Embracing your wild and crazy life is no easy task. It's 7:15 AM. One child is still asleep (even though you already called her twice to get up), another is in the shower and the third just spilled orange juice all over the kitchen counter. Lunches aren't at all ready and school starts in thirty minutes... Does any of this sound familiar? Before you give up and go back to bed, try our 5 tips to keep your wild and crazy life under control.
1. Do what needs to get done now
If soccer practice is about to begin, focus on getting the water bottles, cleats and shin guards together before anything else. Kids are starving after school? Take five minutes and help them get a snack. Don't unload their backpacks or worry about the dishes in the sink. It is impossible to have everything done at once, especially if you're trying to do paid work in addition to child rearing. Even Martha Stewart probably had her messy house moments... before she had a staff to clean it for her!
2. Make mealtimes easy
One of the nicest parts of a family's day may be sitting around the dinner table together. It doesn't matter whether you are eating quick-fix vegetable soup or roast chicken with three side dishes. If you are wondering what to eat on the hurried nights between play rehearsal and volleyball, try pancakes and scrambled eggs. It's tasty, quick and even includes a protein! Another fun option now and again is "party night" -- throw a frozen pizza in the oven, a bag of lettuce in a bowl and serve ice cream for dessert. Everyone will be delighted!
3. Don't be afraid to buck tradition
Some parts of life are regulated by external forces like the time school starts, the number of hours you work per week, the bills you must pay every month, but if you like to get in your pajamas at five o'clock on occasion, go for it! If your kids want to watch "Toy Story 3" on a school night and everyone is up a little late, don't worry about it. Who says you have to do everything a certain way? Kids love to feel like they are 'breaking the rules' a little and it can be great fun to create your own unconventional rituals.
4. Have a sense of humor
Ever get dressed in the dark and show up at the kids' school with two different shoes on or realize that you gave your kid three treats in their lunch and no sandwich? Just laugh about it! Sometimes the world is too full of worry and negativity.
Instead of asking your kids about their science class or a test they had, once in a while ask them if anything funny happened at school. You'll be glad you did. Everyone likes to laugh!
5. Perfection isn't the goal
It is easy in the chaotic moments of raising children to have 'freak-out' moments, aka "mommy meltdowns." If you got mad and yelled, just let yourself cool off a bit and then go talk to your kids. It's okay to apologize and start over. Remember there is no such thing as a 'super-mom,' and no one would want to be her friend anyway!
About the author: Alicia Klepeis is a freelance writer living in upstate New York. A former middle school geography teacher, she has written for the National Geographic Society, as well as magazines including The Dollar Stretcher, Fun For Kidz, Kiki and Sprinkles. She also writes for Suite 101. Her website is www.aliciaklepeis.com.