Ever have one of those days?
Everyone woke up on the wrong side of the bed, the breakfast dishes are all over the place and it’s nearly lunchtime, the kids are scattered and not working diligently, the only one who is working seems to have forgotten all the math he ever learned. Yeah, one of those days.
How can we put the brakes on the impending crash and change the atmosphere in our homes to try to bring back some peace and focus?
Here are eight ways to change the game and save the day.
1. Pray for a Minute.
This is our go-to response when things are veering off course. Take a quiet moment, even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom to do it, and ask God to settle your heart and mind.
Draw a few deep breaths and just picture the Blessed Mother for a moment. Ask God and Our Lady for assistance in bringing your home to order. Then gather the children for a decade of the rosary before setting them back to work.
2. Get Some Music Going.
Playing some soft music in the background can really make a difference in the mood of the home. Gregorian chant, acoustic guitar (never thought you’d see those two things in the same sentence did ya?), some soft classical or folk music can lighten the mood a great deal and serves to quiet down the noisy ones in your life.
During lunch time, crank it up a bit with some fun show tunes or a little swing music to dance off the fidgets.
3. Bake Something.
Call it Home Ec. Pull out the pans and the flour and get everyone involved. Even a boxed cake mix is fine. Soon the intoxicating smell of a homemade goody and its promise of sweetness will bring the lighthearted atmosphere back into the house.
It’s OK in this instance to get a little messy and not worry about the cleanup, we are making memories here.
4. Smile… A lot.
I have a longtime online friend, a homeschooling mom of a large family, who once made a Lenten commitment to smile at her children every time she saw them during the day: each time they entered or left a room and each time they caught her eye. She was amazed at how much smoother her days went and how very little bickering plagued her that season.
I am a big believer in slapping a smile on your face and acting as if you are happy, and in doing so your mood will eventually catch up. So if you are feeling like your head is about to explode, just smile. Look at someone and smile. Odds are they will smile back, and everyone will immediately feel better. If you are looking at someone who is definitely not making you feel smiley, then just picture the first moment you beheld that sweet child and smile.
If it helps, picture them walking down the aisle toward the person who will take them off your hands and smile. Whatever works in that moment is just fine; no one need know. Once everyone is smiling, laughter usually follows shortly thereafter, and then, well again, memories are in the making.
5. Encourage and Reward.
Sometimes a little pep talk is in order. Just like the coach of a sports team needs to gather the players and get them hyped up about the game, we moms often need to get the kids geared up about the goals they are trying to achieve and why calm orderly days are best for everyone. It’s a good opportunity to tell them how proud you are of their progress and encourage them to work together toward making the day better.
A little reward at the end of the day may be discussed at this time, a movie or special dessert.
6. Some Quick Fun.
Those days when everyone is just slogging through the work and tempers are short are the perfect days to take a break and pull out a board game. Set the timer for a half hour, and weather permitting, take everyone outside for a game of catch or running bases or Red Rover.
Quick games of Bananagrams and Boggle have saved many an afternoon around here. Apples to Apples, Scrabble, Monopoly and Sorry are also favorites. When the game is over, give everyone a piece of fruit and send them back to work refreshed.
7. Remember the Old Days.
Pulling out old pictures has a way of stopping everyone in their tracks, providing a welcome distraction for a bit. I have albums of my grandparents when they were young, as well as old photos of my parents. Nothing is, of course, more fascinating to the children than pictures of their father and I as babies and young people.
It’s hard to be grumpy when you are laughing at your mother’s huge 80’s hair or your father in his high school swim team photo.
8. Lighten Up
It’s extraordinary how the act of dimming the lights and lighting a candle can create a peacefulness in the home. It’s difficult to accomplish much school in semi darkness, but doing this for a few minutes while Mom reads everyone a story or tells a story or even just asks everyone to be silent for a little while can serve to calm troubled spirits in the room.
There is a reason that churches and shrines are often dim and candlelit. It calls attention to Christ as the Light of the World, and it creates an atmosphere of peace and reverence. This can work at home, although usually when I ask for silence, the giggling begins within seconds. This is OK since the mood is lightened, and now they are all fighting to maintain silence while wanting to laugh.
Whatever works to alleviate a case of the crankies.
Bad days happen to every family, and it can be very disheartening to a mother who works hard to create a loving atmosphere of learning in the home when days go off course and everyone ends up angry or hurt. This is going to happen, and you should not let it get you down or make you question what you are doing.
I’ve been doing this for a really long time now, and if I had a dollar for every bad day, well I’d be driving a much cooler car right now.
So when the bad days happen, try to redirect with the above suggestions. If it doesn’t work, what you do is, in your best Scarlett O’Hara accent, tell everyone you are just going to think about all this tomorrow, and tomorrow it will be better.
Then send everyone to bed early and relax and enjoy your evening because tomorrow comes fast.
Frustrated Mother © Steven P. Widoff / Dollar Photo Club / Dollar Photo Club