203: Becoming a Woman: The 7 Times a Woman Should NOT Apologize!

by | Jul 29, 2021 | Mama Thursday

Welcome, Mamma Crew, to another chaotic, exciting, but always beautiful day of an older mom like you!

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I don’t know about you, but when I was young, I used to apologize for everything all of the time. And I’m sure it has a lot to do with the way that I grew up.

I’ve shared my story before. My father was very verbally abusive, sometimes physically abusive. My mother was extremely passive-aggressive. So, everything we did, by we, I mean me and my siblings, was always wrong. We were always guilty of something, and that meant we were just constantly apologizing. 

You know, my mother didn’t have dinner on the table ready when my father came in, and we would apologize to my father. Then we would apologize to my mother because my father was upset. We were constantly apologizing. It was a very stressful, a very hard way to live.

And it made it difficult when I started becoming a woman because I thought that women were doormats. It was our job to always apologize. It was our job to always feel guilty. It was our job to always be wrong and feel bad that we were wrong. Right? 

Of course, over time, I realized how terrible that situation was, and I worked to change myself and change things. And now, sometimes, to be honest with you, I think I’ve swung too far in the other direction. I don’t apologize enough, but I’m working on that. I’m always working on myself. I’m a working progress. But that really made me think about my own daughters and my son because I believe this applies to him as well. 

Seven times you should not apologize:

Number one. You should never apologize for your feelings. Whether you’re feeling jealous or angry or you’re unreasonable. You can acknowledge that you’re unreasonable. You can label your feeling for what it is, but you should still express it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t control yourself when you’re expressing it, but you should express it. I remember being in my early twenties. I was in a relationship with a young man who said to me, “I really don’t feel like I make a decision because you never tell me what you’re feeling. I feel like I’m going blind.” 

And that’s when I began to realize that telling people how I felt, letting them know how I felt was part of my responsibility in the relationship. It helped the other person understand who I was, where I was coming from, where I wanted to go.

It also took me a long time to understand that feelings are feelings and their valid. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to act on them. Nor doesn’t it mean that we should always act on them. And as I said, we shouldn’t be out of control, but we should acknowledge our feelings, and we shouldn’t apologize for that. 

Number two. Don’t ever apologize for your appearance. I grew up with a mother that constantly called me ugly and criticized me. My self-esteem was just completely destroyed by the time I got to high school. And let’s face it, high school’s pretty hard on the kids’ self-esteem as it is. It wasn’t until late high school and early twenties that I really started to work on that. 

The bottom line is this is the way I look. This is my package. I should appreciate, and whether society or magazines tell me that I’m beautiful, I should feel beautiful and feel loved. That’s one thing I’ve always, always say to my kids, “You’re a beautiful girl. You’re a handsome boy.” 

I don’t ever want them to feel the lack of confidence that I. Least of all, the lack of compassion that I felt towards myself. I was always so critical of myself. 

And frankly, when you’re constantly apologizing for the way you look, for the way you’re dressed, or the fact that you don’t have time to put on makeup or have spit from your baby on your shirt, you’re apologizing for a life well-lived. Don’t apologize for that. I honestly don’t think you should, and I’m teaching my girls and my son not to apologize for that. 

I Don’t Feel Sorry for Taking Breaks because it Helps me be a Better Mom, Wife, and Person!

Number three. This is a big one. It’s critical to our well-being that we recognize and request room to take a breath. It’s okay to say we need time for ourselves, for whatever reason. You know, as my health has deteriorated as I’ve gotten older, one of the things that I never apologize for is taking a nap. I need a nap. And when I need it, I need it. Sometimes I push through it, and I feel like I’m dragging, and my temper is short, and my patience even shorter. But sometimes, you just have to push because of the situation. But when I don’t have to, I take my naps. I don’t apologize or apologize to my children because those naps make me a better mother. I don’t apologize to my husband because those naps make me a better wife. I need them. 

Just like sometimes, I have to say, “I’m done. I’m done.” 

You have to understand in a family of extroverts. It can be so challenging to be an introvert. And sometimes I say, “I’m done. I need some space. No more people in our house. I need a break. I need to recharge my social battery, and the way that I do that is by being alone. I need some me-time.” 

And my daughter says, “but mom, you’re a feminist. You can do anything.”

I was like, “Huh? Defining feminism. We’re going to have to look at the definition again.”

Feminist—strong woman, independent woman, does not make you Superwoman, Wonderwoman. Okay? You should not apologize for that. You’re a person that needs that rest, that needs their space. 

And of course, one of my other kids recently had somebody “crushing on them,” and the person said to my child, “If the right person appears, you would be ready.”

And my child’s response was, “No, I’m not ready.”

My daughter said to me, “I felt bad that that person was ready for me to be ready. I feel bad for them as a friend. But for myself, I didn’t feel bad, and I didn’t apologize. I need my space to know whether I like that person or not.”

Think about the strength that it takes to say, I need my space, when you’re a teenager. I really felt like I must be doing something right because we’re moving in the right direction.

Number four. Asking questions, requesting help, or asking for clarification. Listen, I know that sometimes we feel like we have to have all the answers. As a mom as a retired college professor, one of the most powerful tools in my box was the ability to say, “I don’t know. I will look into that. Let me get back to you.” 

The bottom line is that sometimes we do not have the answers, so we should ask the questions. It’s okay to say to the pediatrician, “I don’t understand what you’re saying, or I don’t understand where you’re coming from, or that doesn’t work for me, is there another option?”

I’m a mother of a child with ADHD. There have been times when I asked a million questions about medication, possible therapies, and I didn’t like the answers. So, I searched, and then I came back to the doctors with more questions. And I asked more questions until I was satisfied that I have the answers that helped me understand whether it was a good option for my child or not. When we ask questions, we’re not necessarily looking to be convinced. We might be truly searching for answers, and I think the majority of us are doing that. We are looking for answers to help us make up our own minds. I think the other thing that we forget is that asking questions is how we learn. 

I have to admit that when the girls were younger, I didn’t ask that many questions. I was pretty certain of myself. I was in my early forties, and I felt I had it. And for the most part, I’m going to say I did. But now that they’re teenagers? Holy cow! I ask questions of all my friends that have been through this, and sometimes, the biggest question is, “This is really going to pass. Right?” 

Often, the question is, “how did you deal with this situation, or how did you deal with that situation?” 

Especially when it comes to dating and the rules that come with that, we make them up as we go. Still, it really helps to have some kind of fallback position to know what other people have done in the past and build from there rather than start from scratch. 

Number five. Don’t ever apologize for circumstances that you cannot control. Don’t confuse the situation by taking responsibility for something that you’re not responsible for. I remember one time we traveled back to San Diego. My husband, who’s from Ohio, decided he wanted to park the car on the beach, and I said, “That’s not a good idea.”

And his response was, “It looks solid enough.” 

So, he drives on the shoulder, and the car gets stuck. Because sand, no matter how solid it looks, it’s not. It’s going to cave with the weight. And, of course, he didn’t really think about it. He doesn’t have any experience dealing with beaches and sands. There are no oceans in Ohio. And he was so unhappy, and my daughters and I just kind of hang back. Then he says, “Well. I better call Triple-A.” 

He looks in his wallet. Guess what? No Triple-A card. Good thing I have my Triple-A card in my wallet. So, he calls Triple-A, and he continues to be unhappy. 

Had I been in my twenties, I would apologize for not being stronger in my opposition for him to park on the shoulder. I would have apologized because he was miserable. I would have apologized to the kids. After all, they were not having a good time because their dad was grumping. I would have apologized! No, I couldn’t control that situation. He’s a grown man. He made his own decision. Okay? So, I had no control over the situation, so I didn’t apologize for it. 

I do get myself in the position where (and I’ve seen this often with wives) we’ll be at some kind of gathering, and a wife starts apologizing to the husband. Even though it was not her fault, once she starts apologizing, he really starts digging into her. It’s such a common mistake we make. We apologize for things that we simply are not responsible for. 

This brings me to number six. Never, ever, ever apologize for other people. Don’t do it. I get it when your children are young. I remember one time we went to a colleague’s house. And I said to my colleague, “I have two-year-old twins. I don’t think this is a good idea.” 

They’re a young couple, and I believe to this day they don’t have any children. And she’s like, “No. It will be fine. Just bring them. It’ll be fine.”

So, I bring the kids over, and then I’m constantly trying to keep the kids from touching their things and poking buttons on the electronics, and she says, “It’s not a big deal. Just let them poke the buttons. I’m just going to turn it off.”

It was not a big deal for her. It turns out it was a big deal for her husband. So, this became a very uncomfortable situation because she was apologizing for his behavior constantly. And I was apologizing for my toddler’s behavior because, well, I’m their mom, and they were still young, and they just had to touch everything. I also have a hyperactive child. She has to touch absolutely more than everything.

But now that the girls are teenagers, I don’t apologize for their behavior. I let them take responsibility for their behavior. I do say things such as one of the mothers recently was complaining about something my daughter said. And I responded, “That was a poor choice on daughter’s part. I will speak to her and let her know how you feel.” 

And I did. I told my daughter this is the situation. This mom is not happy. My daughter decided that her behavior had not been correct, and she apologized. Why didn’t I apologize on my daughter’s behalf? Because I want my daughter to take responsibility for her actions, and she’s old enough to do that now. That doesn’t mean that I won’t be there to support her or to guide her. She can always count on me, but I’m not going to take responsibility for her actions. 

Recently, we were at a party the girls threw, and one of the moms came to me and said, “My child is not comfortable being here anymore because the kids are cussing.”

I said, “Let me talk to the girls. Was it so and so?”

And she was like, “No! It was Andy.”

My child. I was like, “Really? Okay. Let me go talk to Andy.” 

I said, “really,” with surprise, not because my daughter’s not incapable of using profanity. She uses it with her friends. She doesn’t typically use it in our home, and she knows it’s not never appropriate to use it for adults, and she knows that it doesn’t make us happy that she uses it. But she does use it with her friends. So, I went out there, and I said, “Hey, listen. This is our birthday party (one of their birthday parties because they have one in the Caribbean and then one in Florida), and you’re making some of your guests uncomfortable using profanity.”

And she says, “Ugh! Mom, I said ass. Move your ass.”

And I said, “Well, you could use a different word.” 

And she goes, “Yeah. You’re right. I could have, but I’m not going to apologize because, you know what? The girl that complained uses that word all of the time. In fact, she used it several times when we were here in the group. So, what’s the big deal?”

I was like, “Okay. You’re right. If she was using it, why is she upset that you’re using it?” 

And in that case, my daughter did not apologize. 

Did I apologize on her behalf? No. I returned to where the mother was. I told her what the situation was. She didn’t look happy. C’est la vie! Okay? I get it. I wish my child would not use profanity. But she does. They all do. 

And frankly, I wish I didn’t use it. And since becoming a mother, I rarely use it. But I do slip up now and then. I can’t help it. I’m from California. We love our F-bomb. And even though I hardly ever use it, I still drop it every once in a while. I apologize when I do that, but I’m not going to apologize for the children’s actions, my husband’s actions, my friends’ actions. That’s just the way it is. 

I Will Never Apologize for Being Myself. I May Not Be Perfect, but I Am Extraordinary!

Number seven. Never apologize for being yourself. I know that right now, there’s a lot of pressure on people to be perfect. We’re not perfect. We’re not. We all make mistakes. There’s always room to grow for all of us. No matter what age we are, we can be a hundred and three, and we’re still learning, and we’re still improving ourselves. And we’re doing the best that we can. I believe the majority of us are truly trying to be the best that we can be. That work gets in the way, that stress gets in the way, that kids get in the way. That’s all true! It’s hard! So, don’t apologize for not being perfect. 

Don’t apologize for being you, for liking what you like, for looking the way you look. You’re absolutely extraordinary. You’re a piece of art that continues to expand, that becomes more intricate and more complex with every breath you take. 

So, does apologizing make me a strong and independent woman? No. What makes me strong independent is my ability to understand when I should not apologize and when I should. And sometimes, we do need to apologize. And unfortunately, sometimes, it takes forever for us to understand that we should apologize. 

You know, just recently I was thinking about a woman I met a few years ago. We had tremendous fallout, and at the time, all I could see was what she did wrong. She did this wrong, and she did that wrong. It took me several years to understand that we brought out the worst in each other, and I made some serious mistakes too. It wasn’t just her. It was me too. And some of my reactions to her insecurities were not positive. They were not constructive. I haven’t apologized to her, because frankly, I never see her. But if I were to bump into her, I would offer an apology on my part. I wouldn’t apologize for what she did because she did some things wrong too. But I would apologize for my part because now I understand I did something wrong.

And it’s on understanding our flaws, our mistakes that we learn, and it’s in correcting ourselves that we become better people. I hope that’s a lesson my children will learn from me.

Hey! If you remember how lonely it feels to be an older mom, please remember to share a link to the show on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. All three of you have time! There are more moms out there that would really appreciate the ability to join us. Don’t forget to check out our Facebook group!

For links and resources, such as the Facebook group I talked about—the Mamma Crew. Please visit our website. If you share an imperfect journey to motherhood, welcome to the crew! Till next time! Embrace the joys of imperfection! Toodles!


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Dr B.

I began my journey into motherhood at the age of 40 when I became a mother of twins! Today I am a mother of 4! Being an older mom might be a growing trend, but we are still a minority with our own unique blessings and challenges. Join me in this journey! To contact me directly, email me at oldermoms@entrepreneurialdreamers.com