The Problem With Being Sorry

Toddlers go to the beat of their own drum, they genuinely only care about what is in their best interest and they leave a lot of crumbs behind. Let’s be real here, they have a lot to say “I’m sorry” for, but sometimes I really don’t want my child to be sorry.

Recently we were stuck on a plane due to bad weather. This led to us being up in the air an extra 40 minutes and sitting on the ground for an extra hour due to lightning. In that moment, any parent can empathize what it’s like to fly with a toddler, but a toddler that has been stuck on the same plane for four hours—Lord help us. Somehow my child remained calm, sat on our laps and watched Finding Nemo like it was any old Monday. Then I shuffled and I knocked the iPad on the ground, to which my toddler looked up to me with big eyes and said “I sorry.”

“I’m sorry” is probably one of the most annoying phrases that I have in my everyday vocabulary. My boss tells me about an annoying conversation she had with someone and I say, “I’m sorry!” My husband drops something and I say, “I’m sorry!” Someone in the grocery store bumps into me and I say, “I’m sorry!” That phrase, commonplace and familiar sneaks its way into my every day conversations and has become so routine and involuntary it’s as prevalent in my every day life as saying “Bless you” when someone sneezes.

Toddler’s are sponges. That’s why we spell out cuss words, try not to watch Game of Thrones when our kid is awake and it’s why eating chocolate behind closed doors is a very real thing as a parent. My son plays with my make up brushes, he drags my purse around the house and he pretends to mow the lawn alongside my husband. My child wants to clean when I clean, read when I read and God forbid I’m on my phone, he wants to play on that, too. It should be no surprise that he’s picked up on the monotonous phrase, “I’m sorry” too.

Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times that I want him to apologize. When he throws a toy at the dog, when he slaps me on the head in the deli line at the grocery store, when he throws a banana on the ground (only after asking for a banana in the first place)— all times that I would LOVE an apology even though let’s be honest, toddlers are never really sorry. It’s those other “Sorrys” the ones that aren’t really merited because it’s not your fault. Maybe this goes far beyond our kids. Maybe this is a little bit of a wake up call for all of us—apologize when you did something wrong and have a little faith that sometimes it’s okay to not be sorry, too.