We laugh about it, now but at the time it was no laughing matter. I had been home all day with the kiddos ages 2 1/2 and 6 weeks. My husband had picked up dinner on his way home from work. “thank you honey for doing me this wonderful favor so I didn’t have to make dinner” We’ll that’s what you thought I would have said. Nope! It went another way. Our youngest must have known I was ready to sit down to relax and eat dinner. I had my dinner in my hand as she began crying at the top of her lungs telling me in no uncertain terms – “I need my dinner NOW!” I picked up my open meal, threw it down on the counter as it splattered all over the kitchen. I proceeeded to look at my husband, whose eyes said, “what did I walk into?” Then I grabbed a bottle, marched over, picked up our daughter and stomped upstairs to the rocking chair. I sat there sobbing saying “I’m a horrible mom, I never do it right”. Then I looked into her sweet eyes and began praying…
Have you ever heard been in a similar situation? Did your little one say: “Mommy what’s wrong; while you’re screaming at the driver in front of you?” Or your baby continues to cry as you try to sooth him/her while on your iPhone yelling at the late repairman? Society tells us we’re unproductive if not doing something every waking moment. Stress is everywhere in our lives! But did you know your stress affects your children too!
Children are sponges, they absorb and hear everything. Your frustration about having your school aged kids needing to be homeschooled. Your whining to your spouse about your crazy co-worker. Your anger at the neighbor’s dog that barked all day. Your littles wear your stress!
An article in Forbes sites evidence from a handful of labs around the world, which suggest that parents’ levels of chronic stress can seriously impact a child’s development. “There’s no time when parental stress doesn’t affect a child.”
Evidence of how our stress affects our kids is everywhere!
Another article in US News and World Report warns, “Make no mistake, parental stress has an impact on kids, whether it be the yelling they endure or the added tension they feel. Stress has a trickle-down effect on families.”
What can we do about it? We need to create a sense of calm in our homes.
How can you create a sense of calm in your home? Begin with these 5 strategies:
- Begin the day with peace and quiet. Wake up 15 minutes earlier to take the rush off. Turn on a calming music mix. Diffuse a soothing blend like Peace and Calming.
- Laugh! Have a bubble wrap popping party, talk about the silliest thing you did today or tell a stupid joke.
- Unplug from social media. An article in Health.com relates: “The more often people check social media accounts, texts, and email, the higher their level of stress. Findings from the Pew Research Center underline another negative Facebook effect: Women are particularly vulnerable to stress from social media due to being aware of lousy stuff happening to friends.”
- Skip your afternoon coffee pick-me-up. Caffeine can often increase anxiety. Instead, pack up the kiddos and head out the door for a brisk walk. Diffuse Peppermint essential oil for an energy boost.
- Wind everyone down. Diffuse lavender essential oil. Listen to a relaxing music mix or spend time reading the Bible during family time.
Back to my story. As the evening went on I realized there were two things I needed to do. First I needed to forgive myself. Forgive myself for losing my temper. Forgive myself for letting things get out of hand. Secondly, I needed to apologize to God and my family. Not because I did something “bad”. Because I wanted them to know above all I loved them more than words can say.
So what am I asking you do to? When you do have those days when these strategies just don’t work and life looks like the eye of a hurricane – Forgive yourself. Apologize to God and your family. Start anew!
This blog is my labor of love to you, Deb