God loves you children’s book review/story

For the Love of Cottage Cheese: How to Be Patient with a Messy Toddler

So, there’s this thing about me. I really hate cleaning up when others are messy. Like a lot. And what is my chosen profession you ask? A stay-at-home mom? Yes, yes indeed.

Feel free to laugh now because you are probably aware of how much being a stay-at-home mom and hating to clean other people’s messes conflict. Young humans make lots of unbelievably big messes. Maybe all humans do, but the older humans usually clean them up. Or they know how to.

At the time I’m writing this, I have a very cute, very messy two-year-old. She’s seriously the best. The best at giving hugs. The best at making me laugh. And yes, the best at making messes.

Today, my very tired mom brain remembered that this very best two-year-old loves to eat cottage cheese but forgot that she also loves to spackle my kitchen floor with it. So I dished a heaping pile of that high-protein, delicious snack onto her lunch plate. 

The next thing I know, my kitchen tiles are covered in cottage cheese confetti and no one invited me to the party.

That was the part when I got grumpy. Remember, I hate cleaning up messes that other people made and should, therefore, take responsibility for. Plus, do you know how hard it is to clean up cottage cheese? It has some magic static sticking power.

It takes forever and a day to get it all cleaned up! Plus, kneeling on my hard tile makes my knees ache.

Plus, my toddler finds leftover cottage cheese tucked away in her top secret high chair compartment or somewhere mystical like that to throw in my hair while I’m wiping the floor. Plus—can you tell I‘m being whiny yet? 

So I cleaned up the floor, the dishes, the high chair, and the best two-year-old I know and started the nap routine. We read a wonderful book by Kathleen Long Bostrom called God Loves You.

Part of the book says, “You can be messy, or you can be neat. God loves you just as you are.”

God loves my messy toddler. A lot.

And so do I. Even when she’s the best mess-maker. I just needed a reminder that it’s possible and good to love messy kiddos who don’t know how to clean up after themselves yet or need a little help doing it.

God does it all day every day. He loves me when I don’t clean up my messes too. In fact, that’s why Jesus came to earth, to help me clean up my messy heartaches and sicknesses and sins. 

As we read through the book a second time hoping for sleepy toddler eyes to close, I came upon these lines, “You can be grumpy, or you can be glad.” Yes, Mama, you can be grumpy, or you can be glad. That’s what it comes down to, isn’t it? I can choose.

Do I want to feel grumpy because I have to clean up someone else’s mess and cottage cheese is a nightmare? (Seriously though, if you have any brilliant cottage cheese cleaning hacks, please drop them below!)

Or do I want to be glad that my little girl ate most of her cottage cheese before throwing the rest on the floor, that I have a floor to clean at all, and that my wonderful toddler is here to make me laugh while I wipe up? 

I’m not a fan of toxic positivity, but I’m also not a fan of chronic cynicism. So I’m grateful for this reminder to choose God’s love and gladness.

He is an understanding, patient, joyful Father, and I’m grateful He’s still working on my heart and that He gave me such a loving, messy, happy toddler. 

If you need a good reminder just like I do sometimes, check out this very cheap board book. It might change the way you think about messy toddlers.

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