As a mother, I want to delight in my children. I want them to look back on their childhoods and remember me as a cheerful, gracious and gentle woman. But some days I am certain they are going to remember me as an angry, impatient dictator.
Sometimes I'm a grumpy mommy. And a grumpy wife. And not even that nice to the telemarketers.
But there are some things we can do to help relieve that stress, keep us focused on the things that truly matter, and remind us that our children are a blessing, not an inconvenience.
I am definitely still learning and growing in this area of stress, but here are some tips that help to keep me from wanting to stab a number two pencil into my eye...
1. Spend time with God every day. I know it's hard. I know what it's like to be up at night with an infant and to want to sleep every minute you can before the older kids wake up and demand breakfast. I know what it's like to tell myself I'll spend time with God later and then never actually do it. I know what it's like to get to the end of a day of tantrums and homeschool and dishes and laundry and physically not be able to keep my eye's open long enough to read a verse or two of scripture. But let me ask you (and myself) this: Is there any other relationship in your life that is of value to you in which you would ever consider saying "I'd rather do dishes than speak to you? I'd rather get ten more minutes of sleep than hear what you have to say to me?" I didn't think so. Lets make time with God a priority. And while you're at it, let go of any guilt you have for not doing so yesterday or the day before that, because we have a God who beckons us to come to him when we are weary and heavy burdened and promises us His rest.
2. Read something every day that has nothing to do with children or housework or homeschooling or whatever you do during the day. Read something you enjoy reading. Cookbooks count if you find them really inspiring. And if possible read it on paper, not on a computer screen.
3. Get clean everyday. Even if your not going anywhere. And brush your hair before you throw it in it's ponytail. Moms and pre-teen boys are pretty much the only people on the planet who need to be told to wash and groom themselves. A bath or shower can be the difference between feeling human and feeling like dirt.
4. Do something creative every day. It doesn't have to be anything monumental. You could just arrange a few items on your kitchen window sill in a way that appeals to you or put a pretty braided crust on that pie your baking. And don't tell me you aren't creative. You were made in the image of the Creator, so create something today!
5. Always go to bed with a tidy kitchen. Not spotless, just tidy. Starting your day with a tidy kitchen is like starting each day with a clean slate. Trying to make coffee and breakfast and today's to-do list with yesterdays dishes still on the counter is just a grumpy mama waiting to happen.
What did I miss? What helps you to keep calm on stressful days?