can let ourselves off the hook a little.
The very fact that we have regrets means we see our errors, and we are working on doing and being better.
It means we’re willing to change and we care enough to think it through. We’re choosing self-awareness over denial because we love our kids enough to admit sometimes we’re wrong.
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Despite our best efforts, we’ll probably make the same mistake, many times over, but bit by bit, we’ll improve.
We’ll start with sorry. We’ll have an honest conversation with our kids and explain to them we make mistakes. We’ll tell them how we have bad days and say or do things we regret and don’t mean. We’ll tell them we’re working on it. And we’ll do that because we love our kids enough to work on ourselves.
Somedays, we’ll still want a rewind button. But maybe we don’t need to go back in time. Maybe just maybe a simple pause to reflect and correct will do.