[Above is a picture of Eowyn (Child 1) making a complete mess, but creating something awesome. She designed, created and built these ‘Fairies’ for Mom and Dad. Take a look at the picture on the right. She ran out of magnets so the green fairy is glued to the frig.]
Parenting will stretch you every way possible, and then some ways that seem impossible.
Kids can make you smile until your cheeks hurt, laugh until your belly hurts, love so much your heart hurts AND/OR… make you want to pull out all your hair, then inevitably your scalp would hurt.
There is not one thing in life that can drive you as crazy and yet you still love them with every ounce of your being.
I am sorry to you pet lovers, but pets are not even close. Let me explain. Say there is a 3 year old. This 3 year old has been bitten to the point of bleeding. If the bite wound came from your 3 year old child, the love stays. If the bite came from your 3 year old dog, it’s time for Sparky to go to sleep… Permanently.
Sometimes my kids drive me crazy. Here are just a few scenarios that have happened within the last month or so.
I’m not sure if there are any other parents who feel as passionately about play-doh as I do. I HATE the stuff. Sure it is extremely fun for kids to play with, but this crap makes the absolute worst messes.
Twice within the last 2 weeks my daughters have pulled out the play-doh and pinched off tiny microscopic pieces, tossing them to and fro and little blue dots end up littering the entire dining room floor. It is not even worth trying to sweep the stuff up until it dries. It gets all caught up in the broom then you have to clean the broom.
And getting a 3 year old to clean that mess up is more work than just doing it yourself.
The other day my wife left a cup of tea within reach of our 1 year old for like 3 seconds. And because kids are secretly ninjas and can get from point A to point B way faster than we assume, tea was spilled all over the carpet. Not just on the carpet but right on the transition from carpet to wood floor, so you absolutely know some tea (with creamer) seeped its way under the wood floor and still resides there today.
Junk ends up on the floor during every meal. Rice is the worst. Blueberry’s are pretty nasty after you step on a few. Chips end up like the play-do. Anything saucy is just asking for it.
Minus the few devious moments from my daughters most these examples are honest and innocent things my kids do. They are playing or learning to eat on their own or just plain curious.
Now of course we are trying to train them to not make such big messes, clean up after themselves, don’t spill things, etc. But it is my reaction that really needs work. Let me explain.
Sometimes I react to my 4, 3 and 1 year old as if they are 24, 23 and 21.
The other day my 3 year old, Hayley, had made quite the mess with a bowl of rice. When I saw the mess I said in a sharp and kind of loud tone,
I try to never yell at my kids, but I will occasionally raise my voice or get sturn, and my tone was sharp enough that my daughter jumped a little in her seat and slowly but surely little tears starting pouring out of her eyes. She wasn’t sobbing or really making any noise at all. Just a quiet wimper with tears.
Right then I realized who was actually wrong in this scenario and who needed to learn their lesson. Me.
Hayley was trying to eat her rice and for a 3 year old with a spoon she was doing a pretty darn good job. I imagine in her mind she may have even been excited for me to come see her eating all her rice by herself.
Instead when I entered the room all I saw was the mess I had to clean up, instead of how my daughter was learning LIFE.
Parenting is hard. There is no doubt about that. A single friend of mine was telling me how busy he was and I said,
“Until you have 4 butts to wipe, I don’t want to hear how busy you are.”
Sometimes I get so caught up in how hard parenting can be and how much extra work taking care of these little people are. I focus on all the “work” of parenting. The extra cleaning, extra money spent, the disgusting poop and pee, the lack of time for myself and my wife, the messes, the blah blah blah.
When Hayley jumped in her seat and those innocent tears rolled down her cheek I realized I needed a little more patience in my parenting.
Is it really that big of a deal if I have to clean a little play-doh when my 4 year old daughter, Eowyn, learned to sculpt a bird out of the stuff by herself?
Do I really need to be frustrated when my 3 year old, Hayley, proudly eats her own rice with a spoon, but some if it drops on the floor and creates a mess?
When my 1 year old is learning to walk and manages to shuffle over to the end table reach out, grab and spill a cup of tea, is that worth being angry at or proud of?
Much of the time kids are just trying to figure life out. Sure there are times when they need to be disciplined, but I had to ask myself,
Am I too easily frustrated, when I should be proud? Is getting mad at a little mess worth missing a small achievement in my daughters life?
Most of the time you learn far more in the messiest part of your life then when things are all hunky dory. If Eowyn could never make a mess with play-doh she’d also never have learned to make a bird out of play-doh.
I’m learning that messes are ok. Embrace the messes, take a deep breath and enjoy how a kid lives their life.
Don’t we all wish we could act like kids every once in a while anyway?