Friday, March 12, 2010

Good medicine (part 3) Second Step To Having a Merry Home is to Tackle theTrouble Spots

Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.

I'm up early today, sipping on some hot cocoa, enjoying the quiet of the morning, listening to the soft purr of my kitty on the couch, and doing some blogging.  {contented sigh} Life is good!   It sure is easy to have a merry heart when everything is going my way (like it is right now). However, when I find myself getting  frustrated because the bus pulls up outside our door and I discover my daughter didn't obey me when I told her to put her shoes on, or because I'm trying to fix dinner-which is already late-and I've got a toddler screaming at my legs, mad I put him down; this happy mom can turn into a red-faced mommy monster pretty quick.  And believe me when I say, "when mom aint happy, aint hobody happy!"

The first step to fixing my world is to fix myself, as my pastor says (read part 2 in this series if you haven't already). I realize that although God will help me to be a much 'better' person, I will never be perfect this side of heaven, and being the sinful selfish person that I am, I will always struggle to some extent in my response to irritations that come my way.  I stumbled across an article a few weeks ago on my yahoo homepage that gave some great suggestions on how to help avoid some of those irritations that so easily make me unhappy.

The article, "Two Simple Ways to Be a Happier Parent",  recommends taking inventory of a normal day with these two questions in mind: 1. When are you happiest with your kids? and 2. What part of the normal day with your family routinely causes suffering?  Then she goes on to say that we should take steps to make sure the happiest parts of our day stay routine, and take steps to try to avoid or even eliminate the trouble spots.

This is a secular article, but I believe that it coincides with Biblical truth.  Clearly the Proverbs 31 woman planned for the success of her household.   She was characterized by wisdom and kindness in all she did, and was able to rejoice in life and if the praise she received from her husband and children is any indication I'd say she did her best to live in peace with those she loved.  The apostle Paul says in Romans 12:18 to live in peace with everyone as much as you can. Please don't think that I'm suggesting I need to be a pushover mom in order to avoid conflict with my kids at all cost.  No No No!   Conflict is unavoidable at times, and even necessary in order to teach my children correct behaviors, etc... However,  I do believe it is a good thing to avoid unnecessary conflict within my family by changing a few small things if it is possible.

So, onto the two questions...

I'd say the happiest part of our day would be mealtimes.  I just love sitting around my table taking a few minutes to rest, nourish my body (yes, I'll admit I am fond of eating!) and enjoy conversation with my precious ones!  I dislike it very much when mealtime has to be rushed, or discipline has to be enacted (unavoidable at times, to which other moms can attest, I'm sure).

I have already mentioned our high conflict times: getting the kids ready in the morning, and preparing dinner in the evening.  In an attempt to eliminate the stress of these situations, the article suggests making small changes.  Earlier this year I started getting up at 6 a.m.  I do some exercise, read my Bible, and check e-mail or facebook during this time.  Getting up at 6, rather than rolling out of bed when the kids do has helped our morning routine tremendously, plus I am able to fit a few things into my day that I have trouble squeezing in otherwise.  I have decided that I need to tweak it further and take my shower before the kids get up, so I can focus more on the kids and hopefully we'll avoid things like the shoe incident.

I've been thinking about changes I can make to help with the dinnertime drama as well.  I have decided that I should plan my dinner early in the day (maybe even start a weekly menu) so I know what prep work needs to be done and I  can complete it during naptime.  This way I'm not having to do it when the kids are clingy because they have just gotten up from their nap, and it will keep dinner on time.  In my family, when dinner gets late, we get hungry, and then we tend to get grouchy. 

Now the challenge for me will be to start applying these small changes which may mean having to my alter my normal routine(change is hard for me--I don't even like to rearrange furniture!), and then to be consistant.  I know my own tendency is to slack off when something comes along and throws a curveball into things.   As a mom I'm supposed to be responsible, but I'll admit sometimes I really wish I didn't have to work so hard at it!  I wish I could just snap my finger and *poof* my home is happy and perfect.  But unfortunately that will never happen so for now I will just have to do the best I can with God's help.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Very good advice...I know every mom can relate to this...