Is there a part of your day you just can’t get under control?
Maybe it’s mornings. Your best intent is to start the day showing the love of Jesus, but as soon as someone announces they are Superstar of the Week and needs to take baby pictures to school that day, plus 24 cupcakes, you lose it. And these types of days happen with consistency.
Or maybe everyone falls apart before dinner, or they get the pre-bedtime meltdowns. Despite your best efforts, and most creative threats, you still can’t get your people in line and with the plan. And sadly, these moments make you feel like a crazy woman! And a failure.
That’s how I felt for years about our mornings. It seems my children were always bickering about something. They fought over what channel the tv was on and which chair they got at the breakfast table. They were always rushing to get ready or forgetting something. Rather than peaceful, mornings were chaotic.
Plus, it didn’t help that I’d get mad. Then, I didn’t like who I became, and felt so much shame for yelling. Why couldn’t I stay calm and patient? I was sure other mothers held it together. Why couldn’t I?
Mornings were a train wreck.
I tried sticker charts and reward beads they could accumulate for prizes. I tried using the tv as a bribe. If they got ready by a certain time, they could watch something. When that didn’t work, I tried taking away the tv as a threat. Still chaos.
The day I pointed the remote at two squabbling brothers and clicked “off” was the day something drastic had to change.
Although I wanted to allow my children to make their own good choices about getting ready, they weren’t doing it. So I implemented two changes that completely turned our mornings around:
1) I completely turned off the tv. No one watched it, not even me. This made the house quiet, which seemed to quiet us all.
In hindsight, I realized the background noise made me tense. Rather than focus on my children and what we had to do, my thoughts were distracted. And it completely removed a source of conflict.
2) I developed a schedule, which I wrote out and posted. My schedule was very specific, with times for waking up, and the order of the morning’s tasks spelled out. Everyone came to the kitchen at the same time, which meant we got to sit down to eat together and talk. Everyone got ready at the same time. Everyone gathered their school things at the same time. In doing so, they were able to help each other find missing things and stay on task. It developed a sweet sense of community we’d been lacking when everyone did things independently.
We followed this schedule for years, and it consistently worked.
Could this approach work for you? As you consider your crazy times, think about what background noise might create underlying tension. Quiet the house and see how your spirits and minds quiet as well.
Can you develop a written schedule? Can everyone sit down at the same time for a snack? Do their homework together? Clean the kitchen together? Read before bedtime together?
Maybe you don’t have to follow the schedule forever, but if it calms your crazy moments, you just might.
I want my family to get the best of me. And sometimes that means making choices that seem hard in the short run. But often the best changes are hard at the beginning.
Thanks for joining me today. Hope this tip helps bring some peace into your day.