I always saw the mud until happiness became my mission

Seriously? Why did you boys make that mess? Now I have to clean and rewash the floor that I just spent the morning cleaning. And the mud on your shoes? Those are your good shoes. What in the world were you thinking? Honestly.

That’s what I told my three boys after they made this gigantic fort in the backyard.

I didn’t praise them for playing outside without media. I didn’t join in their happiness over gathering sticks and brush from the wood. I didn’t notice the rosy cheeks or the excitement. I didn’t even see that they were getting along.

That, alone, my sweet friends, is a minor miracle.

Instead, I saw the worst.

The mud, not the boys.

The mess, not the creativity.

The clean up, not the childhood.

It was about me, not them.


And I decided to change.

I stood in my once cleaned kitchen thinking does this really matter? Does it really matter that there’s mud on the floor? Does it really matter? And then I thought of all of my friends who have lost children or whose kids are going through cancer treatments. And I realized that the mud on the floor that I saw as negative would have been a blessing. Wanted.

So I knew I needed then to change.

To replace the worst, the mud, with happiness.

Happiness for time spent playing and being kids. Happiness for the gift to be a mom. Happiness, yes, happiness, that I had the SPACE AND FREEDOM to actually get to deal with cleaning up mud.

Maybe mud was the gift.

I just forgot to see it, I guess.

I got so caught up in the worst thinking that I missed the happiness.

So now, now happiness is my target. Instead of going to the worst I’m retraining my brain to be happy first. To see the good. And just like a muscle that is out of shape, sadly my happiness muscle needs exercise. To smile before complaining. To hug just a bit longer before going to the next thing.

All of that.

So sweet mom, work to see you and your response. And maybe dare to join me in not seeing the worst.

But finding happiness instead.


5 Responses to “I always saw the mud until happiness became my mission”

  1. March 23, 2017

    Tessa Reply

    My 3 older boys came in covered in mud and blood a couple days ago. I chose (mostly) happiness too. Took care of the bloody lip, of course, and ended up a bit muddy myself but the sparkle in their eyes and the giggles aee totally worth it! I have friends who have lost children as well and I try to remind myself daily that the mess and squabbles are such a blessing.

  2. June 1, 2017

    Michelle Reply

    Thank you, I needed this tonight.

  3. June 2, 2017

    Courtney Reply

    This is me. But how? How do I find the fun or joy when I’m tired from working, cooking, and now cleaning. I get frustrated with the mess bc I know eventually it does have to be cleaned up, and I don’t want another task. I struggle with this Every. Single. Day. I just don’t know how to let it go and enjoy the moments knowing that I have to add cleaning the floors/countertop/garage etc to my list of to-dos. I’d love some advice on how you got there.

  4. November 9, 2017

    Tony Herald Reply

    My daughters were 3 and 5 and I had been painting our porch. I had to leave unexpectedly so I closed the paint lid lightly and rolled up my roller. I was gone for a couple hours and came home to find my two girls had decided to help dad out. Instead of painting the porch they decided to paint the front of our house, and paint it they did. My wife came out to see what they had done, she asked are you going to spank them? I said no we’re going to take pictures and enjoy this memory forever. I always smile when I think back to their innocent misdeed.

  5. February 4, 2018

    Robyn Reply

    Yes!! My daughter strung string between the chairs, used it to dry her paintings, left footprints of paint around the art studio she had created (water wash paint on washable floor), so much art, creativity and pride. I am grateful I had the presence of heart to compliment her, and laugh at the mess. I did use it as a teaching moment though.. “wow, beautiful!! let’s make sure we get this all cleaned up, ok? I Love Your choices of colour though!! Don’t smudge them.”
    I think when we enlist their help, with a compliment blended.. they feel good about helping. If we scold them, it’s a whole different tone.
    Someone asked how to get to that point.. practice practice practice. Time an again finding the gratitude that they’re HERE. trying.. and apologizing when you don’t respond the way you want.. going into their room later and telling them what you figured out. Mom is learning too, they understand and appreciate it more than we know!! ❤️

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