I bark.

I bark at her.

I do it often. More often than I really want to admit. More often than I ever thought I would.

baby at the park

Take your hands out of your mouth!

Don’t put your fingers in your nose!

Don’t slam the cabinet door!

Just. Stop. Moving. For. One. Second!

And take your hands out of your mouth!

I am critical. And I can be harsh with it.

I do it without thinking. Without really noticing what she is doing. Yesterday I looked down at her strapping a diaper onto her baby doll and without hesitation yelled at her. I thought she had taken the nighttime diaper I had set out for her and all I could think of was whether or not I could still use that diaper and that I’d probably have to go get a new one and that she didn’t even ask me if she could take it and she just thinks she can walk around and take whatever she wants.

But then I glanced up. And sitting on the chair, untouched, was the diaper I had set out for her. She hadn’t taken it.

I looked back down at her big, brown eyes staring up at me.

And I felt awful.

I melted to the ground next to her. And I apologized.

“I’m so sorry. I should not have yelled at you. I’m so sorry. You didn’t take that diaper.”

“This is Baby’s diaper.”

“Yes. That is Baby’s diaper. I’m so sorry. Hug?”

She smiled and leaned in for a hug.

And just like that. I’m forgiven.

little girl blowing bubbles

But it won’t always be this easy. Especially if I keep barking, it won’t always be this easy. Soon enough she’ll begin to interpret my snap-decision barking as an absence of trust. Or compassion. Or understanding. Or worse.

Every morning I pray for patience. I pray for the strength to take a few seconds and a deep breath before reacting. I pray for the presence of mind it takes to remember that she is only 2. She is learning. She is learning more from the bark itself than the contents of the bark.

I don’t think I’ve made it through a day bark-free just yet. I’m getting there. Old habits die hard, they say. But new habits don’t fade too easily either.


Linking up with Shell at Things I Can’t Say for Pour Your Heart Out.


  1. It’s so hard sometimes, getting wrapped up in our daily list of “to do’s” that we often forget they are little people who respond emotionally to what we say/do. I can agree, some days I need more patience than others, and I pray for that strength to keep my inner mama monster in check.

  2. Great, great post. I can SO relate. I am a recovering yeller. I do find that apologizing is so important for both me and my kids. It is helpful for them to understand that adults make mistakes too and when we do, we must account for them. Really great post.

  3. Thank goodness kids are so forgiving! I snap at mine, too.

  4. Oh my gosh, what a beautiful post ~ just being aware and wanting something different, stopping yourself like you did is amazing.

  5. Oh, I’m right there with you. Stop praying for patience. I’m a firm believer that God will give us opportunities to use it, when we ask for patience. That’s not good. LOL!
    I just pray for grace from Him and from my kids. I also pray He would help them forget all of my bad moments and increase their memories of the things I do right. Gosh, I hope that works!

  6. I bark too, but just like with any relationship as long as you apologize and mean it they are willing to forgive. 🙂 Hugs!

  7. You are human – just like you are raising a human – you must always remember you are human. And she forgives you because you deserve forgiveness. Big hugs.

  8. I am the same way and I always feel awful. It’s almost worse that they so easily forgive us. I feel like they should be mad at me. I am certainly mad at myself afterwards. I think though it’s important to know that you know. Being aware of it helps a lot, because there are a lot of parents who aren’t aware of it or , worse, just don’t care. I think all you can do is pray for patience and apologize when you feel like you need to. I think it’s a pretty big lesson for them to know that even Mommy’s make mistakes, but it’s important to say you’re sorry afterwards. This post made me want to go cuddle my babies. But they’re asleep.

  9. “She is learning more from the bark itself than the contents of the bark.” Wow, such a good (if tough) reminder. Thanks for this.

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