Yesterday was the first day back to school for my four kiddos. My college boy went back and the rest resumed classes, as well. And, I gotta tell you, it was a bit of a mess.
I love having my kids all here, together, under one roof. The truth is if you asked me what I really wanted on any given day, that would be my honest response. Everyone home. Dinner together. I want to look on my phone, where all my kids phones can be seen on “find my iphone” and see every single dot in just one spot. This, I love.
And we have had this prolonged period of time where we go to sleep and wake up and here we all are. It will never be long enough for me but our schedules dictate the end. And yesterday was that day.
Sunday night, I told them to prepare. I left time for such. I encouraged them to think about the morning impending. I reminded. Repeatedly. (Okay, nagged them. ) But the lure of easy, breezy days of schedule free time led them to choose otherwise.
And then we went to bed. And woke up. Kinda.
Two kids overslept. One was not at all packed for the return to his dorm. Another wanted to begin an earlier departure time without the support of sibs. So much stress and fussing and carrying on. There were tears and arguing and, holy cow, it was awful.
From there, many of us had days that crashed and burned. I was grateful for bedtime. An end to a day that was an unwelcome slap in the face from beginning to end.
Half-way through that awful day, I sat down to regroup. Make a plan. Think it through. Pray.
Sometimes, we have to do that.
Here’s the thing. As parents, we are raising kids who are literally changing before our eyes. No two days, years, months are the same. Because of this fact, what we do as a momma to our kids must often change. How we direct and discipline, how we love and enfold, cannot remain static. If we dig in our heels to hold tightly to what we know has worked in the past (even when we no longer find it effective), we miss the opportunity to continue meeting the needs of our little ones.
I did not always know this.
Momma, you have the right to regroup. You have the right to look at the behavior and choices of your children and respond to the nudge that rises up within you to make a change to meet them where they are, now.
You have the right to call an end to the struggles that are driving you nuts. When bedtime takes hours and dinner is discarded and grades are falling and fighting is endless, you have a right, and a responsibility, as the mom to your kids to take a minute to figure out what is needed and make a major change.
So, here we stand with our toes just past the starting gate of brand new year. Those of us who have kids in school have lived through a return to schedule and can find a minute to sit and evaluate. Those of us who are still surrounded by babies and preschoolers may need to retreat behind a locked bathroom door, take a deep breath and think it through. Now is the time.
What needs to change for you? Do not buy into the Facebook and Twitter posts that denigrate New Year’s Resolutions. Do not allow your fatigue or weariness to win this day. Yes, make room for the frustration… seek encouragement from those you love and trust. And then, grab a pen and a scrap of paper and jot down some thoughts that could bring about change.
Ask yourself these basic questions:
- What growth do you want to see in your kids?
- What changes in your family would lead to less-stress?
- What would it take to have smoother days?
This is I know for sure: You are the perfect person to ask these questions and to answer them. You are needed, you specifically, to plan for and to initiate change when it is needed in the lives of your littles. There is absolutely no good that comes from us learning to live with that which we know must change. None.
At my house, yesterday was rough. A new plan was needed because change was needed. I needed to take a breath and I am so thankful for those who offered words of understanding and support while I walked through that day.
But, guess what?
Today, was better.
A bit of tweaking goes a long, long way.
Yep, here we stand. What will you choose to do next? If you need ideas for ways to reduce stress and improve discipline, take a look at Sticks! And if you have resources that have been helpful to your family, leave your ideas in the comments!
It is a brand new year. This is the time to regroup. Embrace all that is going well and take some time to think through needed change.
There is so much good to come!