“Mom, I’m not going to do my jobs this morning!”
“I don’t want to brush my teeth!”
“[Insert child’s name], I have told you FOUR times to pick up those toys before school starts!”
Surely I am not the only homeschooling mother that has the occasional bad morning.
Oh, you know the kind. Where children are disobedient, Mama didn’t sleep enough, and screaming begins before 8 am.
Actually, maybe you don’t have those kinds of mornings, but boy, we have a lot of them here at the Hill House, it seems.
I’m not sure if it’s the age of my children, or the fact that there are a few strong-willed ones in the crowd, but whatever the case, we have a lot of mornings where I’m starting out our day feeling very overwhelmed. And weary.
Over the past few weeks and months, these types of mornings almost seem to be our norm. I wish it wasn’t so, but that’s our real life here.
I keep thinking, This too shall pass, this too shall pass.
But it doesn’t seem to be passing very quickly.
Because this seems to be a pattern, it’s up to me as the mama to figure out how to redeem these days. A day that starts out so poorly must be turned around.
For whatever reason, the Lord has seen fit to give me lots of practice in this turning around of our day.
Even if the day starts out rotten, here are some things I do to help point us in a different direction.
You can watch the video here:
Get to the Heart of the Matter
Assuming that I’ve still got my cool, I get to the heart of the matter.
What’s the reason for the bad behavior? Is the child hungry? Extra tired? Grumpy and didn’t sleep well? Just in a bad mood?
I help my young one figure out what the real reason is for their disobedience or acting out and help them get it under control.
Maybe they need to listen to CD’s on their bed alone for a few minutes or maybe they need to sit with me on the couch and cuddle for awhile.
We figure out the root issue and then address it.
Apologies All Around
After figuring out the heart/root issue, there are apologies all around.
Now, I do have a couple of children that find it excruciating to apologize so this part can take awhile. Being able to admit you’re wrong and apologize to someone else for offending them is a life skill that must be learned. So even if their apology takes awhile, we wait until it’s said.
There are definitely days where I yell and don’t have good control over my mouth and my attitude. We all struggle in different areas, and my mouth and attitude are two biggies for me.
On those days where I fail, I apologize to my children.
I look them dead in the eyes and tell them I’m sorry for losing control.
Are they quick to forgive me?
Oh always. Their little arms around my neck is just a soothing balm to my soul.
Once there are apologies for the offended parties, we can start to heal and move on from our Morning Mess.
Step Out on the Porch
Many days when the day hasn’t started well and my buttons are pushed, I step out on the front porch for a change in perspective and some fresh air.
I tell the kids where I’m going (they can easily see me through the front windows!) and instruct them to stay inside and let me have a few moments alone.
Looking up at God’s sky, praying for His help, and feeling the fresh air for a few minutes is usually enough to help me get myself together.
You’d be surprised at what 5 minutes of morning air can do!
Ditch Our Plans and Do Something Else
Some days are more recoverable than others. Because I’ve had so much experience lately (ahem), I can usually tell when our day is not going to get back on track.
When that happens, I pull out a good book and we all sit down on the couch to read together.
Or we walk around the block together.
Sometimes we need a bit of time to be alone and go our separate ways for an hour or so. The big kids read their own books and the younger ones play quietly in their room or listen to audio books.
Start My Day with Prayer and Bible Study
If I have any chance at all in getting through this season of life where we have tough mornings, I have to start my day with the Lord.
I have never been as consistent with getting up in the morning to read God’s Word as I am now.
Believe me, I don’t say that as a brag – it’s not of my own doing! I asked God to make me miserable if I was laying in bed past 5:30 and He has been so faithful to do it!
Whether I have to go to the bathroom or I’m just hot and uncomfortable, He’s gotten me up to have a Quiet Time with Him.
For over 18 months, I had a very consistent Quiet Time in the afternoons, but I clearly felt that it had to be moved to the mornings.
The mornings are when my mind is most awake and crystal clear, and I want to give God the best part of me.
Also, I want to pray over my day before it even starts. I want to pray over my attitude and my mouth (which so often gets me in trouble) and ask God to guide my thoughts and actions.
Praying over our day before the sun comes up has not made our mornings run smoother, sadly. But it has changed how I react to and deal with these mornings that go awry.
Oh I still get it wrong and yell some days (like today, in fact), but my ability to reign in my tongue is considerably better and I know it’s because I’m giving the Lord the best of my day and praying over our household.
Y’all, this life of being a homeschool mama is not an easy road, nor is it for the faint of heart!