What You Do After What You Do Is Sometimes More Important

by SomeGirl on March 23, 2010 · 14 comments

I took a parenting class at a wonderful, little Montessori-like preschool where my son attended and I taught. I enjoyed the class and what we learned, but mostly I enjoyed the confirmation that what I had been doing as a parent was good (which was nice for my formerly perfectionistic ears to hear). But, I’m most thankful for a nugget of forgiveness that came from a video we watched. Some big-wig guy in the play therapy world gave an example of something that went on at his house and how he “blew it” (love the specifics, hu?)… then he said something to the effect of, “what you do after what you do is sometimes  more important than what you’ve done to begin with.” In other words, sometimes we’re going to make mistakes, get frustrated, or snap… but what will we do after the fact? We’re not perfect (surprise!). So, today when I got fed up from asking my oldest to stop doing something to my youngest while we were waiting to cross the road…. to please stop it…. please don’t do that… wait ’til later… please stop… not right now, honey…  please stop… and then grabbed his little face and snapped loudly, “Stop it!… Stop it!… Stop it!” I am not proud, but somehow comforted by the fact that some big-wig guy in the play therapy world said that apologizing to my son for snapping at him and having a heart felt discussion about the need to find a way to express frustration in a kind and loving manner makes a bigger impact than the snapping did. I’m glad to have that nugget of forgiveness and hope he’s right about it… (I hate to admit it, but that’s how it went down).

Disclaimer: This nugget was spoken to the generally healthy parent/child relationship. The word “sometimes” is used because there are times when this principle isn’t true… physical, sexual and emotional abuse are serious issues that need help.

photo information: http://www.flickr.com/photos/seandreilinger/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0



So, you are not perfect. Just recovering from being perfect. All perfectly fine.

Some Girl

Yeah, and I googled “recovered perfectionist”to see it existed and found a post titled, “The Perfectly Recovered Perfectionist.” Looks like there’s no way out! ;)


We all snap from time to time. We all get Pretty Mad Sometimes. I agree that talking about it after it happens is very important. Sometimes little people forget how to use their ears….mine are not so little and they forget a lot. I snap, heck I have exploded *BOOM* before….it happens. We only have so much patients within us.

We always talk about any snaps or explosions after they happen. We need to talk it through, they need to understand and sometimes we BOTH need to apologize.

Some Girl

Thanks, Jamie! It’s good to know I’m in good company. And that’s true about both needing to apologize sometimes… showing mutual respect. It’s good to have you in the discussion!


I love this. That is truly comforting. Thanks for sharing.

Some Girl

Thanks, Robin! It’s comforting that a therapist find this post comforting! ;) Now my only question is “are you analyzing me right now?” lol (you’ll understand after you check out Robin’s blog at http://officiallymymother.tumblr.com) Great blog, btw! And it’s GREAT to have you here! ♥ Michelle

Mia Rossi

I’m so glad to hear this. The same thing happened to me yesterday!! My hubby came home to help out with the kids so I could have some time to blog. The phone rang & he answered. He talks VERY loud & I could hear him from the other room. Then, my 6 yr. old blurts in proclaiming to him that her little brother has diarrhea (I know TMI). She kept on & wouldn’t stop. On the other end of the line our big potential client said- “uh, is everything alright?” My hubby quickly got off the phone. I was incensed!! I totally lost it & started yelling saying things like “How many times have I told you to tap us when we are on the phone & wait to be addressed?, What do I have to do to get through to you?, You are almost 7 & should know better by now” After I cooled down, I talked to her about the feelings I was experiencing & explained to her that I shouldn’t have reacted in the way I did. She told me she understood, forgave me, & apologized for her behavior too. I think it’s good for kids to know that we are not perfect. There are ofcourse, lines you don’t cross though. I love that you put the disclaimer out there too. Thanks for keeping it real :)

Some Girl

Thanks for keeping it real, too. ♥ Sounds like a crazy time yesterday! And your comment makes me think… wouldn’t it be great if we could be as understanding and forgiving as our children? Guess that’s one reason why Jesus told us to come like children.


I can completely see how the heartfelt discussions after situations such as these would have a greater impact. Hugs, Michelle!

Some Girl

Thank you sweet friend! ♥

Laura Maly

Been there, done that. And isn’t it frustrating? You feel like a horrible parent. Why did I snap like that? Couldn’t I have maintained my calm? And, yes, I agree with the big-wig. It does absolutely make a difference what we do next. After the meltdown. After the snap. After the tantrum. (Sometimes I feel like the five-year-old.) This just reinforces that and reminds us that we’re not perfect, and that that’s okay. Great post! Thanks.

Some Girl

Don’t you hate it when that happens!? It’s really good to know I’m not alone… I never really see anyone snap and then when it happens I think I’m the only one who ever does and (yes!) I feel like a “horrible parent!” It’s good to hear I’m not the only one who ever snaps… Thank you! We’re not perfect…we’re not perfect… (that might need to be my new mantra!) lol

Betsy Henry zen-mama.com

I totally agree with the “what you do after what you do is sometimes more important than what you’ve done to begin with.” I’ve certainly found that to be true and it’s a big part of my book, HOW TO BE A ZEN MAMA.

By the way, you won my March Book Give away! I’d love to send it to you if you want to send me you address to me at betsymhenry@gmail.com. I so appreciate all your positive comments.

I hope you’ll like it!!


Some Girl

Yay!!! I was hoping I would win!!! I can’t wait to read it!

I’ll e-mail you my address ASAP… Thanks, Betsy!!! ♥

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