I left bruises {A Story About Imperfection & Grace} – How Fresh Start Family Can Help

by | June 22, 2019 | 2 comments

I left bruises {A Story About Imperfection & Grace} – How Fresh Start Family Can Help

by | June 22, 2019 | 2 comments

It’s so very, very, very important for me to make sure all of you understand that this work of Positive Parenting is NOT about perfection, but instead:

  • progress
  • having the right ideals
  • taking responsibility for our actions 
  • learning effective, respectful parenting strategies
  • a solid plan of action to make tomorrow different.

So let me tell you a story about that … to help you understand that The Fresh Start Family community is a safe, inspiring place for you to learn & grow. We’re here to support & encourage you through The Foundations Course that teaches the complete A-Z of positive parenting & our membership program, The Bonfire, that opens two times a year for enrollment.


A few years ago, amidst a busy season of life of raising babies and building a business, my son had a tantrum in the middle of the street and I didn’t handle it so great.

He was 4 & had been home sick for weeks from pre-school (he has allergies & asthma that causes him to get sick so easily) and had endured several rounds of antibiotics & breathing treatments which pumped steroids into his teeny little body. All the medicine had a terrible affect on him making him have excessive energy, feel awful and not behave very well at all.

It was almost time to go pick up his sister from school and he had skipped his nap because his little body was just so off. I had tried to let it slide knowing that he was recovering from an illness and had plans to just put him to bed early.

I was doing my best, but inside I was so tired and frustrated and ready for him to be back to pre-school. 

I just felt so done. 

You know that feeling where you’re just SO over taking care of everybody? That guilty feeling when you just want to run away and have just 30 minutes to yourself? Where no one is needing you or misbehaving or pushing buttons or pulling the dogs tail?

He started asking to go play at his buddies house down the street and since he still had a heavy cough and was clearly still so off kilter from the breathing treatments I said no. 

He didn’t like that and pushed back hard. I watched as he stood up, walked out the front door and said “I’m going to Nolan’s house to play.”

I could feel the rage creep in me immediately.

It was a situation where I should have cut him some extra grace, but my patience was at an all time low and my empathy for him had run dry. 

I just wanted him to listen and come inside and rest. The house was a mess, I had not exercised in days and I was sick of wiping snotty noses and spending hours in the doctors office. (yes trust me I feel guilty even writing this … not things I’m proud of, but the honest truth.)

I followed him down the street and took his hand and said “no buddy I said no it’s time to go home.” he resisted and started screaming “no I want to play with Nolan just let me go play with Nolan”. 

I went to pick him up and he freaked out, throwing his body on the ground kicking and screaming.


I’d love to say that all of the positive parenting curriculum that I teach (at that time I had been teaching for a few years in person here in San Diego) rushed into my mind and I acted with great integrity with all the options and effective tools that I teach you all (and now am very fluent with) … but I didn’t. 


I reached down and aggressively grabbed his little body and picked him up with zero gentleness. He resisted hard so I pushed harder and squeezed harder on his arms (honestly – intentionally trying to create pain) … essentially dragging him home, quietly yelling through gritted teeth at him about how he was in BIG trouble. 

I could’ve paused and sat down and taken some deep breath’s and talked with him. I mean this wasn’t a 4 alarm fire. We had time, I could have slowed down, got creative & worked with him…  but I didn’t … i just snapped.

I dragged him home and then took him upstairs to his room, slammed the door and yelled at him … telling him he was in big trouble and how unacceptable his behavior was … and that we all needed to calm down (my desperate attempt to now apply at-least SOME positive parenting curriculum) 

He cried for a good 45 minutes before finally calming himself down & I … in my rage state cleaned the entire house (anyone else clean when they are SO mad?) while my nerves slowly settled down from the horribly stressed state they were in.

I knew that I had freaked out and handled the situation very poorly, but It wasn’t till the next day that I realized just how big of a mistake I had made. 

As I was helping him get in the bath the next night, he stripped off his clothes in the excited cute little toddler state that he always had when he got in the bath … excited for toys and playing and singing and making boats out of cups and enjoying life . 

And that’s when I saw the bruises.

They were clearly from when I had grabbed him so aggressively in the middle of the street. They were almost like exact fingerprint marks on his biceps, from my 125 pound body clearly squeezing a little 35 pound body way too hard. With aggression, with rage, not pausing to think clearly, just overpowering & using fear & force on my tiny little guy. 

That’s when I lost it. Tears rushed into my eyes & my heart started racing.

I mean I’m a positive parenting teacher, what is wrong with me?

I got him set up in the bath & retreated to my room for an explosive cry of hopelessness, shame & embarrassment.


My amazing husband hugged me and said babe, 

“He’s ok, I can see why you got so mad, it was just a hard situation”

His incredible skill to support me while also not justifying my mistakes is a blessing I will never take for granted. He is the ultimate encourager and comforter.


But here’s the reality. I had made a mistake, a big mistake.

Growing up, I hated being in a family where explosive anger & the feeling of being “unsafe” was common and I sure as heck don’t believe in it as a necessary way of life for my family today.

But I also have done a whole lot of self-growth work over the last 10 years and the grace I’m able to receive from God & give myself these days is pretty high. 

Maybe explosive anger isn’t something you struggle with, but what triggers do you have & what are your kids fabulous at “bringing to the surface”?

  • What is your version of this story? 
  • What have you resorted to as a parent that you later realized is NOT how you want to live your life?
  • Has there been a situation where you just wished you “knew a better way”?

Yes, I’m human and YES … I make mistakesWe ALL make mistakes.


I KNOW that there were other ways to handle that situation that day which would have taught the important lessons of “Listening to your mom” & “Honoring rules of we cant have playdates when sick” … we talk about them every week at The Bonfire and also within The Foundations Course

But another thing I’ve learned through this work is that there is usually a silver lining & an incredible learning opportunity from every mistake.

So as I tried to get myself to sleep that night, I thought of:

  • how I would talk to my son in the morning
  • the ways I would re-do the situation
  • the “make-up” I would extend to him
  • the Foundations Course & Bonfire Lessons I would rewatch to be better prepared next time
  • the lessons I would explain that I think we had both learned
  • the apology & request for forgiveness I would ask for
Rennie Solis Photography

Modeling imperfection & cleaning up your messes is something that is important we all do as parents. Perfection is not the goal.

So here’s the moral of the story families & why I’m telling you this incredibly embarrassing & vulnerable story….

This work of Positive Parenting that we study inside of The Foundations Course & The Bonfire has solidified my ideals:

Teaching my children with respect, compassion, empathy AND firmness is my mission and I’m strong in my belief that all kids deserve dignity, safety & unconditional love.

I’m serious about staying “in learning” as I continue to grow & learn throughout life. I’m figuring it out, just like everyone else and I’m beyond grateful to have the curriculum of positive parenting to support me.

By no means does learning this work mean you’re going to be perfect, or expected to be perfect in any area of life, especially as a parent.


There are going to be days when you yell & shame, bribe & threaten & hopelessly give in to their demands.

But these days DON’T define you & they certainly don’t define your ideals.

You are part of a movement that believes children deserve respect. That they are growing and learning & making mistakes (just like us) & they deserve to be treated with dignity. We all deserve to have joyful, connected relationships within our family.

You also believe in strong limits, firm boundaries & raising children who treat others kindly & honor rules, boundaries & their parents, so you’re in it not because you have to be, but because your heart tells you this is important work to pursue.

Cheers to having that strong moral compass, even when we make big mistakes & get off track. Progress, not perfection is a motto I hope you’ll live by daily too!

We’re always here for you, cheering you on in your parenting journey.

xo,

~Wendy

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Thank you. Thank you.

    Reply
  2. Avatar

    Your story, writing, life, willingness to share, such gifts to all of us! ♥️

    Reply

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