I learned a lesson from a friend many years ago that I’ve been grateful for since.
She and her husband and young children came from a long distance to visit us. As they came in the door, my friend opened a bag she had prepared with snacks for her kids and started to feed them. It struck me that she hadn’t waited until they started getting cranky or misbehaving before she gave them what she already knew they would need: a timely snack after a long car-ride. Nor did she expect or ask someone else to take over and provide what her family needed in that hour.
It sounds really simple, but it was a mind-shift for me.
How many times do we find ourselves cluing in that someone is having a melt-down because they need something to eat or a nap or some one-on-one attention? And how many of those stressful situations could we alleviate if we had thought ahead and anticipated their basic needs before they arose?
And what about your needs? Do you anticipate that you may need a snack before you start making dinner? Or that you might need a nap the afternoon before a date night with your spouse?
What about after school? Who is going to be hungry? What a perfect opportunity to be prepared with fresh fruits and vegetables! Maybe a simple, healthy cookie recipe? Or a veggie-packed smoothie?
Life doesn’t have to be a sequence of putting out proverbial fires because of the ordinary, everyday needs of a family. The unpredictable, stressful things that happen are enough of a challenge! Which fact makes it doubly nice to acknowledge what needs we can foresee and then do our best to proactively prepare to care for ourselves and our loved ones.
What recurring situations would be improved by your efforts to plan ahead to meet your family’s needs, before those needs turn into extra stress and strain for everyone?
I’m wishing you rest. And hope. And peace. And a few new plans if need be!
P.S. You mothers of nursing babies: Hang in there and do your best to rest when you possibly can! Worry as little as possible. Ask for help. Mostly, know that the days of better sleep will come again. Bless you for all you are doing in caring for your little ones! I believe your prayers are heard!