Several years ago, I sat in a Mothers of Preschoolers meeting and the guest speaker asked us to write down our favorite childhood memory. My mind flooded with silent giggles as I recalled mixing water and dirt, then filling the aluminum pans. I would create a make-believe oven from bricks and bake the brown, gooey pie. Finally, the most exciting part of all … when the mud-pies were finished “baking”, I would throw them at the largest oak tree in my grandma’s backyard. This simple activity has become etched in my mind as my all-time favorite childhood memory.
The speaker challenged us to put that piece of paper in a visible location as a reminder each day about taking time to enjoy those small precious moments with our children. So, I put the small leaf-sized paper on my fridge and saw it every day. It helped and I remembered the lesson.
Years after hearing that speaker, I was having one of those extra-chaotic days. The to-do list was overwhelming – there wasn’t a clean towel in the house, lots of unanswered emails in my in-box, bills to pay, preschool class party to plan – my plate was full. I was overwhelmed, grouchy and found myself lacking patience. That was it, I give up! I slammed the fridge shut and then I saw the leaf with the life lesson.
My children and I went to our backyard, and we all laughed as we made mud-pies. We used the back of my son’s monster truck as our oven and then we threw our messy creations at the fence! We giggled … we had fun … we made memories! Their enthusiasm and energy were contagious, and I gladly soaked up every ounce. I relished in their smiles and the muddy handprints on my clothes. I became appreciative again.
After our adventure, I had a whole new perspective and was blessed with the attitude adjustment I needed. After that boost, I knocked out the to-do list and finished the laundry – I was on a roll. Then, I sat down with my daughter to help her write in her take-home journal about her favorite weekend activity. It had been very busy – a few hours at Six Flags, seeing friends at church, a good friend’s birthday party, those were my suggestions. She sweetly said, “Mom, the most fun I had this weekend was making mud-pies with you.”
Life is busy. Motherhood is crazy and unscripted. No matter what is going on, take a moment and simply enjoy your children. Laugh and have fun. Record the memories on your heart. Your children will treasure it, and you will gain a fresh, new perspective.
The Conversation Question:
When you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, what helps give you a fresh new perspective? Please share your story and ideas!