Jan 14, 2012

"There's no use crying over spilt milk!"

In my three and a half years of being a mother, I've had a lot of things broken. And, not all by me!
Yes, for those who know me well, I can be a bit clumsy at times. But, having someone else break something that is dear to you can be quite upsetting. Some things you just don't wish to break for practical reasons. Such as a set of dishes for four. Let's just say that since my children came along, you will no longer enjoy a matching set of dishes should you be invited for a meal in my home. You don't mind do you?
I've had Christmas tree ornaments busted, necklaces yanked until they snap, cups/plates/bowls shattered, couch pillows mangled until they are no longer attractive, books/papers torn, and various other items destroyed. Of course, being a young and selfishly inclined mother, it has seriously frustrated me to have my belongings broken and ruined.

Over time, I have mellowed somewhat and can honestly say there are few items I really cherish so much that I would be down right angry if they got damaged. Am I no longer selfish? Nope. I am still being refined! I do, however, strive to remember my darling children are not perfect (neither am I!). I also have grown to realize that some things are just things. I can buy a nice set of dishes when the kids are older. I now store our beloved books in our master bedroom which prevents them being in harms way! I use mainly plastic dishes and take care to remind them to be careful should they ever need to use one of our more fragile dishes. We surrender ourselves to the fact that until our children are a bit larger we will have a dark, stained, lumpy couch.

It really is a relief to have a changed attitude in this area. There was a time that I'd have been so stressed about an item being damaged that I wouldn't think as clearly and the clean up or damage control process would be more challenging. Now, when a glass bowl is shattered, my first reaction is to sound the practical order to stay back and sit out of the way until I can clean up the shards before someone gets hurt. Never mind that someone chucked the glass bowl across the room! That can be dealt with post-clean up.
As the children get older, an accidental spill or dropped and broken item can be cleaned by the child. This adds the element of teaching responsibility. I can share with them that even I make mistakes or accidentally drop things. We have to take responsibility for that and clean it up. Sometimes, when an item belonged to someone else, an apology is necessary. Practical life lessons are the most potent.

Even with the lessons and precautions to prevent fragile items from curious fingers, things still are broken or damaged in our home on occasion. My recommendation for dealing with this situation:

1) Remain calm and say as little as possible. "Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue." ~ Proverbs 17:28
2) Give prudent commands such as reminding everyone to stay back or hold still should glass be involved.
3) Clean the area or pick up the mess. When appropriate have the children help.
4) Thank your helper for their contribution even if small.
5) Deal with the issue. Should punishment be necessary for breaking rules or disobeying now is the time. Or, discuss how the child/children can prevent the situation from happening again if appropriate. Waiting to discipline or discuss the situation until after the clean up process gives you a chance to remain calm and think more clearly.

Remember that one of our most precious earthly treasures is our children and they are worth far more than anything they break!

This post is linked to:


  1. Wesley cannot have open cups anymore, simply for the fact that he intentionally spills them! He has discovered that he is tall enough to open my kitchen towel drawer, so he makes a mess, runs over to the drawer, opens it, takes out a towel and 'cleans' his mess. The clean is in quotes b/cuz he doesn't really get much of it, but it's pretty cute to see!

  2. That is cute Alicia! I love to see it when they at least try to clean their messes! My three all use sippy cups because the boys are always dipping stuff (toys or hands), or pouring out their drinks. Or, they accidentally get knocked over. Sean can have a regular cup with meals though.

  3. I really enjoy reading your blog, Shari! I loved this especially...SO true! It's just "stuff"...

  4. Thanks Cassia! I appreciate you reading and commenting on my blog! :D


Share your thoughts! I'd love to hear from you!