I’m a mom with two young children. My son is three, and my daughter is ten months old. We live in a small apartment in downtown Geneva, Switzerland.
My husband and I take care of the kids all day, every day, without any outside help. My husband is working from home most days, which helps a lot in running a family with two young kids. With that being said, the household’s workload is still a lot, as you can possibly imagine.
Many days, I stand in front of piles of laundry, warning Caleb not to touch the folded clothes one more time while making sure with the corner of my eye that Esther is not crawling to the toilet again. And the coffee on the table has long gone cold.
However, Some days, I feel I’m on top of my game, energized, purposeful, and peaceful. My kids also are happier and behave better on those days.
The scientists said that the lower the stress and the greater the inner peace, the better mental and physical health. Who doesn’t want that?
What do I do differently on those better days? Here are some game-changer tips I found as I learn to seek the promised abundance in Christ and own my every day. I’m delighted to share them with you and hope you will greatly benefit from them.
- Make a weekly plan with the family
Allie Casazza inspired me of this idea in her Purpose Show Podcast.
Last Sunday evening, my husband and I sit down and worked out a detailed schedule, meal plan, and grocery shipping list for the whole week ahead, including our work and exercise goals. We spent about one hour talking through the expectations and put the actions into our schedule. We printed them out and stuck them on the whiteboard in the entry for the convenience to look at throughout the week.
And guess what? Although it is the first week for our son to go to preschool, and we were expecting some hard transitions, but thanks to the weekly plan we made together, the week has been so smooth and productive so far!
When my kids are older, I’d like to include them in the weekly family planning process every Sunday. I want to listen to their exceptions and hopes for the coming week and make plans accordingly.
Making a weekly plan with my family clarifies my husband’s and my expectations and simplifies our communication. It gives me a sense of order and great peace.
- Start the day the evening before
In his book Life Without Lack, Dallas Willard taught me that planning a day with Jesus should start in the evening before. He wrote:
“The biblical day begins at sundown—the early evening, we might call it. It is the end that is also the beginning.” Willard, Dallas. Life Without Lack, (p. 198). Thomas Nelson.
This advice is also essential for planning a soul-renewing, purposeful day. Many people like to talk about their morning routines. I also wrote a post about mine before. However, an effective morning routine has to start from the evening back. You can set your alarm at 5:45, but if you didn’t have a night of sufficient sleep, you would most-likely feel foggy in the early, especially if you are a mom with young children and need to more or less tend the kids during the night. How do I know it? I’ve been there, and still in the same boat!
Apart from setting a timer and going to bed early at the same time, it’s also crucial that you take a moment and listen to your soul before you go to bed. Are you in peace with your spouse and kids? If you need to do something to make it right, whether it’s giving that apology you’ve been holding back or clarifying some misunderstandings, do it! You will sleep so much better and sweeter afterward.
- Take pauses
As a parent, from the moment I open my eyes in the morning, many tasks are waiting—getting Caleb to the potty, changing Esther’s diaper, preparing for breakfast (my husband usually does that, thank God!), etc.
I read about how we spend the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. I also read about the candle-lit, coffee brewing, quiet reading, or writing kind of morning from others. However, that kind of experience is not possible for our current season of life and living situation.
Though I don’t have an office or patio for a beautiful morning routine, I still intentionally carve out time for prayer and scripture reading most mornings. I would play a cartoon for my son so that I could catch some time in the bedroom. Nowadays, it’s after Caleb goes to preschool.
I take that morning pause for my thoughts to realign with God’s and receive his comfort and perspective on things. It has been an anchor for my soul.
However, if I don’t get a pause one morning for some reason ( like going to the early doctor appointment), or I’d like to have a longer one, I can always get another one or two later. It’s easy to arrange a 5 to 10 minutes pause throughout the day. In those quiet moments, I don’t need anything fancy (even though a cup of tea or coffee would be a plus), I just need to take some deep breaths, maybe share with God my feelings, and listen. I always feel refreshed and less stressed afterward.
- Go to nature
The other morning, I took my kids to the lakeside to play. There weren’t many people at the beach, and the sailboats-dotted sapphire lake backdropped with the Alps from afar looked so calming. While Esther was sleeping in her stroller, Caleb and I took off the shoes and stepped into the water to wet our feet. The water was cold and refreshing on that summer morning.
I didn’t get a pause earlier that morning. It had been rushing and frantic with baby’s crying and toddler’s tantrum until we went to the lake. Immersing my feet in the water and watching my son happily playing with sand, I filled my lunge and soul with fresh air and new perspective.
Nature, a gift from a generous God, has a unique calming effect on our soul. Its grandeur and beauty remind us that most causes of anxiety in life are so trivial.
Therefore, go to the park, the lake, the beach, the forest, the mountain, and the garden, wherever you could find nature. Your soul needs the vitamins it has to offer.
Dear reader, I hope these tips serve you well and make your day a little better. Which one resonates with you the most? What are your tips for renewing the soul? Please comment below!
PS: Thank you so much for those who shared with me a little about yourself from my last blog post! Thank you for including me in a small part of your life! I want to get to know more of you to do my job better in the future, to serve you, my reader. If you haven’t sent me a message about yourself, please go here. 🙂