When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith


No problem

I feel like I've written about this before.  Maybe I stole the idea from another blog.  Who knows?  Anyway, I feel the need to write about it again...two little words that can save a lot of heartache in a home: "No problem."

Today I was strolling the boys along in the double stroller after we'd stopped in an ice-cream shop.  We needed to get back to the car so I could get Caleb home for nap.  I allowed the boys to take their ice cream cups in the stroller.  In case you missed the significance of that last statement, please humor me while I repeat it italicizing the guilty party: I allowed the boys to take their ice cream cups in the stroller.

I know better.  My eldest is 8 for Pete's sake.  But we were in a bit of a hurry.  Not five minutes into our walk, I hear the dreaded, "Uh oh."  Then the tiny voice, "Um, Mommy, I dropped my ice-cream, and it's on my shirt...Is that okay?"

Jack was covered in strawberry ice cream.  Face, hands, shorts, shirt, and stroller seat.  Deep breath.  "No problem."  "Fanks, mom."

It kind of breaks my heart that he even asked the question, "Is that okay?"  It was an accident.  It wasn't his fault.  Of course, it's okay.  But Jack is a product of my ranting days.  The days when a cup of spilled milk meant a mommy meltdown.  "Will we ever have a meal without someone spilling their drink???"  Would you like a little cheese to go with that whine, drama-momma?

Here's the thing.  I know how overwhelming it can be to have multiple small children making endless messes.  I am not minimizing that difficulty.  What I am saying is that I tended to take accidents rather personally.  They felt personal.  I was the one who had to clean them up.  But yelling at the kids was not an effective way to prevent accidents.  It only made the kids walk on eggshells.  And sadly, they did that for years.

What I'm slowly starting to learn is that accidents happen.  Many are preventable.  Don't use your nice, breakable stuff.  Don't give kids chocolate milk on a white chair.  Don't let them wear anything light-colored without a bib, eat watermelon, and then cry about their ruined clothes.  Don't allow them to stay up too late.  Don't let them wear socks on the hardwood.  Don't put your kids in the stroller while they are eating ice cream [duh].

Moms are always told to stop beating themselves up.  I agree.  Give yourself some grace.  At the same time, a little self-reflection is not a bad thing.  If your kids are having lots of accidents and you are yelling a lot, think about what you can do to prevent these accidents.

Try as you might, you can't stop every accident.  What you can stop is the emotional damage caused by your dramatic reaction.  Deep breath.  Don't take it personally.  Repeat after me: "No problem."

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