The title “chaos coordinator” is not just a phrase people put on shirts. Instead, it’s a job promotion from having little humans tearing through our house. Kids still think jumping from couch to couch is an acceptable form of exercise while stripped down to undies with kitchen tools in their hands. And it’s enough to send even the most even-keeled mama to a state of madness sometimes. As moms, we know that craziness is a part of our life. However, many of us don’t know how to stay calm during the chaos. Is it even possible?
I think it is. Not in every single moment, but certainly as a whole. And it’s all about training ourselves to reset ourselves in small ways. Here are my favorite ways to find my calm in the chaos.
1. Keep a low voice in the midst of the crazy.
When we are stressed, we want to yell. But that only makes us get tenser. Amid the chaos, a low and calm voice keeps us calm and forces our kids to be quiet to hear us. I love to say, “I can’t hear you when you’re yelling. You have to lower your volume.” Your calm voice will cause them to match yours. It’s an easy way to calm yourself and the kids simultaneously. And if you’re really desperate, offer a reward for the winner of the quiet game.
2. Create a quiet reset ritual.
Sometimes we need light and quiet for five minutes. If you need calm, give yourself a mental break while the kids play. Sit on your front porch and give yourself five minutes to drink water or sip your coffee, and stay off your phone! Let your mind wander and roam and reset without filling it with more things to think about. Often we stress because we continue to add more chaos that isn’t necessary.
3. Send the kids outside.
If you can tell you are losing it, create a way for the kids to exert energy productively. Take them on a walk or send them to the backyard for some outdoor games for kids. Set up a game of hopscotch inside. Often children will calm down after exerting energy, but instead of letting them exert it, we try to make them stop. One of my favorite tips is to create a space for them to be crazy. Then after that’s done, set up a downtime for them. This allows them to enjoy resting and gives you a chance to reset too.
Our minds need to have a release for our adult tension to stay calm in kid tension. If you are not creating a time to exercise your body and feel stressed with kids, now is the time! It allows you to burn off agitation and stress and gets your endorphins and energy up. A stressed mom will do better in the chaos when moving too. I kid you not. If you need to hire a sitter to go on a long walk, it might be worth your money on a particularly chaotic day.
5. Say no.
Do not say yes to things that make your life more complicated out of guilt. Moms have trouble managing chaos when they allow more chaos to come their way. If having friends come and play creates unneeded stress, tell the neighbor kids you’re having a no-play day. It’s okay to say no to things that don’t work well for you. Sometimes we say yes because we think we need to be busy, but we forget we don’t need to be busy all of the time. So here is your permission to say no.
I won’t lie. I get annoyed when people say, “Just breathe.” It can be hard to remember to breathe deeply and stay calm amid chaos. But there’s science behind it.1 If you feel edgy, practice slow breathing for a few minutes. It’s free. It’s quick. And it’s effective. It lowers your heart rate and blood pressure and is good overall for your body! If you’re a momma in chaos, deep breathing is your friend.
7. Remember who you are dealing with.
If your children can’t button their pants, they probably can’t control their energy all day. They can’t stop themselves from crying over the wrong color sippy cup or running to see the trash truck out the window. This is normal behavior for young kids! Try to remind yourself that your crazy kiddo is acting normally and that he may not be able to control his actions. Try to give him (and yourself) a lot of grace. In all likelihood, he will grow out of constant frenetic behavior before you know it.
8. Play your favorite music.
Music can alter our mood. And our children’s mood. So use it because there is science behind this too!1 When you listen to music you love, dopamine is released. This is one of my favorite tricks for chaos calming. I will turn on music that I love to boost myself. OR turn on my children’s favorite music from the latest Disney movie. It seems to always turn a frown upside down and keeps chaos at bay.
Staying calm amid kid chaos is not an easy feat. But as moms, we are the first and most important role model for our young kids. How we manage our stress will often become how our kids manage their own. Implementing these calming techniques early and often will not only help you stay calm, but it may also help your child find their calm. Good luck, fellow chaos coordinators!