I'm learning as a mom is that it's ok to admit to the kids when I'm wrong and to say "I'm sorry" to them. Doing this has really made a difference in my relationship with Ella. I've discovered that when I apologize to her for something, she's more likely to do the same when she does something wrong.
This has been tough for me. I think it's human nature to defend your actions no matter what, even if you have been dead wrong about something - our president is a prime example. It's also in my nature to get completely stubborn about things and refuse to back down. But sometimes Ella is right that I'm not being fair to her or that I've done something that I shouldn't have.
This morning was a good example. I told Ella not to do something, and she looked at me and did it anyway. So I sent her to timeout. I stand completely by that decision. Later, I found a note from Ella on my desk asking why I don't put Lily in timeout every time she hits, kicks or pinches her. My immediate reaction was to argue that I can't put Lily in timeout each time because it happens so often - Lily would spend her entire life in timeout - and because often Lily does stuff while we're out in public or in the car, when it's impossible to put her in timeout.
But instead of arguing with Ella about this, I took a deep breath and a step back and switched courses. I wrote a note back that said, "You're right. I don't do a good job of putting Lily in timeout each time she hits, pinches or kicks you. I'm sorry. I love you."
Lily delivered the note to Ella, who came out and gave me a big hug. Sometimes sorry really is the best thing to say.