After my 7 Day No Yelling Challenge, I had a pretty rough week with my kids. I wasn't sure if it was them reacting to the different tone in the house or a full moon or what. What I did know is I enjoyed speaking peacefully, and I enjoyed the tone that I was able to set during my 7 (turned 10!) day challenge. Several people have asked me since, so what's the secret? Well, there is no secret, and if there is I don't have it....I wish I could say I have overcome my yelling issue, but I haven't. I am learning, and I am growing. On this journey I have learned a few things that are helping me strive to "parent peacefully."
Mom is the thermometer of the Home
In a book study I am doing at church right now, I learned about how the mom is the "thermometer" of the home, setting the mood for the rest of the family. Super convicting! If I am the mood setter, no wonder we face some of the problems we are facing! Yelling, frustration, stress. These are the settings on our thermometer we often reach. I want to strive for peace, love, and joy.
I began to ask, what is causing me to yell? What is causing stress? What is keeping me from reaching the temperature of peace, love, and joy? I began to look around my house and my life and look for "stressors"-- those things that make me frustrated, cause me anxiety, and make things more difficult than they need to be. Since the family members are here to stay, I had to look for other ways to make life more peaceful. ;)
The first thing I noticed stealing our peace was "time". I all too often find myself rushing to get out the door, struggling to get things together to leave, and way to often yelling "hurry! we need to go!!!" Planning ahead is such a simple thing to remember, but it makes such a difference in the temperature of the home. Getting up a few minutes earlier, making sure the sports uniforms are clean and ready to go before 5 minutes before time to leave. Simple things as getting socks on can create a war zone when there are no matches in the drawer and you are late! Preparing ahead of time is challenging for a natural born procrastinator...but I am working on it and definitely see the benefit.
I identified several physical areas of stress in my home that needed attention as well. Closets, toy bins, pantry, drawers. Something as simple as the cup cabinet being too crowded can make a simple task like emptying the dishwasher a stressful experience. Trying to make dinner when you can't find the ingredients you KNOW are in the pantry is so frustrating! And of course dinner is late, you have to leave, and a child wants a cup of milk....and I am yelling because I can't find the packet of fajita mix! Milk shouldn't push me over the edge....but just one more frustrating factor at just the right time...
These are the things I am working on this week. I have cleaned out three rooms and three closets, and had a yard sale. Making great progress towards setting the thermostat to "peace, love, and joy." Sometimes the simple things make a huge difference.