Sometimes you don’t know how far you’ve come or what you’ve learned until you stand in a garage with the bottom of your pants soaked in milk. Sometimes you open the back of your car and groceries come spilling out as milk hits the floor and begins gushing everywhere.
In those moments, I usually am really hard on myself, but today, I wasn’t. I just immediately grabbed the milk and salvaged what I could. I thought to myself, I just made a $3.55 mistake so this is okay. I am not kidding when I say that this is the kind of thing that would make me so angry with myself.
Usually I beat myself up over little mistakes, but something has shifted in me and I have realized that doing that would cost a lot more than a gallon of milk.
How many times are we too hard on ourselves for these moments? How much more does beating ourselves up over things that don’t matter in the big picture cost us?
One thing that definitely helped was coming and telling Lauren mommy made a mess and I would be right back after I cleaned it up. She said, “It’s no big deal momma. It was just an accident.” Oh that sweet girl!
In her saying that, I realized that she is free from the thing I struggled with. She isn’t going to be hard on herself when she makes small mistakes or spills milk. She won’t be undone or have her day leveled and ruined by these kinds of things.
The next thing I realized is that she didn’t just get there on her own. We taught her this in how we talk to her when she does make mistakes. Why haven’t I always talked to myself this way when I made a mistake?
I think realizing this is something that can lead to more accountability in two ways. This makes me more mindful of how important it is to speak in kindness and with grace to Lauren and Ethan. This makes it clear how this is teaching her to be free in ways I had to fight for peace. It challenges me to keep working hard at how I respond to my babies.
It always amazes me when parents are confused by having kids who scream and yell when that is what they consistently do. I know it’s easy to do that in moments of exhaustion or frustration when patience is long gone. I’ve stood there and I have had to apologize to my kids for raising my voice those few times it has happened, but even those moments taught me who I do and don’t want to be.
The second part of that is that if I only want to treat my mistakes the way I treat their’s, I have to stay in the trenches and above what’s easy to do. It’s easy to lose patience and not fight for self-control. It’s easy to be upset with myself and to forget that I am just a person who will make mistakes, but in that I need just as much grace as I have been giving my babies.
In the end I am learning to be more kind to myself and learning how that’s important for my kids too. After all, you just have to clean up the milk and keep going. It’s just milk, and caring for yourself in kindness is worth much, much more.