Some days, it’s easy to living peacefully, without losing patience or becoming frustrated or having little things annoy me.
Other days… like when I’ve had three hours sleep, or someone spreads their poo all over the toilet floor because they are “helping” clean it up… it’s a bit harder.
Over the years, I’ve discovered a distinct pattern with my inner peace. The days on which I’m most calm are the days that I have done certain things differently.
Let me share these things with you.
Hands-down, if you want to struggle during the day, just go to bed later. If however, you want to live more calmly and enjoy your day more, get thee to bed on time! Work out exactly how much sleep you need and make it happen!
I know, I know. It’s hard with kids. I have five of them. Two of them wake frequently at night. My 17 month old kept me up till 3:30 on Friday morning and I still had to get up at 6:30 to live life.
Hopefully that kind of scenario is unusual for you too and if you know how much sleep you need and you GET THAT SLEEP, you’ll find it a lot easier to survive the day. And not just survive.
You might actually find yourself thriving! On top of the world. Ready to kick butt. Or do craft.
Shortly after welcoming my first baby, I had an appointment to have her hips checked and I was 20 minutes late. I am – perhaps a little by nature, but more through habit – a punctual person, so I was incredibly frustrated with myself. I had failed to account for how much longer it would take to get ready with a baby, and I had neglected to alter my expectations and my habits.
Similarly, it took me a long time to adjust my expectations of a clean home. I used to love cleaning the house in one hit and then sitting back to bask in the peace of it. Since having children, I’ve had to change my habits so that I clean only small sections of the house each day (for example, one room completely or one task for the whole house, such as dusting).
It was difficult at first to get my head around this change, but there wasn’t any other choice and so I formed new habits for cleaning and adjusted my expectations so that I could be happy with the way it was and not frustrated about what simply couldn’t be.
Often we find that when we welcome children into our family, we don’t actually make the necessary changes of habit to accommodate a smooth transition. The passage to parenthood can be rough, at least in part, and if we don’t properly prepare mentally for the change, it can be a really arduous uphill battle against our former lives and expectations.
Adjusting expectations and creating new habits for your life and home are some of the topics we cover in Simple Life, Peaceful Home. You can find out more about that HERE.
3. Quiet Time
Every day, I try to get up at least an hour before the kids so that I can spend some quiet time alone. It’s incredibly important to spend some time by yourself before the day hits you like a tonne of bricks. I usually spend 10-15 minutes in prayer and then do a short workout before sitting down to get some work done. An hour is really ideal, but even 15 minutes to shower and have a cup of tea will help immensely.
On the days when I don’t get that morning quiet time, I struggle a lot more to gain or maintain a peaceful outlook. Once all the kids are awake and life is happening, it’s really difficult to try and carve that time out again, so it’s best to try and do it before everyone else is up.
Another period of quiet time that I find incredibly important is the afternoon hour (usually between 2 and 3) when all kids are either sleeping (the little ones) or spending time playing quiet games or reading. This is crucial!
For a while there, after my eldest grew out of her day sleep, I didn’t implement quiet time and it made life really tough. There was no down-time for me or her and the evening routine was just an uphill battle.
Now, I’m committed to our quiet time and the kids enjoy it too. They know that after quiet time, they can go outside and play or have a swim or ride their bikes or bake or make noise… whatever. But it pays to have them (and you!) in a resting state for an hour to help everyone regain composure and peace.
Do you struggle with getting your kids to have quiet time?
I’ve created a Quiet Time Chart for our Simple Life, Peaceful Home mums, but I’m going to share it with you too. I use this mainly for the little ones now, as the big kids are pretty good at quiet time. I use this chart for a month – each day that they have great quiet time (appropriate resting behaviour for an hour), they get a tick and if they get all their ticks in a week, we do something special, like walk to the park or have a friend over for a play.
What is your secret to being a more peaceful parent? Do you struggle with any of the things from my list? Tell me what you’re going to work on this week!