Don’t be overwhelmed!
by Jill Savage

For thousands of moms who attended the Hearts at Home conference last weekend, today represents a new beginning. After a weekend of encouragement that’s become known as a pep rally for moms, a mom returns home with fresh vision and a new appreciation for her role in the home. After hours of workshops and keynote messages causing many women to dub the event “mommy school,” a mom often returns home feeling better equipped than ever and…extremely overwhelmed. “Where do I even start with all that I’ve learned?” one might ask on the day after such a power-packed experience.

I’ve experienced that feeling many times over the years following a conference event, a parenting workshop, or even after reading a really good book about marriage, parenting, or any other topic that is relevant to my life. What do you do with the new information and how do you keep from being overwhelmed with all that you’ve learned?

Perhaps these tried and true tips will assist in the transition back to reality:

Debrief: Discuss what you learned with a friend as soon as possible. The more you talk about it, the more you’ll retain. Do the same with your husband, sharing all of the new ideas and changed perspectives with him. This will give him a glimpse into the content and impact of your experience.

Set realistic goals: Choose two or three concepts or “nuggets of gold” that you want to institute in some way. Set goals to help you accomplish your new strategies. Let the rest of the information serve as encouragement and perspective, but don’t try to conquer the world with all your new ideas.

Create visual reminders: Index cards with quotes or clue words, can help us move an idea into reality. I’ve been known to post them on mirrors, the refrigerator, or on the dash in my car to keep them front and center of my heart and mind. You can also use technology reminders like cell phone or electronic calendars for regular visual reminders. A powerful quote could even become your new screen saver on your computer.

Ask for accountability: If you fear that you’ll fall into old habits, ask your spouse or a friend for accountability. Give them permission to ask how you are doing with new goals or strategies and offer them information regularly. When we live in the open sharing our struggles as well as our goals, our hopes, and our dreams, it provides natural accountability and we are more likely to make the changes we want to make.

Communicate changes: Share with your family new strategies or goals you’d like to pursue. If your children are older you may need to bring them along on your new perspectives so they aren’t caught off guard. After one parenting class, Mark and I realized we often threatened consequences for bad behavior but rarely followed through. We sat down with the kids and apologized for not holding them accountable. We then explained that there would be a new strategy in our home to provide them the accountability and direction they needed.

Give grace and time: Often our learning experiences are a solo expedition. Give grace to a husband who might not be as excited as you are about your new ideas. Remember that he didn’t get the opportunity to hear the speaker or read the book the same way you did. Give time for him to catch the vision.

Keep learning: Let this experience be a reminder of the value of continuing education in family matters. Along the parenting journey it becomes easy to have our vision clouded and our perspective skewed. Kids don’t come with instruction manuals and building a family needs a blueprint for the life and character construction we’re doing everyday. When you’re knee deep in the child-rearing years, it’s good to be reminded to keep your heart at home.

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