Mea culpa

Roadmaps. They seem like hard work. I’ve been avoiding them. But this past weekend I had the privilege and pleasure of a refresher workshop with Vicki, and we spent a lot of time on roadmaps.

I think one reason I haven’t yet made them my friend is that I didn’t quite hit the mark last time. I wrote that my goal was “trust.” Trust in yourself and in each other. And that’s still important, but I realized for me it’s more than that. What do I want my kids to say about me when they’re 35? Courageous. My mom was courageous. Intentionally courageous.

I felt a little rush when I thought of it. It just fits, and I’m a good part of the way there. I take risks and try new things, I take stands against injustice, I don’t care very much what other people think (most of the time), I’m honest and can admit when I’m wrong … except … hmm … not always on that last one. I could be doing better there, especially with my family.

At a previous workshop, Vicki helped me see how much I fear being wrong and looking stupid. Hate that. And now I can clearly see how that was tripping me up – getting in the way of my having the courage to be imperfect. And isn’t that what I want for my kids? The courage to be imperfect? What a gift! But one of our mantras at the workshop was, “You cannot give to your kids what you cannot give to yourself.”

So, my new roadmap says that from now on, I am willing to:

  • Say my mistakes out loud, especially to my kids
  • Apologize when my mistakes impact others
  • Let go of arguments where I’m trying to prove that I’m right
  • Stop, breathe deep, and smile whenever I’m tempted to blame someone else for my mistakes
  • Deflect my old, defensive thinking by singing that Hanna Montana song (the one my girls used to like, but now they hate, “Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days …” etc.) either out loud or in my head. (And maybe do a little dance too.)

I started off by apologizing to Fenner for something I did last week:

Me: “Fenner, one thing I discovered over the weekend was that I want to be better at admitting my mistakes. Like remember on Friday when I was in a rush and you asked me if I slept too late and I said no?”

Fenner: “Yeah.”

Me: “I lied. I did sleep too late.”

Fenner: “You did?”

Me: “Yes, I’m sorry. And then I blamed you guys for it, remember? I said, ‘If the car hadn’t been so full of trash I would’ve been able to get the garbage together faster.’”

Fenner: “Yeah, you did say that! Why?”

Me: “I just didn’t want to admit my mistake and feel guilty about it. Because we know what happens when you or your sisters are late in the morning — I leave without you. But what happens if I’m late?”

Fenner: “You mess it up for the rest of us … That’s a lot of pressure on you!”

I looked at her in surprise. Never thought of it like that.

Me: “You’re right, it is! So we need a plan. I’ll bring it up tonight at family meeting.”

And here’s how it went down:

Me: “Girls, before we do allowance, I need your help with something. You know how when you’re late in the morning I leave without you? Well, what should happen when I’m late?”

Charlotte: “Yeah, because when you’re late, you make us all late for school!”

Ellen: “Yeah, you should have to pay! One dollar to each of us!”

Fenner: “No, ten dollars!”

Ellen: “No, wait! Every three times mom is late she has to make a pan of brownies without our help … and mom only gets to have four brownies!”

Fenner: “Or those Toll House Cookies … let’s vote!”

Charlotte’s hand came up in a fist.

Ellen: “Charlotte! What’s wrong?!”

Charlotte: “Mom should only get two brownies.”

Ellen: “Oh … Ok, vote again!”

It was unanimous.

Explore posts in the same categories: Weeks following: Problem Solving

8 Comments on “Mea culpa”

  1. Michael Mayor (Papa) Says:

    Oh, man!! Only two brownies! Tough crowd.

    Mistakes and coming up shorts are hard, hard hard.

    And, how else do we get to qualify as human, and qualify for all those hugs??

  2. Shalagh Says:

    Wow. Huge. What a revelation / realization! What results – already! Just when I needed inspiration – thank you for writing!

    S

    ps – so fired up you got to go AGAIN! Brilliant!

  3. Phoenix Says:

    Way to step into the new courageous you!! You’re one step closer to that goal girl!! Nice summary of road maps too-thanks! Great to meet you this weekend 🙂

    Blessings, Helen

    Out of the ashes, beauty will rise

  4. vicki Says:

    Damn I love you and those girls and that husband of yours. Setting the bar HIGH, which I love, love, love. Give them hugs and kisses and oh yeah, give yourself one as well. You make it sound easy to admit the lie, the mistake, but you and I know, as do a million other mothers that it takes a bag full of courage, an open heart and deep love for your babies to pull that one off. Thank you for sharing this story. We will be using it in our blog this week. LOL

  5. KJ Says:

    Bring me a brownie? I’m loving this stuff. I’m going to order my own set. THANK YOU.

    • flockmother Says:

      Funny you should ask — just last week I hit the three strikes mark and made the brownies and only ate 2 – the system worked! Everyone was happy and I was guilt-free. Woohoo! (The brownies are long gone now, but next time I’ll try to save you one!) 🙂


  6. […] dear friend Catha, in her latest blog post, drives home the power of living an “Intentionally Courageous” life and the impact it has on […]


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