Monday, November 15, 2010

Reclaiming a Lost Day

From the state of my living room this morning and the little amount of sleep I got last night, I have a feeling I may need this by 5 P.M. (or sooner). So, this post is as much a reminder for me as it is a help for you!

Some days things run like clockwork around here---well, as much as that is possible with four little ones and a sidetracked mama. School is done by noon, the house stays relatively straightened, meals come together easily and my husband gets home on time. Arguments among the kids are few and quickly resolved and they go to bed on time with no fuss.Okay, those things never actually happen all on the same day, but days where most of it happens are what I call good, productive days. The days where none of it happens are what I call, as I survey the 5:00 pandemonium and try to decide which fire to put out first, a lost day.

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 I know there are lots of ways to prevent lost days. I read those articles and blog posts and try to implement those things. But what happens when it's too late? When despite your best planning, the day is lost? Or worse, when you've simply messed up and you know some of the problem is your own poor planning?

Here are a few things I've tried:

Bubble baths. No, not for me, as tempting as it is--for the kids. If a child has a bad attitude and discipline isn't doing the trick, I send them to the tub and tell them to soak in there until the bad attitudes wash down the drain. They usually come out a changed child.

One thing at a time. Usually frustration stems from my trying to do too many things at once. I step back and think which activity is more important--finishing a math lesson with a discouraged child, folding the three loads of laundry on my bed or getting supper on the table. Then, I drop everything else and do that one thing. (hint: go for always helps everything else go better. )

Drop everything and rest. I'm the type of person that likes to have everything done before I sit and relax. It's hard to really relax with the laundry still in the basket or school not finished. But working through frustration or angry, fussy children is not productive. If the tension mounts too high, I might send everyone to bed to calm down and rest or we'll all pile on the couch and read a book together.

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Celebrate. My husband has usually had jobs that have him home at varying times at night. We have a general time we try to sit down and eat, but some days he calls to say it's been a rough day (he has them, too!) and he won't be home until 8:00. Those nights, we grab a snack and pull out the tablecloth, china and candles to make a "special" dinner--even if it's soup.

Make tomorrow better. Yeah, it's been rough and you feel like screaming, but it's only one day. Tomorrow is coming.Today may be lost, but you can plan and recharge and tomorrow might be one of those clockwork days. And if it isn't, just try these things again. Or come up with your own tips, and tell me about them. I'm sure I'll be able to put them to good use!

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