“Great news! No one died AND it actually smells pretty decent in there now (shocked face emoji),” I texted my husband.
It was too early to be swimming in poop. But, thank goodness we made it through!
Let’s back up just a bit…
After an evening of family activities, we headed off to sleep. Our 11-year-old daughter had our two dogs in tow. Upon tucking her in, we kindly reminded her to let the pups out if they didn’t settle in. With a big smile she agreed. We said our goodnights and shut the door.
I was already a little anxious about the dogs sleeping in her room. There were a couple of times before my husband or I would go perform the customary parental sleep check, open her door, and the room would be full of doggie no no’s.
Thank goodness for high quality disinfectant cleaners and a psycho germaphobe mom, right?
I had tried everything up to that point, letting the dogs out 20 times before bedtime, moving the dog’s dinner time up a couple of hours, or even limiting their water intake in the evening. If an accident would still occur unbeknownst to my hard sleeping, strong-nosed princess, I would just clean it up.
I was used to cleaning up messes. To be honest, I preferred it that way. I was afraid if I didn’t clean it, it wouldn’t be cleaned right.
That’s what moms do, right?
We clean messes.
One day after being abruptly wakened by our three-month-old, for some reason I could not go right back to sleep. My husband was awake so I opted for a bit of conversation before he left for his four AM workout. By the time we were done talking, I was ready to go back to bed.
BUT, I could not in good conscience climb into bed without checking on my sleeping princess and her pups. I opened the door to our daughter’s bedroom and my heart sank. Right there in the middle of the room was a doggie no no!
I would not, could not, with some gloves.
I would not, could not, no matter how much love.
I do not like dog accidents, no ma’am.
I am so SICK of cleaning dog accidents, Mom I Am!
My mind was racing while trying to process what was in front of me. Why does this keep happening? What did I do when I was her age?…Clean it up myself.
When I was a child, my mom bought my siblings and me a puppy.
Guess who had to feed it? Walk it? Give it baths? Clean up its doggie doos? Me.
Who currently takes care of our pups? Walk them? Give them baths? Clean up their doggie doos? Not my daughter.
Had my own fears and need for control prevented my daughter from performing one of the most basic responsibilities when it comes to taking care of pets? Yes.
What could I do now?…Start fresh.
I kindly woke up my daughter. I kindly let her know that her bedroom floor had been befouled by one of her pups. I kindly picked out a couple of cleaners, handed them to her and told her where she could find a trash bag.
Her eyes widened with the realization that Mommy was not cleaning up her mess this time. She was going to have to do it herself.
Get moving Princess.
She quickly got up out of her bed, grabbed the items she needed and got to work. She scrubbed her floors. In spite of the ewww and ughs, she did not die. Once I made sure her cleaning was sufficient, she scrubbed her hands and climbed back into bed to go to sleep.
Sure, she was annoyed that her sleep had been disturbed. Sure, she was completely grossed out. But, you know what? We haven’t had to deal with another accident since then!
Why? Because my daughter does not want to deal with cleaning up another one. It is HER responsibility now.
If I continue to clean up every mess, if I take care of everything that goes wrong, what am I teaching my child? How can I expect her to take care of herself if I do not allow her to do things now?
When I allowed myself to let go and share the responsibilities, it allowed my daughter to step up. Yes, it is still hard for me to let go of control. Yes, I still prefer tasks to be completed a certain way. However, I am not doing myself or anyone else any favors if I do not share the load.
Momma let’s take an honest assessment:
Is there a task or a chore that you are holding on to that you can let go of and let someone else take care of?