I don’t want to have just a tidy home, a pretty home, a cozy home, a functional home — I want to have a peaceful home. Being a new parent isn’t exactly the most peaceful season of life, though, so I’m having to work extra hard to create an atmosphere of peace, to make my home into a refuge for myself and for Dan and for the people we welcome into it.
I’ve been a bit on edge recently — having a needy, whiny, teething (and somehow, still darling) little baby around all the time will do that to you, along with never getting quite enough sleep. Even when she sleeps through the night, I don’t.
Also, Selah is starting to have separation anxiety even when I’m home. She doesn’t want to be put down for even a minute, so I let her cry while I pee, and then I go back to carting her around the house on my hip or in the wrap, or letting her sit in my lap while I hold her hands back with one of mine and try to type with the other. (Working from home is getting increasingly complicated.)
By the end of the day, my nerves are taut and my mind is mush and my tone is clipped. And we all feel it.
A few weeks ago I asked Dan, “Do I make you walk on eggshells?” to which he said, “No, but you have been a little . . . testy.” Which means he probably wanted to say yes but couldn’t, because of the aforementioned eggshells.
It’s never my intention to generate tension, but lately it seems to seep out of me.
It’s in light of a recent good day — a day when I did get enough sleep and didn’t feel exhausted — that I realized what a profound impact my attitude has on the atmosphere of my home. It’s almost as if the people and the walls absorb my excess and then bleed it back out.
It’s a lot of pressure to be the one in charge of setting the tone of my home. Do I have to be happy-clappy, ever patient, never cracking or snapping? Am I, as wife and mom, the only one responsible for setting the tone of our home? No and no.
Each person who lives here contributes to the atmosphere, but the only one I can control is me.
While creating peace in my home doesn’t end with me, it can certainly start with me. Here are some ways I’m trying to create an atmosphere that’s a little more puffed up with peace and patience and not so weighed down by stress and tension.
Lean in to my feelings.
One of the things I’m learning lately is that feeling my feelings — the good, the bad, and the ugly — is always okay. I don’t have to swallow the negative or stuff it away. In fact, I think the only way for me to get to the other side of impatience or frustration or exhaustion or grief is to feel the feeling and act on it but not from it. Instead of sensing the frustration and snapping, I’m trying to feel the frustration, find it’s source, and take a step back to address that.Feel your feelings, but act ON them, not FROM them + 2 more ways to create a peaceful #home. Click To Tweet
For example, Selah whined for a solid two hours one day last week, and when Dan came home and teased me lightheartedly about something unrelated, my nerves were so frazzled that I almost lost it. So I felt my visceral reaction; told him gently that even though I knew he meant no harm, I wasn’t in the mood for jokes; asked him to take Selah for a few minutes; and laid down and closed my eyes. It took all of 10 minutes and a giving up of my usual desire to just muscle through, but this self-care saved us an argument and a night of gritted teeth.
Recognize physical triggers.
I’m getting better at recognizing my emotional triggers, but somehow I still manage to forget about the physical ones. Or really, I’m sometimes too tired to address the physical ones. I don’t put Selah’s toys away when we’re done playing, I let the dishes pile up when I work from home, and I always get through the process of folding the laundry and then can’t bring myself to put it away. All these little things add up to one disorderly house and one rattled mind over the course of just a few hours.
I’m trying to return to my basics, the habits I was so good about before I had Selah — tidying as I go, wiping surfaces, taking five minutes to fold the blankets and fluff the pillows. When I do, I actually notice a change in how much I like my house and how content and calm I feel.
I rarely have time to sit down and write out my prayers in my journal the way I used to. Sometimes this makes me feel like a failure, but I know that God doesn’t require my prayers to be written, to be long, or even to be well thought out. He wants to hear my needs moment by moment, unpolished, especially when I’m hanging by a thread.
When I’m up to my eyeballs in poopy diapers or rocking a crying baby in my arms, I can’t take ten minutes to process with God through my journal writing. I have about ten seconds to whisper my desperate plea for one more drop of strength, for one extra measure of grace. And you know what? He still hears me.
So often I try to rely on sheer will, mental muscle, and positive self-talk to power through tough moments. I’m a mom! I’m a woman! I am capable and strong and in control! I do believe in the power of positive self-talk, but I’m learning (for about the ninety-seventh time in my life) that I’m none of those things on my own, and only by asking for the Lord’s help will I be the woman I want to be, will I be able to reflect his character to my family.
So I lift my prayers — prayers that can be prayed in a single breath — up to the Lord, knowing he hears and will give me what I need for this moment. I tend to want a ten-year supply of patience, peace, and grace, but I’m learning to be content with my daily bread, and more often, just the bread I need for each singular moment. He is my portion every minute of every day, and he isn’t going anywhere. I don’t need to store up provisions when I have a trustworthy, steadfast God who hears me always.
I’m sure I can’t be the only one who struggles to create peace when my inner life feels chaotic. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who sets her whole family on edge when she can’t take even one more moment of noise, one more whine, one more touch before I am all touched out and ready to snap. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who believes this matters but struggles to put it into practice.
Pumping our homes full of peace matters. It matters for our own sanity and for the health of the people who live with us. It matters because I want to welcome others into a home that is soaked through with peace when it’s at rest, not just glazed with peace when others enter in.
What do you do? What kind of atmosphere are you trying to create in your home? What are your practices for intentionally creating the atmosphere you envision?3 ways to create a #peaceful home in the midst of a tense season. #intentionalliving #home Click To Tweet