How Full Is Your Bucket?

Any mom’s out there who ever cringe when they think about their WORST parenting moments?

Some of my most treasured moments are when I get to sit with other moms whom I think have it all together and hear their stories of imperfection. I become gleefully happy that I am not alone, and want to just roll around in the crumbs and broken pieces of their worst moments like a demented cupcake with jimmies on top.  I wear these moments in my heart as I continue on my journey fumbling toward better parenting.

More deep breathing, more pausing, more centering, more, more, more- better, better, better. and then sometimes- I just freaking CRACK and there are not enough deep breaths in the world.

Yesterday was one of those days. UGH.

Hormones played a big part, I imagine-but the fact is, I just could not take the noise for one more second.  I left them after dinner to go lay in bed and just be in the quiet; the three of them piled in a minute later. My rambunctious son, my even more rambunctious puppy, and my whistling, fidgeting, singing daughter.

I asked for silence…. “Please.” I pleaded.

I asked again… “C’mon you guys- really.”

“Ok guys, one more sound and you are both going out of here!” I warn.


in such a loud and completely unnecessary yell  that they all froze like statues (even the puppy).  Had I been feeling less like an Ogre;  the scene would have made me laugh out loud.

Heaving, huffing, eyeballs popping…..(this is my magnum opus)

then I am curling up in a ball and softly crying.

“I just want quiet…” I whimper

“thats all i want right now…”  *sniff *sniff”  I am five.

I lay there for a few minutes in the silence.  It is.  It’s silent now, and I have what I wanted.

I just wanted quiet and now I have it, and, I have also managed to frighten my children. I have acted like an ass.

Why is this so hard?  I wonder in this less than savory moment.

Suddenly I feel little hands on my back… rubbing me softly, then, little heads resting on my pathetic and defeated lump of a shoulder.

A few minutes pass by.  We all just lay in the quiet. Being quiet.

“you know what Mom?” my daughter says softly.

“what….” i ask in my most pitiful voice.

“I don’t know how you are always just the perfect Mom- but you just are.”

yeah...” says my son.

I sit up abruptly and turn myself around and look at them as I wipe the tears from my cheeks, and get the tangled mess of unwashed hair out of my mouth. I sniff the snot thats beginning to come down my lip before I say…

WHAT?!  No, no I’m not… look at what I just did- I’m a terrible Mommy!”

“No.. you are not terrible Mom… ” she continued. “You just want it to be quiet.. and that’s OK.” she says, offering me my bedraggled dignity back on a platinum silver platter with a cherry on top.

“Yeah.” says my son quietly as he rubs my shoulder ( now he’s reaching up to do this because I am sitting up…precious)

It’s ok  for you to get mad sometimes Mommy- It happens to all of us,” she said looking very understanding.

“and you barely ever get angry with us… ” she continued

“well, not like that.”  She says emphasizing my moment and looking in my eyes with absolution.

I’m smiling…

I’m humbled.

I’m relieved.

I feel better.

I smile bigger…

We all lay in the silence for a while- them rubbing me, and me;  holding the little hands of those who understand that I have “moments.”

I sit in a daze wondering how this whole thing turned itself around so quickly from a moment of black muddy yuck into a special, peaceful, wondrous moment with these two little beings.

We bask there for a while more.

My daughter gets up to tell me she will go play for a while… “let you rest” she says coming over to my side of the bed.

Me too.” says my son with brevity giving me one last pat.

Before she goes, she leans down and kisses me, and lingers there for a moment before leaning down again to whisper in my ear…..

“I filled your bucket.” she says all breathy.

and it dawns on me…

and I giggle.

She giggles too, knowing that she cleverly used her new found tool at the most *perfect time, and now she is basking in the impact and the result like a demented cupcake with jimmies on top.

“You sure did.” I say.

“You sure did.”

how full?

Through the story of a little boy named Felix, this charming book explains to children how being kind not only helps others, it helps them, too. As he goes about his day, Felix interacts with different people — his sister Anna, his grandfather, other family and friends. Some people are happy, but others are grumpy or sad. Using the metaphor of a bucket and dipper, Felix’ grandfather explains why the happy people make Felix feel good, while the others leave him feeling bad — and how Felix himself is affecting others, whether he means to or not. This beautifully illustrated adaptation takes the original book’s powerful message — that the way we relate to others has a profound effect on every aspect of our lives — and tailors it to a child’s unique needs and level of understanding.


  1. says

    What is it with all these Bad Mommy Moments, these days?!?!? I, too, revel in those camaraderie-building “I’m a worse Mommy than you are” sessions. But I am SO ready to move beyond revealing my faults to actively working on them. Thank you so much for sharing your “secret” to beginning this journey.

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