Take a look at that picture. That would be my 1 1/2 year old pulling all of the clothes out from the dresser. Cute right? Can I be honest and say cute wasn’t my first thought when I saw the mess? My first thought was more like, “Seriously child. I just put the clean clothes away. Why?” But as my initial thought was one of frustration, I took a step back and looked at the big picture. This was simply not a big deal.

I have three kids who are now 3,1, and 3 months old. I’ve only been doing this mom thing for three short years but I feel like I have learned so much in this time. When I was pregnant with my oldest, my husband and I vowed that we wouldn’t be “those parents” who freaked out about everything. We were going to let our kids be kids and enjoy the younger years! With our first, it was easy. She was overall well behaved and she was a healthy kid so just letting her be a kid seemed easy. Then when we had Gracyn, it was a little different. With her different health issues, we had to be a little more strict on things. By the time Silas came around, Gracyn was for the most part healthy and I went back to not caring. We would be in the store and one of the kids would drop their pacifiers. I always loved the looks I got when I picked it up, personally “licked off the germs” and gave it back to them. I mean come on, I can’t protect them from everything. There is one thing I have learned though. The more tired I am or the more stressed I am, usually plays into how I respond to situations now.

Three kids, therapy, school, jobs, I mean stressed seems like the normal. If I am coming off of a good night’s sleep, I am way more laid back with my kids. If I’m tired and my oldest daughter drops her bowl of cereal, watch out because the horns will be popping out soon! It is natural to get worked up about things that don’t matter. It is even normal to get upset when you yourself are on edge. But what if we made a decision that every time we were about to flip out over some situation, to step back and look at the big picture. Yes, our emotions may be screaming at us, but in reality, does it matter?

When your kids make a mess, it can be cleaned up. When there is an argument, it can be resolved. When your child puts a toy in their mouth that 100 other kids have played with, breathe. It is impossible to keep them away from germs completely. I mean come on, they are kids. They are pretty much a walking germ themselves. Chances are a week later, you won’t even remember this small trivial detail of your day. So seriously. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Let your kids get messy. Let them pull all the clothes out of the drawer (really I should have just been happy she was entertained). Let them be kids. And as you do this, let yourself relax and not get so stressed out about the little things. Life is too short so just lean back and enjoy the ride!

Written by Stacia Tiller