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:
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.
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.