My youngest child wanted to play downstairs but this busy momma had work to do upstairs. So I sent her down to play unsupervised like I would one of the big kids. My thought process was, “how much damage can one kid do?” Being the mother of five, I really should have known better than to entertain this thought. After about 15 minutes, I realized it was quiet…too quiet. The kind of quiet that can only mean one thing, disaster has struck. I tiptoed down the steps to find my not-yet-2-year-old in the middle of a mess of tornado-like proportion that would have garnered at least an F-3 on the Fujita Scale. Every piece of neatly folded clothing belonging to her and her sister had been ripped from their homes and scattered around the room. All three beds had been stripped of their coverings and were being used to form a replica of tent-city. Pictures were on the floor, dollies were hanging from the doors, diapers lay in every corner of the room, (unused, praise Jesus).
Now, to some of you this may seem like no big deal. However, for those of you who share the neat-freak gene, you will sympathize with me. Under normal circumstances I would have just cleaned it up. On this particular day, I literally had just finished doing the laundry which is no small feat with a family of 7. I was heading out the door for preschool pick-up and my neat-and-tidy side refuses to let me leave my home in such disarray, even if only for a few minutes. So, did this mommy go into the chorus of the “clean-up” song with a smile on her face-uh…no. This crazy woman went tearing through the room like a raving lunatic; throwing things back into the proper places all while my sweet baby girl stood paralyzed from either shock or fear. That’s when I felt it. That little nudge in my spirit telling me to take a chill pill. I was making a huge deal about nothing. My Bella didn’t know she had done something wrong, because she hadn’t. She was playing, quite nicely I might add, all by herself. (Enter maniac-mommy stage left)
I wasn’t exactly setting a good example for the little eyes that are always upon us. If I blow up every time things get a little messy, I’m paving the way for my kids to follow in my obsessive compulsive foot-steps. I was teaching my daughter that when messes happen, the way to handle them is to come unglued. Bad parenting red flags shot up everywhere! Wise words from Proverbs 22 rang through my head,
“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
So I stopped what I was doing, scooped up my girl and told her what a beautiful job she had done redecorating. After pick-up and lunch, the girls and I went into a slightly off-key version of the clean up song and restored order to the room just in time for naps.