Ok. It’s bedtime. You know the drill. Homework is being wrapped up; teeth are being brushed; the next day’s school clothes are being chosen, lost books are being retrieved, and that last text message is being sent.
And everybody is calmly taking care of their business as you supervise from your easy chair, right? NOT!
Bedtime is chaos. Getting off to school is chaos. Doing homework and making dinner is chaos. Your life is chaos.
Sometimes it’s hard to stay patient in the middle of it all.
There are ways to manage the chaos without breaking down and screaming, which might make you feel better in the moment but is rarely a good motivator. And something you always regret.
Here are my ideas for 5 Ways for Moms to Stay Calm in the Middle of Chaos – Even if Losing It Seems Inevitable. I will use bedtime as an example to work from.
#1 – Stay aware:
Bedtime is chaotic, jam-packed, and exhausting. Every night. It’s just the nature of the beast. If you go into it remembering that it is chaotic, jam-packed, and exhausting, you will have a better chance of managing it without losing it.
Before it begins, take a minute (or more if you have it). Take a deep breath. Have a cup of tea. Whatever it will take to get your calm on, go for it.
If you enter a situation already stressed out, having just finished a work call or throwing the dishes in the dishwasher, chances are you will break much quicker than if you go calm.
#2 – Ask for help:
There are usually two grown-ups in the house at bedtime. Don’t try to do it all yourself. It’s something that we moms try to do. Everything. And it usually doesn’t end well.
Divide and conquer. Each of you takes a child. Or one person manages teeth brushing while the other helps pack up homework. Define your tasks clearly, so everyone knows and sticks to their job.
And don’t let the kids play you off each other. Remember that you are a team and that you are bigger than those little people who are trying to run all over you.
#3 – Declare if you are escalating:
I don’t know about you, but I tend to keep my frustration bottled up, allowing them to slowly build until I erupt with loud, ugly words. My kids then looked at me like I was crazy because they had no idea how the night approached me.
Let your kids know if you start to escalate. I use a 10-point scale: 1 being calm and 10 being at the edge. “Hey kids,” I say, “Mom is at a 5. Can we please calm down and get into bed.”
This lets the kids know that your frustration is mounting so that perhaps they can tweak their behaviors to prevent the eruption of Mt. Mom.
#4 – Take a deep breath:
Next time you drive by an 18-wheeler on the highway, notice what you are doing. Chances are you are holding your breath. And gripping the steering wheel very tightly. It’s tension-filled; in those few seconds, you inch past them. And your body reacts.
Next time you drive by an 18-wheeler, take a deep breath. You will immediately feel yourself relaxing, your hands unclenching. You will get by that truck without missing a beat.
Take the above action and apply it too chaotic times. Take a deep breath. Repeat as necessary. It is sure to calm you down.
#5 – Visualize what is next:
One of the best ways to get through a chaotic situation is to visualize the prize at the end of the chaos. Bedtime is no exception.
Good things wait for you on the other side when the bedtime routine is over. Time with your spouse. Another episode of “House of Cards.” A bath. Looking in on your beautiful sleeping children. YOUR BED.
As your frustration grows, picture what is on the other side. And know that if you stay calm, the chaos will probably subside quicker, and you will get to your prize.
So there are 5 Ways to Stay Calm in the Middle of Chaos – Even if Losing It Seems Inevitable.
Our lives are chaotic, jam-packed, and crazy. And chances are they aren’t going to change until your kids go off to college and you are left alone in an empty house (but that is a whole ‘nother topic).
Learning to manage the chaos with your hair and sanity intact is the best way to get through it. And you can do it. Think of all of the chaotic things you have survived already. This is just one more. You CAN DO IT.
Looking for more coping tips to get through your crazy life? I can help. Contact me now, and we can get you started down the path to living the life of your dreams.
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.