As parents of the 21 Century, Busy gets all up in our business. Like a nosy great-aunt.
Slipping into survival mode is what saves us stout-hearted parents. We are smart that way.
What sends one family into survival mode might seem to another like a walk in the park. With a preschool class. Over nap time. While being chased by vipers.
We all have different capacities.
It might be mom traveling out of town, dad working over-time, moving, illness, or adjusting to a new baby that sucks us into the cray-cray vortex. As a mom of many, I’ve been weathering Super Busy Seasons for a few years now.
Here are a few of my favorite tips.
From slightly-stressed-out me to slightly-stressed-out you:
1. Toss out guilt-free No’s to your kids.
We are not being jerks; we are not crushing their souls. During this time, we say no to extras.
No, you can’t have friends over.
No, we aren’t going to that birthday party.
No, I cannot make butterfly fairy ninjas out of jello and starbursts for your special snack tomorrow.
Nope, can’t happen.
This No is temporary. We won’t let it make us feel like horrible parents. We are actually rather amazing.
2. Keep rhythm.
Lots may be in limbo during Survival Seasons, but a few steady rhythms can do our kids a world of good. Especially those who crave structure.
We stick to our bedtimes. We eat pizza every single Sunday. We keep our Scripture reading tempo. We do our daily chores.
And we talk about the things that stay the same because kids tend to notice the changes before they notice the routines.
(For fantastic ideas on How to Help Your Kids in Times of Transition, check out this blog post by Kate Motaung.)
3. Be nice to yourself.
Survival tactics are short-lived. They are not our best stuff.
The clutter, the impatience, the intolerance, the half-heartedness, they don’t tell the whole story.
We won’t let the 300 fast food wrappers in the trash can talk crap to us.
Some of the kindest words for my soul in Survival Season were spoken by a wise pastor:
“Do the best you can under the circumstances.” -Larry Osborne
This is not our finest hour. This is temporary. We have fabulous stuff inside that is saving itself for Sane Season.
4. Teach the kids about seasons.
A lot of us are well into adulthood before the idea of intervals clicks for us. Things come and then they go, bringing different flavors with them.
Teaching our kids about seasons isn’t as complicated as it may sound.
In Ecclesiastes, the wise man writes that there is a time and place for everything. Even preschool kids understand that recess time ends and lunch time begins. They can understand fall and winter and spring. Older kids can take notice of friendships coming and going and their own personal interests that ebb and flow. Like band. And origami. And magic tricks. And gel pens. And the half-finished club house. And, and, and.
Things come and then they fade and hard times don’t stay forever. Our kids need hope for life beyond the immediate stress. We can cast vision for the better intervals ahead.
Super Busy Seasons are a bear.
Let’s do the best we can under the circumstances.
Let’s teach those powerful kids some survival skills.
And then we will H O P E.
Better days are almost here.
Here is another one you might like: >>> 4 Ways to get Scripture into Your Busy Life