Parenting and easy do not belong in the same sentence. But just like a laundry basket makes it easier to do laundry, some tools make parenting a little easier. Have you ever tried to pick up a big load of laundry in your arms to carry to the washer? I just did this morning. I kept dropping so many items and having to bend back down and try to keep holding the rest of the laundry while grabbing socks that kept falling out. Well, it sure would have been easier to load it all in a basket and carry the basket. Now I can’t guarantee that I can make parenting that much easier, but there are things that you can do to help.
My #1 tool is the Holy Spirit: Reading God’s word, praying and listening to the Spirit directing you is the top tool. This trumps everything. It’s also a tool that you have to pretty much use non-stop. God will lead and direct you in the activities you need to be involved in, conversations you need to have with your kids, everything.
My #2 tool is Friends: Particularly, your ‘sisterhood of spies’ friends. Let us help each other out instead of competing. Parenthood and life are not competitions to win. They are races to finish and finish well; not races where you are competing with others. Let us stop comparing ourselves among each other and, instead, compare ourselves to Christ and His word. When we do that, then we will feel freedom to help one another. Then when a friend shares about something she saw your kid doing and you really do not think they did it, thank her for telling you. Follow up with your kid and get to the bottom of it. When you tell my young kids to stop doing something they really should not be doing, I appreciate it. I had a mom apologize to me one time when she told my young children to stop doing something and I was right there. I really appreciated it. I was so worn and weary that I just was not noticing their behavior. Therefore, I thanked her, and asked her to step in like that again.
My #3 tool is Automation: Schedules, routines, deciding punishments in advance with an if/then chart can work wonders to helping you not have so much decision fatigue. At our home Thursday is bubblegum day. The kids all know this so I am not harassed all week for gum. It simplified our life and works for us. FYI—-Gum is a real treat here and I want to keep it to a minimum because of the questionable ingredients. I have one kids with a corn sensitivity and many things have cornstarch in them. Do not feel like you are a bad parent if you allow gum all the time it is just what I have to do here. Creating and following a school schedule or daily schedule for the week helps keep me from being the only one who knows what needs to be done and bossing everyone. Our schedule does that. Yes, I hate schedules, too. I like to follow them when I feel like it, which is rare, but everything runs better if we are on a schedule or routine. Setting times for snacks help prevent you from being asked all day about snacks.
My #4 tool is Laundry Days: This has been what has kept me sane with my large family. I do not have one day for laundry but rather certain types of laundry are done on certain days. Then, I just put the dirty laundry out of mind until its day. All clothes are washed in groups of two people so those that share closets will have all their laundry together. This also allowed me to use free and clear detergent for little ones that need that while having my nice smelling detergent for my clothes. Monday is for my girl’s laundry. Tuesday is for towels. Wednesday is for boy’s laundry. Thursday is for sheets. Friday is for my husband’s laundry and mine. Saturday is open for anyone that needs to do extra laundry, towels or whatever. Sunday is either my sheets or no laundry. My kids do their own laundry. I run the girls through the machine but they fold and put away. I just never liked mixing laundry together and hunting down the rooms that it needs to go back in. This has helped me to stay sane.
I hope you gained some tool tips! Do you have any parenting tools that make your life easier? If so please share in the comments!