Saturday, August 14, 2010

Learning to relax

One of the most important things I've learned from being a mother is that I have to relax, I have to let go, and I have to stop being afraid of messes.

My own mother would argue that I've never been afraid of messes - I left enough lying around when I was young that I shouldn't quell at them now. But there's a difference between leaving books scattered across the couch and letting a 16-month-old pour a carton of goat's milk yoghurt on the kitchen floor. However, that's just what I did.

Being aware that both the floor and the toddler were washable, I tried to sit back and let him just enjoy himself. Every now and again, I would try to remind him to take a bite, but for the most part he was engrossed in dribbling yoghurt onto the floor and himself.

Of course, our resident clean-up crew were standing by, waiting for their chance to dive in. They ended up getting yoghurt-spattered too, but I figured that a wet washcloth would get the worst of it off of them.

I'm sure some of you are absolutely cringing at the idea of letting a toddler smear yoghurt on themselves and the floor. But I've been thinking a lot about experiences in life, and I remember very clearly being young (seven or eight years old) and thinking that there was nothing in life as much fun as creating a really good mud puddle with the hose and then stomping in it slowly and methodically for hours on end, pretending to be Atreyu dragging Artax through the Swamps of Sadness (bonus points if you can remember that film).

And, as I said above, both floor and baby were washable. So I sat back, took photos, and readied the wet towels for the end of the experiment (which, by the way, did not end until he'd smeared the dribbles of yoghurt everywhere, and finished by dumping the remaining inch of yoghurt in the carton all over his legs and diaper).

What things have you learned to be more relaxed about since having a baby?


  1. Love it! I've done that a few times in my 7 years of parenting, but not often enough. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Having worked with kids doing Occupational Therapy, messes are fun for the kids soul and they are totally needed! Great for helping kids not be tactile defensive, great for exploring their world and just plain great for learning. (btw: you can guess how dirty my floors get too) :)

  3. I never could watch that scene where Atreyu drags Artax through the swamp...made me cry, still does. *sigh* I used to pretend that I was squishing grapes into wine when I stomped in mud puddles...complete w/ rolling up the pants or just removing them all

    Even though I don't currently have a child living at home, I should take a cue from you and learn to relax a bit about the mess issue. I have three adults (inc. myself) and two cats and a slew a friends here and my house is usually somewhat messy....and I freak out about it every time. Must learn to breath and just be....yeah, that's it.