Personal & Spiritual Development, Tarbiyyah

The Case of Spilled Toothpaste: A Lesson in Patience & Parenting

For those of you who have been following me on Instagram, you will know that we are on a holiday. As we are specific about what personal care products we use, travelling means we have to take along all the products we might be using for the length of the stay. These include toothpaste, shampoo, etc.

As is with travel, you are only able to take along a limited amount of things. And you try to use them such so they are able to last you the duration of the stay.

But it so happened, my two little ones decided to be a bit too conscious about their oral health (and a little  cheeky too). It so happened one evening I find them little ones a bit too quiet. I find them in the bathroom bent over a tube of toothpaste with most of it splattered on the bathroom counter and some washed down the sink. I could see from their faces they had had a good taste of the fluoride-free, strawberry flavoured toothpaste too. The joy from the naughty undertaking was evident on their faces.

Their contentedness aside, seeing the mess totally blew my fuse off.

I must say I am ashamed to admit this but I behaved the way I shouldn’t have behaved, I said the things I shouldn’t have said.

The terrified looks on my children faces switched me back to my senses.

I looked from their faces to the spilled toothpaste back to their faces again.

The toothpaste had been spilled but could it be put back?

The guilt was starting to creep in…

I absolutely didn’t want to go to sleep with the images of terrified little face plastered on my mind.

What use were all things that I kept telling children about controlling their anger when I couldn’t control mine?

“Seek refuge from Shaytan and say authoobillah when angry.”

“The Prophet ﷺ said if any of you becomes angry and he is standing, let him sit down, so his anger will go away; if it does not go away, let him lie down.”

“Take deep breaths.”

“Drink a glass of water to calm yourself down.”

I said these commands out various times a day to help little Mr and Miss keep their emotions in check. Yet when it came to controlling my own anger, I failed miserably. How could I expect any better from my children? After all, shouldn’t ideal behaviour be modelled out too?

The Prophet ﷺ never even said “Uff”

The Companion Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) helped serve the Prophet ﷺ for 10 years during his youth.  He described his personal experiences with the Prophet ﷺ and said:

“I served the Prophet ﷺ for ten years. He never said to me ‘uff!’ (a word in the Arabic language used to express one’s annoyance). And he never said about a thing I did, ‘why did you do that?’ And he never said about a thing I left, ‘why did you leave that?’ The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was the best of people in character…” [Tirmidhi]

I apologized….

The toothpaste couldn’t be put back. And I surely couldn’t put my words back in my mouth. But I could hug my children, admit my mistake and apologize. I wanted my children to see that we are responsible for our emotions and our reactions to them.

We went back and reenacted the scene.

We talked about what went wrong and how we all should have reacted and behaved.

Even though the toothpaste couldn’tbe put back, we went to sleep happy with a lighter conscience for me. Alhamdulillah!

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  1. What a beatiful reminder . It happens a lot in my household too and it reminds me of this -When the milk is splattered all over the floor and those little eyes are looking at you for your reaction, remember what really matters. It takes 5 minutes to clean up spilled milk; it takes much longer to clean up a broken spirit. – Rebecca Eanes. xxx

  2. Jazak Allah Khayr for the reminder however I would caution you against exposing your sins. Jazak Allah Khayr

  3. Subhanallah what a beautiful reminder. I happened to see few Christian bloggers doing this as a live lesson few months back and when I wanted to do them as a life lesson to my daughter but felt it’s too early and stopped by when she was just 2 year old. This blogpost is a perfect reminder for us

  4. SubhanAllah! Very beautiful. Children copy us always. JazakilAllahu Khayr for sharing this beautiful experience with us.

  5. What a heartfelt thought-provoking reminder of how one must control their anger. Great of you to apologize and talk to your children about it

  6. A good reminder…I think most mums have probably lost their temper and then felt guilty. But we must remember that although inconvenient it can be cleaned up.

  7. This is definitely a reminder for me. I soo relate as a similar incident happened in my household 3 days ago. The prophet’s advice on what to do when one gets angry is something I need to revisit again in my life. I use to practice and not too many things happening at the same time that i can’t seem to think about what to do when they do happen. Thank you for sharing this sister.

  8. I can relate to this in so many ways! Thank you for sharing this experience with us and giving us wonderful tips as well. Lots of love and duas for you mama xo

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