The Great Salt Incident: A Victory Story

I write a lot about my struggles on this blog. I don’t mind being real, or sharing my ugly moments (believe me…they are carefully selected—I don’t want to share all my crazy online).

Today, though, I want to write about a victory I had this week. It was a small one, teeny-tiny—but it struck me as significant because I made a conscious effort to respond differently to an extremely frustrating, yet familiar situation.

It was Snow Day #3 with all four kids. I was hiding in my bedroom after breakfast (True confessions) when I heard Benji (9) holler from the kitchen:

“OH NO!! OH ELI!I NO! NO! Moooooooooom!”

Usually, that’s my cue to spring up, stomp out of my room, and be smacked in the face by a huge mess.
My second cue is to lose my ELM (ever-lovin’ mind) and yell at the offender (usually the 2-year-old. God made him cute so that he will live to see his 3rd birthday) and everyone else who happens to be within 10 feet of me.

But this day, on Snow Day #3, I stood up and did some good ol’ fashioned self-talk:

Don’t freak out. Don’t yell. Whatever it is, you can clean it up and handle it. Like a boss.

 And I walked into the kitchen and was smacked in the face by a huge mess.

Eli had poured out the entire (full) salt shaker, along with a cup of water (this is not our first salt incident. I’m doing better about putting the salt up after breakfast, I really am! Just not this day. Dang it!).

Have you ever cleaned up a whole salt shaker of salt that has been baptized in in a cup of last night’s water? It is kind of like cleaning up wet sand. The more you brush, the more you wipe, the more it sticks….to everything.

But my pep-talk worked.
I didn’t yell or punish in anger or lose my ELM.

I sighed and said, “Oh ELI!” and picked up that adorable troublemaker and put him in his crib.

The Adorable Mess-Maker

For twenty minutes.
Yeah, that’s a long time out for a two-year-old and he cried a lot. But that’s how long it took me to clean up that huge mess and the best way to contain the mess is to contain the mess-maker.

I hate cleaning up messes; it’s one of the suckiest parts of being a mom, mostly because it is CONSTANT.

But more than that, I hate yelling at my kids and losing my self-control over something as stupid as salt.

Sometimes I think I will never stop losing my temper, that I will always struggle—and to some degree, that’s true. I’m not going to wake up one day and be perfect, never yelling, never getting frustrated with my kids again. But I’m human. Life is frustrating, especially with kids.
That’s the truth.

My temper problem seems huge and I can’t get rid of it all at once, as much as I want to. But you know the old adage: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”?

Yeah, I can do that. And during the Salt-Incident, I had a victory, a small bite of victory. I reacted exactly the way my Ideal-Self wanted to react. I was the mom I wanted to be in that moment, not the mom I wish I wasn’t.

So, cheers to me. I’m celebrating that victory. Because it’s a bite and one good interaction is a win

What is your Mom Win today?
How did you choose your best interaction with your kids, even in a crazy-frustrating moment?
Share your story below or on Facebook!