Parenting is a hard job. Parenting as a couple can be even harder. Most days may be easy, but we all know that from time to time, a couples has a hard time seeing eye to eye and struggle to parent together without conflict. I know we have had these times in our parenting of our children. It doesn't really have to be as difficult as we make it, but it does take a little work.
5 Tips to End Parenting Arguments
Creating a children together is a beautiful thing. Anticipating your child to become a part of your family is exciting, as you discuss names and colors for the babies room. You both joyfully gather around your baby for the first time with wonder, while love just flowing freely from your heart.
It doesn't take long after you bring your bundle of joy home to realize that you both have some different ideas about how this parenting thing should look like in your home. If you haven't put a lot of time into discussing what parenting would look like and how you both would work together as a couple to reach the goals you set for your parenting, you may struggle to remember the love that was the reason for your larger family.
There are 5 main areas that parents seem to have conflict when raising children, so I will highlight those and offer some suggestions of how to you can find a way to build communication and structure you both can do happily together.
It is really important to discuss your disagreements in private, to work through where you disagree and work to find common ground to build off from and more importantly to be united in front of your children.
- Discipline – I'm sure this has been something that each couple has had to face together. I know we have had to many times. I remember the first time, our daughter was about 6 months old and we were training her to sleep in her own bed, in our new apartment. We both had different ideas to do this successfully and that stress only added to the training of our daughter. Thankfully, that only lasted for a few nights. Once we took a parenting class together, discussed our desires on how we were going to discipline, and discipline our children, were we able to make any progress. As our children went into different stages, we had to revisit this and work through our disagreements and find a common ground to build from. The more we agreed on this subject and were consistent in front of our children, presenting ourselves as a strong unit, we made more and more progress. It was easier for us to do this when we decided on consequences for actions for our children. I would highly recommend that each couple have this on paper, to refer to when they need to be reminded what they agreed upon and work to enforce together.
- Diet – This is a hard one for a lot of couples. Many moms work hard to keep their children's diet healthy and dad's seem to be more relaxed. Of course, the opposite can be said in some families as well, but because mom's are the main caregiver in most families, this seems to be more of the case. What we have found to help us when we disagreed, was to have science back up our concerns and then find healthier alternatives that would make everyone happy.
- Routines – Thankfully, this hasn't been that hard of one for our parenting, but there was a time that bedtime became a conflict for my husband and I when my older children were young. I was so tired at night and my husband loved to fool around with them just as they were getting into bed. It was our daily routine for all of us to pray together when we were tucking our kids into bed, and in fact, we still do it today, twenty years later. However, for a season in our life, this caused major conflict for us because I no longer had any patience at that time of day and I just desired silence. However, my husband just wanted to play with our children and hear their laughter before they went to sleep. Neither of us were wrong with what we wanted, but one of us had to compromise or continue to have conflict every night. I had decided that I would sit out of this routine and give it completely to my husband to enjoy with our children. About 3 or 4 months later, I realized how much joy I was missing out of and started joining in on my family's special time again and it has never stopped. However, some nights, my husband knows mommy needs less of the silliness and will keep it minimum for my benefit as well. You may have other routines that are really important to you or your spouse, so be sure to discuss them all.
- Responsibility – I have been surprised by some of the conflict that I have heard in other families about having the children help around the house, but that is probably because this has never been an issue in our home, really. We both believe our children should be helping around the house and the older the get, the more they should be responsible for around the house. However, this isn't the case in many homes. I would recommend that as a couple, you discuss this early, before your children are old enough for responsibilities and decide what chores your children can and will do in your home. If you aren't sure what chores your children can do at what age, you may find this free printable useful when you are discussing this as a couple.
- Privileges – In our culture of electronics and children do more and more activities, couples find it harder to agree on what kind of privileges their children should have and when, especially when they have close relationships with others whose children have a lot when they don't have a lot of responsibilities. Having a reward system in place based on the children's responsibilities and attitude around the home. Taking time to discuss this together as a couple, knowing what you expect for your children and how this will look for their privileges, giving them things to work and strive to accomplish, while removing conflict from your marriage.
If you found this post helpful, you may also benefit from 6 Steps to Successfully Break the Pacifier Habit…
This morning, I had a humbling experience. An experience that left me thinking about it for hours after the fact and with so many thoughts that I needed to write them down for a way to remind me of just how important the experience was for me. Just how much my own life gets in the way of what I value to be highly important.
There are a few things that I value greatly in my life: the people in it, the world around me and the simple things that bring me joy.
I absolutely love my family. Spending time with those closest to me is something that I cherish greatly. Family time is something that I diligently add to my everyday, because they are blessings to me, and I know how quickly life can change.
I cherish my extended family, who are 400 miles away from us. I call my parents nearly every day, because I'm sadly aware that their health is struggling and their time with us is slipping away.
I am blessed to have an amazing church family that makes attending church a joy. I look forward to their hugs, their smile and catching up on their week's events.
I feel honored to call so many people friend. Each friend has impacted my life with something that has molded my life in one way or another. Time and distant doesn't always allow for fostering so many relationships, but social media has allowed me to stay in touch and work to keep visits on the schedule as much as possible.
I adore meeting people, of all ages. Their lives always interest me, and taking time to just learn about those that cross my path is a joy of my life.
THE WORLD AROUND ME
I love spending time outdoors. (as long as I'm not getting bit all over)
My favorite time of the year is when the mornings are in the low 70's and there is a gentle breeze. I will retreat to my front porch, with my Bible in hand to enjoy sometime before my family makes our home come alive.
Next thing you know, I have my family eating breakfast with me on the porch, and my laptop joins me for a few hours of work, while listening to nature all around me.
I love to just enjoy the beautiful creation all around me. To just stop and sit is a joy that I hope I never lose.
THE SIMPLE THINGS
I adore laughter.
I love to laugh, hear my husband laugh, indulge in my children's laughter and even enjoy watch perfect strangers laugh.
You can say that I'm a laughter-holic.
To me, laughter is the simplest thing in life that can demonstrate our true enjoyment from our life.
So, knowing this about me, I'm overwhelmed by the lessons that this morning taught me.
Dear Neighbor, Forgive My Busyness
I was sitting on my porch (thankfully, dressed and not in my normal PJs, as most mornings find me), enjoying my morning routines for this time of the year, when my neighbor's vehicle drove by our home. She waves to me, as usual, as she prepares to pull into her driveway.
All week long, this has been the routine of both of our lives.
I would be on my porch in the morning, and she would be going here and there, and always greeting me with a wave and even a horn when I was slow to look up.
However, this morning, the routine changed!
After waving to my neighbor, as she was pulling into her driveway, I pulled my attention to my Bible reading again. Deep into the reading, I didn't notice that she was approaching my porch until I heard her happy voice saying, “Good morning!”
I looked up and saw her smile, and invited her to join me on my porch, and sit with me in the other rocking chair.
As she was sitting down, I closed my Bible, and placed it on the bench next to me. She immediately began apologizing for interrupting my reading, and with a smile, I replied, “I can easily pick it up where I left off, so don't worry!”
My neighbor began rocking in her chair, smiling and telling me about her busy week, and hoping that it didn't bother me, as she went back and forth on errands this week.
I assured her that she didn't.
Our conversations continued for the next 30 minutes or so, before she felt she needed to get to her home chores.
It wasn't until after my neighbor left that I realized that I owed her an apology and a deep-hearted THANK YOU!
My neighbor's impromptu visit reminded me of what I valued the most in life, yet my life wasn't a reflection of my values.
Those looking into my life are seeing the busyness that keeps me working from one project to the next.
They don't see me making my priorities… priorities.
They only way that my neighbors are going to feel invited is if they see me, and see me sitting still.
I have had a lot going on in life, and I have had good intentions to visit this neighbor, but have always found other things to keep me going.
You see, this neighbor has recently lost her mother that lived with her. She shared with me recently that she has just gotten to the place to be able to go through her things. It wasn't only a few years before that her father, who also lived with her, passed away.
She needed my empty chair this morning.
She saw me this whole week enjoying the pleasures in my life, and finally took that as an invitation into my life.
I have been so inspired to make my porch the welcoming place for my neighbors, and stop making it just a decorated place with dust.
This summer, I'm going to make my porch a place to invite, retreat, have conversations and make memories!
If you have a hard time relaxing, this post may help you – How to Relax During Summer Break…
Overwhelmed mom, you are going to make it! It may seem hard at the moment, but trust me, I have been there and made it, too. I want to share with you seven things that were instrumental in my survival when I didn't think I could go one more day in the same conditions.
It was during these times when I took quick breaks for me that I realized the power of no interruptions, or anyone needing something from me.
It was just me.
My own voice. My own thoughts.
7 Quick Breaks For an Overwhelmed Mom
- Music – I have so many memories of the house being messy and the clock reminding me that dinner needs to be made before my hubby comes home. I would turn on some of my favorite music, crack it up and call it ‘clean up time'. The kids loved that time, but never as much as I did! I would sing praises to the Lord and work to get refreshed for my husband and change the atmosphere of my home.
- Encouraging Call – There is NOTHING like a good friend encouraging you through a difficult day. I have some good friends that are sweet enough to make me laugh, share a verse or just listen to me. My mom is one of those friends and I love how just hearing her voice and about her day can refresh me without sharing with her my struggles.
- Quiet Time – Silence is golden and we need to teach our children that we, as mommies, need a few minutes of quiet to refresh from the demands of our days. In addition, Daddy needs a peaceful atmosphere when he comes home from his day, and needs to share my attention. Implementing a 15 minute quiet time, where I could have a few minutes to just breathe… until the alarm goes off. I have slowly trained my children to go from 15 – 30 minutes by added a minute over a period of time.
- Going to the Store Alone – The times when my older children were little and still today, I cherish those trips to the grocery store when I can just be by myself and listen to NOTHING. My husband was always happy to give me that time anytime I appeared like an overwhelmed mom, because it really allowed me to be refreshed so quickly. He could see the difference a trip to the store really made!
- Take a Bath – It doesn't matter what is going on in the house and how many walls could be on the verge of falling down. If I'm in a hot bath, with some candles light and the lights low, I can be such a different person in just 30 minutes.
- Watch a Funny Show – My husband is quick to turn on AFV or suggest a comedian DVD if I'm really struggling and need a refreshment. Laughter is really the best medicine and a mom doesn't laugh enough (proven fact). My husband and children have been known to rewind the parts of the shows that make me laugh the hardest, even if I don't need refreshing, because they love to see me laughing.
- Become Part of the Chaos – Yes, you read it right… be part of the chaos. There is NOTHING better for the home, or the mom, to stop what is ‘important' and become part of ‘who is important'. Playing with your children and creating the chaos with them is priceless and will give such release that you long to do it again… and again!
If you like this post, you may also like Stop the Interrupting While Giving Your Child Your Attention…
Mother Culture is a term made popular by Charlotte Mason, an educator from the 1800's. Once I first heard of the term, I loved it. It sounded so sophisticated and important. The more I dug into it and learned, the more I feel in love with the term but for the right reasons.
Mother Culture: The What, Why & How
I was only midway through our first year of homeschooling, when I first learned about Charlotte Mason. I never expected that when I came across the method of a woman who lived in England during the 1800's that my own education would be tested and changed for ever.
Your own education may never look the same after this…
What is ‘mother culture' exactly?
Let's consider Charlotte Mason's quote, “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.” to answer this question…
If education is a life, do we ever stop learning? Charlotte Mason would say ‘absolutely not‘, especially for a homeschooling mother.
Most homeschooling mothers would agree that we are learning along side our children because we don't remember these things in our own education. This isn't the ‘education' that Charlotte Mason was speaking about, though.
Nature studies is a perfect example for a place where ‘mother culture' could be taking place. With a true Charlotte Mason education, when a child found something in nature, they would ask the mother what it was and the mother would have an answer for its name and something interesting to share about it.
Today, most mothers are not familiar with the nature around them, so this is where ‘mother culture‘ would come into play, as the mother continues her own education as a lifestyle and starts building her knowledge of the natural world around her as just one aspect of her own culture of education.
With this knowledge, the concept of mother culture is to be learning ahead of your children, not beside. A great concept but often times difficult to do, if you don't have a starting point. (Don't get discourage, Mom! Keep reading…)
I remember when my own son would ask me what things were in nature and I had NO idea. It didn't stop me! I purchased field guides and found the answers when asked.
Staying true to the other philosophies of Charlotte Mason, part of mother culture also includes appreciation of art and music, handicrafts, skills, as well as building the knowledge of people, places, nature, poetry and more.
Why is ‘mother culture' important?
This philosophy of ‘mother culture' is so crucial for a mother of all ages, especially a younger mother with many children, who may feel like her identify is summed up in ‘wife' and ‘mother', as her day is full of only these things if she isn't purposefully seeking opportunities for mother culture in her own life.
It is important to realize that mother culture is important not only for the child's education but also for the mother's education, as a person. Our life improves with knowledge and with that knowledge our life is enriched.
Without thinking long, list 3-10 things that you are interested in ‘learning' but not feeling like you have the time, resources or opportunity to really give attention to doing in your life. DON'T get caught up with the obstacles, just think about your desires for the moment.
I have always been drawn to the beauty of Charlotte Mason's way and mother culture is no different, which is why I started a community for moms to learn together.
How to implement ‘mother culture'.
The ‘how' of mother culture is something that will require focus and determination. I would really recommend getting your husband on board, especially if you are losing joy in your roles as wife and mother. (being real because I was this wife and mother in my early 30's – which is when Charlotte Mason came into our home)
4 ways you can add mother culture to your day with ease:
- Implement book time in the afternoon: Have all children sit quietly with their own books, while younger ones are taking naps and you choose one of the THREE books that Charlotte Mason recommends to be reading at one time, depending on the mood you are in at the time (a biography, a novel and something to learn) and set the timer, while training your children that this is YOUR time for learning and they must be quiet for you. Give them narrations of some of your readings from time to time, as an example of a good narration.
- Listen to music that interest you while you are cleaning or cooking. Decorate your home with art that interest you or start a Pinterest board of your own favorite pieces.
- Plan at least 2-3 field trips a year for your own interest, inviting your family to come along or go with friends.
- Pick one skill you desire to learn and set aside a few minutes a day to learn this. This can easily be done after the children go to bed, but always include them in your growth of the skill, so they are seeing your example of education being for life.
You deserve time in your day to stay connecting with what makes you… YOU!
If you like this post, you may also like 10 Charlotte Mason Books All Homeschool Moms Should Read…
Would you like to receive a FREE 100+ pages of Charlotte Mason lesson plans that I created? If so, you can download it from my other blog, The Charlotte Mason Way. I only share about this method of education on that site, but I'm making it easy to get the free offer while subscribing to the content there. Just click here to get The Charlotte Mason Lesson Plan Bundle Volume 1 for FREE in your inbox.
Cell phones are becoming more and more visible in our society. Children are getting their own phones earlier and earlier, and with each one, the owner seems glue to their screens, regardless of where they are at and what they are doing. In this post, I would like to ask you how your cell phone habits can be harming your relationships, and offer some tips to help you take control of these habits and put your attention back on building your face to face relationships, not just your online ones.
How Your Cell Phone Habits Can Be Harming Your Relationships
Every person, regardless of their age, should have set boundaries of when and how to use their phone in different settings, and have an accountability in place to help them build the habits that will helping keep their relationships in person as their main focus, and not the distractions that I have been witnessing and participating in the past.
Capturing Memories Instead of Making Them
Having cameras built into our phones are such a blessing, especially for women who love to capture their memories with those that they hold dear. However, this tool has quickly become the focus of quality time spent together. Over the last several months, I have been included in these types of memories, and even part of the problem at times, of wanting to take a picture to include those that I'm with and next thing I know, the conversation that was happening right before that picture opportunity, turned into a time of social media sharing and the conversation died out.
The next thing that happens in this situation is the other people not posting that picture, feel awkward and they too, pick up their phone and scan their social media, waiting for the notification that they were tagged in the photo, so they can ‘like' it and comment on it, rather than continuing the conversation and building the relationship face to face.
The problem isn't taking the photos, we all want those memories to enjoy at other times.
Challenge to break this habit…
Take the photo, and put the phone down to continue where you were in the conversation and BE IN THE MOMENT. Get all you can out of the time you have with those in your life that are right in front of you. At a later time, when you are alone, when no one is talking for long periods of time, or when you climb into bed, POST those memories then, tagging those you included in your photos and use #sharingamemory or #latergram or none at all.
Be in the Moment When You Are in a Group of Two or More
I can't tell you the number of times that I sat in a room of others, some family, some friends, some acquaintance and some time with strangers and nearly everyone in these settings were 100% involved with their phones, and not with those that they took time to get together with.
BE IN THE MOMENT – For someone who doesn't have this addiction with their phone, it becomes very apparent just how out of control the cell phone habits have become and to see this happening with children, who should be loving life to the fullest, laughing at those they love, verses the hottest Youtube video, or a status of someone they follow. But of course, they are emulating those around them, because standards have been implemented to take them away from the moment they are in, and escaping to a place they would rather be or just losing them self with the actions of refreshing their Facebook wall, scanning through Instagram, following hashtags, or finding new friends, while losing touch with those they can literally reach out and touch.
Challenge to break this habit…
Keep your phone out of reach when you have people within your reach. If you are afraid that you may miss an important call from a family member that you aren't with, or a call from work or a client, learn how to customize ring tones to match up with these people, so no matter where your phone is, you can tell if an important call is coming through that you need to excuse yourself to take and make yourself available.
The majority of the distractions from our phones during this time are unimportant notifications, or things that can be picked up after you are done with spending quality time with those that you love and hold dear enough to get together with face to face.
Meal Times Are Moment Times
Gathering around the table has really changed in our society. Just visit a restaurant today, and you will see the major effects of the cell phone habits. You can have a family of 2 or 3, or as many as 10 or more, and the scene would still be the same… faces in their devices, and hardly any conversation happening.
When some conversations happen, a notification comes through and one person stops this quickly to engage with the person interrupting a meal with family or friends, and gives them their full attention.
As a mother who strongly believes that children need to learn the proper way to interrupt, and then having adults showing just the opposite of this, is more than frustrating to me and devastating to watch.
Challenge to break this habit…
This is a tip that I heard and loved it from that very moment. The tip is simple: use airplane mode during meal times. This setting is easy to put into place, and to remove. What it does is stops all notifications, including calls and texts, from coming through, but the functions of the phone are still available, like the camera.
Once the meal is over, just remove the airplane mode and catch up on anything you missed.
Family Time Is Now Screen Time
Family time is becoming distinct in our society, and being rapidly replaced with screen time. A perfect test for this in your own family is to look at your past photos of ‘family' gatherings, outings, games, etc, and see how many photos you see someone with a phone in their hands. Literally take a good look, and see if your family time has been changing right in front of you, and you didn't even notice it.
Our family time with our older two children often times is in front of the television in the later hours of the evening. It amazes me to see how much the phones come into play during this time. My phone quiets down early in the evening, because those who I connect with online knows that I don't work in the evening or on the weekend, which was a habit that I had to implement in February 2015, when I realized that I was out of balance and needed to put new habits in place of old habits that were going against my heart for my own family.
Challenge to break this habit…
Unplug during family times, and keep all phones away from you during set time for family time.
This is something that I feel is so important and where I hope to take our family. My husband is great at this but he isn't on social media, and his phone is connected to his livelihood, so if he isn't working, his phone isn't near him. He doesn't even take it on most of our vacations.
Game times and movie times is an easy time for our family to unplug. While we are out on the golf course, and at church. We still have places that we need to unplug, but thank goodness, I recognized this cell phone habit and how it was harming our relationships and took a personal look to make changes starting with me, and then helping my family build good habits.
Are you ready to take a challenge to break the cell phone habit? If so, tell me what you are doing to make face to face relationships your priority over your latest notification on your cell phone.
As curriculum is to your child's education, joy is to your homeschool journey. It is a necessity and worth investing in to obtain it for a lasting part of your homeschool. Knowing this is easy, but knowing how to find lasting joy in your homeschool may be difficult to many of us. But it doesn't have to be that way!
5 Ways to Find Lasting Joy in Your Homeschool
If you are like me, some days can seem to leave you drained and you need to be reminded of why you do what you do. Looking for resources to bring you out of these days when they can linger isn't on our to-do list because we just believe that it is part of the homeschooling life, but moms, it isn't!
God has promised an abundantly life, and has given us ways to live with joy, even in the hardest parts of life. We all need to seek ways to walk in this truth and experience lasting joy in your homeschool, regardless of what life may bring.
Stop Believing The Lies of Homeschooling
We believe some hurtful lies in our homeschooling journey, because of what we think is the normal way of homeschooling. Truth sets us free, and there are truths about homeschooling in a way that fits your unique family that is hard for many homeschooling moms to grasp and walk through.
Once you identify these lies, and implement steps to overcome the struggle that can happen when you have believed a lie for so long and try to walk in truth.
Go With the Rhythm of Your Home
Structure doesn't mean scheduling. Each family has a natural rhythm that they strive in when they recognize it and embraces the daily rhythm of what life looks like for your unique family.
Not sure how to find your natural rhythm?
Finding the rhythm of your home isn't that difficult, but it does require focused and observation to identify the key things that will make your home run smoother, and your home experience more joy and peace daily. It is worth every bit of the effort to find!
Strive for Simple Days
You may wonder what simple really means or if it is even possible in today's fast moving culture. It is possible, and it goes along with identifying your rhythm and adding your other responsibilities to accomplish simple days.
Striving for simple days will take some work, but once you find it, your life will be calmer, even while getting everything you need to do but with a way that keeps you experiencing joy, even in what may look like busyness to others.
Safe Guard Your Joy
Protecting your mind from the joy-stealers that we allow to happen that results in sabotaging our own joy. Renewing your mind, to focus on the good things that fill your day, will help you to safe guard your joy. Implementing new habits to remove the old habits that have been little by little taking away your joy.
Understanding the source of joy in your home and routines can help you increase and keep lasting joy in your homeschool. However, taking inventory for the things that aren't working in your homeschooling and find solutions to these problems will help you not only have daily joy when you need it most, but will also be a way to having lasting joy for years to come.
If you need more help in finding lasting joy in your homeschooling, I would love to recommend Karen DeBeus' book Called Home: Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool.
Would you like to eliminate the challenge of homeschool curriculum choices while finding confidence that you are buying the right curriculum for your family? If so, you can download my free guide that includes secrets to evaluating curriculum that is a perfect fit for your unique family. Just click here to get Curriculum Evaluations The Why, What, & When to Making Curriculum Choices for FREE in your inbox.
There is an enemy that looks to destroy our homeschool joy, and the thieves he uses are let in the front door by the homeschool mom. These three thieves could be stealing your homeschool joy from you quietly and next thing you know, you give over to them with all permission, until one day, you wake up realizing that you have lost all joy in your homeschooling and not sure what happened or how to get it back.
Are These 3 Thieves Stealing Your Homeschooling Joy
Joy is a necessity in the life of anyone, however a homeschool mom needs to protect her joy more than anyone else because of the constant care of our family and their needs, often times overlooking our own needs.
Are you allowing any of these joy-stealers to take your necessity of joy from you?
The Perfectionism Vice
This was something that I have had to work through myself, especially in my parenting. The harmful thing for those that allow perfectionism to portray how they relate to other people is that it also teaches your children to be the same way. I see this effect in my own children, who expect more from our younger children than what they did at that age, but it was taught and we are working through this together.
This mindset was a thief that was responsible for my own lack of joy over ten years ago, and the more I focused on the things that weren't perfect in my life, especially those that were out of my own control, caused my joy to be taken more and more.
The Comparison Leech
If we were all being transparent, we would see that we are all guilty of comparing ourselves to someone else and often. The more we compare then less we feel satisfied with who we are, what we have and how things look to us. This is such a dangerous thing for anyone, but for a woman who gives her life to serve her family through staying at home and homeschooling her children, it will quickly lead to stolen joy.
The longer you compare yourself to others, the harder it will be to break this habit and regain your joy. However, learning the difference between being inspired by another person and observing the same person through comparison will be the way to break this quickly, and build healthy habits that will quickly bring joy to your life again.
Don't let this silent joy-stealer ruin what makes you amazing, as a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. We all have something that can and will inspire another person Find the joy that makes you unique and learn to be joyful of what makes you… you!
The Anger Monster
I have always struggled with anger management, especially in my early adulthood. Growing up, it was how most people around me dealt with frustration and I easily learned the habit, and brought it into how I dealt with my own family.
As I matured as a Christian, I worked hard to eliminate it and even implemented structures within our home that would help my children to choose a better way in dealing with their anger. Still working on this for 20 years, I still have my times when I need to apologize to someone for sinning while I was angry, by yelling when I could have spoken calmer.
As I worked through the Bloom: A Journey to Joy (and Sanity) for Homeschool Moms online video course, I heard things about the ‘anger monster' that I have never heard. Knowing that this was a joy-stealer I face often, I was all ears and when Alicia Michelle, the founder of this course, shared that it is “an unrealistic goal to eliminate anger, because it is a symptom of frustration happening inside.”
As a woman who longs to conquer the things that set me back, hurt my loved ones or even hinder my walk with my Savior, it was a breathe of fresh air to me, and helps me to know that the systems that I have to help eliminate this joy-stealer is so important and necessary.
If you struggle with these joy stealers, I would encourage you to read Todd Wilson's book, Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe, and hear how you can change your mindset and find joy in what you do each day, and what matters most.
Would you like to eliminate the challenge of homeschool curriculum choices while finding confidence that you are buying the right curriculum for your family? If so, you can download my free guide that includes secrets to evaluating curriculum that is a perfect fit for your unique family. Just click here to get Curriculum Evaluations The Why, What, & When to Making Curriculum Choices for FREE in your inbox.
If you are anything like me, taking care of yourself isn't high on your radar. How can it be, really? Our family has needs and needs we must provide. However, I want to make you stop and ask yourself this very important question… “How do you take care of YOU?”
How Do You Take Care of You?
There is so much to pull you in all directions, providing for your husband and children, being their for your family, neighbors, church and friends and keeping up with the housework and feeding the troops. There are just so many hours in a day and never seem to have enough to get it all done, and enough time to really do what you feel you need to really be taken care of the way you need it.
I want to challenge you by telling you that is really just a mindset that needs to be broken!
I have just recently realized how much I was holding on to a myth of moms, especially homeschooling moms, not having enough time to take care of themselves and meeting their own needs. Although I'm just realizing this, I'm fighting the lie daily and working to make new habits that will ensure that I'm taking care of myself to be there for my family with my focus, energy and attention that they really need from me… a healthy me.
Find Time to Exercise
I have struggled with health issues for years and recently my health has gotten so much better, but I'm left with a lot of extra weight gain from the side effects of my health issues and needing to make myself a priority to get fit and exercise for the health benefits itself.
I have just finished 8 full weeks of exercising every day, for a minimum of 30 minutes. I start with a commitment to myself to do 100 days straight, with no excuses. I have been faithful with it, even when I had a low grade fever and full days. It amazes me how even if I don't feel well before exercising that I will start to feel better afterwards.
Only twenty-five days into this challenge of exercising everyday for 100 days straight, I realized that I was going to make it a full year because of the results that I was experiencing. You can follow my journey on Instagram with #changedin365.
Find Time to Recharge
Knowing what makes you feel whole is important and will quickly turn anyone who struggles with being joyful in their daily routines to someone who can smile at the mundane.
Over the last 10 years, I have learned a few things that make me feel whole, more taken care of and stronger for those that I care most about. Here are things that I have found works for me and helps me recharge in the midst of our crazy days:
- Time with my family and friends
- Time on my front porch
- Essential oils to recharge me
Find Time for My Interest
We are all created to be individuals with interests. Moms are always putting these interest aside while we raise our children, and this alone can be a source of losing time to take care of ourselves. I really find that I feel taken care of if I can take 15 minutes or more doing something that interests me and brings joy to my life.
Some of my current interests are:
- playing the piano
- DIY shows
- DIY projects around my house
I encourage you to take some time to contemplate what you do that makes you feel empowered and work it into your life. It is so important to take care of yourself and making a part of your day a priority to yourself.
You may also like my post 7 Ways a Mom Can Refresh in the Chaos, since some Moms really can't take too much time for themselves in their season of life with little ones, but it is still important to try!
Often times, people assume that once you become an adult the learning stage is finished. I couldn't disagree more! You may not be able to teach old dogs new tricks, but it doesn't mean that an adults can't learn new things and that includes MOMS! I know it isn't easy to learn something new while being a mom, but I also know that it very possible with the right steps in place to make it happen.
Many women find that once they are a wife and mother, making the decision to stay home and be a home keeper means that their own interest aren't important and that the right time will come along, when their children are older to pick up their interest then.
From my own experience, I would caution women to ‘find your identify‘ of who you were created to be, in addition to a wife and mother.
In my adult life, I have found joy and satisfaction learning how to paint (somewhat), learning how to make wedding cakes, learning how to decorate my home, learning how to be frugal, learning photography, learning to play the piano, learning a business and even making food from scratch.
Right now, I'm learning how to golf and my oldest son is my in structure. In fact, he is teaching our whole family how to golf.
I love using my God given skills and gifts to learn a something new, while letting it improve how I manage my home and care for my family.
I would encourage you to take a moment and consider what you are interested in learning and then finding a way to make it happen. Being resourceful is a great skill to have and don't forget the truth in ‘where there is a will, there is a way'.
You may be surprised that just focusing on learning something new will bring you joy and help you balance a difficult season in your life. It often times has been the very thing that has carried me through the challenges of being on call 24/7 and especially when I felt like my own identity was lost.
How to Learn Something New
- Focus on one thing at a time – Learning more than one thing at a time can bring more stress than you may want to deal with, where a focus attention will give you results that can be measured and appreciated.
- Enforce quiet time while you learn – Usually a 30-60 minute time, maybe nap time is the right time for your family.
- Get your family involved – Share with them how you are making progress and see if there is something that they want to learn independently, while you work on your new thing. Maybe some of them would be interested in learning beside you.
When you have gotten enjoyment from your new thing and have learned a great deal, add another thing to learn. Just don't stop learning and living the uniqueness that YOU were created to be.
You may also enjoy my Empowering Womanhood Series…
When you consider raising a family, cleaning the house, cooking, homeschooling, laundry and all that involves homemaking, it is easy to see how homemaking is overwhelming to so many women. Some do it amazingly, so it seems, and others struggle with the completing the majority. Yet, we all need to be empowered for the task in front of us.
When Homemaking Is Overwhelming
A clean house is important to me. There have been so many times in my life as a homemaker that I could easily balance everything that was on my plate, still having a clean house and meals on the table every evening.
This season is different for me. I'm overwhelmed!
Currently, I only have one children doing formal homeschooling, which means that my life should be easiest that it has ever been, but that isn't the case.
I work from home, so you would think that I would be able to stay on top of everything, including my work, because I can start things while working. That isn't true!
My children help so much with chores, so you would think that my own list should be manageable. So, why can't I finish my list each week?
I promised that I was going to be real during this series…
Two weeks ago, I texted my husband and asked him to skip out on the men's meeting at church that evening and take me out… alone. He texted back quickly… “Absolutely!” About an hour later, he calls me, knowing that something is going on since this is a priority in our home for my husband to get to these meetings, as the spiritual head of our home.
I began to cry with the feeling of being so overwhelmed!
He came home and hugged me for a while and then we went to a restaurant together. He asked me one question… “Why are you so overwhelmed?”
Little did we both know how that one question would unlock the emotions that I had been pushing aside. I sat and cried in our favorite restaurant, as I just poured out everything… yes, EVERYTHING, that overwhelmed me.
I skipped from the one thing to the next. I just needed to get it all out of me and have my husband tell me how to fix it… fast!
Yes, I'm overwhelmed and I need solutions.
Admit When You Are Overwhelmed
It is never healthy or an easy fix to hold your overwhelming feelings inside and try to fix them on your own. My personality is a strong one and I tend to help others before I think about helping myself. This is why when I had my husband's full attention that I became as a babbling fool and let it all out at once… in public.
Had I just communicated better prior to having an emotional deluge, I know that solutions could have been implemented easily for the areas that were presenting themselves. Waiting until you are about to burst will only make it feel like a boat with all kinds of holes in it, with water filling the boat and a crazy attempt to fill the holes that out number the plugs available to you.
Identify Where You Are Overwhelmed
Knowing the root to what is overwhelming you can help you identify a solution faster.
For me, it is house work, meals and business related, coupled with a five year old that needs a lot of discipling at this stage of his life and of course, a pre-teen.
Our systems needed to be worked on to help me fix some of the easier things, but working to find solutions together as a couple will help with the items that need more of routines to present themselves with our dynamics of our home.
Work to Eliminate What Overwhelms You
Life is full of things that overwhelm us, but not all things are needed in our lives.
There has been times that I have had to let go of businesses, curriculum, routines, relationships that overwhelmed me in order to find the joy that I strive to possess in my every day. It is really hard to eliminate things that are important to you, but if they do not produce joy in your life, the overwhelming feelings are NOT worth the struggle.
Family is my priority on a daily basis and recently I was inspired that my daily routines didn't mirror my heart, so I have had to change them to reflect what I desired people to see. This meant that my weekends and evenings were etched out for family time, with just rare exceptions for work or weekly church services that fit our family's purpose.
With this change of routine, my blogging to-do list grows and with it the overwhelming sense that I can't get it all done. I needed to let some of the projects and items on my short list to my long list of to-dos. This has been a very difficult decision but it fits my priorities and with each passing week, this overwhelming feel has lessened and I'm gaining focus where it is needed. My husband is very aware of this now and has been asking me often what I need from him. Maybe because he never wants to relive the public flood I put him through, but I know his love for me and my health is his motivation.
My younger boys had the largest room in our home and it was the biggest source of my homemaking stress. They couldn't keep it clean, even with my best parenting attempts, chore list and hacks. I knew what needed to be done and I made the family announcement… “We are moving the younger boys!” This was met with a lot of different reactions. My oldest son was thrilled because this met he was going to be the new owner of the best real estate under our roof. Our younger sons were devastated that they lost their beloved room and had to eliminate some of their possessions to move into a much smaller room… together.
This change was the best homemaking change I did since turning our formal dinning room into a functioning school room.
My younger boys are keeping their room cleaned. They are enjoying the smaller room to their surprise and the larger closet that it provided. They are playing better and sleeping better.
Being overweight has overwhelmed me for all of my adult years. The last 50 pounds was a result of lack of sleep and stress, during our youngest first four months of birth. I had gotten down to only 2 more pounds to lose before getting to pre-pregnancy weight and in just about 2 month had put on 50 pounds. I was exhausted, stressed and healthy eating wasn't on our menu because survival mode was all I could think about.
I decided that my health was a priority and I needed to do something about it to remove this overwhelming feeling that it has been causing me. I started a #100daysoffitness challenge to myself and told myself ‘no excuses', ‘no giving up' and ‘no giving in'. I'm doing amazing! I have not allowed fevers, sleepless nights, head colds or hurting muscles to stop me from getting the minimum of 30 minutes of exercise daily and I'm already more than 1/3 of the way finished with this first challenge.
Seek for Solutions that Will Work for You
What I love most about the internet is that solutions to everyday problems are all over the place. You just have to go looking for them. Organizing, decorating, homemaking, saving money, losing weight or what to wear is just a search away. There are all kinds of new books being written from women just like me, finding solutions to common problems and putting it together for the next woman to be empowered from their leg work, experience and solutions.
I really enjoy cooking and making food for my family… most of the time. There are a lot of times that I get into this place where I find cooking becoming tedious and unenjoyable. The meal planning, grocery shopping, putting it away and then meal prep can take so much time and I know it has a lot to do with why it feels tedious.
When Cooking Becomes Tedious
The crazier my life gets the more tedious cooking feels to me. During these times, I have to work hard at finding my joy to serving my family in the kitchen and working to keep our meals healthy.
I have found that without a good plan in place and structured time to implement the plan, life itself just overwhelms me and gets me feeling like each meal could be Mt. Everest for me to climb and conquer.
I know I'm not alone in this never-ending cycle of meeting my family's needs for nutrition and I wanted to empower you, and myself, with some things that can make a world of difference, even in the craziest of times.
Meal Planning As a Family
Part of my frustration has been not being able to please everyone with my meals. My family still eats it, but you know how rewarding a meal is when everyone loves it.
I decided that if I involve my whole family and require that everyone needs to eat the meals with a good attitude that it will eliminate the frustration that cooking can bring when it isn't appreciated as much.
We have 6 people in our family, so when planning for 2 weeks of meals, we each get to decide on 2 breakfast, 2 lunches, 2 dinners, plus a snack of their choice.
Since there are two meals left in our meal planning, we plan for convenient meals that take minimal prep work and ones that we all like.
This has been such an amazing way to help with the feeling of cooking becoming tedious.
Assign Meals to Each Family Member
This has been out of necessity for me but it really has been a blessing, as well as teaching life-skills to all of our children.
My children love pancakes (but I don't), so when my oldest son doesn't work, he makes his choice of pancakes for the family. They love it and I love not having to make a meal. My youngest, who is five, loves peanut butter! He loves it with crackers, apples or an bread. He has already learned how to spread the peanut butter, and just recently he has learned how to use the apple slicer to help with one of our healthier lunches… and he loves it!
My daughter does most of our lunches, since she works from home and offered to help with these meals. Our 12 year old helps out with a few dinner meals, as he learns how to make more meals.
Plan For Quick Meals
I love using my slow cooker and rice cooker to make meals, but some days are so crazy that I don't get the chance to start them in the morning, so when dinner comes around, I love to have quick meals that take less than 30 minutes from start to table. Freezer meals are great for these but if we don't have time for those, I love that I can pull together some of our favorite meals that also happen to be quick meals and having them when we need them.
Keeping Fresh Ideas In the Kitchen
Nothing takes away the tedious part of cooking like a new recipe that your family loves. I often fall in the habit of rotating the same meals over a few weeks planning and nothing is exciting about the same meal… again.
I love finding recipes that work for other families that are as busy as I am.
Many of our favorite meals, which also happen to be quick meals, are from friends that had us over to dinner. Trying new recipes, flavors, or seasonings can really make you excited in the kitchen again.
Women long to be mothers and once they are blessed with children of their own, their dreams have finally came true. They adore their children and love them with all of their beings. They love being a mother. So, when one day, they realize that something isn't the same and realize that motherhood robbed their joy, they are not sure what to do or who to tell.
When Motherhood Robs Your Joy
I was living the life that I dreamed about living. I had an amazing husband, healthy children and I was staying home to homeschool my children. Truly it was everything that I desired.
Little did I realize that over a period of time, motherhood was robbing me of my joy and I didn't realize it until it was gone. Completely gone!
I was just going through the motions of our mundane days, doing what homeschooling moms do daily. My laugh was disappearing. Crying was happening more. Arguments were breaking out between my husband and I over the littlest of things.
All of this was happening and I was even letting anyone know how I was feeling. I was keeping it to myself and putting on smiles when friends were around me.
Finally, it hit me!
If I didn't do something to help myself, I was going to lose the most important things in my life and I was the only one to blame for it, because I wasn't being honest with my husband or with my closest friends.
One night after my husband had put our children to bed (I even stepped away from this family tradition of our whole family praying together at the end of the day), I opened my heart up to him and I cried for hours. I mean HOURS.
In the end, I told him these harsh words, “Motherhood has robbed my joy!”
I believed it wholeheartedly at that time, but as we worked to help me find my way back to my family, I realized that I couldn't have been any more wrong.
I had allowed myself to rob my own joy and I was blaming the people I loved the most.
There were several habits that I had allowed myself to get into that was the source of my joy being gone but until I took an honest look at what was going on, I truly believed it was my own children because I was with them all day long and let's face it, mothering isn't for the faint of heart.
Here are some of the habits that I identified to be the true robbers of my joy:
Most of my day was filled with negative thoughts and I didn't even realize it. The more negative thoughts I was having, the more it was affecting my relationship with my family. It was literally making me lose sight of the amazing positives that each of them had because I couldn't see past the negative things.
When I was young, day time television played in our home and I really never understood the dangers that came from them, so when I had a home of my own, I began to watch day time television during my afternoon hours, when my house work was done and my child napped. I continued this habit until we had started homeschooling the first year or so.
It took me realizing that everything I was finding to be negatives in my family and home, all resulted from the influence that I allowed from these day time shows. My happiness was being chipped away from the ideals of what Hollywood was showing to be popular.
Removing these influences were the best thing that I have ever done for my own happiness and joy.
All parents do this from time to time, threaten your children with punishment without following through with what you had said you were going to do. As the sole parent for all but 2 hours of my children's day, I was chipping away the joy of motherhood by my own laziness in parenting.
I was attempting to raise my children to be exactly what I wanted them to be through manipulating them through empty threats, which opened the door to me raising my voice more and more, resulting in an angry mother.
It took me confessing this to my husband and myself that allowed me to see that my joy had no hope of surviving motherhood because I was taking it away out of laziness and anger.
I removed the threat parenting with consistent parenting and I was shocked with the quick results it produced in my own children and in my joy. It was easy to lead from a consistent parent to a positive parent, which brings joy all the time.
Feeling like I have to do everything, at the speed of light, and for the glory that comes from wearing a cap was my nemesis at that time. I have high energy, never needing caffeine to get me started for the day and always finding the first 6 hours of my day to be my most productive time, I would have no problem staying on top of laundry, a clean house, meals, homemaking, etc, so I continued to add more and more to my plate, not realizing that I was snuffing out the joy with busyness.
Busyness is a robber of joy!
It was during this time that I was inspired to think of my day as a plate, and only could I add something more to it, if I could take something off from it. I was able to do that through delegating and teaching my children how to do chores and some meal prep.
I still have to fight the urge to wear my cap from time to time, but this plate analogy helps me keep perspective and managing my busyness.
Managing My Emotions The Wrong Way
Woman are amazing at hiding their emotions, until they can't hold them any longer and they explode. I know this from personal experience.
Even worse is sharing our emotions with the wrong person, the wrong way.
I have been very blessed to know have close friends that will sit and be negative with me. If I share my negative emotions, I can trust them to help me turn them into a positive and get through the emotions that I'm stuck in.
It is important to only share your emotions with someone who is going to help you work past them, find the high road and help you get there. If you don't have friends like this, then keep your emotions to yourself and work to find ones that can be this for you.
My husband has been the one that has had to deal with the exploding results of me holding my emotions inside. I have learned to overcome them by sharing my emotions when I'm feeling them. This allows me to do it in the best way, without allowing resentment, frustration and other negative thoughts to accumulate.
Feeding Myself With Good Things
Reading Scriptures has always been a great source for me in my life and this period of time when my joy was gone, it proved to be just what I needed.
Comedy became an important part of my life, in order to bring my laughter back full force.
Reading good books that inspired me to improve areas that I needed the most help in was one of the best resources that I did during that time, and still do, as it allows me to learn from others and improve because of them.
One of my favorite movies that I would have LOVED to have available to me when I was going through this season in mothering, where my joy was being robbed is Mom's Night Out. Our family has watched it over 10 times, and I look for any opportunity to share with other families because it is THAT important of a message to miss.
Do you feel like you're overwhelmed by parenting? If so, you can download my free Overwhelmed to Overcoming 5 Parenting Tweaks to Overcome Your Parenting Struggles. Not only will this identify five areas that cause parents to become overwhelmed, it provides solutions to overcoming these areas as well. Just click here to get Overwhelmed to Overcoming 5 Parenting Tweaks to Overcome Your Parenting Struggles for FREE in your inbox.