Repair is the single-most important parenting tools you can have in your toolbelt as a mom. Why? Because you’re a human mom, and that means you’ll mess things up, get it all wrong, and then what? Try to do better? Try to be perfect? This mindset often leads to perfectionism and feeling like you’re constantly failing as a mom. It’s so not helpful! Instead, learn repair. Accept your humanness and get really good at apologizing to restore the relationship. That’s what this podcast is all about: how to repair. You’ll learn the worst mistakes to avoid as well as what to say when you repair. This will make your relationships stronger with your kids and leave so much more space for enjoying motherhood, even the messy parts.

If you’re a mom, you’re in the right place. This is a space designed to help you overcome challenges and live your best life. I’d love for you to join me inside the Mom On Purpose Membership where we take this work to the next level.

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Welcome to Mom On Purpose, where it’s all about helping moms overcome challenges and live their best lives. My hope is by being here, you are more inspired to become the mom you are made to be. I’m Natalie, your host, a wife, boy, mom, dog, mama, Chicagoan, and former lawyer turned professionally certified coach. If you’re here to grow, I can help. Let’s go.

Hello, my beautiful friend. How are you doing? I am so glad to be here with you and I’m so glad that you are here listening and I love this relationship and connection that we have over the podcast and I just have gratitude on my heart. So thanks for being here. I really, really love our time together and I’m so glad that you’re a part of this community. And today I want to talk with you about my favorite topic, how to repair when you mess up.

Do you ever mess up? Do you ever make mistakes? Do you ever lose your cool? Do you ever argue? Do you ever yell? Do you ever forget to register? Do you ever forget anything else? Yes, of course we are human moms, of course, we’re making mistakes. And yet what I find is for most of my clients, instead of getting really good at repair, which we’re going to talk about in today’s episode, the goal is to just get better at being a mom. So to reduce mistakes and to be perfect and to be better at all the things to never forget, to never lose your cool. And I really want to shift the narrative from trying to be perfect to just normalizing imperfections and getting really good at repair. So the more that we normalize our humanness and that includes making mistakes, getting it all wrong, being a human, then the easier repair becomes.

Why is this a better strategy than aiming for perfection? Because there is no point where we end up perfect, and we know this intellectually, and yet how often do we actually try to quote unquote do better? And I think that this comes from kind of finding personal development and thinking that personal development and developing ourselves and growing has to be done from this place of we’re not good enough. And I actually strongly disagree. I think we can grow from a place of accepting ourselves, accepting our humanness, accepting that we get it all wrong and we lose our cool and we make mistakes and we forget to register our kids and whatever else. And we can still want to improve and enhance our skills and grow, but not because we’re not good enough, but because we’re on this journey and that’s just who we want to be.

We want to be a mom who focuses on our own growth because that matters. And that’s important to us. So instead of, oh my gosh, I made this mistake,

I should never make a mistake again. I really need to make sure I don’t make mistakes in the future. It’s, I made a mistake, I’m going to get really good at repair so I can repair the relationship and apologize and I’m going to grow and learn lessons because that’s who I want to be. It’s a completely different energy around parenting that is such a game changer and so helpful for just enjoying motherhood and for increasing connection in your relationship. So let me just start off with talking about what repair even is. I think most of us probably know, but I think it’s worth mentioning here, it’s apologizing for the action that you took in the past that negatively impacted your relationship or that created moments of disconnection.

It’s an action that you took that wasn’t you at your best and it happened in the past. And you want to take responsibility for that action. And you also want to take responsibility for the impact of your action. So I like to think of repair as shorthand for repairing the relationship or repairing the connection. And you want to repair when there’s something that you did that you believe negatively impacted the relationship. And so you’re repairing for the action and you’re repairing for the impact it had on the relationship. You are not repairing for how you felt. This is so important as we teach our kids how to feel their feelings and how to regulate, it’s so important that we send the message to them that all feelings are welcome, all actions are not welcome, and that’s the standard that we’re going to hold ourselves accountable to. But I just find that the language really matters here.

So I, myself included here, have been guilty of apologizing for getting really upset or getting mad or feeling angry. And that is not what we want to apologize for. So it’s really important that you’re doing this work of separating out your actions from your feelings. Remember we talked about that, separating out thoughts, feelings from actions, kind of from the facts and the circumstances that is going to be laced throughout all of this work, including repair. So if you’re really good at that, if you’ve trained your brain and that’s just a skill to separate out feelings from actions, then just remember it’s really important that you’re apologizing for the action and the impact of that action on the other person. You’re not apologizing for feeling sad, for feeling angry because if you say, I’m so sorry, I felt so angry, you’re sending the message to your child that it’s not good to feel angry, that it’s bad to feel angry.

And so they’re going to think that if they feel angry that that’s bad. And so really what we want to do is separate out feelings and just apologize for the action. We’re going to talk about this in another episode about how you can really process feelings and stop yourself from taking unacceptable actions. And of course, this is the work that we’re teaching our kids, but the better that we get at it, the better examples we are for them and the better experience that we have ourselves. So just an important note there that you really want to make sure you’re just apologizing for the action, like yelling or maybe you forgot to register them or, maybe you’ve said a bad word that you don’t want to say or whatever the action is that you took that’s very different than the feelings, which are just those one word emotions, sad, mad, irritated, angry, upset, those feelings you want to normalize.

Okay, so why is it so hard? Why is it hard to apologize for an action that we took in the past? I think there are two main reasons. Number one, not having examples of it. If you grew up in a home that didn’t have a lot of repair going on, it’s not natural for you. It’s natural for you to defend yourself and to um, make excuses, you know, well intended like, I’m so sorry I was late because my boss pulled me into a meeting. And it’s innocent, but it doesn’t actually help repair the relationship. And so if you don’t have examples of what repair looked like growing up, it’s harder. And of course it is totally learnable. I want you to know that from the bottom of my heart, I want you to think of all of the tools that I teach here as tools in a tool belt or skills.

And you can develop any skill so you can develop the skill of repair without having an example of it. Might it be a little bit harder than someone else who grew up in a family that used repair a lot. Sure, that’s okay though, right? Like let’s do this, let’s get really good at repair. Such a, useful frame and mindset to have that making that the goal. I just absolutely love it. Another reason why repair is hard, and I actually think this is just one of the big, the big reasons that, um, prevents most of my clients from repairing a lot is shame. So when you attach actions to your identity, when you make what you do or don’t do, determine whether you are good or bad, it is very hard to repair because you think if you yelled, if you took that action, that impacts your internal goodness.

And so much of the foundational work that I do inside the membership with my clients is creating an identity on purpose of the mom who you want to be. So you know who you are, you are a good mom inside, and nothing you do can impact that. Separating out your actions from your human goodness and knowing that you are 100% worthy no matter what is something that you have to teach yourself. It’s not natural. And I think it’s not natural for a number of reasons, most notably because you know, we grow up being taught to be a good girl. And being a good girl means pleasing others. I was just talking about this, how we talk about how, you know, babies are either good or bad on airplanes and good in quotes means that they were quiet, that they were calm, that they didn’t cry.

Like it’s so fascinating that how, how young of an age this starts at from infancy, that being a good baby means pleasing to others. Like can we just stop that as a little side note, that is not useful language. We can say the baby was calm and peaceful and that made it easier for me. But that subtle difference in the language, in the way that we describe our kids is so important because what happens is that infant turns into a toddler who turns into a school aged kid who turns into a teenager who is constantly trying to be good in the eyes of other people and being good means pleasing to others. And so we grow up and become moms who then decide that our goodness is determined based on other people’s happiness. So then when our kids are unhappy, we make it mean that we are bad.

And it is part of my life’s work and mission with Mom On Purpose to stop that and to normalize separating out actions from identity. You are a human mom, which means you’re going to make mistakes. And being able to repair with yourself and keep your internal goodness intact is so important for being able to repair with others. You will be so much more likely to repair and apologize sincerely and create a new narrative around that thing that happened if you repair with yourself first. So I actually think that before I go into how to repair and some examples, it’s just important to note that the more you validate yourself for your internal goodness and separate out who you are and your identity from your actions as an ongoing practice, the easier it will be to implement repair. So I think that can look just as simple as validating yourself.

I’m a really good mom on the inside and my actions are separate and apart from my internal goodness, meaning sometimes I take awesome actions and sometimes I totally mess it up. And when I totally mess it up, it doesn’t impact my goodness internally I, I am good inside. So when you do that work, I think you’re so much more willing to be open to messing it up, making mistakes, and continuing to still love yourself and it follows repairing when you mess it up. Okay, now let’s talk about how to repair. Simply put a repair is an apology that opens the conversation. It is a way for you to increase connection and create a better story about what happened. One that is rooted in connection and one that shows you taking ownership for the mistake that you made. It can be simple and short and yet it will feel very loving, connected, like you’re taking ownership and open.

So I want to compare this to an apology that feels very closed. So maybe you’ve experienced this where someone says, I’m sorry for what I said earlier, and then changes the subject or then walks away or says it in a tone that is very closed off and you get the sense that they don’t want to talk about it anymore. That is not a repair. And you know, similarly, a repair is not an apology looking for validation. So when you apologize, you’re not trying to get your child to validate your goodness. That’s why it’s so important for you to repair with yourself first. So if you said something like, I am so sorry that I yelled at you, I am working on my yelling, it’s no excuse, I apologize sincerely, if you want to talk about it, I’m here to talk about it. And I just want you to know that I love you so much and this is something I’m really working on.

That is you opening the conversation and taking ownership for the actions that created the disconnection. And it’s not you looking for them to validate you. So it’s not you saying you still think I’m a good mommy, right? Or how are you feeling about this? And and sort of forcing them to tell you so that you can feel better about yourself. If you tell yourself that you are a really good mom and you’re doing your best and you’re a human mom. And that means sometimes you make mistakes. And yes, sometimes you yell When you make peace with that in advance and forgive yourself for your human messy actions and still choose to like and love yourself and know that you are good inside and validate your goodness, then that repair with yourself will make repairing with your kids so much easier because you won’t be looking for them to validate you.

If you are expecting reassurance from your kids, it is not a repair, it’s an ask. You’re asking them to tell you that you are still good. Don’t do that. It is not helpful. It’s not the intent behind the repair. The intent behind the repair is really to repair connection in the relationship. When you repair, it should feel loving and open and connected. Do not justify with the intent that you had. I meant to pick you up on time, I really did, but my boss called me into this meeting and it’s their fault, but I’m so sorry. It sort of abdicates responsibility from you to your boss. And your boss doesn’t have a relationship with your child. It’s not important. Of course you didn’t go into it with malicious intent. We never do. And yet we’re still human. We still make mistakes. We still forget, we are still late, we still lose our cool.

And when you separate out your intent from the impact and you apologize for the impact and you apologize for your actions, it is so much more connecting. The relationship will be repaired. You have so much more influence over the narrative that your kids tell about the actions than you think because it’s not what happened, it’s not the event, it’s not the circumstance. that creates the narrative. It’s not the circumstance that creates how they feel, it’s what they make it mean. And the repair influences what they make it mean. It influences their mindset. So when you become a mom who really focuses on getting really good at the skill of repair, then you are teaching your kids to include that in the narrative that they tell. The narrative is something like, my mom was an imperfect mom, just like all moms. And she always came back and repaired and increased that connection.

Now they’re not going to have that language now or maybe ever, but you’re going to do your part to participate in creating that more positive narrative even around mistakes. Instead of trying to be perfect, it’s accepting that you will make mistakes and getting really good at the skill of repair. One other point I want to include here of how not to repair is to not include your kids’ behavior. So for example, do not say, I’m so sorry I yelled, but your behavior was out of control. This negates the repair instead of you taking full responsibility for your actions, it’s blaming your actions in part on your child. Your child’s actions are your circumstance. Come inside to the Mom On Purpose membership and you will get the Inner Work Framework where I teach you how to break apart everything that’s going on with your kids’ actions and everything that’s going on with you and your mindset and how that creates how you feel and your actions.

There is a framework that I teach and you have worksheets and within the first month I can’t tell you how many emails I get of I’m feeling so much better. I’m decreasing my yelling, I’m repairing more like every single month we have this month check-in and I get all of these emails from members just thanking me and just so grateful that they have this tool that they can use. So if you are someone who struggles with separating out your child’s behavior from your reactions and you find them to be particularly triggering, you really need this course because it’s going to clear everything up for you and help you show up in such a more empowered way so you can show up as the mom that you genuinely want to be. So when you are repairing, you apologize fully for your actions without blaming your actions on your kids.

Their actions are the facts. They’re what happened, but the reason that you took action is because of how you were feeling and what you were thinking in the moment. Thoughts create feelings and feelings, drive actions. When your actions are something that you’re not proud of that you want to apologize for. Let’s say you yell, it’s so important that you take full responsibility for those actions because in so doing, you will repair the relationship. So don’t say your behavior contributed to my yelling. Don’t say, I’m so sorry I yelled, but your behavior was out of control. Just take full accountability. You can include that you’re working on it. You can include how sorry you are. You can include how much you love your child, all from a place of this is who you want to be, not from a place of desperation or needing their reassurance. Like you don’t want there to be this sort of undertone of, see, can’t you see I’m a really good mom, right?

And trying to like prove your worth. Again, I think just separating out your actions from who you are is really the way to get good at repair. So think of repair as a tool in your mom tool belt that you really want to increase your skillset on. You can just get so good at repair. I remember when I first realized how good I was at navigating tantrums and how I wasn’t set up for that at all. Like my upbringing, my disposition for yelling like, um, just there was nothing in my history that would’ve suggested I would be really good at navigating tantrums. And I am. And that experience has really provided evidence that any skill is learnable, and I want to impart that on you. So if repair is something that you haven’t been good at in the past, it is not too late to repair.

Not even if your kids are teenagers or you’re an empty nester. It is never too late to repair. Remember though that you want to repair because that’s who you want to be, not because you’re expecting reassurance or some sort of validation from the person who you’re repairing with from your child. So in short, I like to think about the shorthand kind of repair, being connection and an apology. So just remember that mentally repair is connection and an apology. But the apology is, is an art. I was coaching someone inside the membership and she said, you know, it just doesn’t seem like sorry is enough and it’s not. If it comes from this shut down place of wanting to move on, of kind of wanting to justify, of being really short about it and and moving on. If you say something like, huh, mom is so frustrated, I’m just really sorry, I yelled and we gotta get going, let’s go. And you sort of move on. That is not a true repair and that isn’t enough. What is enough is genuine pause, genuine connection, genuine taking

responsibility and ownership for your actions and the impact that they had on the other person and making it authentic and connected and opening up the conversation. If your child wants to have a dialogue, quite often with kids, they don’t and that’s okay. But we’ve all been there when whether it’s a spouse or a friend or a parent, when they apologize and they do it in a way that closes down the conversation. And again, I think most of this comes from love and comes from shame.

So you know, the person loves you so much, but they have so much shame about what they did that they want to close down the conversation because opening up the conversation feels too painful. So I share that with you so that you have compassion for anyone in your life who tends to apologize and shut it down. But for yourself to know that you want to be onto yourself and choose not to experience shame, choose to validate your internal goodness and say, I’m a good mom inside and I’m a human mom, which means I’m half mess and half amazing and I want to apologize, and I want to repair openly from a place of ownership and connection when I do mess it up.

So I think if you just think about being a good mom as something that you absolutely have control over, your internal goodness is complete and you will make mistakes. We all know that. So what’s left is not trying to be perfect and try not trying to make fewer mistakes, but instead wanting to grow from a place of acceptance and getting really good at reflecting at learning and growing and repair. Because repair changes the narrative. It changes the connection, it repairs and restores the relationship. Get good at repair my friends. It will change your life. I’ll talk with you next week.

Thank you for being here and listening Now, head on over to to learn more about the Mom On Purpose membership, where we take all of this work to the next level.

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