Last week was a stressful week in our home. Between a new little brother and a new home, Noah (my almost 3-year-old) was acting out in every way possible.
My typically happy child was grumpy, disobedient, and irrational. For example…if you have seen him rock out his class at The Little Gym that he loves more than any other activity, he spent last week’s class in tears holding onto my leg and never touched the equipment.
I would spend nursing sessions praying he wouldn’t hurt himself while he disobeyed me. I cried twice in one day (a rare occurance if it happens twice in a month) over his refusal to obey.
I prayed for God to give Noah a desire to obey, to help him adjust better, to make our days smoother…
And yesterday during my morning prayer time, I realized something. I’ve heard it a million times before, and I have no idea why it didn’t register with me last week.
A mother sets the tone for the home. Whatever temperament I have will be echoed in my family members…yes, even in a toddler and a baby.
So why had I not looked at my own life and figured out that Noah was stressed because I was stressed?
Adjusting to life with a newborn and becoming a family of four is a difficult transition. Moving into a new house with two small kids is not easy. But that’s life. Tough situations come up, and we have to know ourselves well enough to know how we personally manage stress.
For me, a HUGE stress-buster is beginning my day with a workout followed by time in Bible reading and prayer. Since cleared to workout after Cole was born, I’ve gotten these things in daily…but usually with kids running around, squeezed between nursing sessions (or during – the Bible study, at least…not the workout!) or rushed, shortened and unfocused.
And when those two areas fall into chaos, I was reminded last week that it affects me more than I am willing to sacrifice. When I am stressed, I’m not as patient, encouraging, loving or fully present. (There’s a big difference in being physically with my kids and being fully present.)
This week, I’m getting back on track…which means between a 4am – 4:30 wake time to start my day the way that’s best for me. Do I LOVE getting up that early? In a word…no.
But not only do I have a better day when I do, but WE have a better day.
Your stress-busting routine may look different than mine. Maybe you enjoy pleasure-reading, crafting, a long bath, taking walks with a friend, etc. Or maybe your recharge time is evening rather than morning.
But I encourage you, even if it’s inconvenient, go the extra mile to set a peaceful tone for your home.
This doesn’t mean we’ll never encounter days (or even short seasons) where our routines are rattled. But I’m hoping when those times come, God will gently remind us to pray for our own attitudes before we pass blame to our family.
Here are a few verses that encourage me. Please comment with any you would like to add to the list:
“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” – Jeremiah 32:27
“I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” – Psalm 16:8
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” – Proverbs 16:3
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” – Proverbs 22:6