Messes and Tantrums: Theirs and Mine

This morning, I woke up to a mess.

The boys helped themselves to breakfast (peanut butter crackers and OJ) before I was even up, but in the process, had obliterated my kitchen floor and breakfast nook table. There were crumbs everywhere. Something wet was all over the table and dripping onto the floor. Cracker wrappers, that looked like they had been clawed apart, were scattered on top of the sticky and wet surfaces. And my notebook, where I had been working on next week’s menu, was on one of the benches and completely soaked.

I took one look at the boys, another look at the mess, and immediately went over to the counter to start making coffee.

I love my independent boys. I wouldn’t want them any other way. But good grief are they messy.

Life, is messy.

As I’m writing this, by boys are “playing” with blocks. (Air quotes employed because their version of playing largely consists of them throwing things at, or hiding things from, each other. Boys!)

Theo was building a tower and absolutely lost his mind when Oliver bumped the table he was working on and the whole thing collapsed.

This happened two more times.

As he was stomping and yelling and generally causing a scene, I went over to him and asked him to sit down with me. He needed a minute to regroup.

“Theo, I know you have a specific way you want this to go. I know you have a specific idea in mind at how this is going to look. And I know it’s frustrating when that doesn’t happen. But you’ve got to find a way to have fun with it instead of throwing a tantrum.”

As the last sentence was leaving my mouth, I knew that I needed to heed my own advice.

I have really clear ideas. Clear ideas of how I want things to go. How I want things to work. And while I *think* I’m getting better at not completely melting down when things don’t go according to (my) plans, I still get pretty bummed.

It’s not easy to face life’s messes with a go-with-the-flow, learn to have fun with it attitude. It’s much easier to stomp our feet and throw ourselves an adult sized tantrum. But that doesn’t fix anything and it certainly doesn’t help.

I’m going to be honest with you. I’m tired. Bea continues to eat every three hours around the clock.The boys are constantly fussing with each other. This preschool schedule is a nightmare. My house is a wreck. My husband hates his job. I had to turn down a job I was incredibly passionate about because I couldn’t make childcare work (Why can’t we just have Europe’s free childcare, already?). Our oven is still broke. Our taxes have this issue that isn’t our fault, but is still on us to fix which leaves me feeling panicky and. I’ve been feeling under the weather for the past few days. And the list goes on.


The messes may be real, but so are the good things.

I’m not trying to be naïve, or blasé, or fake. I know there are tough things in all our lives and those tough things are real and they are really hard, and I’m not saying we shouldn’t face those hard things.

I am saying, however, that it’s a choice whether or not we throw a tantrum when hard things happen.

When my kids throw tantrums, they spiral out of control. They are illogical. And they totally miss out on all the other stuff going on around them.

I can relate.

I’m not sure how, but today…we are going to have fun, dangit! 😉

The weather here in Ohio is beautiful, and getting outside is always salve to our family’s collective soul. I might even decide to just skip preschool today because I’M THE MOM and I will not be bossed around by a an elective schedule. (Whew. I really needed to get that off my chest. Thanks guys.)

My house will still be a mess. My husband’s job issue will be far from resolved. And the other hard things will still be there.

But the one thing I can control, is how I respond to all this.

Today, I choose joy. Today, I choose fun. Today, I choose to live a life well lived.





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