Having kids can be super exhausting!
Every day, there are 3 little tornadoes making their way through my was, clean house, my was, organized pantry and my was, calm mind.
My oldest daughter loves to talk. If you look up the word, chatterbox, in the dictionary, her picture would be there. She has even made a new friend, lately: Siri. Yep, if she has exhausted everyone’s willingness to listen to her chatter, she moves right along to having a nice long conversation with my phone.
My second daughter is probably the calmest of the three, but still, she loves to climb onto any furniture she can find and then proceed to jump off.
My son was supposed to be our calm child. My husband is very laid back, and I was so hoping that he’d be the same… but nope. Since he began to crawl, and then walk, he goes everywhere he can, and gets into anything he can find.
I can be an easily agitated person, sometimes, and I tend to lack patience (By the love of The Lord, I am getting a bit better), so being around the constant noise can really throw me off. If I don’t get a moment to myself, throughout the day, I find that I become irritated a lot quicker.
As a stay at home mom, there are times when finding calm can be a real struggle. The kids are bored and starting to run wild, the baby is whining or making a mess of everything, and really, I kind of just want to hide.
I think we can all agree that we want to be perfect moms, and we want to be everything for everyone, but in reality, we just can’t. Sometimes we have tasks that we need to complete, sometimes we don’t have the energy to entertain our children every moment of the day, and sometimes you know what? That’s okay!
Part of being able to be a great mom, means finding time for ourselves. Sometimes, we need to be able to take a couple of minutes to remove ourselves from the chaos, calm down, and then get back in there. You see, if we don’t ever give ourselves the Okay to do this, then we probably won’t be able to be the best moms that we can be. We will be irritated, overwhelmed, exhausted, and totally frustrated. Everyone needs a moment to themselves.. even mommas!
So, what’s a tired mom to do, when they have children that need their attention, a house that needs to be cleaned, and a whole other list of tasks to complete? Well, they look for ways to find time to themselves, a moment to breathe, a minute to refresh.
Here are 11 tricks that I have learned to find some calm in the chaos…
1. Complete Your Chores While They’re Awake
A lot of moms wait until their children are napping, and then use that time to get the daily chores completed.. not me. I just can’t. When I do that, I feel like I am wasting my little bit of “me time”, which leads to me being more agitated when they wake up. I try to get all of the chores done while my children are awake, so that when they nap, I have real alone, quiet time to gather my thoughts, and my emotions. Depending on the personalities, and ages of your children, it can sometimes be harder to do. But take it from a mom whose baby wanted to be held for the whole first 10 months, it can be done.. you just have to be creative. You could always wear your baby in a carrier, or give them a snack to distract them while you clean. Another great option is to let them help you with the chores (which I will talk more about in #6).
2. Spend A Few Extra Minutes In The Bathroom
You might laugh at me for this one, but it really does work. I actually learned this trick from my husband, who has done this ever since we’ve had kids. Now, he will insist that he just prefers to take his time in the bathroom, but I am certain that at least one of his reasons for this, is to get some much needed quiet, and space from the chaos.
You don’t have to actually “go” to the bathroom the whole time. I like to sit on the edge of the tub for an extra few minutes, and pray, read a magazine, go on my phone, or even just do nothing, except enjoy the moment.
As moms, it can be harder to make this solution work, especially if you have a baby. If this is the case, try putting them in their crib or playpen while you are in there (this way, you can feel assured that they won’t get into anything they’re not supposed to).
If your children are older, now is the best time to teach them that when mommy is in the bathroom, they need to patiently, and quietly wait until she is out. Teach them to play with their toys, or read a book until you’re done.
Of course, you shouldn’t be in there too long, but even just 3-5 extra minutes has often been enough to bring my mind back to calm.
3. Enforce A Quiet Time
When your children are still in the baby/toddler stage, and are still taking naps, then it is usually a lot easier to find some time to yourself. If they no longer nap, though, then you’re probably thinking that there is no way that this will work for you. Well, that doesn’t have to be true. Enforce a quiet time. Make a rule that for an hour (or whatever time you are comfortable with) a day, they must sit in their room, quietly. They can nap if they want, they can read some books, or they can colour a picture, but the key is to be quiet. They cannot come out of their room until the hour is up (with the exception of to use the bathroom, or if they actually need you, of course). And really, it benefits them too! Firstly, they need to learn the skill of being quiet because when they are in school, church, etc. this will be expected of them. And secondly, it’s important even just for their own wellness. Their minds need a break from the chaos, too. As children, they don’t usually know how to find it, though, so it is our job as their parents to teach them.
4. Put Them Outside
Yep, just like a dog! Haha, no no.. well actually, kind of. If it’s summer, the weather is great, and you have a safe place for them to be outside, then why not? Sunshine and fresh air do wonders for their health, and it’s so important that they are able to have some each day (when the weather allows). We have a porch with a gate on it, so sometimes I will put my children out there, and let them play. I keep the door open, and I can see them right outside the window. They are safe, they are releasing some energy, and I am getting a bit of alone time. I give them some toys, a snack, and they are happy for at least an hour.
If you have a yard that’s fenced in, this also works really well.
5. iPad Time Is Okay
I’m sure that this one will not go over well with everyone, but honestly, iPad time really is okay. Of course, there needs to be limits, no doubt! But, we let our children use the iPad for a certain amount of time, on most days. If I am sick, or really need to get something done, or just really having one of “those days” then I may even give them some extra time on it, as well. And guess what? They’re still smart, happy, and socially well adjusted.
I agree, too much of it is not the best, but if there are limits, then I don’t see the big deal. To me, the bigger issue is WHAT we allow them to watch on it. We make sure that they do not watch anything that is not in line with what The Lord teaches us.
6. Teach Them To Help With Chores
My kids LOVE to make a mess.. As soon as I clean up, they’re immediately back to throwing all of their toys on the ground. I am a very clean and organized person by nature, so for me, this is a big stressor. I get easily frustrated when I have just spent hours cleaning, just to have my kids, or even my husband, come and mess it up 2 minutes later. So, I am learning to teach my children to help with the mess. It’s a work in progress, but slowly, they are becoming more aware of keeping the house clean. They also, do not enjoy cleaning, so it’s an incentive to them to be tidy.
Start off simple: You make a mess, you clean it up. If they take out the toys, they put them away. If they draw a picture, they put the crayons back in the box. If they have a snack, they bring their dish to the sink. These simple little lessons go along way to keeping the house clean and helping me to keep calm. Plus, it also keeps them occupied for a bit of time.
7. Give Them Activities
Simple, but effective.. Give them something to do. As children, it’s not always easy for them to know how to keep themselves occupied, so we need to give them ideas. Set up some crafts for them to work on (Pinterest is great for inspiration). Buy them an activity book that they can work on (there are some really wonderful ones that teach math, and writing). You could bake some cookies, and have them decorate. Or you can even just set up their favourite toys, and let them play.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, it just needs to keep them busy for a little while.
8. Turn On Some Music
You might be wondering, “How can I bring calm and quiet into the house by adding more noise?” Well, I think it all depends on the kind of music you play. I wouldn’t recommend the mainstream, high energy music because that will probably just get them more hyped up. I like to play calm, serene, worship music. I find that when I do this, it brings the energy in the house to a totally different place. My girls love to sing, so when I do this, they usually will sit quietly drawing a picture or playing, and at the same time, sing along with the music. It also brings my emotions to where they should be. If I am feeling a bit annoyed or overwhelmed, hearing the beautiful praises of God usually takes those emotions away. Try it. It’s hard to feel angry, frustrated, or overwhelmed when this kind of music is playing (it’s also gently reminds me of how The Lord expects me to feel).
9. Read With Them
Reading can be a very relaxing activity. The next time your children’s energy is more than you can take.. try reading to them. This keeps them focused on the book, and keeps their energy at a calmer state. It’s also, a great way to encourage, and help them with their reading.
I will read them the books that they choose, but I also like to open The Bible, and read some scriptures. God’s Word is very soothing, and always so encouraging. And, even if they don’t understand what the scriptures mean, it’s still so important to make sure that they are hearing His Word everyday.. it goes into their souls, and it purifies their minds.
This is my trick, when all else fails… Grandparents! Now, I know that not everybody has relatives that are nearby, or are willing to help out, but if you do, then I say, take advantage! My mom lives very close, and she loves spending time with my kids. When I am having an off day, or I just need a real break, I will sometimes send them over to her house for a couple of hours. It’s wonderful because everybody wins. I get the time I need to recoup, and they get to go have fun with their grandma. I used to feel like a failure by asking for help sometimes, but now I am seeing, it’s not a fail, it’s just plain smart.
This is by far, the most important tip!
All of the previous methods are great, and they will surely help you find your quiet time, but the only way to find the real calm that your heart and mind are longing for, is Jesus. He is the only One that is able to provide for us in all of the areas that we’re lacking in. He’s the One that will take our loads, and make them feel light. When the house is too loud, the kids are exhausting your patience, and your to-do list is a mile long.. close your eyes, lift your hands, and ask The Savior for help. He is always listening, and He is so willing. He knows the needs, and the pressures, and He is wanting to help you bare it all.
Ask for the strength and energy to complete every task. Ask for His love to flow through you, so that you have the patience, the kindness, and the grace to respond to your children in the right way. And ask for His peace to take away the frustration, the agitation, and the overwhelm.
So there you have it.. these are my go-to moves when I just really need some help making it through the day.
Being a momma has it’s trying moments, but it also has a lot of really great moments, too! When you’re having one of those days where it just seems like more than you bargained for, and you just need a break, I encourage you to try some of these out.. they have worked so well for me, and I really hope that they will do the same for you.
But remember this, Jesus is the only way. Everything else is just a temporary solution, but seeking Jesus is how we are able to really become the moms that He has intended us to be.
What are some of your favourite tricks for finding calm?
Let me know in the comments!
If you know someone who could use these tips, share it!
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
– Philippians 4:11