A New Year for an Easier Life
A new year is always a great time to make changes that impact ones life. New Year’s resolutions are great for goal setting but often times are difficult to maintain throughout the year especially if the goals are a little too ambitious. Life is hectic, but feeling like your head is above the water is priceless. So instead of making lofty goals this year, implement concepts to make life easier and less stressful.
We asked fellow parents to pass along some of their tips that help them keep their sanity in this busy yet wonderful season of parenthood.
Receiving extra help from a spouse or child on daily tasks can help with stress levels but taking time for oneself can help keep you grounded. “Open your day with prayer and thank God for your blessings” suggests Dawn Neeley, a mother of three and grandmother of five. She says starting her day with a thankful heart helps her keep her attitude in a place that is most positive.
Katie Gardner, a mother of two, says, “I try to wake up before the kids to do a devotion/quiet time and a workout. It sets a positive tone for the day and helps me burn off the crazy before everything hits the fan.”
Finding a time each day even if it’s ten minutes to run a mile, do some sit-ups and jumping jacks, or walk the dog, gets your body moving and makes for a more productive and healthier self, recommends Sally Montroe of Pontotoc.
Mother of five Holly Stewart says her way to an easier life is, “Having my kids help and being okay when they don’t do it the way I like. I have learned to just be happy it got done.”
Instilling organization and preparedness in children is not only beneficial now but also invaluable for them as they get older and embark on life outside of your home.
Tricia Summer says that getting her children in a good bedtime routine transformed their entire family’s wellbeing. Her children are happier since they are well rested and additional adult time makes her husband and herself more patient parents.
“Laying out my children’s clothes the night before school makes our mornings a lot less hectic” said Tupelo mother of three Patty Russell. “Also, packing lunches and having book bags sitting by the door the night before has really helped reduce the rushing.”
Rachel Ingram of Saltillo says, “Planning my family’s meals in advance proves to be healthier and helps us save money by not eating out as often.” She thinks that being organized about meals allows for everyone to eat together as a family, which she hopes her children will remember later in life just as she remembers growing up. Airlia Lotz, mother of two, says that she occasionally makes double batches of a dish or casserole putting one in the freezer so she has a meal ready to go in a pinch.
An orderly home can set the tone for a more peaceful household, however it is hard to achieve and a constant battle. Many of the moms polled insist that even if the house is a wreck, make the beds everyday so that at least something is in order. They also recommend requiring children to clean up an activity or toy before moving to the next. It makes them responsible for their portion of the household tidiness as well as to not “tornado” the house into disarray as quickly.
No one wants to wake up feeling like they are playing catch-up all day. Anna Ramsey of New Albany finds that when she goes to bed with a picked up house it helps her clarity and productivity for the next day. Even if somethings are thrown in one pile at least most of the house being orderly makes her think she has it together.
Mother of two boys Jessica Kucharchuk says, “I wake up a few minutes early every morning to have my time. Then while coffee is brewing I unload the dishwasher that ran the night before and swap the laundry. I wash one load before bed, put it in the dryer in the morning, and then fold and put it away before we leave.”
Katie Williams, a mother of four children under six, says, “I clean up during naptime. Even though after nap the toys come back out. It calms me during that time and I can rest easier or do something productive– clean a closet or read. Also at 4:30-5:00 pm we have a power clean session before dad comes home. The kids love it! I make it a game by playing music and see who is the busiest bee. Totally silly, but whatever works.”
A Few More Tips:
- Buy a handful of children’s gifts or gift cards so you don’t have to run out and buy a gift when your child is invited to a birthday party.
- Clean up as you cook so you don’t have a huge mess when the meal is ready.
- Never leave dirty dishes in the sink after a meal.
- Keep a grocery list near the fridge so you can quickly jot down when you are out of something.
- If your budget permits, hire a house cleaner to allow you to spend extra time doing something you enjoy.
- Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist
- The Best Yes: Making Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands by Lysa TerKeurst
Kathryn Rhea resides in Tupelo with her husband, Harris, and two children, Clayton and Charles. She thrives on being busy but sometimes feels like her head is just above the water.