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I always tell myself this...

I always tell myself that I'm going to do it differently.

The next time my daughter is upset.

I want to just listen. Intently.

Not talk.

Not give advice.

Not give a hint of "you could have done it this way."

Just listen. Intently.

Let her rant.

Let her work through her feelings.

Let her figure out what her own next steps are.

But of course, it didn't happen yesterday.

I talked more than I listened.

I spewed some thoughts about why this was happening.

I more than hinted that she could have done things a better way.

Oh fellow mamas, isn't this how it is sometimes?

We know the best, most healthy way to "be" with our kids, but we just can't make the leap into new territory.

We fall back on our old ways, making sure our own voice is heard because we "know so much more than them" and we can see the issue so clearly.

I felt awful after the conversation.

I really had wanted to do it differently.

But I didn't. Not this time.

Well, that's not totally true.

I did something new I hadn't done before.

I followed up with her.

I told her that I always want to do it differently when she is upset.

I told her that I wished I had "listened hard and long."

I told her that I hoped I could make it all better and that she would leave me feeling lighter, happier.

And then I went a little bit deeper.

To that space where my heart was wide open, bracing for impact.

I told her I was very sorry.

I told her I mostly wanted her to feel deeply loved.

And then I told her I would keep trying.

To do it differently next time.

Oh fellow mamas, isn't this how it is sometimes?

All we can do is change one small thing, move the parental "bar" slightly up a notch, and give ourselves grace in the process.

We keep learning. Changing. Growing.

And guess what?

Our kids have a front row seat.

One final note.

Her response was priceless.

"You are completely fine, Mom. I just needed to vent. I perked up right after we talked."

Maybe it wasn't so horrible after all.

But I will keep trying to do it differently.

One teensy step at a time.

From my heart to yours.


P.S. I have this mantra that says, "there are two gifts we can always give our kids: GRACE for where they are now and SPACE for who they will become." I think I might need to give those gifts to myself right now.

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