Things I never thought I’d say to my kids 4

Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.

Thomas Mereton

When my girls were younger, I kept a list of funny things they said, and cute little mispronunciations like “untella” for “Nutella”. But I also kept a list of random statements I never thought I would say as a mother. One memorable moment was at the end of a meal, when I found myself saying, “No, you don’t paint your feet with jelly”. I could never have predicted that one!

But another word I didn’t realise would come out of my mouth so often as a mother was the word ‘sorry’. It is a simple word, with so much power. And I have found that despite my desire to be an awesome mum (which I am by the way), I cannot be a perfect mum. There are times when I will misunderstand my kids. There are times when I won’t listen properly. There are times when I will react from the stresses of my day, rather than their behaviour.

There are times when I get it wrong.

Like most parents I want to do the best for my kids, and I find it challenging to realise I can’t get things right all the time.  I have to acknowledge to myself that I’ve made a mistake but not beat myself up about it. I then have to swallow my pride and admit my mistake to my daughter, with an apology and not excuses. I have to listen and make amends.

For me, it is one of the most challenging aspects of parenting.

But I have learnt (and let’s face it, I’m continuing to learn) the power of coming close and saying, “I’m sorry”.

“I’m sorry I didn’t listen.”

“I’m sorry that reaction wasn’t about you but about me.”

“I’m sorry I really got that wrong.”

I am learning to apologise and make amends. And while it is tempting to tie this post up with a pithy little moral about how I’m teaching my kids the power of an apology (which I hope I am). The reality is they are teaching me so much about the power of forgiveness, and a second chance, and the fact that they don’t actually want me to be perfect. They love me despite my mistakes, just as I love them despite theirs, and that is worth pure gold.

About Jodie McCarthy

Jodie is a writer, speaker, poet and mother. An unashamed words girl who writes to process the myriad of experiences of life. In her writing and on her blog she investigates the journey of life: the beautiful; the painful; the everyday; and the mundane. She has a heart for encouraging women on their life journey, particularly when that journey traverses the harder places of grief and pain. On the days when she is not writing you will find her in her kitchen, usually licking the beaters from a chocolate cake. You can find her books and follow her journey at

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