Don’t Make a Mountain out of a Molehill

So after school today one of my son’s friends told him that I was the coolest mom ever.  Why?  Because I didn’t get mad when Austin somewhat inconvenienced me.

Now I can tell you that there have been many times that I didn’t handle that kind of situation well, but today I handled it right.  After it happened, it got me thinking about a phrase my dad used to use with us when my sisters and I were little: Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.

That’s what I do sometimes as a mom.  When I make mountains out of molehills I cause chaos, wound my family members, and even make my home an emotionally unsafe place to be.

When Dr. Kevin Leman spoke at Hearts at Home, he addressed this very issue.  He said, “When a kid spills a glass of milk, they don’t need a lecture.  They need a rag to clean it up.”  What a practical picture of keeping a molehill a molehill.  It’s a little bump in life, but it doesn’t need to get me emotionally charged up.  

I was thinking about today’s situation.  Why was I able to keep it in molehill status?  I can think of several reasons why:
1) My schedule was light today.  When I pack too much in my schedule, I have little emotional room for inconveniences.
2) I simply “let it go.”  It wasn’t a big deal and I didn’t make it into a big deal. 
3) I smiled as I was interacting with Austin.  Seriously, that may seem like a small thing, but it was huge.  It kept me grounded and helped me respond to the situation with a right heart, rather than react to it inappropriately.

I addressed this issue in my book My Heart’s at Home in a chapter titled “Home as a Safehouse.”  It’s a concept I’ve learned a lot about, but I’m still on a learning curve.  And I blow it sometimes.  Thankfully I got it right today, but from the reaction of my son’s friend, I would guess I’m not the only mom who makes that mistake.

Do you make mountains out of molehills in your home?  Would you like to join me in keeping molehills in perspective?  I’d love to hear that I’m not alone in this.  Do you have any practical suggestions on how you keep from turning molehills into mountains?

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8 Responses to Don’t Make a Mountain out of a Molehill

  1. Tami says:

    This made me laugh because I find myself having a serious problem with this at times! I think alot of it stems from raising three boys after being raised by a single mom and having only one sister. This boy thing is STILL all new to me! Just last Saturday my middle son decided to go exploring while at his brothers soccer game, and he and another little boy got into a little trouble by going down a muddy embankment and he found himself not able to get back up. The other little boy jumped up just fine, but my son was stuck. My husband just happened to not be at the game that day, and I found myself looking at my son at the bottom in the mud, not sure how I was going to get him out! Needless to say, I was slightly irritated, as well as extremely worried because there just happened to be a raging river below him. I lost control of my attitude and temper and I was yelling at him instead of talking him out of the situation with control. I usually have my husband there to balance my fear and irrational behavior when it comes to things like this! Being a woman, I find myself struggling to understand how/why boys put themselves in these situations!!!! Even after 12 years, it doesn't get any easier. Anyway, I ended up (after discussing this situation with my husband and having him talk me off the ledge!) going back and apologizing to him for my behavior. We did discuss the fact that he made a not so good choice about going down there, but it wasn't stupid, as I had stated before…oops…wrong choice on my part :) Sometimes I just forget to remind myself that they are just being who God made them to be, and that they see the world through a WHOLE different set of eyes than I do…does this Mom thing get any easier!??! I doubt it!! But, I do know that I agree with you about the fact that how I handle the situation makes all the difference.

  2. Jill says:

    Tami,

    The first step to changing is recognizing there's a problem. You've done that already! You're on the right track. Hang in there!

  3. Blessing Counter says:

    Thanks, Jill! This molehill-to-mountain concept is something I either do very well with or very very badly with! (And there is not a lot of middle ground.) I think you hit on a key when you said you had a light schedule that day…when we are over-booked, my fuse is usually extremely short! Thanks so much for the encouragement and wisdom! Carol (Mom to 12-yr-old triplets and a 4-yr-old)

  4. Jeanie Cullip, writer says:

    Jill

    I too suffer with making mountains out of molehills. I find that days I do not wake up early and prepare for my day physically, mentally and spiritually I have a lot of mountains. So to keep a molehill a molehill, I wake up before the kiddos take my shower and get dressed, write my to do list check the calendar, and then I sit in my chair with my bible and prayer journal and dig into Gods word and talk to Him about my day ahead. Of course I find this time gets shortened often by a child waking up early. I heard that you allow your child to join you in your chair and snuggle as you wrap it up.. I think I need to give that a try.. that way I can be prepared for the day!

    Blessings to you and yours,
    Jeanie

  5. Kirsten says:

    This happens ALOT in my house! I find that I am always telling myself that I need to practice picking and choosing my battles!!

  6. Annette says:

    Just today I blew up the mountain. I think when my kids do these things, I'm worried that it's a huge character flaw that must be eradicated–and I must do it now because it's a teachable moment. Truth is, if I waited until a calmer moment, I would see that it was just a molehill after all (and they would be more teachable). But at the time, it just seems so serious and urgent…

  7. Jill says:

    Annette,

    Good point….sometimes we read a situation incorrect. We "awfulize" it and then we blow it. Good insight.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I try to use the saying, "Does it need to be said,does it need to be said now, and does it need to be said by me"