“Here, eat this sugar and I’ll give you more sugar if you do,” I said to my 3-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son at breakfast today.
Actually, that’s not what I said. What I really said was, “Here, eat this oatmeal and I’ll give you this chocolate as your reward.”
I woke up late after a rough night of sleep, it took us forever to get dressed and ready, the kids were chasing each other around being goofy, and we were seriously running behind to get my son off to school on time.
I checked the fridge. No milk for cereal. I looked at the sink. No clean pans to make eggs. I looked in the cupboards. Nothing but oatmeal.
Okay, oatmeal it is. Maple brown sugar – organic – instant oatmeal.
My kids have outgrown their oatmeal phase, but I had 10 minutes left on the clock to get them out the door before he would be late for school. I showed them what they were eating and they both turned their noses up at it in unison with a hearty, “I’m not hungry.”
I realized I could either freak out, demanding they eat the oatmeal, saying how we don’t waste food in our house, and tell them to quit farting around so we could hurry out the door. Or I could just bribe them with Meiji chocorooms.
I chose the high road. Chocolate works every time.
Initially, after they scarfed down their oatmeal to get access to the chocolate, I was annoyed with myself for letting their dislike of oatmeal influence me and my rule of, “I made it, you eat it.” I had had a “bad mom” moment.
Then I realized: it’s just a moment!
I didn’t have to let it destroy my day! I didn’t have to beat myself up for not being a perfect parent! My kids’ teeth weren’t going to rot and fall out just because they had their special once-in-a-blue-moon-snack bright and early in the morning on a school day.
How many of us start our day off on the wrong foot and let it continue to spiral downhill because we fail to recognize the significance of a moment? Just because you yelled and said mean things doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person. Just because you wasted money on something before you stopped to think twice about it doesn’t mean you’re financially irresponsible. Just because you failed at that business endeavor doesn’t mean you’re a failure.
Now, on the other hand, if you’re always freaking out over stupid stuff, you should maybe go talk to a professional about that (we are here for you, friend). If you’re never making wise decisions – or your foolish ones far outweigh the good ones – than you probably could use some education on finances (we offer this!). If you habitually start businesses and they flop, you need a coach or a mentor to guide you into success (we can help with this, too!).
Don’t hang yourself on one bad decision or a series of things that go wrong. It’s just one day. It won’t last forever. It will get fixed or somehow will turn out for good. Take a deep breath and relax.