I never thought of myself as being an anxious person, or a stressed-out person. However, after having three kids, especially since my middle child has autism, it’s definitely something I struggle with from time to time. In this post here I talk about how God set me free from anxiety, but I still need to practice that freedom. In this post I’m going to share a few techniques I’ve found that help when my kids make me feel like I’m losing my mind.
#1 Start your day with a quiet time
In this post here I talk about how a daily morning devotional time changed my life. I was not a morning person, but now I’ve discovered that handling the stress of parenting three small kids, one with autism, plus my weak attempts to keep the house clean, plus my side hustles is only doable if I spend time with God in the morning before the kids wake up. It’s my only time during the day where no one needs me. After my kids are in bed, my husband needs me. My body has totally adjusted to this and it’s necessary for me to remain healthy.
There are a few things that I know have potential to stress me out. Being aware of these helps me to either do what I can to prevent them from happening, or to be conscious of what’s going on while they are happening, and do what I need to to defuse the situation.
One of my triggers is being late, undoubtedly caused by events in my childhood as I am not generally a perfectionist or an organized person. The way that I handle this is by giving myself more than enough time to get myself and the kids ready, and to take deep breaths and manage my vocal stress if we’re getting close to the deadline.
#3 Utilize mommy time outs
This doesn’t even happen every day, but sometimes when a bunch of things happen at once that threaten to undo my sanity I’ll lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes. Of course, my kids hate it, and my oldest will make me cards trying to make me feel better, but you need to do what you have to to be a good mommy.
If you don’t like worship music, you can listen to classical or instrumental to calm you, although what worshiping God does for your spirit is irreplaceable. Some worship artists I recommend are Jesus Culture, United Pursuit, Misty Edwards, Cory Asbury, and Elevation Worship Band. I recommend you have it on as close to constantly as possible. It makes a difference.
This is not as extreme as a mommy time out and should happen more frequently. As soon as you discern that things are starting to push you over the anxiety edge, you should pause to pray, no matter what you’re doing. Ask for God’s peace. Thank and worship Him. Focus on His face or the cross. Refocus your energy. Disrupt the build-up of negative emotion. Do this frequently. You may need these meditation moments several times a day. Making them a habit will save you and your family.
#6 Ditch the detailed planner
This might not work for everyone. I used to plan my days down to the minute. It did help me to be really productive, which makes me happy, but I found that I started stressing about meeting my time goals, which really weren’t that important. So what I do now instead on days when I need to get a lot done is write down my goals. I’ve found that I still get the important stuff done, and I don’t get anxious about the things that don’t matter.
I’m on a journey to find peace in the midst of the chaos in my home. People always tell me, “of course you’re going to be stressed out! Look what you’re managing at home!” That’s not good enough for me. I’ve found things that work for me (WHEN I PRACTICE THEM), and I like to share with other moms that struggle with the same thing. I believe God wants us to be at peace even in the middle of the storm, and that He’s given us tools to help. I’m creating a free seven day email prayer and Bible reading devotional for those looking to find “peace in the chaos.” If you want to receive it when it comes out, click the button below.