Real mountains make my molehills look absurd

Dec 20, 2012

One afternoon last week I sat at the table spoon-feeding Knox. I couldn’t help but keep my eyes locked on him as he flashed a smile between bites. Our home is always full of noise from the brothers…fighting, pretending, running. On this particular day I vaguely remember hearing Watts singing.  Suddenly something smashed against my back, alerting me to pay more attention to my surroundings.

I turned around to witness the following scene:  a naked bottomed boy spinning in circles, his Pull-up held high above his head, belting out the Muppets Movie hit song, “Me Party” (for those unfamiliar…the lyrics are, “I’m having a me party, a party just for one. A me party.” Over and over).

Technically there is no problem with a preschooler singing naked in the comfort of his living room.  Unfortunately, in this case my son’s Pull-up had been full of pee. By “had been”, I mean while swinging the diaper (cuz really that’s what it is) above his head the pee-soaked granules were flung out. Which would explain the substance I felt hitting my back.

I quickly surveyed the damage trying not to freak out. I found granules on my laptop bag, on an Avenger Croc, piles splattered around the floor and even a tiny piece sitting on Knox’s high chair tray. Awesome.

After telling Watts to “never, ever do that again”. I considered how to clean up a mess I had never, ever encountered. An exploding Pull-up? Seriously.

As I carefully swept each little piece into the dustpan (like cleaning up rice or pasta, this material smeared when pushed), I heard Quade say, “Mom what’s up there?” I looked up to see a huge chunk of Pull-up mush stuck to our wall right next to the lovely Christmas wreath I had hung on the window.

I laughed. Out loud. In the middle of the mess. Because I knew I had the choice to laugh or cry (or yell). Any other day I probably would have yelled. Maybe even thrown down the broom in frustration and run to my bedroom to cry. Not that day. That day I laughed. And I liked it.

Last Thursday night, I stayed up too late listening to an author share stories from his life. I felt an odd sense of freedom when he said, “If you take yourself too seriously, you will be miserable.” He was right.

With the weight & responsibility of rearing four young boys and keeping up with life in Dallas, I’ve taken myself too seriously. It’s not a joyful version of me.

The next morning each time I wanted to respond to a little thing in a big way I repeated in my head, “Don’t take yourself too seriously”.  10 minutes later the same phrase. Then again 20 minutes after that…”Don’t take yourself too seriously”.

That same morning evil walked into a school on the east coast and did the unimaginable. The truly serious happened making my overreactions seem even more ridiculous.

Because when you come up against a legitimate mountain the one you created from a molehill looks ridiculous.  My prayer for you and for me is to take ourselves less seriously because life is serious enough on it’s own. We don’t need to add to the weight with our unrealistic expectations.

In these days leading up to Christmas even though we grieve with those who grieve, may you find joy in your children. I know I’ve hugged mine even tighter. Enjoy the humor of “A Christmas Story”-leg lamps & tongues stuck to flag poles. After kids are safely tucked in bed watch the “mostly clean” humor of Jim Gaffigan’s “Mr. Universe” on Netflix. Or laugh out loud to Buddy the Elf’s childish antics in big, serious New York City. Whatever brings you joy this season…do it.

“Joy is the serious business of heaven” C.S. Lewis



  1. Sarah (theGIRL)

    I’ve been lucky enough to clean up an exploded diaper mess, though NOTHING like your version. It’s no fun. Thanks for the reminder not to take life too seriously, that its serious enough on its own. I can feel myself being tempted to do so. Great timing for me.

    Merry Christmas!

    • GodCenteredMom

      oh those naughty diapers. glad to hear I’m not alone but I’m so sorry you had to experience a similar experience. 😉
      We are all tempted with life gets nutty and out-of-control to lose perspective and get intense. Hope you have a wonderful, joy-filled Christmas!

  2. Amy K.

    This is again a much needed post for me at this time. Thank you for your words today. I definitely need reminders to stop taking the little things so seriously and laugh more than yell. My days will seem so much more pleasant if I can do that and I’m sure my kids would enjoy their day more too without “yelling mom”.

    • GodCenteredMom

      Isn’t it true how much nicer days go when everything isn’t an emergency? Hope you enjoy a wonderful “yell-free”, joy-full Christmas!

  3. Stevie

    Thank you Heather for once again speaking straight to my heart! I laughed at your post as I glanced at the pics you posted. Then I began to cry as I read the real meaning behind your post. I have struggled this week with being “to serious!” Making life hard for not only my sweet baby boys (2yr & 9mon.) but also on my marriage. As I pulled out of driveway for an appt. yesterday I thought, “if I died would this be how my family remembered me?” Overbearing and ocd about things that shouldn’t matter?
    Thank you so much for the reminder! I also thought of the line in Mrs. Ann’s book One Thousand Gifts ” Expectations kill relationships.” So true!!

    • GodCenteredMom

      The whole “what if this was the last time they saw me” guilt is the worst. I pray you and I both can let go of the things which don’t really matter to God. Control only those things we can control (our words) and enjoy these Christmas memories with our families. And Ann…she is such a well of wisdom…yes “expectations kill relationships”.

  4. Nancy Fowler

    I love this Heather, such a good reminder of our mountains vs molehills—

    • GodCenteredMom

      thank you for your encouragement Nancy!!

  5. Kristin

    I needed this is th worst way. I am way to serious about life. It can make you miserable. I’ll definitely be repeating this phrase over the next 10 days while my children are off from school. Thank you

    • GodCenteredMom

      you and me both!!! Merry Christmas!

  6. Kristin

    Love this Heather! Such a good (and needed) reminder. I love the way you write and how you share your heart.

  7. Stephanie Rische

    I love that you were able to laugh in the moment! I usually am too slow and can only laugh later. Nice reminder, especially this time of year.

  8. seanandlaura

    i too, experiences an exploded, urine filled diaper, only mine was being used to hit her sister. yuck. but you’re right. life is too serious on its own.

  9. Erin

    Your story reminded me of a time a few years back when somehow a not dirty pull up made it’s way through my washing machine… yes, what a nice mess to clean up! Thanks for sharing your story and about not taking things so seriously. There have been other times when something big and messy has happened in our house of 4 children and I found myself laughing… b/c what else could I do? It’s been awhile since that has been my initial reaction though, so thanks for the reminder!

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