Finding your inner calm

Contributor Amida writes for Journey Into Unschooling.

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After almost a decade of use, we finally chucked our old phones and upgraded to a new cordless set. It is nothing exceptional save for one new feature: the intercom. We live in a two story house and had spent many a time yelling up and down the stairs to whomever is on the other level.

Now, with this new phone, I jokingly remind the kids that, rather than screaming for someone to turn on the printer or come to dinner or what have you, they ought to find their “intercom” and speak calmly and in a more tolerable volume.

The funny thing is this little joke has leaked into other areas of our lives and has become a sort of motto: don’t stress, find your inner calm.

I am constantly reminded of the need to find my “intercom”, especially on those days when it seems the world is falling apart.

You know the ones: you’re late getting your kids to class and they can’t find their uniform/homework/socks. Or a tornado has somehow ended up passing through your youngest child’s room — again. Or your baby drops a banana on the floor and the dog gulps it down… only to throw it all up later. All this while you’re trying to remember how to do a basic geometry proof, review spelling rules, and decipher your six-year-old’s latest journal entry without insulting her attempt. And let’s not forget that the soy milk turned to curdle in your coffee that morning and catapulted you into the realm of Bad Day.

At some point in this scenario, I lose it and yell at the dog to stop barking and everyone else to just SHUSH for a minute. I mean really, can’t they see I’m just an ordinary mom without the super powers?

I didn’t even get to enjoy a decent cup of joe yet! After an especially trying moment (and ok, maybe I screamed just a little), my children, amused at this wreck of a mother, reminded me to stop stressing and to find my inner calm.

And you know what? It worked. I took my moment and put everything on pause. I stopped trying to do everything at once and tackled one thing at a time (barf first). The kids worked on something else until I had time to help them. One occupied the dog. One switched to a different subject. And the other just continued to happily fill pages with words she has learned.

Photo by kajsa

We all have these moments of frazzled chaos. It just comes with the territory of homeschooling/parenting.

The kids are going to do different things at different paces and sometimes, it just happens they all need something at the same time and you feel like a failure for not being able to be everywhere at once and wonder why you ever signed up for this gig in the first place.

It’s good to know that the kids — demanding though they may be — can actually be quite patient and forgiving (they are more than happy to forgo the spelling and play with the dog while mom de-stresses). We can always pause and take a breather.

It’s reassuring to know that right at that moment before the breaking point, I can look over to the mantel, where the phone is, and quietly remind myself to dial intercom. As for the curdled milk in coffee? I’m still searching for the answer…

How do you find your inner calm?

About Amida

Amida is the mom to three darn kids. She used to stress about state standards and test scores but has since come to her senses and enjoys blogging about her family's journey into unschooling.

Comments

  1. this was one of those days where I needed to read this!! (coffee catastrophe and all!) As the adult, our kids’ responses to stress are based off of how they see US react in a given situation (*gulp*) and being able to find my Peace in the midst of chaos is as much for my benefit as it is a teachable moment for them. Thanks…needed this great reminder!
    Kelsi’s latest post: First Bites :: A Review and Giveaway

  2. The other day I had to go in my room. “Mommy time out!” :-) Sometimes I just need to walk away and get calm…then face each situation one by one.

    It’s easier for me to see them as individual situations with individual (and often quick) solutions if I step away first. Other wise it just seems like one big unbearable catastrophe!
    Johanna @ My Home Tableau’s latest post: The Courage to Be You

  3. Tea. I can’t live without a cup in the morning and right after lunch. It centers me for some reason.

    If I’m having a bad DAY, I have to seek out solitude, usually sitting in our bedroom with the door closed and a good book.

    I learned about my own needs for isolation while teaching my son some techniques about calming down. Funny how that works :)
    Angela’s latest post: Big Questions from a Six-Year-Old.

  4. Yesterday was one of those days that I needed to find my inner calm. From the word “go” I didn’t have my coffee at all! We were slap out!
    Then, in talking with the cable company, I still wasn’t satisfied. That put me on edge with the kids and I was very quick to snap. It took me all.day. to calm down.
    Thank you for this post!
    Kela’s latest post: Deeper Than the Surface

  5. I appreciate posts like this because they’re so real and relatable … but offer hope! :-) Yes, we all have moments like this — probably on a daily basis. For me, the best way to find my intercom is just to pause (even physically, sometimes), draw a conscious breath, and whisper a quick prayer. Sometimes it’s as simple as “Lord Jesus,” sometimes it’s “Thank You for right now,” or the like. It puts the brakes on the feeling of being caught up in the chaos around me.

    Of course, there’s always trips to the fridge for my secret stash of dark chocolate as well. Doesn’t every homeschooling mom need one? :-)
    Hannah’s latest post: Fall Break Week

  6. I had one of those days yesterday and wrote about a few things I did to try to regain my equilibrium here: http://comewearymoms.blogspot.com/2012/10/melancholy.html

    Definitely locking my bedroom door helped! So did talking to a friend.

    ~~ Virginia

  7. My favorite way to calm down and re-center myself is to sniff some essential oils! I’ll either just grab a bottle, stand in a corner, take deep breaths and tell remind myself why I need to be calm, or if I’m on top of things, I like to have some diffusing in my main living area to hopefully avoid the crazies. It works like a charm! My current favs are doTERRA’s Serenity, Citrus Bliss, or Elevation blends. Or just straight up lavender!

  8. Thanks for this post! I feel like this has described most of my days since beginning our homeschooling journey in August…trying to homeschool a 3rd and 1st grader while having a super active 2 year old little boy in the mix is…um…very HARD! Hoping it gets just a little bit easier as he gets older… ;)

  9. I so needed to read this today! I had one of those couldn’t find my coffee until it was cold, trying to explain division and why we have to show our work to my nine year old while my tow year old “cleared the table” and erased all of the work I had wrote on our board. Plus sky high dishes and the back door was jammed shut..UGH! When I tried to take a breather and ushered my ine year old out to play, he came rushing back in with a “can’t find Fluffy” (his beloved chicken)and so went the hunt outside..no sign of Fluffy still :( I really felt alone in all this craziness, so it was so good to hear that I’m not the only one sneeking chocolate chips when the kids have their backs turned!! My mantra today..”Just breath”

  10. These reminders are always SO timely for me! I am forced to take a break almost every day, when my youngest and worst sleeper requires a nap. Since he refuses to nap alone, and I refuse to do what it takes to “teach” him to nap alone, I am forced to take a one hour respite from it all, as I lay on the bed and doze with my littlest one. It is a good break in the day, and a good way to spend a few calm moments with my little one. :)
    Debbye’s latest post: 7 Tips to Survive a Disney World Vacation with Babies and Toddlers

  11. If I’m able, I take a walk. Otherwise, I walk outside and take deep breaths enjoying the fresh air. Another great relaxation for me is taking a shower and imagining that the water is washing away my anxiety.

  12. Would you believe, I’m sitting here watching the kids eat dinner, with headphones playing pandora in my ears, trying to take a breather. It was a terrible hour. Um, I took out the fire extinguisher because so many other things had gone wrong, I figured a fire was next.

  13. My kids remind me, “Apron over your head! Apron over your head!” (like Susanna Wesley), and as ridiculous as it is, I go find my cute Pier1 apron, put it over my head, and murmur a prayer. It actually helps! If I need longer, I tend to send them to the other room to calm down while I calm down.
    CharityHawkins@TheHomeschoolExperiment.com‘s latest post: Family Song: Ten Commandments Song

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