It was a scene that many mothers can relate to. I was tired. She was tired. It was naptime and things were taking longer than I felt they should. I opened the bathroom door to find liquid hand soap dripping down the vanity. My five-year-old’s hands were glistening and slippery from an excessive amount of soap. Suddenly my mind flashed back to a few recent incidents when I had found the soap dispenser open and lying on its side on the sink.
Before reacting, I took a deep breath and asked, “What’s going on? Why is the lid off?” Maybe the pump was broken. Maybe that was the only way she could wash her hands.
Then my sweet girl looked up at me, her blue eyes large and watching for my reaction, “Because I wanted to.”
She understood the error of her ways. She knew she shouldn’t have made the mess. It could’ve ended there. And it should have. But instead, I was tired. I was short. I raised my voice. I reprimanded her. I barked. She cried.
Even When . . .
We have all experienced these less-than-ideal moments in parenting when we fall short, when we miss the mark, when we overreact. The good news is that we don’t have to stay in these moments. We can move beyond them and good can actually come from them because those are also the times that can turn into teachable moments—not just for them, but also for us.1