Answers to Large Family Question #3 Part 1

Pirate Eby on his ship propelled by Boo – note the very cool Ethiopian drum in the bottom left corner. We carried Ethiopian drums in various sizes home on our last trip.

I’ve gotten some great responses to the newest question, which I am posting now, but I hope to post more in Part 2. I would love to hear from more of you! In addition, Les asked a great question about family size which I’ll post next time for all of us to consider.

Once again I have to thank the wonderful women who have shared wisdom and insights in answer to the question:

What has made the biggest difference in creating a warm, peaceful environment in a busy household?

Here are some of their great answers:

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Blogger Laurel said…

” … a warm and peaceful environment in a busy household?”

The first thing that comes to mind is that I have to give up my perfectionist tendencies in my housekeeping. Many people are so busy trying to keep things “spotless”, that they don’t make time to enjoy their families and friends. I would rather invite friends over to a cluttered house, than to try to wait until it is “clean enough”. Our house is not dirty … but it can get cluttered with the lives of 11-15 people (depending on who exactly is living at home at the moment). Friends know that they are ALWAYS welcome. If they stop by in the middle of homeschooling, I’ll invite them in, give the children “recess”, make a path to the living room (through the cars or legos), move a pile of clean clothes off of the couch, make a pot of tea … and sit for a visit.

In addition to always having a variety of teas and mochas on hand for company, if I’m given even just a little notice, I’ll whip up something to eat. I love to fellowship over freshly baked apple pie or cookies.

And, for my family, a warm and peaceful environment means to make time to relax together, by playing card games, board games, or select family-friendly movies. It also means to have a completely open door policy for their friends. I LOVE all of the teens and young adults that know they can stop by any time … and often stop by right at dinner time.

One night, we had 3 young adult men stop by shortly before dinner. It happened to be a night that I knew we wouldn’t have many left overs. I whispered to my husband that we were going to go out to eat. Then, I told the assembled young adults, teens, and children to enjoy the meal and that Papa and I would be back in awhile. As we drove away, I was sooo… blessed to have an open home (even if it meant not eating the meal that I had planned to eat with my children).

A “warm environment”, to me, means friends and family … always welcome.

Peaceful??? At our house it certainly doesn’t mean quiet. But … we really do have a peaceful house. Poor attitudes are taken care of immediately, so that our relationships are warm, peaceful, and healthy.

Laurel
mama of 13 (ages 6-24)

12/08/2008 9:56 PM

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Blogger small world said…

The way I create a warm and peaceful environment is to get up before the littlest ones do. This includes our 1,5,6, and 9 year old. My older kids (14 and 15 year old)that are still home schooling can sit with me in front of the fire and do Bible. Our 17, 20, and 22 year old are finished with home school. After Bible there is usually enough time to read to the two older kids for a half hour or so. Right now we are reading a Christmas book. It does not seem to matter how old my children are, they love to be read to. After the little ones finish their school I bring them up to my bed to snuggle and read while the older kids work independently. After lunch we have about a two hour quiet time. It is the time when the little ones take a rest(mom tries to as well) and the older kids work on school independently. After they are done they are allowed to listen to old time radio, Odyssey, or play games. Before my husband comes home it is a rule that ALL chores must be done so Daddy comes home to a clean and organized home. Another fire is usually started right before he gets there and the candles are lit. There is no TV in our house and movies are only allowed on the weekends. This allows us to visit with the kids and each other most nights and helps everyone feel closer and keeps things on track. The last thing before bed is we meet in the living room for Bible study, talk time, and prayer. This is how we end our day.Many times we will use this as a time to make corrections or work out any family issues. Depending on who is coming into the family and who is moving on we have to be flexible with our schedule. We just adopted two girls from Ethiopia last month so we are once again finding a new norm. But even with the changes that come with the adoption things are running fairly smoothly since we have a system in place. I think keeping our home organized, maintaining a good schedule, and remaining extremely flexible daily has helped create a warm and peaceful home.
Theresa
Mom of 9(ages 1-22)

12/08/2008 11:54 PM

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Blogger MLB said…

No big family here but I know the secret to a warm, peaceful household…………………..

SLEEP! 🙂

12/09/2008 7:37 AM

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Blogger Sandee said…

warm and peaceful household:

first, for me, as momma, it means that my heart is full of Jesus’ love…if I do not take the time to get up before them and let my heart be filled with His love, I have nothing to pour out…and am not feeling warm or peaceful. and if momma isn’t warm and peaceful, then….well you know..

second is letting go of my agenda. Whether it is what I want to do at this moment, or plan etc…and be willing to let life interrupt my plans. I find so much of the counter-peace and anything but warm issues arise when I do not give time to what ever is happening at the moment. (aka ignoring an issue because I am cooking dinner.) So turn the burner off. Get down to eye level and talk out and hug.

lots of hugs

lots of talking

turning off the “entertainment”…tv, computer, new toy this or that.

Reading together….

Sharing a verse and then seeing how it applies…our lastest is Col 4: something…about letting our conversations be filled with grace and seasoned with salt. We are doing a lot of talk about Grace and Salt… and it is changing some of our anti-peace, anti-warm behavior.

Schedule in less…I find with the lines are smudgy and the hard and fast plans less…life can flow at a more peaceful and warm rate…

Now, I only have 3, adding nunber 4 in Feb…but as a single momma, that feels big!

My friend Erin wrote her response on her blog , which you should check out. Here is her conclusion:

– Keeping my attitude, my mood and my behavior happy and calm as much as possible. I realized really quickly after becoming a mom that when I am stressed, frazzled, upset, short-tempered, etc. the rest of the family follows suit and the whole mood in the house changes…big kids become ornery, little kids become whiney, and husband gets cranky. On the flip side, I have found that if I can be calm, cheerful, positive, patient, etc. that even on more difficult days, the mood in the house stays pleasant. I am far from perfect and of course I can’t be in a good mood all the time (and of course we have our bad days), but I have found when I am starting to feel frazzled and feel the mood in the family take a nose-dive, that if I can take a few minutes to myself to calm down and recharge my batteries, that I can turn things around, keep everyone in an overall good mood and keep that sense of peace in our home.

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I was going to write about the things I have done to create a warm and peaceful household, but in the spirit of “being real” I am going to tell you one thing that I struggled with today that created a tense, unhappy household – Unrealistic Expectations. The morning started out nicely. I was up early, walked a few brisk miles on my treadmill (I couldn’t run because I had mysteriously hurt my knee – age perhaps?), sent Ladybug to start the pancakes we had prepped the night before, hit the shower, sent my husband off to work with a big kiss, and thought that I was really on top of things.

After I put some laundry away, I could see that the kids’ behavior was beginning to unravel and I needed to redirect them. School was next on my agenda, so I grabbed our childrens’ Bible and called the little ones to gather on the sofa in the family room. This was met with protests from Honeybee who was not happy to end the game. In moments the morning began to unravel. I was getting grumpy, the kids were getting grumpier, and I was ticked that my plan was not being embraced by one and all. At this point I should have gathered everyone for a little bit of sweet time with me. We could have prayed, cuddled on the sofa, read our Bible and a storybook, but no, I plowed ahead with math.

With Eby and Little Man playing Duplos, the girls headed to the kitchen stools. Dimples and Boo were happy to get started, but Honeybee was very, very unhappy. She is doing great learning to read, but every math problem is greeted with, “It’s too hard!” She can do the work, but for whatever reason, she wants to have me, or somebody else, next to her for each and every problem. But I was on a mission and I wanted to crank through math with all three girls at the same time. I tried working with the two girls and then with Honeybee, back and forth, back and forth. Things went from bad to worse and before I knew it my kitchen was far from warm and peaceful.

My expectations were unrealistic. I had an agenda that fit my needs for the morning, but I didn’t consider how it was really going to play out. Honeybee needed my one-on-one attention and I wasn’t giving it to her. In fact, I resented it. How simple it would have been to have her play with the little boys while I worked with Dimples and Boo, and then work alone with her. She would have loved it (at least I think she would have) and the boys would have enjoyed her attention.

Once again I am reminded that God’s mercies are “new every morning” and it is a good thing, because I’ve reworked the schedule and tomorrow morning I will be up at 4:30 AM ready to get the troops out of bed and started on their schoolwork – just kidding! Lord willing, tomorrow morning we’ll start o
ur school day with Bible reading before the kids’ behavior begins to tank. We’ll sing some songs and pray together and maybe Little Man will be happy since I’ll be able to hold him the entire time, which is all that he wants these days. I’ll work alone with Honeybee while Dimples and Boo play with the little boys. Later I’ll work with them. Hopefully the morning will flow nicely, but if it doesn’t, I’ll let go of some of my expectations that aren’t quite right for us yet as Honeybee continues to settle in.

Next time I’ll post more answers from all of you – so feel free to add a comment or email me. I’ll also share some of the things I’ve learned over the years that create a warm and peaceful environment in my family.

Thank you for reading and learning along with me.

~Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

0 Comments

  1. Tisha
    December 10, 2008

    Thank you for sharing your life so candidly, honestly, and openly. Your blog is one of my favorites to read! I have learned much from you as you have communicated both your insights and the challenges you face. I just wanted to come out of “hiding” to offer my sincere appreciation to you!

    Reply
  2. Audrey
    December 10, 2008

    Thank you so much for these posts, Lisa. They are so inspiring. Our pastor talked last weekend about reviving the dream that we had given up on – like Zechariah and Elizabeth. On the way home, LaRue asked me what my ‘long given up on’ dream was. After some prodding from him, I finally admitted that I had always wished for a really big family. Even though my body didn’t cooperate – it was my dream to have six or more kids. I used to think that was a REALLY big family – LOL – you all have taught me otherwise!

    Anyway, my sweet hubby said – you never know, that dream could still come true. I love that man!

    Great responses from everyone!!

    Reply
  3. Thankfulmom
    December 10, 2008

    Tisha and Audrey,
    Thank you for your comments! I appreciate you taking the time.

    I am happy to report that today was so much better!

    Hopefully I’ll be able to blog tomorrow. I managed to get one family post placement report done this afternoon – a true accomplishment.

    Lisa

    Reply
  4. Ann
    December 10, 2008

    Thanks for being real 🙂 I know I forget to do that sometimes on my blog because I think people just want to read the “good” stuff but I forget they also need to know I’m not Supermom–nor would I ever want to appear to be . . . a great reminder!

    Ann

    BTW the way I find peace is ear plugs! And lots of laughter which creates a relaxed environment but not a quiet one 🙂

    Reply
  5. Becky
    December 11, 2008

    I second what was said about the mother’s attitude being so important to having a warm, peaceful, loving feeling in the home. Another thing that has helped contribute to a warm, peaceful feeling in our home is good music. It has also been a tool for bonding with my adopted children that has been very beneficial. (When the brain is processing music, both sides of the brain are “talking to each other.” You know how you can still remember the songs you learned as a child-tv commercials andsuch:-) In our homeschool, we learn a lot of factual informationto music. 🙂
    It seems if my attitude or the tone in our home is less than desirable, if I put on some sweet music, or start humming, whistling, or singing, things generally turn around.
    Thanks, Lisa, for your blog. It is my favorite to read. Becky

    Reply

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