Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk

Keon Addai

Posted on February 11 2019

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk

Did you know that February 11th is “Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk” Day? The origin of the holiday is unknown. The first historical reference to the phrase is in a book titled Paramoigraphy. It was written in 1659 by British Historian James Howell. 

Though the origin is unknown, we have all heard this saying multiple times throughout our lives. My dad would often say it when my siblings or I would talk about what we could have done better. 

“You can’t cry over spilled milk. What’s done is done,” he’d exclaim. 

As moms, this is a phrase we need to take heed to. Motherhood is taxing and a never-ending cycle of the “should’ve, would’ve could’ve” s! There is so much time devoted to self blame and the regret train. 

“Did I have to yell?”

“Is my career taking time from my children?”

“Do I expect too much of them?”

“Am I being the best mom that I can be?”

“Are everyone’s needs being met?”

The list of questions and thoughts are infinite. But is it healthy? Are we doing ourselves any favors by reliving our “mistakes”? 

In essence, we are hindering our growth and the ability to be happy. Crying over spilled milk causes us to have thoughts of inadequacy. I personally find myself becoming depressed if I dwell on things I could have done differently. The thoughts truly put a damper on my day. Our children can feel this energy. They learn from our example and begin to start the same cycle. The focus on all the things that could have been instead of the wonderful things that could be begins. 

Nothing good will ever come from holding on to regrets. According to an article in Psychology Today, written by Melanie Greenberg, Ph. D., regret can lead to 4 major things:

1. Depression

2. Anxiety

3. Sleep Problems

4. Difficulty Concentrating

She recommends doing the following to cope with regret:

1. Harness the functional aspects. 

We should recognize that certain actions we take may be the gateway to negative consequences and make the change. 

2. If there is nothing you can do to change the situation, let it go! 

Self forgiveness is the perfect medicine for regret. If there is nothing that can be done to change the outcome, we should move on in optimism.

3. Make sure you are not taking too much blame.

We are humans that are bound to make mistakes. If we think of ourselves as the true imperfect beings that we are, we will be more kind than critical in our failures.

4. Reframe the situation more positively. 

Look at every mistake as a self evaluation; a way to look at what can be done better in the future while assessing your values, motives and morals.

We are destined to have many regrets in life but let’s spend time focusing on the things we can change and less on the past. On today, I encourage all moms to grab a glass of wine (or juice if that’s not your thing) and say cheers to no longer holding my mental state hostage to regret. In the words of Katherine Mansfield, “Regret is an appalling waste of energy, you can’t build on it-it’s only good for wallowing in.” 

Until next time Kuties! 



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