Abby asked, “Help! I’m not used to being home with my kids all day, every day. How I can be a good mom even though my kids are driving me crazy??”
Hi, Abby. I hear you. It’s not easy, that’s for sure!
Even after 14 years of being home with my kids “all day, every day,” I feel like the chaos is overwhelming sometimes. The walls close in on me and I turn into a terrible “dragon mommy” from time to time.
But, like you, I want to be a good mom. I want to love my kiddos and create a life-giving atmosphere in our home.
Like you, I’m always growing.
Today, I’m sharing some simple behaviors that help me to manage staying home with my kids.
Stay Home With Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind
When I’ve had too much and I treat my children badly, I try to stop myself as soon as possible and say “I’m sorry.” It helps to take a deep breath, get down on my child’s level, and say something like, “I’m really sorry. You didn’t deserve to be treated like that and I was wrong. Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?”
Kids tend to forgive easily. In no time at all, they’ve forgotten my anger, annoyance, and frustration. Their forgiveness clears the air.
Create space for yourself
Although it’s important for us to spend lots of time with our children, it’s also important to implement daily rhythms that allow us to spend time apart. Intentional margin can go a long way in promoting peace and happiness in any home.
- Quiet Time
This is a one-hour quiet time in the afternoon in which every child is in a separate room. Every homeschooler I know keeps an afternoon quiet time. Everyone has different expectations for what each child may do during this time. Some say, “reading only” and they provide a book basket of options. Others say, “audio book + LEGOs” or something like that.
- Crib Time
If you have a little one who only takes an afternoon nap, consider carving out some time in the morning when they can play in their crib. Put the blinds up, turn the lights on, play music. Set a safe toy in each corner of the crib with a board book or two. You may need to start with 15 minutes and work your way up to no more than an hour. If you stick with it, Crib Time may become a daily ritual that both you and your child look forward to. (If you have any concerns about this, check with your pediatrician. I’m just a mama who is sharing what works for her.)
For more suggestions about how you can set your child up with safe activities so that you can have a moment to breathe, regroup, or tackle a project, check out “A Simple Homeschool Schedule to Keep Kids Occupied All Day Long.”
Aim for restoration when you rest
The goal of quiet time isn’t “escape”; the goal is to be restored so we can be healthy people and life-giving parents. Pay attention to the things that fill you up and the things that deplete you so that when you do have time to yourself, you can choose the thing that will truly restore you. This takes some trial and error. Be patient with yourself.
Humor can go a long way in clearing the air! If you’re feeling the stress of being with your kids, look for an opportunity to make them laugh or surprise them by doing something out of the ordinary. Laughter and shock-value can break through the tension like nothing else. 😉
Play music, sing, or hum
Growing up, when I’d come home from school and hear my mom humming along with the radio, I felt like all was right in the world. Now that I’m a mother, I see the power of music to strengthen me as a mom and to create a peaceful atmosphere in our home. Discover the style of music that creates a sense of well-being in you and your kids. Also, try humming or singing throughout the day and see if it helps to lighten your heart and make things more manageable.
Put the blinds up and turn the lights on
Make a daily ritual of opening the blinds and turning on the lights in your home. There’s just something about light that helps to lighten our moods. I find that plenty of light bolsters me and adds cheer to our home. I wonder if it would help you, too?
Gratitude steadies me. It helps me to notice the things that are going right and it warms my heart toward my children. When I let myself complain – even internally – I lose my patience much more quickly. Consider keeping a list of things that you are grateful for or direct your thoughts toward noticing the good things in you and your child.
Stay connected with another person who fills you up. Figure out how often you need to connect and consider it an important part of your schedule. Their encouragement, listening ear, and camaraderie will go a long way to staying healthy and strong… especially now.
(If you’re looking for more encouragement along these lines, check out my YouTube video with “Three Ways to Keep Serving When You Want to Quit“.)
If you’re new to homeschooling and would like more practical help like this, click here:
What are your questions?
I’d love to help!
Leave your question in the comment section or email me at [email protected].
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting helpful tips for new homeschoolers and I don’t want you to miss them! I’m not on social media, so email is the best way for me to let you know what’s happening at LauraBooz.com. I cherish your trust and I’ll work hard to respect your time and attention. 🙂