The Price of Preventing Spilled Milk (or sugar, as the case may be)

Today I was faced with a classic mothering dilemma. The girls and I had just returned from our regular shopping trip to Aldi and HyVee. As usual, I was putting away our groceries, and the girls were “helping.” I failed to realize that Miranda was attempting to lift our 4 lb. bag of sugar out of its grocery bag until she announced, “Mommy, I spilled some sugar on the floor.” And she had. Apparently the bag had ripped as she pulled it up by its top, spilling a pile of sugar into the grocery bag and more onto the surrounding floor.

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I was milliseconds away from announcing that I would be putting the groceries away by myself from now on when I realized how ridiculous and counter-productive that would be. Yes, in the short term, it would (probably) save me from sweeping up some messes and sitting everyone down on the floor so I could wipe off bare feet that had picked up hundreds of granules of sugar from the floor. However, at this point, my girls LOVE to help.

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Whether it’s unloading the dishwasher, mixing ingredients together in a bowl, carrying things out to the car, making cards for people, or folding laundry, they love to be included and be affirmed as being helpful. It is so incredibly sweet. In the long run, it will probably even be helpful for me! My hope is that it will definitely be helpful to them as they grow into young women themselves. Some day these little girls of mine will be women, likely wives and likely mothers. Hopefully these years I have with them in the interim will be good preparation for those times. I want them to know how to cook, how to unload the dishwasher and do laundry, and how to navigate their way through numerous other household tasks. I also want to cultivate in them a good work ethic. And I want them to find joy in their work, the way they do now. God forbid I crush that joy by insisting upon a standard they could not possibly reach or banishing them from the activities in which I am engaged. Come on in, my girls, and if we spill some milk – or sugar – along the way, so be it.

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