What Mind over Matter is.
Mind over matter helps in mommying. Parenting is one of the hardest things we ever do. That’s because it’s 24/7. There is no time off and no “normal” work week of five days a week from 9 to 5! Sure, there are times you go away for an evening or even a weekend; but you’re always the mom away from her kids. When you’re home, you’re the mom from sunrise to sunrise.
We’ve raised our six – but I’m still parenting some young kids from time to time. Sometimes it’s for a day, sometimes for a weekend, and sometimes for a week. I’m right there in the throes, and it reminds me again how hard it was to raise those six race horses for Jesus.
Time, Toys, and Tantrums
There are some things that worked for me then, and they work for me now when I do them. It’s all a part of mind over matter, especially when dealing with Time, Toys, and Tantrums.
Those three things pretty much sum up parenting of younger kids – and mind over matter. This is what works for me when I follow through. It will work for you, too. You might need to tweek it for the ages of your kids, but your home will be happier and healthier if you follow these tips.
Time about the Kids
This involves getting there on time, or getting ready on time. It also involves being where you’re supposed to be with all articles of clothing where they belong on the bodies of your kids. Doing Mind over Matter Time means you give yourself the time you need to get ‘er done. You do backwards planning and get everything possible ready the evening before. Everything that can be done ahead of time must be done ahead of time. When we had six kids in four schools, there were six backpacks lined up across the living room windowsill each night before the kids went to bed. It was the only way we survived. All papers signed, all homework in the bag, and snacks stuffed in pockets inside the backpack were a must. Certainly, a packed lunch can’t go into a backpack the evening before, but the sandwich and veggies can be ready in the fridge as well as thermoses; then all you have to do is put things into a lunch box come morning. Whether it’s your diaper bag, a backpack, or a going-to-town bag, it should be ready the night before. Even when you’re tired, do it ahead. That’s mind over matter.
Mind over Matter Time also means having all clothing laid out the evening before. Find that missing shoe and re-fill any bags and paraphernalia you’ll need for the day. Even when you’re tired, remember Mind over Matter.
Time about the mom
If you’re a working mom, then your things as well as those of your kids need to be ready the evening before. Your clothes, briefcase, and whatever you need for work should be ready to be picked up on your way out the door.
If you need to be at a certain place on time, then your alarm clock needs to be set accordingly. I am the world’s worst at this. I want those extra ten minutes of snooze time, so I push snooze over and over. When there are not enough minutes to get it all done, it’s nobody’s fault but my own. Almost every kid I know cannot be rushed in the morning. Guess what that means? Mind over Matter for mom, who has to get up in time to get herself ready so she can get her kids away in time. On this, I have, sometimes, failed utterly. Yet, I know how much better my morning goes if I just follow this pattern.
Follow this pattern throughout the day and you will decrease stress and tension. If there’s no set time for breakfast, there probably will not be a set time for lunch. It doesn’t mean the time must always be the same every day. It does mean you have a plan and that you stick to it- unless, of course, there’s a shift of plans or an emergency. Keeping that schedule of Time saves sanity and blood pressure. It also bring security to your kids. I still have to work on this when kiddos are at my house, so I know how hard it is. I also know that chaos is less prevalent when I follow this Mind over Matter Time.
Most kids have too many toys and too much paraphernalia. You’ll find they are happier if they have fewer choices. Minimize the toys, and everybody will be happier. If you don’t believe me, thin out the toys for a week and watch what happens, then let me know if I’m wrong.
When it’s time to pick up toys, kids need a deadline for beginning. “It will be time for bed in thirty minutes, so you have ten more minutes to play until it’s time to pick up the toys.” When that time arrives, toys must be picked up. The toys your kids leave on the floor should be confiscated and put into hiding or given away. They’ll learn to pick up the toys because they won’t want to lose them. Again, it’s Mind over Matter. It takes more effort and energy to follow through than it does to just repeat yourself twenty times, but I guarantee it’s worth the hassle.
Toys include electronics. I don’t see any need for kids to have electronics in the first place, but if you insist it’s a need, then monitor their time on gadgets. Track their moods and behavior each day for a month. You’ll be surprised at the happier moods on the days they have to find other ways to be entertained besides electronics. Go ahead, prove me wrong. I’d love to see your monthly track for your kids.
Most dads know their kids have too many toys. Listen to the dad. Try it his way for a week or a month. It won’t harm you or your kids. You might be surprised at what you will learn.
There isn’t a kid around who doesn’t have a temper. Some of them are blazing hot and others are hot embers and coals. Yet, both kinds can create havoc when gasoline is poured on them.
Our kids need to learn not to douse a sibling with gasoline in order to make them angry. They need to learn not to play with fire or they, themselves, can get burned. Mind over Matter Tempers can help us keep our kids in line.
There are things that can set a kid off – especially if he has other struggles with autism, sensory overload, or emotional trauma. We need to understand the triggers for our children. We need to help them identify the triggers and learn how to react before a trigger sets them off.
Nobody likes to be around a kid who loses control of his temper. Instead of tiptoeing around him for fear he will lose his temper, we need to be pro-active. We need to understand how he is wired and then train him according to his bent. We should not coddle or defend a child, but we can provide encouragement and support.
Anger and hostility breed discord in many homes today. Part of the reason is that we are a selfish bunch. Another part is that we are not taught how to handle hurt, disappointment, and anger. Our kids need to know that it’s okay to feel hurt and disappointment. What is not okay is lashing out at others in our anger. We need to help our kids learn to recognize anger for what it is, and then channel that anger so it is diffused instead of becoming a time bomb.
It is never right to give in to a child because we don’t want to deal with a tantrum. He will use that to his benefit – and to our detriment. Begin by winning one battle at a time. You can win this war!
Mind over Matter – from there to here
There is a way to get past the frustrations of parenting. I learned it from my hubby years ago. One day he said to me, “Find out what frustrates you about this, then fix it.”
If you’re always running behind, figure out why. Then fix it.
If you’re frustrated with too many toys, not enough help cleaning up toys, figure out why. Then fix it.
If you have a kid who terrorizes the entire family with his temper, figure out why. Then fix it.
It might sound simple. It is. The hard part is fixing it. That part of mind over matter involves a plan, and consistency. You can do this. Identify the problem, map out a plan, then do it. You’ll be glad you did.