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Rise & Shine Challenge: Day 7 {And my struggles with being a Calm Mom and what I’m doing about it}

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Note: I always hesitate to share honest posts like this because I don’t want it to come across that I’m complaining or whining about my life. I’m incredibly blessed and I know that many of you are going through crazy hard, overwhelming, and massively discouraging life stuff right now and would give anything to be dealing with these types of “problems”. At the same time, though, I’m committed to being authentic in this space. And this is just my real and raw thoughts tonight…

It’s past 8 p.m. and I’m finally getting this written.

I’ve meant to do it since 8 a.m. this morning. But today was just one of those days.

It wasn’t necessarily a bad day. But it was just an exhausting day.

There’s a lot going on with the business right now. I’m writing a book. And I’m learning how to juggle homeschooling three kids for the first time.

All three of these things combined together makes for a LOT in each day, especially as we jump back into the school year.

I’m not complaining because I’ve chosen this life. And I know that it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be. I also know that this is a short season with a lot of responsibilities and it will definitely be slowing down in another month or two.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s always easy. Or that I don’t ever longingly consider alternative choices.

Like maybe lounging on a private island with complete quiet and a good book??

Yeah. That sounds about perfect right now after such a long day of business projects, emails, writing, and hours of homeschooling kids who weren’t all that thrilled with today’s assignments. Ahem. 🙂

But the good news? Homeschooling is finally finished for the day (as of about 10 minutes ago), I kept my commitment to not yell or be angry with my kids throughout this whole long homeschooling day, we made some really good progress today, one child just made me a bowl of fruit and gave me a love note, and all the kids just asked if they could snuggle with me once they were ready for bed.

So yes, even if we had a lot of rocky moments throughout the day, it’s ending well. And for that, I’m grateful!

Today’s Rise & Shine Assignment

I thought it was perfect timing that today’s Rise & Shine assignment was about being a Calm Mom. Oh how I needed this reminder!

Because the truth is, this momma here has been struggling to be calm and to respond with grace, kindness, and patience. Simply put: my attitude and words haven’t been all that pretty in the last two weeks.

In fact, on Sunday, I came to Jesse and asked him to please keep me accountable for responding calmly to my kids instead of yelling or getting irritated this. I think, for me, just being honest about my struggles and asking for accountability has been a great help. And praying and asking God to infuse me with peace and kindness when I don’t feel peace or kindness.

Another big help has been to think about what kind of example I’m setting before my kids. How do I want them to respond in stressful situations in life? I need to model that behavior before them.

By doing these things and really reminding myself over and over of my intention and desire to respond calmly, it’s made a big difference. And I hope I can keep this going!

This Morning’s Report

  • Got up at 6:00 a.m.
  • Made the mistake of checking my phone and got sucked into going through and answering about 20 emails. Gratefully, I’m pretty quick at email and this only took me around 15 minutes. But still, not a recommended way to start the day!
  • Made coffee. Read my Bible and devotional books. Prayed over my day.
  • Opened the laptop, answered emails, answered comments, and scheduled some posts. Worked on some business projects that ended up taking me a lot longer than I expected.
  • Unloaded and re-loaded the dishwasher.
  • Started some laundry, and got the kids up and helped them get ready for the morning. The kids got up and, after a quick breakfast, I had them head straight to their homeschooling since I knew they had some extra projects to do today.
  • I taught Silas Kindergarten, switched the laundry, answered a few emails, and then sat down to help the girls with their school.

How was your morning? What helps you to be a Calmer Mom? I’d love to hear!

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60 Comments

  • Jacki says:

    Homeschooling by itself is full time. When a mother has to add additional things like unexpected phone calls and emails, the interference can raise tensions that are hard to overcome calmly. I have had a stressful day as well with the high temps making my fuse very short. Tomorrow will be better because I learned from today.

    • I’m grateful that my business is one that can be “shut down” (i.e. laptop and phone turned off) while homeschooling… and that my husband and I tag-team the business and homeschooling stuff as need be!

      The good news is that I think once we get everyone into a good routine and things calm down a little business-wise (we’ve had multiple extra short-term projects that all ended up happening at the same time instead of spaced out as usual), we should go back to our usual life with more margin and breathing room. There are just some seasons of life that you have to power through, aren’t there?

      Here’s to hoping for cooler weather and a calmer spirit for you tomorrow! It’s a new day!

  • Jenni says:

    I’ve really been struggling in the calm mom department. I was making progress, but then we were blessed with a suprise pregnancy. I’m only 7 weeks, with 3 other boys, homeschooling 2 of them as well, and I’m sick and tired. My tolerance is low. My poor boys are really just being boys. Praying for patience and hoping in another month I’ll feel better

    • Anna says:

      This post was me last year this time! And I have bad morning (all day) sickness. I feel for you. That sweet baby is so worth it though! Please give yourself lots of grace in the school department. I don’t know how old the boys are, but they’ll learn so much just from going through this season in your family. I am praying for you tonight.

      • Jenni says:

        Awe. Thank you. I was able to chat with my midwives and they gave me something for sickness. Thank you for your prayers. 🙂

        • Anna says:

          Aren’t midwives awesome? Mine had me on B6 and Bendryl, which really worked. I was kinda zonkered out for a several weeks, but at least I could keep food down. Glad you’re feeling a little better. Those first weeks (or months, sometimes) of pregnancy can be really tough, I know.

  • My morning was a beautiful disaster. Both of my kids were screaming their little heads off. One was doing so because she was convinced she didn’t need a nap, the other one was frustrated with the up and downs of potty training. Neither situation would have resulted in as much screaming, had the other child not also been screaming. I go to the point where I knew the best situation for everyone was for me to create a quiet house. I was completely overwhelmed and wanted to scream myself. Instead, I placed my daughter in her crib, my son in his room with some toys (both still screaming/crying) and went to the kitchen to turn Pandora on the radio and before I knew it, I was doing holy yoga. Lol, the kids both calmed down by the time I was finished and the rest of the day was so relaxing because we all had our needed “quiet times”
    As far as feeling quilty about your “problems” I wouldn’t sweat it, I understand the sweetness of your heart but we all have those days.

    • I think I need to try this method. I have such a hard time getting through to my three year old daughter when she is screaming at me and my almost 2-year old son is just all over the place sometimes. I try not to, but more often than not I end up raising my voice. I am trying separate rooms next time!

  • Amy says:

    I sometimes struggle with maintaining a calm demeanor with one child, so I can only imagine how challenging it can be at times with three! I like the idea of asking my husband to help keep me accountable for it in the moment.

  • I appreciate your being so honest! Some days (weeks?) are just like that I guess. We too are struggling to get into a routine for homeschool here and it shows. It shows in my energy level (responding to negativity all day makes me tired, really tired) and in my attitude. I love that you asked your husband to help you be accountable for your tone. I am stealing that for this week. We need it!
    Praying tomorrow is better.

  • Wendy Briscoe says:

    Thank you so very much for this post, and your honesty. I felt that way too today. My son is now in Kindergarten, and I woke up late so it was a rush to get him to school on time, and make sure he had breakfast, lunch packed, and clothes on and on correctly. 🙂 Working tomorrow on not putting so much on my plate, and making sure I get a nap in. This Mom is much happier when she’s well rested.

  • Jessica says:

    Who says that admitting you had a bad/rough day is complaining?!? Sounds like honesty. Also, I appreciate you sharing your struggles with staying calm. Sometimes I feel like I am alone in this area or not sure how to work through it. I like the accountability suggestion!

    • leah says:

      Lol…I have 4 little ones…and confided in a family member about these exact things. It got back to me…through my husband. ..that I was complaining and ungrateful. I’m not…I love my little ones…but sometimes they exhaust me with all their extra energy and everything. I don’t talk to people about this much…for fear of exactly what happened, but it would be lovely to have a mom friend who understood. I used to talk to my mom…but she passed away. Thanks for this post…it was very encouraging!

  • Jennifer says:

    You’re only human and you’re doing a lot. These posts are exactly why you have such a large following. No one wants to read about a polly perfectionist all the time.
    Your kids know you love them. Jesse knows too. That’s what matters. Everything else will fall into place in time.

  • LeahB says:

    Oh my…this was so my day today. And I’m not even homeschooling! My first grader is loving school so far, but hasn’t yet adjusted to the daily routine change from summer. So tired and grumpy! Add in a 3-year-old and pregnancy, and I just wanted to run away by the end of the day. My work-from-home business has also taken off recently, which is awesome, but challenging.

    Thanks for being real and honest…I also never want to come across as complaining about things, but if I can’t be honest about challenges in my life, then I’m being fake, and by default I give off the impression that everything is wonderful all the time.

  • Jennifer says:

    Everyone is allowed to have intense and/or hard days whether dealing with homeschooling, job loss, a big move, or a life threatening illness. We all need spaces to vent and sigh and even cry. And we all need people who will listen.

    You made it through the day and can say that by the grace of God who’s mercies are new each morning.

  • Jo says:

    Hi, I seem to notice that you do the laundry and dishes. I have three kids, and all started doing their own laundry in first grade. They can do it. The hardest part is switching the clothes but they all used a stool and a toy robot arm to grab the last of the clothes at the bottom of the washer or they just ask for help. And they started putting dishes away rotating at third grade. And of course loaded them once they were a little older. It might help take some of the chores off your shoulders. Just a suggestion. You’re doing great and I love your morning routine. Thank you for sharing.

  • Amy says:

    I appreciate you being so honest and sharing your struggles to help others. It’s nice to know we are not alone. We all make mistakes and we are human.
    Today was “One of THOSE days” for me. I had planned on gettin up at 5 a.m. To read my Bible, pray, exercise and shower all before the kids got up. My 4 month old woke up at 4a.m. For a bottle and I didn’t get him back to sleep until 4:45. On top of that I am starting to get an end of summer cold. My body ached and my throat was scratchy. I felt like someone shook me and shook me hard. I turned off my 5 a.m. Alarm and laid back down, knowing that my 7 o’clock alarm would go off for me to wake up my 7 1/2 yr old for school. Not long after that alarm went off my 2yr old came walking down the hallway in “One of THOSE moods”. I have struggled with patience all day. I have prayer ALOT today. In fact God is the only reason I stayed sane today. My 4 month old wasn’t feeling well, 2 yr old threw tantrum after tantrum, and my 7 yr kid came home from school in a mood. I pray tomorrow is a better day. Once again thank you for sharing! Love reading your blog posts!

  • Dena says:

    This book has been so helpful:

    http://www.crossway.org/books/glimpses-of-grace-tpb/

    I’m a grandma and lead a young mom’s class at church. I’m just finishing up discipling a new mom who works full time and has a full ministry at church using this book.

  • Dena says:

    http://www.crossway.org/books/glimpses-of-grace-tpb/

    This book has been a big help to our young moms at church group I lead. I’m a grandma and it has helped me.

  • Rebecca says:

    Your honesty is refreshing. I think most of us struggle with days like that. I know I do. I have a 5 year old who I am starting homeschool with, a 1 year old, a new MS diagnosis, and a deployed husband…some days I am grateful to make it to bedtime lol. I sometimes lose patience with my oldest & ask him for forgiveness, and to remember that sometimes mommies have bad days too. I try to think of my husband when I am running out of steam, knowing he would do anything to be here with them, I remember to be grateful. This too shall pass.

    • Jacki says:

      The best thing for me, having MS, is to nap when your kids nap. MS forces you to change your schedule on the drop of a hat and every day will be different. Some days, it feels like I hope I can get through this day. The next day may be a day full of energy again. Even the normal changes in a woman’s hormone level can change the amount of sleep you need. Rest any chance you get.

  • Terri says:

    Getting back into routine & preparing for a new homeschooling year is a plate full. I understand completely! You’ve got this and your business a lot of parts. You’ll get through and it’ll get easier. But, yes it’s not always easy but worth it! Tomorrow is a new day!

  • lori says:

    I have been noticing how my kids mimic my mood.

    When I’m calm, they’re behaved.
    When I’m flustered and frustrated, they’re frenzied.

    I decided today was going to be a good day. I woke them up with silly music, and played and danced with them while we were getting ready for school. Usually they would be slow and irritable, but because we were having fun, then getting dressed, brushing teeth and doing their hair wasn’t a chore.

    I need to remember that mom sets the tone.

  • Laura says:

    I have a 10th grader in public school (there is a special public school in out area that focuses on the arts – she’s a vocalist – so we decided to let her go there to take the burden off my shoulders of driving different directions across the county every week getting the lessons in), and I homeschool our 2nd grader, also a girl. So many hours of the day are spent in the car driving to appointments and activities that I begin to wonder if I’m missing the forest for all the trees. Hours every day are spent in the car. I don’t start back homeschooling until next Tuesday, but my big idea is to stay home 3 days every week this year.
    This life is what I wanted, especially because I was a career mom for so many years. But you are right when you say “exhausting” because I’m not unhappy about my choices, but I know there are ways to manage my time better. I am hoping to get that figured out in the next couple of months 🙂

    Thanks for writing on the subject. It does my heart a world of good!

  • I am right there with you. I homeschool my kids that are in 1st and 4th grade and my 4 year old really wants to do school with us. I love the program that we use but it’s so frustrating when the kids just don’t want to cooperate. My oldest doesn’t like to read so we argue about that each day. Between my blog and housework the day flies by and I get overwhelmed. It’s easy to get annoyed quickly when the kids need something – but I need to stop what I am doing because they are my priority. It is definetely a season of life that is passing very quickly and I need to try to enjoy as many moments as possible.

  • Toni says:

    Reading about your day exhausted me! And all I had to do was read it, not do it! I wish I could give you a hug and tell you to give yourself credit for all you do. You are doing great!
    I wanted to give you a different perspective, maybe it will help. I grew up the oldest in a large family. My dad was the quiet type and didn’t get involved in parenting unless we did something awful. My mom didn’t have good parenting skills and she made up for the lack by yelling,nagging and the silent treatment. After going through all that,I decided I never wanted to be that chaotic and out of control. Imagine my horror when I found myself starting to really lose it when I had to sit for a large family over a couple of weeks. I took a good look at the situation and found I reacted poorly when I was trying to do too much. So now, I watch myself and listen to my inner self. I take a walk or try to find a way to relieve the stress.
    Please know that every parent goes through chaotic times. And for what it is worth,you are at heart, a calm person. I think you are too hard on yourself. Be kind to yourself and give yourself credit for all that you do.

  • Quinn says:

    Crystal,
    Thank you for having me think more of my actions and what I want to teach my 10 month old now and down the road. I feel like I am in the beginning stages.
    I find myself being more real with my friends bcz of your authentic post.
    I feel weird talking about a blog that has impacted my life so much.
    You have me thinking about long term goals and short term goals.
    I have learned through you to focus on one thing. For example: in the interview where you were talking about applying one thing at a time when building a blog. Im not building a blog, but applied that to my personal life. Focusing on going through photo school and then I will start on my baby girls baby book applying the editing techniques I learn from the photo school.
    You encourage me to think deeper.
    You have touched my life!

  • I struggle with all the above, Crystal. I’m a homeschooling mama of 5 kiddos (ages 10 years down down 16 months), a pastor’s wife, and I blog in my “spare” time. 🙂

    Being a calm and gentle mama doesn’t come easily for me. At. All.

    In fact, I was just thinking (and praying) about these very things this afternoon. I think certain personalities just struggle in this area.

    I appreciate your honesty!

    A few things that help me “stay calm(er)”: getting enough sleep (I know, hard to do!), taking my vitamins and herbs, getting at least a little quiet time during the day, and keeping a sense of humor (I’m blessed to have a husband who makes me laugh!).

    Blessings to you, Crystal!

  • Aileen says:

    Thank you for posting this! I, too, had one of.those days. Unfortunately, I was not free from yelling. I actually.noticed my throat hurt from yelling at my 2 year old (also getting over a cold) and I felt REALLY guilty. We have a new baby in the house and my son is having trouble adjusting to having a sibling. I need to remind myself that he is still a baby.himself and his whole world has changed. But, it can be so hard when I am stuck.in the moment with a crying baby and a tantrumming toddler to not lose my cool. Tomorrow will be better. I will pray for patience and calm. And I will apologize to my son for having a bad day and taking it out.on him.

    Thank.you again for being real. I really.needed to know someone else was in my shoes today.

    • Nancy says:

      The 2 under 2 thing is fun…. really it is.

      When you put the baby down, in a bouncer or on the floor to get some tummy time, that’s a great time to give the two year old your mostly full attention- play cars or trains with him and he will love it. When the baby starts crying to be held, turn it into story time for both of them, or do puzzles together.

      And when it is time to feed the baby engage the 2 year old in coloring, or an educational app on your phone, or even watch a show together. It will help keep him happy and your day running smoother.

      Enjoy those babies mama!

  • Su says:

    Is there a calm mom group? I struggle with that most days. Lately, I feel like I’m always getting on one of my kids…even though it’s necessary/deserved, etc. Does anyone ever feel like you just can’t get ahead–treading water? That’s me lately. I do ok with getting up early. I want to be a “life-giving” mom to my kids. Please pray for me. t hx

  • Andrea Walker says:

    What you wrote above your post hit home for me this morning. I need to model better behavior for my son. I definitely don’t want him responding to stressful situations the way I do. Thank you for being honest and speaking to me this morning. I really enjoy reading all your posts.

  • Amanda says:

    Being calm is a serious struggle for me as well! I have a 3 year old that thinks she rules the world. Strong willed doesn’t even begin to cover it. And my 1 year old makes it her personal mission to get into every corner of the house each day and hide things I need. They are incredibly frustrating at times. We had our first day of homeschool preschool yesterday and in the 90 minutes it took to get done (should have been 60) my oldest locked her sister in her bedroom, I had to take a phone call I had been waiting on, and the youngest screamed most of the time. Then my daughter scratched my eye with a fairy wand and I had to go to the ER. I was not a calm momma yesterday, but today can be better. Thanks for sharing, cause sometimes I feel like the blog mommas are perfect! Misery loves company. 🙂

  • Kim says:

    My biggest morning issue is difficulty sleeping at night. I’ve been awake since 3 a.m. today. It was 3:30 a.m. yesterday (my wake up time is supposed to be 6 a.m.) after waking up every 2 hours & tossing & turning. I gave up caffeine years ago & it’s too hot (97 degrees here yesterday) for chamomile tea..

    • Lana says:

      I struggled with that for years. I often only slept two to three hours a night. I started using natural progesterone cream and my sleep problems vanished.

    • Amanda says:

      Essential oils have made a big difference for both my mom and I in this area. Particularly lavender and wild orange.

  • Carrie says:

    Staying calm is something I think we all struggle with daily. I am a single mom of 5 and work outside the home full-time. When I feel my blood begin to boil, I try to remember my mantras: Children are a blessing from God. A lot of people would love to have my problems. This too shall pass.

  • Angela says:

    Being a calm mom is something that I too have really been struggling with lately and it’s what I want so badly. I want to respond with patience and kindness. I think for me, what helps is getting up early and having that time of silence that I desperately need before the days begins and also, doing things with the kids that we love….like going for a walk or something else outside. Getting out of our home helps me. It makes like feel less chaotic!

    Yesterday, a random stranger in Costco stopped me and shared with me about how kids respond to kindness and patience. He said “major props to you Mom, they’re responding to it!” It just about made me cry! I needed those words so badly!

    http://www.angelastrand.com/2014/08/kindness-and-patience-words-of-wisdom.html

  • Tracy says:

    I am so glad to hear that you have those days to Crystal. Life can be so chaotic at times. I have struggled with being calm for years, this year I made that my main goal to be calmer. I do still slip up. I found my 9 year old had literally ransacked my room trying to find my laptop that was on my bed the whole time. I just totally lost it and yelled so much my throat hurt. I realized I was out of line and that I needed a time out. So I went outside and prayed for God to give my grace and forgiveness. Then I went inside and apologized to my son and asked for his forgiveness.

  • Lana says:

    My secret for calming everyone down is to diffuse some lavender. I always do this when there are 16 of here for a holiday and it really helps.

  • happy momma says:

    I remember when I was not calm with my children and I decided to change it. Here is a little something I wrote about the experience. I hope it can help and inspire others to make changes if needed.

    I had found myself in a bad habit of yelling at my children. The trouble was that the children were beginning to model that same behavior. I found myself hating the fact that they were yelling at one another. We were getting to be a very loud family. I found myself wondering what it was going to be like once they all reached the teenage years. The thought of three very loud, yelling teenagers was frightening. We found ourselves yelling at each other to a point that everyone was yelling and nobody was listening to anybody. Everyone was getting louder and louder to be heard over the other yellers. It was out of control. I could only see it getting worse and worse, with no end in sight
    It was my middle child who was the catalyst for change. She began holding her hands over her ears for large parts of the day. She is very sensitive to words, and yelling was over the top for her. She couldn’t stand it anymore. I would notice her in the midst of the yelling with her hands over her ears. Then I noticed that she would just tune out anything and everything going on in the house for large parts of the day. She was not happy in life. She was spending way too much time with her hands over her ears or just plain tuned out to life. I knew it was not healthy for a 5 year old to be like this, I just didn’t know what to do about it.
    One day I came to this daughter to give her a compliment on something that she had done well, and out of habit her hands went over her ears and her eyes closed. I was not angry at all, and I was not yelling, but she had gotten into the habit, she was ready for me to start yelling because most of the time it was that way. I stood there in shock. What had we come too? I felt like a monster, my child was hiding from me, and all I wanted to do was to tell her that I loved her and that she had done a good job. My heart was about to break. I slowly took her hands off her ears, I whispered to her, “please open your eyes, I want to talk to you.” She shook her head to tell me no. I began to feel angry at her response toward me, but more angry with myself. The feelings I had were so strong, but the sadness coming from her was even stronger. I shut my mouth and waited. She finally opened her eyes, but wouldn’t look at me. When I finally reached under her chin and held her head up, she looked at me with such sadness in her huge blue eyes, I was pierced to the soul. “Why did you cover your ears when you saw me coming?” I asked,— ” I thought you were going to yell at me like you always do.” was her reply, “I do not like the yelling and everyone keeps on yelling all the time, it never stops.” Oh my heart ached, I vowed that moment that we were going to change that habit.
    How? What needed to happen for us to change? I called a family meeting right away. I announced that there was a new family rule. No yelling. I was going to start and set the example. We had to break this habit and replace it with another. “Yelling is not communicating” became our key phrase. The other was, “We do not communicate by yelling”. When we found ourselves yelling the new habit was this…. We were to stop, take a deep breath, and repeat one of those two phrases before continuing on with what we wanted to say in a nice, calm voice.
    It was hard work. I would get about three words into my yelling rant and then have to stop, take a deep breath, repeat the phrase, then speak softly and kindly. It seemed like I was repeating these phrases five thousand times a day. It was exhausting at times. About the third day, I was ready to give in, I had tried, but it was such hard work. I felt like it was constantly on my mind and a constant battle I didn’t know I would ever win. I felt like I didn’t have time to stop, and repeat the phrase so many times a day, but my little blue eyed girl caught my attention again. I noticed that she was not spending so much of her time tuned out to life with her hands over her ears. I also noticed that the sparkle was coming back to her eyes. She was doing better, and we were beginning to see results in the rest of us too. So we continued on the journey.
    It was nearly six months into the journey when I realized that I had made it until noon without having to repeat the words; “yelling is not how we communicate”. I was overjoyed. We had come so far. It was no longer a constant, conscious, nearly overwhelming effort. It was becoming a new habit not to yell. It made those long days in the beginning worth it.

  • Anna says:

    Crystal…I opened up my email this morning…overwhelmed…and then I read this post.

    I just want you to know…that I just love you and your posts and your “realness” and the way you write. That is why I have followed you all these years.

    I am in the middle of so many changes and in the midst of trying to start so many new things. I have a 1 yr old fussing in his crib right not, a 3 yr old that doesn’t stop, and a 7 and 8 yr old that I homeschool. It’s SUCH a busy season!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for the simple way that you do it. I appreciate it soooo much!!!

  • My entire day on Monday one big mess, but I was so thankful that we all woke up on Tuesday with much better attitudes and it turned out to be a great day. Sometimes we just need a re-do, and I’m so grateful God gives us them each morning! 🙂

  • Cheryl says:

    Another great post, All of us moms are in different stages and its so important to just give yourself some grace. My husband is away on business and the kids are at their 1st week of school. My parents are both in their 70’s and my dad has both health/memory issues and mom is awaiting surgery in a few weeks. Yesterday she had me drive them to meet a cousing for lunch and she was so happy to have me do that. I’m in that stage now with middle schoolers, age 10/12 and aging parents that also need my help. Many nights just a praying for everyone and strength.

    • Annie says:

      Cheryl, I can totally sympathize with you. I have an 8- and a 10-year old. My dad also has many health/dementia issues. He’s just gone after spending almost 7 weeks with us this summer. Caring for everyone was a huge adjustment, and we’re still trying to find our balance and new “normal”. Living about 6 hours from my parents, I’m not there for all of the day-to-day things I could help out with, and that is a burden/challenge in itself. I wish you much peace, grace and space – to take care of yourself.

      • Cheryl says:

        Thanks Annie for your encouragement, I treated myself to some coffee today and I cherish each day with my parents-(even this new normal) God will see us all through this journey.

  • Denise says:

    I am in a completely different season in my life and still I struggle with calmness.

    My children are 22 and 18. My son is a great guy. He just started college and has been a tremendous blessing to my life.

    I love my daughter endlessly but our relationship has been particularly strained over the past couple of years. My 22 year old daughter has a 17 month old baby and they both live with us as my daughter has two semesters left until she acquires her degree in nursing. That particular situation has been chocked full of stress, worry, fear, and admittedly some disappointment. Not the baby. I adore her. The situation is just not one I ever wanted for my daughter. The relationship with my daughter has been full of arguments and words spoken that should have never been said. Words spoken in rage and anger. The last time I caught myself yelling I realized I was out of control. This behavior was not what I wanted my daughter to emulate with her daughter. About a month ago I was seriously at the end of my rope. Tired of the fussing and fighting. Tired of the constant impending doom that seemed to be hanging over my head. I finally prayed that God would just simply give me peace and joy. And He has. Abundantly. He is restoring the relationship with my daughter and has mercifully given me joy in my life again.

    I work full time outside the home and have a lot of responsibilities at home as well. As I was on my way to work this morning I was struck by all the chaos in this life. The rushing to work, the rushing through my daily schedule, the rushing to get home in the evenings. Some days my mind just craves peace. I appreciate that you shared your feelings in your post. I think we help one another when we admit that our lives aren’t perfect and that we have struggles, too. Hang in there. There will always be stressors. There will always be bills to pay, appointments to keep, children who demand our attention. The time with our children is fleeting. Hang on those emotions and release love instead. We will all be better for it.

  • Guest says:

    We shouldn’t feel guilty for lamenting days or times that go in a less than ideal direction. (I’m speaking to myself here, too!) This perspective that we should all walk around happy and thankful 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because we have the good fortune of not being in a worse situation isn’t Biblical in my opinion. David was a KING! and had more than any of us can hope for but he was still human and dealt with you know…life. 🙂 He cried out to the Lord and I think we can and should, too! Good for you for turning it around and for being willing to share what we ALL EXPERIENCE.

  • Anita says:

    I love challenges to be calm and intentional! I just found your blog after hearing you on Focus on the Family this morning. So encouraging!!! I have 6 kids, ages 13-4 and one of my sweet boys has cerebral palsy which comes with its own set of challenges and blessings. All that to say that my husband and I must be intentional with just about every minute of our day to stay healthy, calm and connected as a family and not let the trials of this life drag us down. My early morning routine is a BIG keys to doing my job (wife/mom) well and taking care of myself. Most of my days begin at 5:10am with coffee and quiet time in my Bible and prayer. At 5:50 (or 6…) I work out to a workout video (I have a system and collection that I’ve chosen). I’m thankful to have a background in athletics so it is not terribly difficult for me to follow along by watching with the tv muted and LISTEN TO ENCOURAGING CHRISTIAN CONTENT (like Focus, Familylife or a handful of carefully chosen podcasts that are true to The Gospel). I was strength training in my dark bedroom (so as not to wake the kids) this morning while listening to the Focus broadcast. I love my time with The Lord and I love my 45 minutes of training my body and mind. At 6:45 the whole house hits the ground running and I feel so ready and centered. We have some kids in public schools, one in a special needs program (at the public school) and a couple I’m homeschooling. We are humbly grateful for The Lord’s provision in every avenue. We’ve been all over the board…private for 8 years, public for 2 and homeschooling in the mix. Life is certainly not easy but The Lord is good all the time! Blessings to all you ladies this morning…

    • Jen says:

      What a great idea to exercise and listen to something helpful at the same time! I use videos and most often turn them way down or mute because I don’t need the instruction anymore and would rather have quiet. Will definitely try this!

  • Tracy HIrst says:

    Thank you for sharing Crystal. I so appreciate your honesty in keeping it real. Your post was such an encouragement to me. I struggle with responding to my children without being irritated at times. I struggle with the noise level, and with 6 it always seems like someone is in trouble. I struggle with keeping a cheerful attitude and not raising my voice. Unfourtantly I have to work at responding softly, working at being that example that I want them to be. Also enjoyed listening to you on Focus on The Family this morning. The time went by so fast, wished you had longer. You did a great job. You are such an encourager to so many. Miss seeing you guys, but I’m sure God has you where your supposed to be.

  • Kim says:

    Good luck with everything, Crystal! Dory (yes, the animated fish) has some great advice: “Just keep swimming!”

    Sometimes that’s all we can do – and it’s enough. Even if I, er, we have a hard time remembering that.

  • Maria says:

    I have learned from the example of Michelle Duggar: When she gets frustrated or is correcting her children, her voice gets quieter, rather than louder.

  • Melinda says:

    Crystal,

    I really appreicate your honesty and knowing that I am not the only one struggling in this department helps. I have an 8 month old baby and I am home schooling my 7 year old, 5 year old and 3 year old (he plays more than does lessons :). We moved 5 months ago, and this is the 2nd time in 4 years. With the stress of the move and trying to work around my baby’s schedule, I have really been struggling with staying calm and having a kind spirit toward my children. Some of things that help me is too think about my children’s future and I that I will have a negative influence on them if I am always responding to them in harsh ways. I know on the days when I am calm have a positive manner and am consistenly praising them I am happier and so are they! They do their work with joyful hearts and our days run smoother for everyone. Another thing that helps is for me to be as organized as I possibly can be with our home school area. I just reorganized our space and today it made a huge difference and the kids were excited that everything was in place. One final thing that helps me to stay calm and in a good mood with my children throughout the day is for them to do their chores daily without complaining : ) I try to make it fun by turning on music and praising them!

  • Meredith M says:

    I really appreciate when you talk about working towards being more calm with your kids. So many of us can relate. Yesterday I heard a guest speaker use this quote: Raise the praise, minimize the criticize. It’s my new mantra! As a teacher, I noticed I have more patience for my students than I did my own kids. Something is wrong there, and I’m going to work on changing that.

  • Monika says:

    This post brought tears to my eyes when I read the line, “I kept my commitment to not yell or be angry with my kids throughout this whole long homeschooling day,” because I have spent pretty much this entire day being angry with three of my kids (not the baby; she’s too sweet still for me to be angry with her). I homeschool too, but we haven’t started back yet. All I wanted today was for us to work together to clean up the house before we had to be somewhere this evening. All day, I was dealing with disobedience, loud obnoxious noises, fighting, disrespect, and I was angry about it. Offering incentives only helped a little bit, and giving consequences didn’t seem to help much. I actually said a number of times, “I am so angry right now because…” At the end of the day, the house was finally picked up, but there wasn’t love, joy, or peace in our home.

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