One’s perspective is a powerful tool. Shifting mine to match the mind of a child has helped me find joy in situations that used to leave me feeling broken or defeated.
Today, with my grandma and two little ones in tow, we visited the local library. Since my family recently moved back to my hometown, I have been eager to see the place I spent so much time as a kid. It was a nostalgic experience to watch my grandma who used to take me to a weekly story hour at this same library now chase my kids up and down the aisles of books.
But while we were there, my son had a meltdown. Asking a two-year-old to pick up his toys to leave is basically equivalent to someone stealing all of a woman’s chocolate — a big deal!
I tried to balance reasoning with him and enforcing my clean-up request all while nervous someone I knew would walk in and view me as an “out-of-control parent.” It’s a small town, so one wrong move can mean forever-labels.
After what seemed like a long while going back and forth negotiating with my spirited little boy, I left feeling defeated and quite possibly convinced myself never to attempt taking this child in public again. Yes, I may have been dramatic, but being back in your small town where a tantrum no longer goes unnoticed was a bit of an adjustment for me.
Gathered around the dinner table that night, I asked my son to tell his dad about our trip to the library. I was ready for my husband to hear about the fit by this stubborn little boy who was now innocently sitting across from him. But that’s not the version my son told.
“Daddy, I went to library, and it was so fun!”
His eyes lit up, and he sat up straight with pride remembering our time at the magical new place. I could see the wheels in his head turning like the wheels on the trains he was playing with earlier that day at the library’s train table. He had it all to himself and was recalling the fun he had while I was sitting there ready for my husband to hear about what I considered to be a failed attempt at a fun afternoon activity.
It was at that moment I knew I had been wrong. Kids don’t remember memories of the minor setbacks we have during the day. He doesn’t hold grudges against me for not knowing how to handle certain situations or for not responding to him correctly. He simply remembers the fun he had and gets lost in the books he brought home.
Mamas…at the end of the day, we often sit with guilt. We replay in our heads scenarios that we wish went smoother, or we think of all the “what ifs.” But I want to encourage you by saying that kids simply don’t remember. Your “mistake” was unlikely a traumatic situation, so their little minds filter out the bad and hang onto the good.
Later, at the end of the night, while we were cuddled up next to each other in his bed, I asked my son if he was ready to say his prayers. He reached to take out his pacifier and said, “Thank you God for books and my Mamaw!”
I smiled to myself realizing that he was falling asleep with positive thoughts of a day well-spent, and I decided to do the same.
Next time you think that your day was ruined by a few unexpected mishaps, take a step back and see your day through the eyes of your child. You’ll be surprised how great your day really was!
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