Prioritizing Your Sanity

StressWith Thanksgiving just around the corner, we are headed into the winter holidays which, although wonderful, tend to contribute their own brand of overwhelm. Aside from the disruption to our normal schedule, the extra cooking and cleaning, the added expense, and the strain of either traveling to see relatives or having them as house guests, there are often a lot of unpleasant family dynamics that go on.

So how do we deal with this seasonal overwhelm?

Feelings of overwhelm usually have three major sources: deadlines, misguided martyrdom, and competency issues. [Read more…]

The Good Child Handicap

This is an evaluation image and is Copyright Rosie Piter. Do not publish without acquiring a license. Image number: 0071-1008-1315-0132.

A few years ago, I attended a business seminar where they made us play a game called “Lifeboat.” In the game, I was in a group of 5 on a sinking ship with no hope of being rescued and the lifeboat only held two people. The group had to decide who would go in the lifeboat and who would stay on the sinking ship. It was a very intense game, because you were supposed to play it as if you actually were in a real life or death situation. And everybody did.

What the game boiled down to was each player had three minutes to convince the others in the group why he or she deserved to be in the lifeboat instead of left on the sinking ship. After everyone had finished his or her three minutes of “persuasion” (justification of why they should continue to exist) the group voted on who would be saved. (You couldn’t vote for yourself.) The two people with the most votes lived. Every one else drowned.

[Read more…]

Needle Movers

pressure-guageI attended a webinar the other day about “needle movers” in different areas of life. For example, the three most important factors that “move the needle” towards better health are 1) sleep, 2) exercise, and 3) nutrition.

As I listened, I began to wonder if there are three factors that make the most impact on our home schooling as far as making it most effective and successful with the least amount of stress and strain on us or on our children. (Yes, I’ve seen just about as many burned out homeschool kids as I have seen burned out homeschool moms.) [Read more…]

High Five Friday: Creating Good Habits

minihabitsbookWhat I’m reading: Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise

Why I’m reading it:

One thing (among others) that home schooling your children uncovers about you is your own bad habits. In my case, my bad habits like procrastination, disorganization, staying up too late, failing to exercise, poor time management, eating junk food, and putting up with clutter became very, very apparent as I took on the task of educating three ADHD (poster) boys at home.

My method for dealing with my bad habits was usually along the lines of some herculean feat of willpower that brought temporary order to the chaos but only lasted several weeks before my willpower and motivation ran out. This cycle of trying to change and failing did nothing but make me feel like a failure, put me in a state of perpetual overwhelm, and cause me to become a super grouch. [Read more…]

12 Hugs a Day

hugs_dogRenown psychologist Virginia Satir once stated,

“We need four hugs a day for survival.  We need eight hugs a day for maintenance.  We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”

I don’t know if those numbers have been scientifically proven, but I do know the power of a hug. [Read more…]

If you’re starting to FREAK out….

christmas-de-stressThis time of year seems to FREAK people out, right?

If you’re a mom, this is probably the time when you’re placing unrealistic demands on yourself such as get the house cleaned and decorated, get all the presents bought and wrapped without busting your budget, prepare to have family in or prepare to visit family members, attend Christmas gatherings, make the perfect holiday dinner, and on and on and on. And this is all on top of your regular responsibilities of running a household, homeschooling the children and the other work you do.

So, how do we handle the added stress of the obligations, the parties, the budget overload, the pressure to be everywhere and do everything for everyone that the holiday season brings? [Read more…]

Coddling Our Children’s Minds

baby graduate-croppedOK, I admit it. This post is pretty much a rant.

Several things happened last week that spurred my thinking. First, my son Seth sent me an interesting article about how colleges have become so concerned with making sure none of their students are “offended” by what’s being taught that campuses are being scrubbed clean of “words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense.” Just a sampling of perceived offensive statements included: asking Asian or Latino Americans “Where were you born?” (could be perceived as implying the person is not a true American), stating that “America is the land of opportunity” (could be perceived as a put-down of other cultures), or saying “I believe the most qualified person should get the job/award” (could be interpreted as a “qualification and/or racial bias”). [Read more…]

The Blessings Jar

Blessings Jar(This article was written by my sons, James and Blake Davis.)

Ever notice…

Once in awhile there’s just SOMETHING to be thankful for???

It saddens me how nowadays Thanksgiving seems to be mainly about food—lots and lots of food. And, of course, football games. Hopefully there will be family time, but getting to the turkey and then on to the TV seems to be uppermost on everyone’s mind. I’ve actually heard people refer to the holiday as “Turkey-day” instead of “Thanksgiving day”.

Believe me, I love food, and I love eating food, but the Pilgrims weren’t celebrating food. (Well, actually, maybe they were a little. After all, they had been through a winter where their daily ration was five kernels of corn. So I imagine food was a big part of what they were celebrating.)

But my point is, what happened to Thanksgiving being about, well, Thanks-giving? [Read more…]

9 Essential Skills Every Child Should Learn

In my book, I Saw the Angel in the Marble, I shared that when I graduated from college I felt like I’d been prepared for a world that no longer existed. It was quite a shock to have spent 18+ years getting an education only to discover that many of the things I had been taught had no relevance to the world I found myself in after graduation. I was trained in a skill set based on the jobs that were in demand when I started school, not when I graduated.

I have a friend who works for what was once one of the largest newspapers in the U.S. Over the past five years he has watched one budget cut and layoff after another. The paper has shown a consistent loss for the past ten years and now operates on less than half of the staff it employed five years ago. And circulation has dwindled to a third of what it was just a few years ago. Why? Because people don’t read newspapers that much anymore. With the proliferation of internet news sites, smart phones, and cable TV, there are much easier, more efficient, and less expensive ways to find out what’s going on in the world. [Read more…]

My Series of Unfortunate Events

unfortunate eventsSometimes my days seem like they come right out of a Lemony Snicket novel—they are a “series of unfortunate events.” Seems like I’ve been having a lot of those days lately.

For example, I had some workers in to do what I thought was going to be a simple repair and they discovered all sorts of wiring and plumbing problems. This eventually led to having to tear down the drywall in the room to expose the wiring and plumbing and find the source of the problem—which led to needing electricians, plumbers, and drywall guys in and out of my house for three weeks.

Meanwhile, everything in the house was covered with dust and our savings account was dwindling at an alarming rate. [Read more…]