Fellow blogger, Courtney, over at Women Living Well, is doing a Gentleness Challenge for Mondays, to encourage busy moms to forsake yelling at their children. Check out her blog!
As I read the comments over there from moms who feel AWFUL that they yell at their children, I realize that although I used to raise my voice from time to time — I don’t anymore.
It’s not that I’m perfect — I’m just old.
And time changes your perspective, and gives you a bit of maturity and experience in the process. But that doesn’t help in the days when a busy mom is frazzled and worn out, and has been held hostage by toddlers and babies for two weeks straight. In those days, while my kids let out their emotions by wailing, I let mine out by raising my voice — or interminable lecturing. . .
The main thing that used to put me over the edge was spilled milk, because spilled milk is the result of someone ignoring basic instruction like:
Don’t reach across the table.
Don’t set your cup so close to the edge.
Your glass belongs above your plate. . . just above the knife. . .
Watch what you are DOING.
DON’T WRESTLE at the table.
DON’T STAND ON THE TABLE!
Just observance of basic common etiquette will generally eliminate spilled milk. . . but try explaining that to a four-year-old.
Over the years I’ve come to realize that a cup brim full of milk splattered across the table, pooling into ponds, dribbling between the table joints, rivulets round the legs is not a diabolical plot of a toddler to disrupt my schedule.
I’ve also learned you don’t fill a cup to the brim — and lids are great on cups. . .
Although it’s probably not listed on the actuary charts, I’m sure there is a mathematical equation to predict how many glasses of milk per child will be spilled in your home. Just expect it. They could also predict that the number of spills is directly correlated to the busy-ness of your day.
I’ve learned to plan some cushion into my day . . . for spills.
It’s not punitive payback for making them eat their veggies — well, maybe that does add into the equation to some degree. . . but kids just make messes. . .
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t plan for perfection, and mistakes and accidents occurred when I least expected it . . . and perfection was not my guaranteed reward for proper planning. . . I’ve learned better. Sometime in the next few days, something like spilled milk, an unexpected disruption to my schedule, is going to happen, and I’m planning right now how I’m going to mop it up.
Truthfully, I can’t wait for some more spilled milk from chubby little toddler hands grabbing that cup of frothy chilled milk – and dribbles on the chin, and spatters on the table from dunking cookies. I’m crying with delight anticipating more spilled milk by grandbabies and great grandbabies yet unborn.
Perspective changes everything. If you’ve yelled at your children lately, don’t take it too hard. It happens, just like spilled milk — that unexpected capsizing, that gush of guilt, that dribbling of destructive words, rivulets of rage. Mop it up as best you can — with hugs and kisses and repentance and forgiveness. You’ll mature just like your children will. The spillings will become more rare, and the yellings will fade away — and you’ll be old — ahem — mature enough to appreciate spilled milk someday!