Legos on floor in chaos

Chaos and Joy: What To Do When Madness Hits

Kids are chaos—no other way around it. It’s so easy to devolve from sensible, balanced, and well-organized to utter insanity when you have kids in the house.

A Saturday Gone Mad

This weekend I tried to take the kids to one of our awesome local parks. Tried is the key word here. As we arrived, I pulled my youngest (16 months) out of the car to discover he had managed to “unload” out the side of his diaper, all the way down to his knee.

The other three kids spent a few minutes on the grassy boulevard in the parking lot as I tried my best to clean up and salvage what I could. We were able to get a new onesie on him and go to the park, but it was already a bit later than I had wanted.

Not ten minutes in, and I pick up my little to discover he still smells like poop. And then I realize that he doesn’t “still smell,” but that he re-smelled. He had done it again! And it was coming out again!

That essentially ended our trip to the park. The ten-minute drive there resulted in twenty minutes of cleanup and ten minutes of play. This, in my opinion, is the very definition of chaos. The kids were frustrated, I was frustrated, and little dude was riding home in nothing but a t-shirt and his diaper.

We grabbed a take-and-bake pizza, went back home, and stayed in for the night.

Changing Chaos to Joy

Even the best plans can fail. Even the most organized of outings can become chaos. But the trick is in the recovery.

Here are four things I try to do when chaos hits:

1: Rest

If I’m feeling overwhelmed, it’s likely the kids are feeling the same. Take some time and rest. Books are great, coloring is great, and even TV or a tablet is great. Just take a few minutes. You don’t have to be running and hustling.

2: Laugh

Just let it out. These chaotic situations are often sitcom-worthy moments. Sit back and laugh at the chaos that is your life. It doesn’t solve anything, but it could be the key to moving forward when life is too much.

3: Love

Instead of getting to the point of wanting to strangle everyone, get on your knees and hug those littles. Hug them tight, and don’t let go too early. Let them melt into you. It’s scientifically proven to reduce stress, and it just plain feels great. They need those moments as much as you.

4: Reroute

The roadblock you just encountered simply means it’s time for a new direction. Take that angst and find a new plan. If you were going to the park and it totally blew up in your face, try a 180 and stay in for a while. If your house is in chaos because it’s raining outside and everyone needs to get out, grab the umbrellas and go. Staying the path isn’t always smart.

Even the best plans can fail. Even the most organized of outings can become chaos. But the trick is in the recovery.

Find Your Joy Moments

As a family, we’ve been neck-deep in chaos many days, but joy can be regained. In fact, joy can be found in the chaos. Take a moment to find it, and you won’t be sorry you did.

How about your family? Do you have an awesome and crazy story to tell?

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