Does this young mom in the pic above remind you of yourself at times? If so, trust me, I can relate. I have vivid memories of life in the fast lane of raising kids and the days that I wasn't sure that I would make it. I also was married to a Marine who was often absent on a deployment or in the field training so I became well acquainted with the term "single parenthood" even though it was not permanent but for long periods of time. Now my life is quite different.      
I am in the time of my life in which my children are all grown and three out of four of them are married and living out on their own so understandably the environment here at the Hastings house is more on the tranquil and quiet side. Twas not always the case !

I remember well the days of sports practices, homework, dentist appointments, sibling squabbles, spilled messes, untidy bedrooms, money worries, brothers punching each other, everyone crying……need I go on? I think you get the picture. In those hectic days of raising our family I can sometimes remember wanting to call the men in white coats to please come take me away. In fact, I actually did once but then called them back and said "never mind." Still not sure that was the right decision.

For some of  you young parents presently slugging it out in the trenches, you are reading this blog shaking your head up and down and murmuring to yourself right now. Take heart. There is a valium at the end of the medicine cabinet, I mean, there is light at the end of the tunnel. While you are still in the middle of that  tunnel though, here are some suggestions to weather the ride:

1.) When feeling completely stressed, take a deep breath and count to ten. By that time, if you still feel like strangling the kids , take a half a breath and count to five. By this time your little rug rat will have had time to run and will save you from going to prison for life for causing him to breathe no more.

2.) Picture another family whose little ankle biters are more incorrigible than your own. For me this strategy was a real challenge as I personally didn't know of anyone in real life that fit in this category. So whenever my kids were acting up I simply thought about Eddie Haskell. He was no worse than my kids - but dead even. ( For those of you young parents who do not know who Eddie Haskell is, he was the no good , conniving friend of Wally Cleaver. If you don't know who Wally Cleaver was then I feel truly sorry for you.)

3.) Walk outside and scream very loud. Even the most of unruly of kids will run out and ask you if you are okay. That momentary illusion that you have caring , sympathetic children is a wonderful feeling even if it is a manufactured fantasy. It just might get you through that particular day.

4.) If you are a great cook, threaten sending your kids to bed without dinner. I hear that in some households , that really works. Um….in my home that was never an effective strategy…enough said there.

5.) If your meal time was like ours , take the opposite approach to step 4 and threaten the little varmints with double portions if they don't straighten up. I sometimes found that this was my most effective disciplinary action.

6.) Go into your bedroom, shut the door , and have a good cry. Then laugh. Then pray and thank God for the anxious, trying, hectic, loud, boisterous, hilarious, wonderful family that HE gave to you …..just you….because He knew that you were the best parent to handle the specific kiddos that He blessed you with !

HANG IN THERE YOUNG PARENTS and enjoy these days. They are gone before you know it.

Then your lives will slow down, become your own again and you just might be able to have the carefree spirit that is only a dream in your mind presently. Until then,remember to laugh a lot - it will make all the difference :)

God Bless and have a great day !