Unnecessary Apologies


I’ve become one of those moms makes unnecessary apologies for everything, and not even realizing I do it most of the time. I apologize for my child acting like a child and getting excited (which I shouldn’t), I apologize for squeezing past someone in a supermarket (instead of saying excuse me), I even catch myself apologizing when I know I’m not at fault. In my mind, it shows I’m human and that it’s okay to accept defeat and just simply apologize. But also in my mind, I feel weak and insecure for saying it when it’s not needed.

I read once that the three most difficult admissions to say are “I love you,” “I’m sorry” and “I was wrong.”  To be honest, reading that scared me. It frightened me to imagine a world where people aren’t able to speak those words for fear of judgment or being shut down or feeling bad for something. Those three sayings stuck with me, and I always reminded myself to say them, when necessary, because it’s okay to be vulnerable and be wrong. It’s okay to be in love or just love something or someone and want to say it. What’s not okay is to never say any of those things.

Maybe I got carried away over the years or when I had children because now I know I overuse the words “I’m sorry”. I can’t help but say it for everything. It comes second nature and I have this mom guilt that my kids are always doing something so I make apologies for that when really they aren’t doing anything bad. Anybody else get caught in that same pattern? Let’s be real, kids are kids, they will spontaneously act crazy, yell, cry or laugh for no reason. We as moms can look and acknowledge what’s going on, A simple nod to that mom can suffice for “I get it, I’ve been there”. But having to apologize for all the things our kids do or say is exhausting and more importantly not needed.

It’s funny now when I catch other moms making apologies for unnecessary things. I have the tendency to tell them not to be sorry and that they didn’t do anything wrong (If only I could remind myself of that). I truly believe that our culture has made it that we are always judging and watching one another (hello social media) and that it makes us more insecure or feel like we have to be that perfect Instagram family. The thought that we all try to portray a false presence just so we aren’t frowned upon is quite insane. I stay home with my girls, I never wear makeup, my hair is almost always in a bun, and I lose my mind at least once a day, sorry not sorry for that one.

I’ve been good at teaching my daughters not to apologize unless they are truly sorry for something. And if they are apologizing for bad behavior or something else deeming an apology then they need to explain why they are sorry along with it. If my four-year-old just apologizes for no reason and can’t explain why she’s sorry, then she’s confused, and it makes you wonder why we don’t do the same as adults.

How do we fix it?

So if you are like me and apologize for everything, especially when you know you shouldn’t, how do we fix it? How do we stop ourselves and think of more appropriate wording other than ‘I’m sorry’? I’m not 100% sure how something will work for other moms, but the things that seem to work best for me are;

  • Truly thinking about the situation and what’s happening. This allows me to reflect and speak with better knowledge of the issue (if there is even one).
  • I also have been trying to laugh things off more instead of making apologies. For instance, when my girls are acting wild in Target and start running around, I quickly grab them put them in the cart and just laugh. It is a lot easier to do rather than apologize or freak out. Or when we are at The Little Gym and my daughter bumps into another child, usually I’d apologize frantically for the possibility of touching another child, but lately, I will just say, “Oh, excuse us” or “Be careful, Rowen.”
  • A friend of mine (and fellow contributor, Ali Anderson) wrote a story about a similar issue and recommended putting a quarter in the ‘I’m sorry’ jar just as you would a swear jar, I love this idea!

Do yourself a favor and stop making apologies when it’s not necessary. Stop thinking you’re constantly doing something wrong when you’re most likely not. Remind yourself that kids are kids, and they will misbehave. Apologize when necessary but don’t overdo it, like I tended to. And it takes time! I still have to remind myself not to apologize all the time, and I’ve been working on this for a while now!

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Elizabeth resides on Johns Island with her husband and two daughters, Emma (3) and Rowen (baby). A native to South Carolina, originally from Hilton Head Island, she moved to Charleston in 2012 to be closer to family. The four of them love to travel (mostly to Puerto Rico where her husband works) and thrive on learning and educated themselves on any and all health issues. She loves teaching her daughters to garden, going to the beach, surfing and planning their next family adventure. Elizabeth is very naturally minded, having had a successful home birth with her most recent baby girl. In 2016 she went back to school to complete her certification in Holistic Nutrition for which she is very passionate about (she already has a BA in Public Relations from USC). She looks forward to working with other moms and families to help them with their health and nutrition needs.