Peace in the Chaos This Christmas
I don’t know about any of you, but quite honestly, my life is pretty chaotic right now. I have 4 kids ages 9, 7, almost 4, and almost 2. They are…BUSY! I mean like can I get a break to go to the bathroom busy, and sometimes it just gets plain overwhelming! Anybody else out there going through the same thing? I love the holidays, but sometimes it’s a major struggle to combine my ideas for a great holiday season and reality. Sometimes, it’s frankly impossible. So, how can you have peace in the chaos this Christmas? Here’s some ideas from a fellow mom in the trenches.
First off, maybe it’s time to simplify.
It’s easy for adults to want to plan these super elaborate holidays, and many times the kids’ abilities and desires get left in the dust, leaving EVERYONE exhausted and irritated. Like for example, last year I have an 8, 5, 2, and almost 1 year old, and I decided it was a great time to make and decorate a gingerbread house together for the first time. I can’t begin to describe to you how completely insane that was and how I lost my temper a total of 41 times in the 2 hours it took to do it. (Maybe it was 45 times, but who’s counting, right?) Anyway, to put it bluntly, it was stupid. (Yeah, I tell my kids not to say that word, too, so don’t tell them 🙂 But in spite of all that, my kids want to build gingerbread houses again this year! And I said YES. But I gotta tell you, I am doing it wayyyyy different. I’m getting them each their own stuff and their own house (I read that graham crackers make perfect houses.) and guess what? With just a little guidance, they get to do their own. Yes, I bet it will be a bit messy but infinitely better than our attempt last year. After all, the goal is fun, lifelong memories, not the perfect gingerbread house.
Yes, as parents we should already probably get this, but even me, a mom of 4, invariably forgets water and snacks on a car trip. Why? I don’t know, but I do know when I plan ahead the trips go SO much smoother. So, this year when it’s time for the Christmas lights drive, I’m packing snacks and water and maybe puzzle books and . . . well, you get the idea.
Give them grace (and yourself).
Oh, this could be a whole entire book by itself. But grace will go SO FAR with everyone (including you). What happens with me is I get stressed over something little, which then causes me to be snappy and then the kids get snappy and irritated back which in turn causes me to get really angry and then I make a real patooty out of myself which in turn causes me immense guilt and depression. Crazy, vicious cycle. Anyone else relate? What I should have done in the beginning was de-escalate the situation. Got a kid starting to fuss while we’re decorating? Get a snack and maybe a book. Count to 500 before I respond when someone whines and then calmly explain why they can’t drink 5 cups of hot chocolate. I read somewhere that you shouldn’t get down and roll in the mud with them. Exactly! But it’s super easy to do. Why? Probably because we ALL (yep even us “mature” adults) like to be in CONTROL. I have a feeling God doesn’t appreciate our behavior any more that I appreciate my kids’ sometimes.
And finally, let’s focus on the real reason for this holiday season. Is it about the perfect gathering, event, or present, or is it about the perfect gift of the baby Jesus and true eternal salvation? Let’s ask ourselves this and discover if we can truly find peace in the chaos this Christmas.
Jenny is a wife to her amazing husband of 17 years and stay-at-home momma to 4 kids. She blogs at https://www.inconvenientfamily.com where she is learning that blessings aren’t always convenient.