We all have those times. We are groping for something to hold on to while life whips us around. I can actually feel myself grab for the seat belt. It’s too tight. It’s not pulling. C’mon… LOOSEN! I let back in and it loosens too much. Back and forth. All the while, life is accelerating and hitting the brakes. Veering to the right and back to left. I grab for the door handles, girlfriend. I put my hands out to keep from bashing my head on the dash. Life can be a wild ride.
What are some ways that we can keep calm in the chaos?
- Be prepared. If you are alive, chaotic times happen in life. That’s just the way it is. Any thing, even small thing, you can do to makes those chaotic times a little more easier to navigate. I find that having a menu plan and freezer meals available helps calm my nerves. I don’t have have to worry about what I can throw together when I get a chance to breathe and I don’t have to worry if I am not at home. Something can be pulled out of the freezer to thaw and then just thrown in the oven.
- Be organized. Do you know where things are in your home? Being able to grab something quickly or being able to call and tell someone directly where something can be found is essential to helping calm a mama’s nerves. Ever get a phone call and need to make a mad dash but you are searching for a paper that you need to take with you? Or maybe have a sick baby and you call and the nurse says “get here!” and you go to run out the door but WAIT! Where are the insurance cards? Not being organized and knowing where things are can make an already stressful situation more stressful.
- The 2/15 Rule. At our home, we have two days, Monday and Friday, that we dedicate to cleaning our house. Monday because the house is a disaster after a weekend of fun and relaxation and we need it fresh for a new week. Friday because I want us to be able to have fun and relax without worrying about it starting off as a mess. The 2/ 15 Rule is for all the other days. The 2 stands for two loads of laundry. If you come to my house, there will be laundry going. With a large family, there is a ton of dirty clothes. One way to keep calm in the chaos is to have the majority of the laundry caught up. This is not only because laundry piles up and that gets overwhelming but because times can come up where you need to pack quickly or grab clothes for the kids. Having laundry caught up takes the stress away. The 15 stands for 15 minutes. I try to keep every room in our house fifteen minutes away from being in tip top shape. Friends stop by for a quick chat. There may be a death and someone needs a place to stay. Having each room fifteen minutes away from clean makes it possible to get the house together quickly with the help of many hands. A recent example of this was when our youngest was born five months ago. We knew he would be coming soon but there was no indication that it would be as soon as I’d like. Andy and I went into the doctor and within an hour or two had to run home, get the kids ready, the house picked up (WHO wants to come home with a new baby to a dirty house?!) and back at the hospital to have the baby. That was a stressful situation. With being caught up with laundry and the fifteen minutes away from clean rule, the situation was a lot less stressful.
- Fast Flight Bin: We are extremely blessed to have a lot of our grandparents still living. With that blessing comes a lot of needs to quickly get in the car and head off. The Fast Flight Bin is a box which has activity books and such to preoccupy little minds and hands. Having that together and just being able to grab it or have a kid grab it quickly is a blessing and helps calm the chaos in a stressful situation.
- Do Something Normal: When it seems like our world is in complete chaos, one of the simplest yet hardest steps to take is to do something normal. Something grounding. One week recently was particularly hard. When I finally returned home I just wanted to escape. I hadn’t seen the kids all day and I knew I should be so excited to see them but I was just exhausted. I dug deep and decided to just grab a book and blanket and began to read to a them. Suddenly I felt a complete release of stress and began to enjoy the time I had with them. It’s not always easy to do something normal when you really just want to crash but it is so worth it!
- Hydrate:When mamas are in stressful, busy times taking the time to hydrate does not seem at all important. Water helps! When we become dehydrated, our bodies have to work harder and in turn we become more edgy and grumpy. Smaller situations begin to feel like bigger ones. Mountains out of mole hills. When the world is feeling crazy, stop and take a drink of water!
- Rest: I find myself lying awake at night trying to order my days or worrying about what is going to happen in life next. I find myself downstairs folding laundry. If I can’t sleep I might as well be productive! Wrong. My body needs rest. Even if I can’t quiet my mind, I need to allow my body to rest. In a perfect world, we would be able to forget our worries and fall fast asleep. This side of heaven, my friends, is not a perfect world. So if you can’t let go of those worries, at least just take a rest.
- Prayer/Meditation: Lastly but most importantly, prayer … Give it to Jesus. As I said above, it isn’t always easy to let go of your worries. Try. Try to hand over your cares and worries to Jesus. Let Him take control. Let Him carry your heavy burdens.
Chaotic and stressful times are inevitable. It’s all part of our journey. I often tell my kids, it’s not about what happens to you and the emotions and feelings you have about the situation, the trouble often comes when you react in a wrong manner. A little preparation and planning ahead can go a long way as a mama. All these tips are wonderful to have in place all the time, but they are an amazing tool in your mama arsenal for those hard times. I find myself a lot less snappy and last out a lot less when these are in place.
What are some ways you handle chaotic and stressful seasons?