the home arts,  the mothering arts

Rooted deep…

To circle back to my post about finding beauty in the chaos, I’m going to dig a little deeper today about taking some of my thoughts and studies and breaking it down a bit further in a specific area.

[As a side note, I’ve really struggled over the years to take big picture ideas and break them down into usable goals and strategies. It wasn’t until last year when Elise Blaha Cripe did a series of Instagram Stories on goal setting that the light bulb finally came on. I am saving up my pennies for when her new book comes out! She’s a great resource for understanding how to do this.]

I find it more and more important that our children feel grounded and safe in ways I would not have even contemplated (or have had the discipline for) four years previously. Because our life is so chaotic, it has become increasingly important that what can be made predictable and clear is made so. That we hold to our family rhythms as much as possible. It gives the children ‘hooks’ to hang everything else on that doesn’t quite make as much sense. This means, by necessity, that we say no to a lot of things that in the past we probably would have said yes to. We tend not to stray outside of our scheduled rhythm very often, because it is upended by medical things anyways. The days that we can hold on to it are very important and we place a higher value on rootedness than some of the ‘short term gains’ activities we could be doing.

What does encouraging “grounded-ness/rootedness” look like?

Here are some recent notes I jotted down and some reasoning behind them:

  • caring for ourselves: medicines, dental care, faces and hair
  • caring for our sleep: lamps lowered, quiet tv or reading together before bed, calming music, essential oils for sleep, prayers
  • caring for our home: regular chores, inspecting what we expect, faithful service with a good attitude

Caring for ourselves: We have medicine regimens that seem to change almost weekly or daily at times. I have been much, much more intentional about setting phone alarms to remind myself of medication needs- to make the practice external and automatic and not something my brain has to track. I’ve also gotten quite literal about setting reminders about making sure that the children have attended to brushing their teeth and hair and washing their face. It’s a little thing, setting the reminder on the phone, but the sort of mental load cost it was costing me to continually track and remind children was pretty high. It was a simple fix and I wish I had done it much, much sooner.

Caring for our sleep: This has been a constant struggle and shuffle for all of us in the family for different reasons over the last three years. There are cycles where no one sleeps well because of an ill child or because they are an ill child themselves. It’s not unusual that just about every third or fourth week of the month everyone’s sleep cycles will get interrupted. It starts a cycle of grumpiness (for the kids) and exhaustion (for the adults). In the last month we started putting these practices into place to solidify the importance of good sleep for us all, teaching these sort of self-care practices to them, discipling them to honor the gift of sleep that the Lord gives, to pray and to let go of the cares of the day. Again, being super, super protective and intentional with these ‘getting ready for sleep’ practices has made a marked difference in our lives in just a month, and again, I wish we had gotten more intentional about it much sooner.

Caring for our home: We go through cycles where the children basically have to fend for themselves in many ways, and I realized that we could make that reality a little bit easier on us all if we acknowledged, firstly, that it happens, and secondly, to have a plan for it. To up the competency level of the children, overall, in say, being familiar with and having the ability to make an easy meal. To make super clear what a ‘clean space’ actually looks like with instructions and pictures. When everyone is clear on the expectations, it makes it a lot easier to hit the marks that are needed to keep a family of eight running. It also means that no one person is having to carry it all in their head or gets stuck doing all the work. This has been a bit more nebulous in practice than the previous two, but I still see improvements happening, if only in shifting what we pay attention to. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, there’s more of a trend towards empowered and confident, both for me and for the kids.

In practical action, here are the strategies we recently put in place to encourage grounded-ness:

  • phone alarms for medicines and brushing teeth
  • essential oils and rosewater spray at bedtime
  • calming music at bedtime
  • lowered lights
  • better chore chart making clear responsibility
  • working on teaching children how to make easier meals

So there you go! What are some practices you do in your home that encourage grounded-ness for your family (even if you are single or it’s just you and your partner these days) ?

7 Comments

  • Emily

    These are all such great ideas! That’s one thing my parents were really great at, and I’m so glad they were–keeping things as “normal” as possible even in the midst of insanity. So I’m glad that you’re doing this, good for you! πŸ™‚
    For groundedness for me, it’s the basics. Listening to my body instead of forcing myself to stay awake. I always take a bath every night. Setting up for the morning is really helpful–prepping the coffee, getting out breakfast as much as possible–especially if the next morning is going to be insane. And trying to have as many “habits” as possible, that I don’t have to think about–like what I eat for breakfast is always the same!

    • Joy

      It’s good to hear from someone who went through this as a kid and made it out the other side. Always gives me hope. I do the same thing with breakfast!

  • Sarah

    Hi Joy,
    Your articulation of these ideas for your family is helpful for me. We are trying to keep our heads above the waters of life with our eight children and a health crises for me this past year that has left me impaired. And so we are being lead to focus on these basics of life too and I think it may be just where God wants us- not depleting our energy in the running around of post modern life but putting it instead and our focus on the basics of meeting needs within our home and family.
    God bless you,
    Sarah

    • Joy

      Oh Sarah, I’m so glad that you are finding these helpful. I had this particular one sitting in drafts for almost a week and felt like I really needed to post it this morning. I’m trying to write to myself four years ago, when all this started, and from your words, it sounds like I’ve met that mark. Peace keep you this day as you go about caring for your family!

  • elizabethroosje

    This is really powerful Joy! I want you to know that I am inspired by you and that you keep trying your best to find what works in your and your family’s situation. Keep going! We are praying for you all daily!

    • Joy

      Thank you Elizabeth! Thanks for being one of our prayer warriors. We couldn’t do what we do without people like you manning the bulwarks for us! Love to you!

  • elizabethroosje

    love to you too Joy! It is wonderful to write to yourself of 4 years ago …. it’s very good… and I find it helpful and inspiring for my life too, it’s really good things you are sharing.

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