Okay, y’all! How many of you are STRESSED OUT much of the time?!
I see MANY hands raised! Thanks for your honesty!
Sometimes I realize that my feeling of being stressed, and the high stress level in our home is largely my fault! I am allowing and creating an atmosphere that breeds STRESS!
Picture this typical morning when we are headed off to school. (We homeschool, but the girls go one day a week to what I call a “homeschool school.” They have a great time with grade level peers, doing science, social studies, reader’s theater and P.E.).
The stress actually starts the night before because I stay up way too late wasting my life away on Facebook and then don’t get the girls up on time. So, we’re already running late while they’re still snoozing in their beds! The girls are fussy and reluctant to get up which means I start to get impatient. The lunches aren’t made yet. Actually, do we even have anything to go in their lunches? And, did the lunch boxes get cleaned out from last week? And, one can’t bring anything with peanut butter in it. And, what happened to my little plastic containers for lunches? Must still be packed.
Time to get dressed. Oh my! That can certainly be a stressful ordeal?! Did I actually get the laundry done up so they have something to wear? Probably not. (Right now it’s in large piles in the living room, and on the dresser, and even a pile on the floor in my room). Have I sorted through the clothes thoroughly so what’s in the closet is what fits and is appropriate for the season? Nope! They’ve got lots of clothes, but not necessarily what they need. Then, the brush is missing so we have to hunt for that, cuz there’s only one brush they like. Good grief!
Meanwhile, we’re making some quick toast with way too much jelly, which makes a mess. One girl is whining about having nothing to wear. One doesn’t WANT to wear a dress. The other puts on an outfit which does not match at all. As all this continues, the volume of my voice gets louder and louder. We are lucky if we get out of the house without yelling on my part and crying on their part. Oh wait, someone can’t find their backpack! Grrr….My frustration level is rising!!!!
And, of course, we finally get out of the house LATE, maybe or maybe not with all of our stuff we need for the day. We’ll be 10 to 15 minutes late – AS USUAL – assuming we don’t have to go on a missing shoe hunt.
And, guess what? It is almost entirely MY fault! (Don’t you hate that?!)
SO…I’ve been pondering ways I can reduce stress in my life and in our family, so things can be more peaceful in our home! With intentionality, we can set up a climate in our home that produces more peace and less stress. Perhaps some of these ideas will help you subtract some of the stress in your life and home.
Planning ahead is really THE key! This is hard for me because I have always been a disorganized, procrastinating person. If outfits are laid out and lunches are made the night before, it transforms our whole morning. If MOM goes to bed at a decent hour, so she can get up feeling somewhat rested, it makes a GINORMOUS difference. This doesn’t just apply to moms though! If you are a stressed out person, think about what you can do to plan ahead to avoid the stress. So much of it is avoidable, if we take the time and intentionally plan ahead.
Sunday mornings are another example. Many families are IN A DITHER on Sunday mornings before they even get to church. No one is feeling like going to worship! If consequences are being doled out before Sunday School even begins, and everyone is mad when they cram into the car at the last second, something needs to change. Do some prep on Saturday night and Sunday mornings can be so much more peaceful and even…worshipful.
INTENTIONAL PEACEFUL PRACTICES
Whew! If you’re like me, it is hard to maintain a relaxed, peaceful, patient spirit. I’m not doing the best at this right now, but before the chaos of our move started, I was doing well with this.
We had gone once again to family summer camp, one of our favorite things to do. The thing I love about it is how peaceful it is! I’m not on that darn Facebook; not checking my phone; not watching TV or following a lengthy “to-do” list. It is wonderful! We just relax, spend time as a family, have some worship and teaching, play games, and just enjoy special moments together. I feel such peace when I am there; I just want to stay and not go back to “real life.”
This past summer, I very purposefully tried to hang on to that peaceful feeling when we got back home. I turned off the talk radio and played worship music instead. I lessened my time on the computer. I went to bed earlier so I could get up earlier, and I was able to maintain that peaceful feeling for several weeks. (Until we found “THE” house and life went crazy). 🙂
What gives you peace? Can you add a little more of those things? Maybe a candle burning and a cup of coffee before the children arise? Maybe an occasional bubble bath? Ponder some peaceful practices you could enact in your home.
JUST SAY, “NO!”
Oh my word! We commit ourselves and our children to too many things! That’s just a fact! Kids don’t need to be in a zillion activities. Moms don’t either! (Nor do they need to volunteer to do things out of a sense of guilt or obligation!) Truth be told, when I sign up to volunteer for things at our “homeschool school”, I sign up to take pictures at the parties because it takes zero planning! Yippee!
Anything extra we commit to do is taking time away from something else that is important. Lately, I switched from teaching private music lessons at a store, to teaching at home. What a blessing! It saves me almost an hour round trip to the store, plus if I have a break between lessons I can have time with my family. I LOVE my days at home.
Right now, I have a potential opportunity to take on an additional part-time music job. It would give me a little extra income and would be something enjoyable, but I look at my schedule and just have to say, “NO!” I simply cannot do that. It would create additional stress and craziness and my family does not need or deserve that. We need to look at our lives and schedule realistically and not allow things to get unmanageable! (as much as we have control of that).
There are so many things we want to do with our girls. Right now, they’re in choir, basketball and Bible quizzing, along with one in violin lessons. I also would love to do American Heritage Girls or 4-H and I want them to try different sports and some other instruments, oh, and art and sewing classes, but what we’re doing is ENOUGH! It is so CRUCIAL for our kiddos to just have time at home (OFF-SCREEN TIME!) – to explore, to make crafts, to invent things, to REST, to just have free, unscheduled time…It’s amazing what they come up with when given a chance for undirected, creative play! (There are links at the end of this article for some great books about the value of getting your kids out in nature!).
It’s important for moms and dads too. Decide what your goals are and say NO to things that do not fit within those priorities. Your time is valuable; say NO without guilt to things that you simply don’t have time for or interest in doing. It will be okay! A lot of times we just have to say, “No,” even to things that we might really love to do. We simply can’t do everything and we have to know what is most important and say, “No!” to the rest. There is only so much time; we must be intentional about how we spend it!
LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Yes! Lower your expectations of yourself and of others.
Seriously, it would be AMAZING if you made a birthday cake that looks like that of a professional cake decorator. But, it will be just as tasty to have a store-bought cake. (If amazing cakes and parties are your thing, that’s excellent, but if not, don’t stress it.
It would be fantastic if you got ALL of holiday decorations out and made your house look like a Better Homes and Gardens photo. But, it will be just fine to throw a wreath on the door and a few things on the mantle. Really, it will be okay!
When you sign up to plan the craft or games for your child’s classroom, just make it as simple as possible. The kids will not be more impressed if it’s fancy or expensive. It just needs to be fun. (And, there’s no need to try to impress the other moms).
If you could invite friends over to an immaculate house and a gourmet meal, that would be so COOL! But, it will be just as cool if you spontaneously invite some friends over, wipe down the bathroom real fast and make sure there’s TP, and order some pizzas. Read more about this at Don’t Stress Dinner Guests!
Honestly, it would be super if you hopped out of bed at 5 every morning so you could exercise, shower, do your devotions, empty the dishwasher, and prepare a hot breakfast
for your hubby and children. Get real!!! You don’t need to do that. Do the best you can. Exercise once or twice a week; get a little Bible reading in at some point in the day. Call it “Cold Cereal Day,” and be satisfied with that!
Really, we need to take it easier on ourselves, moms! That will help reduce the stress! Seriously, give yourself a break!
You rock! You are doing an amazing job! Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing! Be the best YOU that you can be!
SOOOOOO….those are my thoughts! I’d love to hear yours! In the meantime, don’t stress!
(Below are some fantastic, highly recommended books related to this article. If you happen to click on the link and purchase one, I get a teensy-tiny bit of money).