Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls podcast. Scroll down to read it as a blog post!
Just to prove you can always learn new things, I just had a big eye opening lesson this week about peace. And I think what surprised me the most was that I use the word peace a lot.
“Jesus wants us to live a life of peace.”
“Peace be with you.”
“You just need to have peace about it.”
So if you had asked me if I knew how to have peace, I’d say sure!
But then I read Head & Heart: Becoming Spiritual Leaders for Your Family by Katie Warner and she has a whole chapter devoted to peace in her book. The chapter is titled “They Cultivate Peace” and it talks about the importance, especially for mothers, to cultivate peace in their homes. I stopped and thought about that. I work so hard to create peace for myself but I hadn’t really thought about cultivating peace for my entire home. I didn’t have a goal related to creating a peaceful atmosphere for my family.
And not surprisingly, when I don’t have a goal about something, if I’m not intentional about it, it’s probably not getting accomplished. The more I thought about my home, I also realized that…. I was usually the cause of a lack of peace. I’m usually the one saying
“Hurry up, we have to get to Mass!”
“Where are your shoes???”
“I have touched poop 5 times today!” (No one is bringing an atmosphere of peace by insisting on telling their husband every time poop is touched…)
I felt really bad. I felt like I was doing it all wrong. Here I was trying to be a good Catholic mom and despite our many routines and good Catholic activities, I’m pretty confident that the prevailing atmosphere in my house was not peace. I let myself wallow for a good ten minutes and then I took action!
I got out my goals and I wrote down, “Cultivate an atmosphere of peace and joy in my home.” And ladies, what you purpose to do, what you focus on, is what you get. I am surprised to say that just having this as a goal has really transformed the general atmosphere of my home. It really was that simple. Here are five ways I’m making it happen!
- Use a Peaceful Voice
When I use a frenzied voice that tells my children, they’re wrong, we’re late, I’m sad, I’m disappointed… they feel the emotions behind that voice. To help them experience more peace, I have been using a more peaceful voice. Even when we’re SUPER LATE, I’ve been smiling and trying to make a game of getting into the car or cheerfully asking them to hustle their little feet. I sound annoying to myself… but they smile and fall for it and we’re all… actually happier because of it.
- Take Deep Breaths
I just watched this episode of Philosopher’s Notes (a YouTube show I love!) and in it, Brian Johnson talks about the importance of deep breathing. He says that we should work hard to breath four times per minute (6 seconds in, hold for 2 seconds, breathe out for 7 seconds.) So I’ve been trying to do this when I wake up and before I get out of bed, when I’m praying, when I’m doing chores and when I’m in the car etc. It has taken a little bit of training to breathe this way but it has definitely helped me to stay more calm and feel more peaceful. And when mama feels peaceful… well…. it’s a start anyways
- Decluttering The House
I’ve been on a minimalist kick for several months now. It started back before we moved to Boise. We didn’t want to pack anything that we didn’t love or use on a regular basis. We got rid of SO MUCH stuff. And with less stuff, we’re working harder to put things away more regularly. We do two big rounds of clean-up every day; one right before naptime and one right before bedtime. And it’s amazing how if you do this twice a day, it really only takes 5-10 minutes to make your house look pretty clean and tidy! And it makes my mama heart happy to see clear counters and floors.
- Drinking More Water
This happens to me every year. When the weather turns cold, I forget to drink water. Sure I’ll have a cup of tea in the morning but if that’s all by the time I hit 1 p.m., I am a dehydrated, headachy, grumpy mom. It’s hard to have peace in that place. So last week I made two big pots of tea, one with caffeine for before noon and one without for afternoon and it’s always ready and I’ve been drinking more of it. I’ve also been forcing myself to drink a cup of water before lunch and dinner… because I’m also trying to lose some of this baby weight. But water is like a magical substance that makes lots of things better when you’re getting enough!
- Praying the Rosary
I know, I know… I’m always saying you should pray the rosary. But it really is that powerful! This last month in October I was writing everyday about how to Become a Bible Reading Catholic and it took so much extra time that I was dropping my rosary habit and boy did that rob me of my peace on those days. Make time for it. Our Blessed Mother will help breathe peace into your home. She’s really good at it!
I would highly recommend Katie Warner’s book Head & Heart. I would also suggest that you too would add “Cultivate peace at home” to your goals for the rest of this year. I hope these five tips have helped give you an idea of what you can do to make that happen.
I’d love to know of other ways you Catholic moms are bringing peace into your home… especially when your two year old is going to Tantrum Phase like my (previous) sweet Poppy is right now!