The First Requirement of Parenthood?

While working at home with a babysitter watching the kids, my 4 year old daughter Annie came into my office with a sweet smile and asked if she could just sit there quietly for a little while. She was a good girl and I wanted to say, “Yes” – but my brain argued with my heart, thinking,

‘If I’m to be organized, I must follow rules and not let anything interrupt me.’

So, against my intuition, I put on a straight face and said,

“No honey – I have to work”,  and sent her out.

She started crying hysterically as the babysitter took her out of the room.

I tried to rationalize that I wasn’t being heartless. 

“I’m supposed to be working. I’m paying the babysitter. She should handle this!”  

But I knew I had hurt Annie. I felt horrible all day, and so did she.

A few years later, the incident came up in conversation:

“Mom, remember the time I was 4 years old and you sent me out of your office ‘cause you had to work? And all I wanted was a HUG!”

I did remember and was sad about it.  I said, 

“I’m so sorry honey. Would you like that hug NOW?”

And Annie said,  Nope. It expired!

Heartsick, I thought, “What can I do, now?”

Had I hurt my daughter forever by that one ‘businesslike’ decision?

My daughter did eventually forgive me.

But what did it take?


And love.


Did you ever cook oatmeal and not wash the pan right away?

When you come back later the oatmeal is dry and stuck like GLUE.

What do you do? Soak it in water for a while and it’ll soften up again.

Love, like water on dried oatmeal, softens the hardened heart.

Harder still, is admitting when you are mistaken.

Notice I didn’t use the word ‘wrong’?



‘Wrong’ holds too much shame and blame.

As a new parent, I was deathly afraid of being ‘WRONG’.

I decided not to make the same errors my parents had made.

And I didn’t. I made NEW ones. 

I presumed parents must always be good examples, do the right thing, and know what to do in all circumstances (or pretend you know).

Boy, was I WRONG! (Oops! I mean, ‘mistaken’!)


Everyone makes mistakes, even with good intentions.

You can’t fault yourself for the wisdom you didn’t have at the time.

Mistakes can usually be worked through, unless we never apologize. To err is Human, to Forgive, Divine.  

But don’t wait to say, “I’m sorry”. Clean up your mess when it’s ‘freshly dirty’, and it will be easier to clean up.

And even if you have made the mistake of waiting, soak the problem in love, be patient with yourself and your loved ones, and you’ll see things improve.

They won’t be able to resist forever! Like the old adage:

Question:  How do you stop an argument?

Answer:  Apologize

Hey! THAT’S wisdom that works!

So, be interruptible, my friends.

Sometimes our disappointments are God’s appointments (appointments to grow and learn)!

Sending Love to you and yours,


Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon

Creator, GoMommyGO® 


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