This message has been on my heart for a long time. We need to experience more hope. And unfortunately, what happens in our homes can suck us dry and leave us feeling exhausted and grumpy. I know there is a better way.
I am a naturally melancholy person, so if life is neutral I’m going to lean negative. I need hope. And I’m sure you can attest, in a family full of different personalities, there’s a good chance not everyone will be in a good mood most days. There’s going to be a squeaky wheel that threatens to bring down the whole climate of the home. But you momma, need to claim the title of Ambassador of Hope in your home. You have the power to not only change your days but change you and your family’s life and legacy.
We have to take this charge seriously. How can we infuse our house with hope? Not just when things are really bad but on any given day?
Here are some super practical tips, that will hopefully change your motherhood (it’s hands down changed mine) and your whole family as a result.
1. Ask what your kids loved about today.
This is my toddler version of what are you grateful for. When the complaining gets too much, I just ask them, “what did you love about today?” and suddenly we’re forgetting the bug bite that just sucked the joy out of my 2-year-old. My husband and I share 3 gratitudes at the end of the night and what’s funny is, I remember to do this more times than not when I’m complaining about something from the day and can change the tone completely with this question.
2. Pray it out.
Always, always one of my points. But I cannot tell you the times we’ve felt the energy change after praying. My voice naturally calms and I surrender my will to God and they hear.
3. Show love and acceptance.
This feels obvious but a lot can be solved by a sweet hug or saying “I’m so glad I get to be your momma!” or taking the time to get on their level and grab their attention to say “You did a really good job listening to momma. I’m so proud of you.”
4. Get you some oils.
I don’t sell ‘em but I sure do buy them. My girls, I kid you not, sleep 15-30 minutes longer when I diffuse lavender in their room at night. We also have an oil called Joy and a calming one for kids that we’ve found really helpful.
5. Cut back on the TV.
I’ve read it plenty, TV is a depressant. It’s unfortunately also a babysitter in emergency situations, so we haven’t quit it completely. But when things got overwhelming, we cut back to almost none and I definitely feel like it was a factor. Talk to your people about limiting the phones and TV too.
6. Create natural life rhythms.
It doesn’t have to be monotonous but kids thrive in routines. I learned this very early on with Vivi as a newborn. I remember feeling like I didn’t want people to think I was a drill sergeant for the schedule we kept but it truly helped her. A rhythm doesn’t mean you can’t veer from it but it does help return to order quickly. Let me know if you’d like me to post about actual examples of this.
7. Get outside and get some energy out.
I’ll notice after a few rainy days that my girls are bored and stir crazy. They are kids. They need to get some energy out. If you can’t head outside, turn the music on and dance it out. Do jumping jacks. Whatever you can do. But it’s not just about the energy. Nature has a special effect on us. Vivi and I took our breakfast outside the other morning to watch the sunrise. It was a slow, peaceful and sweet way to start the day.
I honestly don’t see redirecting as solving the problem, but if we are battling a toddler 25 times a day and making that many teachable moments, it’s breaking their spirit. Instead of feeling the need to teach at every turn, distract with something fun. I’ve been doing this often. I pretend I don’t hear the whine, say something funny and they change their tune.
9. Check the diet.
I’ve said this before, sugary foods, foods with dyes or other super processed things are chemicals that are impossible not to cause a reaction. My girls still have the occasional treats but we try to give them as clean a diet as possible. We know and have heard tons of research of how foods affect us. Why am I surprised that bad foods have a negative effect on my kids too?
10. Don’t just say “no.”
I’ve started noticing this lately. Moms in the grocery store who tell their kid no but don’t explain what they are saying no about. Kids need clear expectations. No, don’t scream? No, don’t sit? No, don’t stand? I’m actually not sure what the mom was saying no to so I can’t imagine a 3-year-old who needs constant reinforcement understanding.
11. Speak calmly.
Tone is EVERYTHING! When I get down eye-to-eye and speak calmly, the same instruction can be quickly obeyed. It’s not a threat that makes my girls coil in fear or want to backlash and disobey more. It’s intentional training.
12. Don’t sacrifice your time with Him.
I’ve justified missing my time with the Lord for the most minor things. They seem worthy in the moment and truthfully, one day of time with the Lord doesn’t feel URGENT. And it’s likely not. It’s the seed that it plants that I can do my day without God. Hope does not live here. Weighed down shoulders are what lives here. Shoulders that take on more than God intended us to carry, and if you’ve ever held something heavy with a kid standing in your way, you know, it’s hard to bring hope. In my case, what comes out is an angry “just move!!!”
13. Whatever you do, point it back to Jesus.
The best way to you can be an Ambassador of Hope in your home is to keep pointing things back to Jesus. It can be in the way God created every creature unique as you walk through the zoo or how God gave us taste buds to experience food in a delightful way. What a loving God. Our kids will never experience authentic hope apart from God. We can calm things down and maybe even bring a little happiness but I know we want a hope that lasts, so keep going back to Him. He’s the #1 Ambassador of Hope.