Monday, June 19, 2006

Got chaos?

A Mother's Dilemma
by Harriet Rukenbrod Day

Baby's in the cookie jar
Sister's in the glue
Kitty's in the birdie's cage
And I am in the a stew!
Time for Dad to come to lunch
Someone's spilled the roses
Breakfast dishes still undone
The twins have drippy noses.
Junior has the stove apart
Dinner guest at eight
Neighbor's kids swoop in like flies
How can I concentrate?
Telephone keeps ringing wildly
Someone's in the hall
Fido's chewed the rug to bits
The preacher's come to call!
Would mothers like to chuck their load?
They couldn't stand the rap
Easy, mild existences
Would cause their nerves to snap!

I found this poem a couple of days ago and thought it described the chaos in my house to a "T". There are times when I absolutely think that I am gonna lose my motherly mind. The kids are fighting, argueing, noisy and competitive. But then, I know that when I do get a break, which is very rare considering I am the only parent at the time, that I usually do not know how to act. I feel out of sorts. I know that when the kids are going at it I wish for quietness and peace. But when they are not here, it feels as if something is wrong. Sound crazy?

Right now my 2 boys are not here, and I am feeling a little lonely. Even though my 2 girls are still here. They are even argueing right now in the living room about something, but it just doesn't seem right without the boys here too. It is almost like there is too much oxygen floating around that normally isn't here. Of course it is always crazy and I long for a break, but when I do get alone I can't function normally. Normal is my chaos!

So, I have tried to come up with some ways to have control amongst my chaos. First, I always start my day in prayer. Even if it is just a few seconds, I do it. And then throughout the day, under my breathe even, I say little prayers. "Lord, please make them stop fighting." or "Father, help me be wise in my choices of punishment." Whatever is going on at the moment, that is the prayer. God can hear us even when we are not on our knees with heads bowed. And I have noticed that the days that I do not start with prayer are really extra hard on me!

And of course the standard things to do to cope with the stress of constant chaos. Drink lots of water, eat healthy, breathe (long, controlled deep breaths), and take time for yourself to read or drink a cup of coffee or tea or whatever. Know your limits, and limit what you take on. I am really bad about this one. I am the type that does not know how to say no to anyone. (Although I am learning!) Keep communication open with your husband, very important. Whether he is in the home or not, let your kids know that Mommy and Daddy both will hold them accountable. Even though my husband is in prison, we stay in close communicatin about our children's behavior. We have family meetings at our visits, just so he can help reinforce our rules. They are literal round table meetings. They are good for us and the kids. I am sure that we will continue to do this when he gets home.

Stay loose, adjust your expectations as you go along. Consider it a good day when you get yourself and the kids fed. And make friends, go out to dinner or lunch or coffee with friends as often as you feel you can. Adult conversation is very important, at least to me since my husband is not here in the home.

Enjoy the noise and enjoy the excitement that your kids bring into your lives because oneday the house will be quiet and orderly and you will miss that (a little)! Remind yourself that these times too will pass and oneday they will have chaos of their own. You know, "you just wait till you have a family of your own!"

This picture was taken a couple of years ago, but is my favorite because they actually look like they love one another!
How do you cope with your stress and chaos? I would love to hear your ideas and solutions.

The joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

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