Often times moms with multiple kids feel like their head is constantly spinning out of control with all the directions their kids are running in. Finding joy in the chaos of her everyday life can be tricky indeed.
How can moms learn to find joy in the chaos of life?
Listen to the podcast episode here, or on mobile at iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and more. Find us at Joy in Chaos Podcast.
1. Ditch the Mommy Guilt and find joy in the chaos
Moms carry around so much mommy guilt. This topic alone could fill a book.
Ultimately it boils down to moms bear the burden of so much mommy guilt, because there is so much advice on how to do things right for your children, and not a single human mother I know has enough energy or time in the day to do it perfectly.
Even when you are there to supervise your kids they act on impulses that get them into trouble.
And if we are good moms watching our kids (“like we should”) all we get is the “joy” of watching it go down just beyond our arms reach, and we can’t do a thing about it.
Cue the Mommy Guilt.
Let me give you are real life example. One day my kids and I were socializing before church began in our church’s vestry (like a big open room or banquet hall).
My son was doing his usual running around like a banshie, or better yet, like the Tasmanian devil from Looney Tunes cartoons.
My teenage daughters were doing their best to keep up with him, as was I. We were trying to wrangle him into staying in the vestry.
We finally managed it and literally 5 feet in front of me, my eyes on him, he runs up to the 30 cup coffee urn and pulls on the spigot.
Oh no!! I could do nothing but dash up and pull him away, but the damage was done.
Burning hot coffee hit his short sleeved arm and scalded his skin right off the dime sized spot.
He was healed about a week later, but I felt terrible because it happened right in front of my eyes.
Should I feel guilty about this?
Did I tell him to pull on the spigot? Of course not. Did I choose to let him get burned on purpose? Of course not.
I could have no idea he would ever think of pulling down on that spigot, then in such a way that his arm would be under it. I had never seen any other child make that mistake. So really it was not in my radar.
But releasing mommy guilt is hard.
Especially for experienced moms that are having a redo. I think it’s because we feel like we aught to know better from our past experiences.
Then again, past experience should tell us that we are not responsible for all the things that happen to our children, right?
So how do we ditch the mommy guilt?
Try framing it in this way:
Let this be a new experience.
Release control and your past guilt, and quit trying to get it perfect with this child.
Every kid is different, will have different temperaments and habits. Every kid will make different choices.
Accept that. And allow this experience be different too.
Let your spouse contribute his part to raising the kids.
Moms and dads are wired differently and both are necessary to a child’s upbringing.
If you made a situation in your family life where you are in control of everything and all the responsibility falls on your shoulders, go change that right now.
You must be exhausted and what would happen if God forbid, something happened to you?
Why do you feel like you need to be the one to do it all?
Do you think that no one else can learn the skills in a satisfactory enough way for you?
Consider instead passing on those skills so you can take a break every once in a while.
There is no joy in feeling like you everything is on your shoulders. It is too much pressure.
2. What is so Funny?
Seek the joy in every situation. Laughter helps diffuse so much tension. It’s medicinal.
Embrace the joy in the midst of your chaos. Look for the joke in everything if you can.
Having this mindset will relieve the stress from your body almost instantly.
How do we do this when all we really want to do is rip our tired, overwhelmed, desperately graying hair out of our heads?
Try searching for the irony or humor in your current situation. Could a kid be doing something that is really funny or silly in the midst of all the chaos?
Seek out the humor and fun in the chaos. Your stress level will decrease. And really, so will everyone else’s too.
3. What in the world?
Let’s face it, the situations our kids get themselves in can be pretty funny if we let it. You know it’s okay to laugh at them.
It can diffuse the tension created in the chaos and bring some humanity back into the situation.
The scene: joy in the chaos in action
I remember one time I was on an online mastermind meeting where our faces appear on the computer like a Brady bunch screen.
My kids were home from school on a day off, and while I was on the video call my tween was attempting to make pancakes all on her own. Yay!
Problem was she was watching a Food TV network show on her iPad and it was plugged in. She acted as though it was still a mobile device and moved it over to the other side of the stove where she was standing.
Who raised this kid?
There I am at the kitchen table watching this scene unfold while also trying to pay attention to my video conference call.
The pancakes are cooking on the stove and she had the charging cable laying right across the the stove over the pancakes and burners! I had to jump away from the phone to teach her about stove safety.
Oh, but before that, she could not for the life of her find the butter that was in the refrigerator door. She kept interrupting me to ask for the butter. I had to get up and help her located the butter that was right on the fridge door.
Oh it gets better…
A few minutes later, my two year old son took to banging a wooden spoon on the floor making a racket. Get up to take the spoon away.
And when I took that away, he proceeded to attack our puppy and choke him by the neck. So I had to go save the puppy.
The puppy then decides to relieve himself in a puddle on the kitchen floor. Seriously??
All while I was on a video conference call. So I needed to keep jumping in and out of the camera view. Ridiculous!
My mentoring buddies were like “So that’s what it’s like at your house?”
“Yes, yes it is.”
Are you serious?
What in the world? Does that sound like chaos to you? Because it was.
But it was so ridiculous and funny that I could not help but see the joy in the chaos of it all.
Is life easier when kids behave themselves 100% of the time? Maybe? But when does that ever happen?
We all have a choice: misery or joy. I try as often as possible to choose the joy. Really, what other choice do I have?
4. What are the lessons in finding joy in the chaos?
How can you help make it better next time when things start to unravel at your home?
What can you learn to make it all better and grow in the future?
Stop to reflect on the joy in the chaos and start making a choice for better family interactions.
You can do it. Make it your decision to have fun and enjoy the chaos of everyday family life.
It will get better and better each day you make a decision to try.
You are awesome Mama! HANG in there!!! You can survive this and you can find joy in the chaos of your life too.
P.S. Have a teen that plays sports like softball and try are struggling to keep the joy in the season? Check out the post How to Joyfully Survive the Softball Tournament Season
Feeling disconnected to your teen? Read How to Enjoy Authentic Mother-Daughter Bonding Time it is a favorite for how to start bonding again before it’s too late.
And if you’re on your second time starting over with a baby in diapers and mushy foods then trust me the tough love of Seasoned Mothers It’s Time to Learn How to be a Mom Again is for you.
Chandra is the chocolate-chip loving mother of 2 teenage girls who started over again with a baby boy in her 40’s! She is the author of The Mom’s Playbook to Conquering Softball Season. She gives other moms the tools they need to prepare their daughters for real life. Her content is centered on helping girls grow up to be well-rounded, equipped, expressive, confident, intelligent, capable, kind and independent.