We have had a lot of change in our household lately.
School ending, a new baby, new sports, summer hours, trips, visitors, ect.
All of the changes have been good or necessary, and have brought with them the fun lazy days of summer. No schedule, lots of playing, going to bed late, and lots of freedom for the kids.
It has been nice to just chill this summer, but I can tell that the lack of schedule and structure is finally taking a toll.
I learned once in a child development class that even though children tend to fight against rules, structure and being told what to do, they actually crave it deep down, and need to know that someone is in control and can help them feel in control and structured too. (in moderation)
The past few weeks a feeling of unsettling and mild chaos has entered our home. Tantrums have begun one after another, complaining has turned into a constant, friends and kids have been in and out and everywhere at all hours of the day/evening, early bedtime has become a thing of the past, and the grumpies have invaded my children. Not good. Even though they are having a lot of fun, deep inside I can tell they are feeling out of control and unsettled. So am I.
Last night, as I was venting to Ben, totally worn out an frustrated with feeling like a maid, chef, and referee running in circles all day, instead of a mother, I said a silent prayer for inspiration. And it came...in the form of a question from Ben.
Ben asked me to break it down to each individual child and figure out how each child is acting up, and what may be causing it. What needs may not be being met in each child to cause the negative attitudes.
As we did this, the inspiration began to flow. The Lord was blessing me as a mother who needed His help.
We came up with this.
Mary needs structure, schedule, physical touch, one on one time, and something active to do.
Sam needs lots of attention and one on one time. He needs us to play with him.
William needs a little more discipline and consequences for his good and bad actions. He needs to learn his boundaries.
Luke just needs lots of bottles and love.
After realizing these simple but extremely important needs of my children, I felt very strongly that it was time to make a schedule that would meet the needs of each kid, but that we could all follow.
So, at 12:30am, I let the Lord be my guide as I broke the day down into chunks of time. Time for just being home and together, quiet time, friend time, time to get jobs done, meal times..together as a family, free time, play with mom time, and so on.
The schedule is literally broken down by hours and it covers the entire day from waking up to bed time.
I am not running an army here, and there are a few big chunks of free time for everyone, including me, but we know when that time will be now. It is also flexible and will have to be altered when we have company, go on trips, or have things come up. It is more of an overall schedule to follow and something to work from.
I also received inspiration particular to me, as a mother. I felt that these feelings I had about the needs of my children are extremely important. Their childhood is flying by, but I don't want it to pass me by. Sometimes the thought of doing so much can feel so exhausting and overwhelming, and it is so much easier to turn on the TV than to play a game with my kids, but the reality is that I am their mother, and they need me. They need me to play with them, to teach them, and to be with them. This is my most important calling right now, and it needs to be my top priority. It will be a small window in time that I can be the main influence in the lives of my children, and I need to utilize it to the max.
I felt that if I will pray each day and night for the energy, strength, willingness and time to fulfill the needs of my children and to play with them, it will be given to me.
I make sure to take time for myself each day, but I also felt that aside from this, right now, time with my family and children is what is going to really count. A family that plays together, stays together.
And so, there may be a little less friend time, a little less me time, a little less focus on outside influences, but I feel that it will bring in more love, more bonding, more feelings of belonging, more chances to teach, and more family togetherness. And I know it will help meet the needs of my children at this point in their lives.
There has been change, but with the help of the Lord, I will be able to mold into it, and make the changes necessary to create more of a constant in our lives.