How Do I “Keep Calm and Carry On”?

Kathy, Lura, Stephanie and all you other wonderful mothers out there:  How do I “keep calm and carry on?”  Wow, that is the question, isn’t it?  Many of us realize after some time in parenting and in homeschooling that we actually are the ones who set the tone for our families.  However,  it can be a “whole ‘nother ball of wax” trying to figure out the steps to take to do this consistently and effectively.

What you are looking for is to cultivate a really peaceful energy of quiet joy in homemaking, parenting and in life.  I do think some of this comes just with time and experience.  I know that for myself as a third-time mother I am much quicker to set boundaries in a calm manner and follow through in a patient way.  It is always my goal to cultivate that same sort of interest in challenging parenting situations as I see in picking up a piece of lint off the floor.  Ho0hum, ho-hum, ho-hum.  I really think any parent who has a child of any age can do this though.  It really is just a commitment to practice, just like practicing anything else you have learned in your years of living.  Practice, and don’t give up!

I don’t think the goal is to be a “valium mother” where you are not authentic or real, but I think over time you learn to save your big reactions for the big things and you hopefully have perspective from knowing development of the holistic human being in body, soul and spirit.  That is what this blog is all about!

I am an Episcopalian, and one analogy often used to describe the basis of this religion is “the three-legged stool”of Scripture, Tradition and Reason. I would like to borrow that analogy for a moment.  See if you can picture a simple, wooden three-legged stool in your mind’s eye.   Do you have it?   On the seat of the stool is the word “Calm” or the phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On”.  On each leg of the stool  the following words are written:   “RHYTHM”  “THOUGHTS/WORDS” and “TIME”.  Let me explain each leg:

1.  The first leg of this stool is RHYTHM.  We all want peace in our homes.  Well, the opposite of peace is CHAOS.  If you would like to tame your chaos, then you need a rhythm to your day.

A rhythm is not a “schedule by hour”, but it is a flow and an order.  I have many back posts on this blog about establishing rhythm.  Rhythm  is the best and most important place to start in establishing peace and authority (remember, not mean and nasty dictator authority but loving authority!)  in your home.  Start around awake times, meal times, nap times and bed times.  This includes a reasonable bed time and awake time for yourself. 

Once this is established, then move into more of the details:  outside time, time to have a practical activity that you focus on each day of the week, inside play, time for singing, maybe adding in a time to tell a story.  Time for in-breath and time for out-breath. 

Rhythm also goes along with the festivals of the year, so you have to spend some time with your journal, a piece of paper, your significant other and think about what festivals your family will celebrate and why that resonates with your family and how you will celebrate.  Then you can move into planning for those and working those things into the DOING with small children at home.  The doing becomes pieces you can fill in for the practical work of your daily rhythm – baking, crafting, creating.

Rhythm also needs to include when you will do your housework.  Again, there are many back posts about this subject on this blog.  I personally like www.flylady.net for mothers trying to tame their homes.  I like Flylady because I think her plan is actually “do-able” with small children because it tends to work in small chunks of time, it asks you to start where you are, and it works in baby steps.  Many mothers I personally know have found success with the Flylady system, including myself.  Smile

2.  The second leg to this three-legged stool is “THOUGHTS/WORDS”.  Change your thoughts, change your words, change your life.

Change your perception of anger:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/22/the-battlefield-of-the-mind-anger-and-parenting/

Change your attitude:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/06/17/the-power-of-being-a-positive-mother/

Be kind in your home:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/03/kindness-in-your-home/

Change the words you use with your children:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/05/23/changing-our-parenting-language/

Set boundaries in a loving way, referred to on this blog as “holding the space” and “being the rock”.  Here is my favorite post on that subject:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/12/02/re-claiming-authority-part-one/

3.  The third leg to this three-legged stool is “TIME”.  If you know what your values and priorities are because you made a Family Mission Statement, are you using your time in a way that reflects that?  Or are you wasting a lot of time wandering in circles feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start?  Go back to rhythm!  Plan your week out on a piece of paper!  Start somewhere!

Are you wasting time on the computer?  I find for many mothers the biggest time waster is not TV or even the phone, but the computer.  Many mothers, especially mothers of small children, seem to spending an awful lot of time looking at blogs of so-called “perfect homes” and “perfect families” instead of spending their time planning or actually being with their families!  For the most part, I keep pictures OFF of this blog for that reason.  You should not be comparing your family to mine or to anyone else’s family, and pictures make this a really easy trap to fall into!   It is so tempting with these blogs to feel inferior and as if everyone has it all together, so why don’t we?  I guarantee that I am just a humble work in progress with real life days and so are all the mothers of those beautiful blogs.  We are all  just real human beings!

I think one of the biggest ways we can become guardians of our time and to redeem our time is to spend it in PMP.  PMP is my way of saying prayer, meditation, and planning.  If you pray over your concerns, meditate and see what that small quiet whisper tells you and plan, you will make better decisions for you and your family.  Life will flow!

Remember: rhythm, thoughts/words, time.  The keys to keeping calm and carrying on.  If you need to, tack up some reminder words or pictures on pieces of paper.  Come up with your plan for what you will do when that last boundary is crossed; how will you react and how will you de-escalate the situation when it is no longer a time for learning for anyone in the household?

These are things worth pondering during these Holy Nights.

Much love and many blessings!  You can do this this year!

Carrie

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14 thoughts on “How Do I “Keep Calm and Carry On”?

  1. Carrie, I really appreciate the time you spend to share your amazing thoughts on parent topics. Every single time you write, I am inspired and refreshed. Thank you so much. Vicki xx

  2. Hi. Just a reader via RSS who wanted to say I AM GRATEFUL FOR YOUR SITE. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for writing so coherently and thoughtfully on so many apects of Waldorf. We do not home school, nor does our two and a half year old go to a Waldorf school but we do keep a Waldorf home and lifestyle. And yes, it can be tricky keeping our world and navigating the one “out there”.

    Anyway…

    Your posts are always so helpful to me. I often print out specific ones for my husband to read and he too, finds much food for thought in your words. Just wanted to let you know.

    Tracy

    • Oh Tracy, that was so thoughtful of you to write in to me. Thank you so much for your kind words. It is parents like you that give me hope for this generation of children.
      Many, many blessings indeed,
      Carrie

  3. I love the thoughts in the post. I have been pondering rhythm and feel so stuck. a few times I have created one, or something like it, and it was working ok and then there was a major crisis and when i tried to coem back to it ti no longer worked…I remember you saying something about “high needs” babes and children namely being difficult to care for beacause of their irregularity. What is you as a parent are very irregular? I just don’;t know how to bring myself into rhythm let alone my child…then again I’m dealing with some health and mental health issues that don’t help. Still I can’t help but think rhythm and even some routine would help me even out a bit….love mroe thougths on this for the truly stuck. There come s a point qhen i’ll take sleep or foodwhenever it happens or it doesn’t happen at all…anyway long comment, great post!

  4. Thank you for this post! I will be reading and re-reading it over the coming days. I have a lot of work to do with myself. I like the idea of the stool visual with the three words written on it. I will be doing that.

  5. Carrie this post really touched me tonight. I have been following your blog for a very long time, shortly after you started, and I really wanted to thank you so much for doing this. I have learned so much from you and wouldn’t be the parent that I am today without your guiding words. Many times I have been stuck in a rut parenting and you would magically be responding to that situation in your blog that day. Thanks so much!!! God Bless!

  6. Thank you so much for writing this. I’m even going to email it to my husband because we have both been struggling so much with so many of the things you wrote about- rhythm, anger, feelings, boundaries, and so much more. I’m going to re-read this in the morning too and really think about it all. I’ve been having such a hard time lately that I’ve wondered if I’m depressed. I talked to my doctor and he recommended that I see a counselor, so I’m seeing one for the first time on Thursday. I’m a little nervous, but hoping it helps me figure out what’s going on with me.

    Anyway, thanks for your encouraging and understanding words. You always have just the right thing to help me when I need it most.

  7. thank you for sharing your time to help us mommies…I use my early morning nursing time to “hide” my online time and am weaning myself off of it during family hours. it is my vice sadly to say…<3

  8. Pingback: Days of Wonder « Old Recipe for a New World

  9. Pingback: 31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Nineteen | The Parenting Passageway

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