I remember those days when my world was spinning out of control. Oh, how I remember those days!
I learned a few things (the hard way).
Those older women telling me, “Enjoy them now because they grow up so fast!” were not encouraging to me on those I-am-so-weary days.
What helped me most was the time my husband wrapped his arms around me, looked me in the eyes and said, “Figure out what upsets you, then figure out how to fix it. You don’t need to keep spinning your wheels. Figure it out, then fix it.”
So I did. Some days I hit the jackpot and other days I failed. Big time.
There is hope.When you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and not getting anything done, there are some things you can do to make life easier and more bearable, today. Believe me, I know. I’ve been there, done that.
The picture, that is.
Don’t get so caught up in the smaller pieces of your life’s puzzle that you fail to see what the picture is really about.
Life is about people and relationships.
It’s not about stuff and schedules.
- Be realistic. Recognize that you can’t be all things to all people, even if they are your little people.
- Remember this: that your little ones really don’t care if the toilet hasn’t been cleaned – even though you do. (And my kids can tell you that I really, really like a clean toilet.) Kids don’t care if their bedroom curtains match the décor. They just want to be cared for, loved, and understood. They just want to be important to you.
- Realize you are making memories. What kind of memories are you making? Will they remember that the house was always immaculate or that you had time to play with them and let them help you in the kitchen? [Can I tell you that I hope none of my kids is reading this – because I know there were days when the house mattered more to me than the kids.]??
- Recognize that you can make the memories and still make them mind. You can even have a tidy house, but not all the time.
Just don’t lose sight of the Bigger.
When you compete or compare yourself with other moms or your own mother, you are losing sight of the Bigger.
When you focus on your house instead of their hearts, you are losing sight of the Bigger.
When you remember that building a home is the greatest investment of your time, you will be living the Bigger.
Figure out the Trigger moments in your day, then FIX them. This isn’t controlling others; it is the opposite of being out of control.
Ask yourself: How did I get from there (calm) to here? (explosion).
What are the times of day that are most difficult? List them. Then figure out the cause behind that Trigger.
- If your Trigger point is morning and getting-ready-for-school or work, ask yourself (or your kids): what can I do to make mornings better? Is it an earlier beginning? Is it having better planning the night before? There’s a way to fix it, and once you figure that out, you’ll be on your way to de-booming that time of day.
- Is your Trigger point the time when the kids come home from school and the baby is fussy or the toddler feels left out and is getting into everything? Ask yourself: What makes that moment the Trigger point? What can I do to alleviate the tension? Ask yourself: what do I do to add to the tension? What can I change so the tension decreases? What frustrates me about this? Why does it frustrate me? Figure it out, take the right steps, and you will be de-booming!
- Is your Trigger point when you’re helping with homework or folding laundry and you still don’t know what you’re doing for supper? Ask yourself: could I have folded the laundry earlier? Should I have planned my menu and started preparing my meal in the morning instead of waiting until now? Am I trying to juggle too many things at that moment? Go ahead and make a plan. Deboom!
- Is Your Trigger point a teen who somehow manages to argue her way into getting what she wants. Ask yourself: what do I do that makes her think it’s okay to argue with me? Take the steps necessary to squelch the arguments: deal out consequences, etc. Next time, you’ll be prepared and your teen won’t have anything on you!
- Choose some things that will help you alleviate Trigger Points. Decide before noon what your menu will be for supper. Pick up some neat toys or coloring books or “homework” books your preschoolers can work on while the older kids are doing homework. Fix a light snack that will tide everybody over until dinnertime: graham crackers, ants on a log (peanut butter on celery with raisins), or cheese with crackers. A bag of popcorn can be a treat. If an older child needs to read for a certain time for homework, let him read to a younger one. You’re killing two birds with one stone. You know your kids and your family. You’re the greatest resource, and you can figure it out! Go ahead. Deboom.
In case you don’t know what that means, here’s the definition: good condition;
You need a plan. It doesn’t matter so much what your plan is or how you work your plan, but you need a plan.
You can change your plan mid-stream and you can re-work it the following week, but you need a plan.
We’ve heard the saying, “Aim at nothing, and you’ll hit it every time.” That’s why you need a plan.
- Ask yourself: how much should/can/do I want to accomplish in one day? Be realistic.
- Make a list. It can be in your head, on your phone, or written down in a planning book, but make that list.
- Prioritize your list: (A) Things that MUST get done today (a doctor’s appointment, mopping a floor because your feet are sticking to it) (B) Things that should get done today barring an emergency. (C) Things you’d like to do today, but really can wait until tomorrow.
- Start with the most difficult or the one thing you least want to do. Putting it on your list is a guaranteed way to get ‘er done. When I “don’t feel like” returning that item to the store or writing that Thank You note, it gets done much sooner if I put it on my list. Getting it out of the way makes you feel better right away. Make that list, and then start with the one thing that just can’t wait or the one you dread the most. Is it vacuuming? Cleaning the bathrooms? Cleaning out the freezer? Put it at the top of the list and then do it. Save the most fun item for last.
- Cross things off your list once they are done. (I used to add things to my list after I’d done them, just so I could cross them off! ) Complete the “must do” items on your list and then reward yourself. What will it be? Calling a friend long-distance? Reading a chapter in a book? A milkshake at McDonald’s? A piece of chocolate? A nap? Time on the computer?
- At the end of the day, move all your incomplete items to the list for tomorrow.
- Don’t Procrastinate. If the same project keeps getting moved to the list for the next day, move it to the top and don’t do anything else until you can cross it off your list.
We become frustrated when we try to do more than anybody should fit into a day.When we make plans that aren’t realistic, we fail to remember that little ones are not robots. Things will happen that will throw a kink into our best-laid plans.
When that happens, pause for a while and look at the Bigger.
Don’t let that kink send you into a Trigger.
Rework your Kilter and keep your eye on the Bigger.
You can do this. Stop the spiral. Things don’t need to be out of control.
Find a Kilter.
Be in command of your Triggers.
And above all else, remember the Bigger.