I'm going to take a wild guess and assume that all of you beautiful mamas reading this have at some point experienced a day that you would like to erase completely from the books. Am I right? Maybe it was the tone of voice you chose with the kids? Maybe it was the exhaustion that wiped out any ounce of strength you had left to do the hard work of disciplining that day. Maybe you chose to give in to anger? Maybe you were the worst model of self-control in the world? Or perhaps you chose your own needs over the needs of your kids that day. Can you tell I am writing from experience here?! We all know that the tone for the day is set pretty early in the morning. And if it happens to be one of chaos and defeat, it seems to derail the whole day.
Something I didn’t learn until a couple years into motherhood was this simple truth; that I have the power to set, and change, the tone in our home during the day. Despite a rough start. Despite my kids actions. Despite my circumstances.
For far too long, I had let my chaotic circumstances dictate the mood that would linger in every room of our house. I had let my children’s tantrums, or my lack of patience, or their resistance to nap, or even dreary rainy weather set the tone for our day. I can throw a pretty good pity party, let me tell you. And on one particularly stressy day, I sat my then 2-year-old and 7-month-old down on the family room floor in utter exhaustion. I decided to put on my favorite Worship Pandora station and play it softly through my computer speakers - quite literally as a mental escape. Music has always been therapeutic for me. But I noticed right away that the kids mellowed out as well. Music changed the mood instantly. Why hadn’t I thought of this earlier? I started thinking through other ways to bring all three of us a bit of respite from the chaos. Soon after that, I opened the french doors to let in a soft spring breeze. I lit some sweet smelling candles. I started speaking with a softer tone. And most importantly, I prayed for the Holy Spirit to bring fresh eyes, hearts and minds.
God is so faithful. I was astounded at how quickly the mood changed and the direction of our day went to such a positive place. Kids are so responsive to their environment. So are moms! It’s easy to forget how much power we as mothers have in actively setting the tone rather than passively letting our circumstances dictate it. I forgot that I can take ownership of that at any given point during the day.
My kids are 4 and 6 now. And I'm still not perfect at maintaining the ideal tone every single day. But I have gotten much better at stepping back and assessing what small changes I could make to foster a bit more peace. And different seasons call for different nuances. In the winter, my go-to mood setter is a warm fire in the fireplace and twinkly lights in their bedrooms during quiet time. In the summer it’s taking their lunch plates outside for a picnic in the yard. In the Fall it’s the smell of an apple cinnamon candle flickering on the kitchen table alongside paintbrushes and colored pencils. It’s been fun to figure out the little things that work for our family. Perhaps my formula won't work for your family, but I'm sure you can think of a few strategies that would. If you have any suggestions for setting a peaceful tone, please share in the comments!
I wanted to leave you with something tangible to use this week as you take ownership of the tone in your homes. Music is a central part of how I set mine. It's always playing quietly in the background of our days. So I thought I would share two playlists that work like a charm around here. These are hosted on Grooveshark so you can listen online or through the free app. Enjoy!
Click here for a Worshipful tone.
Click here for an Upbeat-dance-party-with-your-kids tone!