Today my son AJ (3 years old) did something that he does every once in a while. He spilled milk. All over his table. It was his high chair table, and there is a ridge, so none of it spilled out on to the floor or onto him. It was quite a bit though, about 1/3 of a cup?
Normally when the kids have a big spill, I get mad. I yell. I say “WHY DON’T YOU BE MORE CAREFUL?” Of course, it’s not really a question. I know it’s not their fault that they spill (ok, maybe a tiny bit?). That they are just young children and that their motor skills aren’t finely tuned yet. And that even adults spill. But it’s my default reaction… to get angry.
However, today, I did something different. I did not get mad. I just said something like, “Oh no, you spilled the milk. That’s ok. Accidents happen.” I don’t even know why I didn’t get angry. I just didn’t.
And then Christian (5) said, “You’re not going to get mad?”
As in, “I was expecting you to get mad.”
I felt sad to hear him say this. Sad that my son was expecting me to get angry. Expecting anger instead of grace from his mommy.
And I felt good at the same time. That I hadn’t gotten mad.
I was surprised that I felt so good. Instead of angry, I felt full of grace. I felt like a good mother.
I made a note to myself to react more like this in the future.
And I hope that my kids aren’t so surprised when I react with grace in the future.
Total side note: During this small “ah-ha moment” I was reminded about that scene in Mad Men when Don’s wife #2-to-be (you know, the pretty Canadian secretary) casually cleans up when Don’s son spills milk at the restaurant. And Don is so impressed by her. And the kids are impressed by her. And all is well and the world doesn’t come to an end just because there is milk all over the table.