I've read through most of the thread and many good ideas have been shared. Firstly I think we need to all give OURSELVES pats on the back!! ...just by being on this forum says mountains of positive energy and hope!!
I hope I am not being redundant, but I have included some thoughts. (disclamor: I hope these ideas don't come across as if to undersestimate the huge and difficult situations we sometimes encounter..)
My goal each day is to minimize my goals to the minimum!! I try not to add much more than: relaxed
Mom and attention/ patience for children. I pray. with or without words.. usually without.. for sanity and patience with children (my hubbie is an adult.. he doesn't 'need' patiene
to the extent that I do not go out every day (I know not all personalities can do this easily)
I don't even have dinner, clean house and laundry on my list.. I only do them as extra curricular activities; if I'm not too worn out or tierd at end of day.. my husband is a self sufficient adult t.g.! (shouldn't he be the one to make dinner??!)
...and finally, I splurge on help! We don't do vactions (sometimes road trips to visit parents), I very rarely shop for expensive things; our main expenses are electric and food, etc..no, we don't live in a hovel; I hope I'm not oversymplifying.. (my children are all at home, none at school for religios reasons.)
When things get stressed out around here it's because I'm adding too much for my list for the moment... perhaps others can balance more.. this has come up in conversation with my hubbie and I remind him as 'comapassionately' as possible that I'm just a bit less frazzled than the pple. that he's thinking of that 'can' handle more... regardless, I try hard not to allow myself to compare our/my situation to other families!! VERY IMPORTANT though also hard sometimes. I've decided to do less and have the most relaxed environment at home possible. This is most important to me for now!!! I don't even do the grocery shopping, usually. I give my husband choice: either I'll do it and he'll babysit, or I'll babysit he'll shop with a list.. ANOTHER BIGGIE: (though not always feasible!! I know) I try immensly to avoid any challenging situations - shopping with kids is a big nono for us! (though of course it sometimes happens..)
oh by the way, I rarely give baths. VERY VERY SHORT hair HELPS, and as far as washing face for now what is working here is the choice: either child uses damp rag to do it independently or Mom does it... if I do it I do it quickly and if there's screaming... well I've been rambling for a while so I'll just end by saying (I know it's hard! forgive me for this 'nasty' word) compassionate consistency. No, I'm not alway consistent
..I'm sure you wouldn't imagine I would be, just thought I'd crack a joke!)
one more, when a scream is coming, I try to think of a 'big' word that could size up how my son is feeling; he likes to learn and say big words... so when he doesn't get something that he usually gets, as he's getting upset I try to help him put he's feelings into words, like, "I like consistency!" or "That is frusterating!!" and then he'll be busy trying to say that word at least for 2 seconds
..as for books, I know we're all short for time and several have been mentioned, but I'll add my favorite: HOW TO TALK SO KIDS WILL LISTEN AND HOW TO LISTEN SO KIDS WILL TALK by adele faber and elaine mazlish -they also have a great one on sibling rivalry. What's best about these books is that you can really read them in only a half hour!! there's lots of CARTOONS and even if you only read the cartoons and skip everything else it will be time and money well spent and you can even find the book in half priced store. also, I know that there is a great interactive video series that can be borrowed from library on this book. the ideas mentioned here are amazingly simple and basic and can be applied to all relationships!!!
GOOD LUCK and give yourself a pat on the back at the beginning and end of everyday! also, the best advice I ever got: make it in your routine to take time for only mom (and nursling if ness.) for at least20 min. sometime before noon! find a way before hubby goes to work or whatever... so sorry for not controlling this rambling!