One thing that I struggled with as a young mom was the feeling of being overwhelmed with all the things coming at me. I grew up in a fairly quiet house with a small family and my own house was filled with many children, all a year apart. There was so much stimulation and input that I had a hard time not being overwhelmed with it all.
I had to make a conscious effort to calm myself, prioritize all the things, and be more easy going. These are the things that helped me:
-Keeping myself and my kids on a schedule
-Getting up before my kids
-Rules that I enforce
-Taking care of myself
Keeping myself and my kids on a schedule:
I made a daily and weekly schedule for housework, outings with kids, grocery shopping, appointments, etc. I lived by my calendar so that I wasn’t constantly reacting to things, I had an actual plan for everything.
Simplifying clothing, toys, and my house made me feel less overwhelmed. I am negatively affected by stuff and clutter, so I made sure my house was as simple as possible so I didn’t feel stressed by stuff. If you look at my post “Organizing Your Home” you will find tips on simplifying your home.
Getting Up Before My Kids
My whole day will be thrown off if my kids get up before me. It just puts me behind, or feeling behind, all day. Even though I wanted to sleep longer, I set my alarm an hour ahead of when my kids usually got up. Then, I had time to shower and get ready, drink coffee, say some prayers, be peaceful before the kids and all the activity of the day.. I do need pockets of quiet built into my day as wel,l so I always enforced naptime or rest time for older kids where everyone needed to be in their rooms and quiet for a bit in the afternoon. I was pretty strict on bedtime, too, so I could have some quiet at night before I went to sleep.
Rules That I Enforce:
Rules do no good if they are not enforced. All that happens is that you spend all your time yelling at your kids and they still don’t do what you say. If you want parenting to be easier, make rules and then take the time to enforce them. It will require you to get up and actively parent, but it will make the whole parenting thing easier in the long run. For example, when my kids were little, I had a rule that everyone under 5 rides in the cart at the store and everyone over 5 has to have one hand on the cart. No exceptions, ever. It made shopping easier, I never had to fight or argue with a kid who didn’t want to ride, and that saved my energy. To this day, when shopping with my high school or college kids, they automatically put their hand on the cart. It’s adorable and hilarious. Your rules become their habits and then you don’t have to keep enforcing on a daily basis. That makes parenting easier!
Taking Care of Myself
Honestly, I wasn’t always good to myself. There have been times when I have been meaner and spoken words to myself that I would never say to another woman. I would not extend grace to myself about anything and would spend sleepless nights ruminating over everything. I had to work really hard on this, loving myself and treating myself with kindness. It did me no favors to wear myself out and treat myself badly all the time.. I have had to work very hard at making time for my own mental health and giving myself permission to take it. You are worth it and your kids need to see that you take care of and love yourself.