The details of that day are cloudy. But one memory is etched into my mind with a painful chisel of tears. I’ll never forget the three words that made my daughter cry.
They seemed to tumble out of my mouth in an eruption of emotions. I wanted to take them back. I wanted to rewind time and try again. But I couldn’t. The damage was already done.
My daughter has such a helpful spirit. She began wanting to be “mommy’s helper” when she was only three years old.
“Mommy, what can I do for you?” came the tiny voice one morning.
That question brought my heart great joy.
And ever since that moment I was very welcoming of her help.
But not on one specific, unforgettable day.
And no matter how many times I try to wish it away, it is still in my past — and in hers.
I remember that we had loads of tasks to complete. We had company coming over and I was making a feast that would impress the most elite food critic. But that was just the problem. I was seeking to impress others — whatever the cost.
Three Words that Made My Daughter Cry
As I was busily chopping food and frantically tidying up, my daughter rushed into the kitchen.
She didn’t ask to help, she just started putting away unused ingredients and was moving food to different sections of the kitchen so I could have enough space to get my work done.
After having to pull ingredients back out of the fridge and pantry I finally looked at her and said,”You can go upstairs and play. I’ll get the work done.”
She just replied and said, “I want to help.”
Sigh. She wasn’t getting the point.
I could almost hear the clock ticking loudly in my ears and having to go behind my daughter and fix her “helping” was beginning to get under my skin.
In frustration I focused on my food prep at hand and just replied,”You’re not helping.”
In that moment, it seemed the world became silent.
She didn’t protest.
She didn’t move.
In almost shock at my unrestrained words and thoughts, I looked at her and saw red eyes brimming with tears.
She finally walked away, shoulders slumped and head down.
My typically very confident daughter was crushed — not by a bully or a snobby peer, but by her own mother.
Why am I sharing this raw, real moment with you?
To warn you.
As moms, it’s so easy to be caught up with our responsibilities that we forget to be cautious about our critical, complaining and negative thoughts that without warning can spew out of our mouths and hurt the closest people in our lives.
If I had just focused on the sweet, helpful spirit being expressed through my daughter’s actions instead of her mistakes, then I wouldn’t have thought those awful opinions that were spoken before I could weigh the negative consequences.
Dear mom, may you never say the three words I did. If you do, you’ll live to regret them.
Let’s build our kiddos up today with encouragement, hugs and “can do it” attitudes!
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