You know what’s inconvenient? Brushing your kids teeth at the end of the day. If you are a parent of toddlers you know what I mean. If you aren’t (or it’s been a while) let me set the stage. Imagine you have just run a marathon and simultaneously have had to be mentally present for every waking moment to entertain, protect, discipline, answer questions, provide meals and snacks and break up fights between 3 very cute but very loud children. The hour has come where the finish line is in sight. The kids are bathed and in their pajamas and all you want to do is read the shortest story book you can find, kiss their little foreheads and turn off the lights. You glance fleetingly at their tiny toothbrushes and think of the brushing and foaming and spitting and rinsing and you think, “ehe, we’ll do it tomorrow.”
I am probably going to win “Worst Mother of the Year” award for this revelation, but I probably brush my kids teeth about 2 times out of 7 every week. Or, at least I did. Two weeks ago I took all three of my babies to the dentist and they did really well! No screaming, crying or having to physically restrain any of them (a first actually). However, I got some bad news. My dear son Samuel has SIX cavities. One requiring a crown.
My heart sank, not just because I knew what putting my 4 year old through that ordeal would be like, or what the bill would be (over $800!) but because this could have been COMPLETELY avoided. I CHOOSE this. There are some bad things that happen to us that we have no control over, brushing and flossing is not one of them, that is completely in my control.
It was a wake up call to be sure, but I’m thankful for it. It led me to reevaluate other areas where I have been cutting corners. Telling myself that it’s ok to buy that little thing I don’t need. Or indulge in that ice cream. It’s not that doing these things every once in a while is that bad, but when those little unhealthy decisions turn into the majority of your choices (and it happens SO easily) before you know it, you’re only brushing your teeth twice a week. And there WILL be consequences.
I needed to remember this tonight, because Fernando and I chose to have an at home date instead of spending money and going out. I was grumbling while I cooked dinner, and grumbling while I did the dishes, and grumbling as the kids ran around the house crazy. This is not convenient – this is not what I FEEL like doing. But now the kitchen is clean, the kids are *almost* asleep, and there is a pint of Haagen Daz ice cream with my name on it (hey! every once in a while is ok….it’s not a habit people!). And I not only get to spend the evening with my favorite person, but I get the satisfaction of knowing that I CHOSE the right thing.
I will leave you with this quote from one of my new favorite authors John Maxwell:
Nothing creates a greater gap between successful people and unsuccessful people than the choices we make. Too often, people make life more difficult for themselves because they make bad choices at the intersections of their life or they decline to make choices because of fear. But it’s important to remember that while we don’t always get what we want, we always get what we choose.