I recently realized that my life feels like a circus. My four boys are active, loud, and boisterous. They require intense amounts of energy (and food) from me. I’ve got big projects going on.

Sometimes I’m surprised at how tired I am at the end of the day (hello – four boys? Yep, that’s probably why). This motherhood thing is tough.

But you can’t hide in the shadows all day.

So I’m embracing my role as head lion tamer and bravely stepping up to the lions.

You might think that the lions are the children, but I don’t see it that way. Instead, these lions are aspects of my life that are causing problems and that I can control.

Lion #1: Being bone tired.

The first lion that needs taming is fatigue. At the end of the day, I am t.i.r.e.d. Sometimes by 7pm, I’m planning how can I go to bed. Not good and not realistic either. So here’s my plan:

  • Go to bed on time. Brilliant, right?! But I have a terrible habit of staying up too late just because I like it quiet. If I quit wasting 30-60 minutes, I could get a lot more sleep.
  • Cut back on the junk food. Somehow my kids think I’m wonderfully disciplined, but actually, I’ve indulged in too much sugar lately. It literally puts me to sleep. So I need to cut out the sugar and stick to a more healthy diet.
  • Drink more water. I am so bad at this. I’m going to start the day with a glass of water with a drop of lemon oil. I have done this for a week now and it really helps perk me up.

Lion #2. Feeling like I can’t possibly do all I need (or want) to do

News flash – I can’t do it all! I constantly forget this and try to do more than is good for me.

My solution: get help.

I’m a big fan of asking for help, especially for moms (like me) who forget that they can’t do it all.

Asking for help is actually not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign that you know your limits and you are willing to work within them to be your best you.

To that end, I’ve added some babysitter time for my youngest while the big kids are in school and some time at a local preschool.

Those few hours a week make a HUGE difference in my energy level and I get most of my blogging done in those uninterrupted hours.

I’m also allowing myself more grace than usual.

I haven’t made homemade bread in two weeks (gasp – although I have kept up with the homemade yogurt!). My kids had pizza twice last week for dinner (double-gasp!).

I’m letting up a little bit on the healthy food and cooking in order to free up more energy. I realize that no one is going to suffer if our meals aren’t completely nutritious all the time.

I’m saying no more often.

I hate to say no! I love new opportunities, helping others, and doing exciting things whether through work, church, or just for fun.

But when I say yes too much, I get in trouble.

So I’ve had to turn down some exciting opportunities and end some commitments. It’s really hard, but the peace I’ve felt after making these decisions tells me they were the right choices.

Lion #3: Grouchy kids

I’m not naming names to protect the innocent, but for whatever reason, we’ve experienced a lot of grouchiness lately. Our weather was unseasonably cool and maybe we’re a tad overscheduled.

And these poor kids – their mother is probably a little too focused on to-do lists. It is definitely a weakness of mine that I find it hard to let go of lists and expectations. Little by little, I’m trying.

So here’s what I’m doing about this:

I’m looking for little opportunities to have fun with my kids.

Things like:

  • taking an extra five minutes and walking the boys to the bus stop in the morning. Look - worms on the road!
  • reading longer at night than I planned to since the younger boys adore listening to read alouds.
  • playing ping pong with the kids. I have no idea why they want to play with me since they can usually beat me, but it’s super fun.
  • family movie nights. Like the first Batman movie, Crocodile Dundee, and a string of Schwarzenegger movies.

I’m really trying to intentionally engage with them when we do have free time. This positive connection helps everyone’s mood.

Hello neighbor kids!

Why is it that when friends come over, the whole mood of the house changes? We love having friends over and we’ve made some new ones lately. I love it when the house is full of kids. You’d think it would make the circus crazier, but somehow it doesn’t.

Lion #4 – Losing Perspective

When you’re busy running after four kids and tackling a to-do list, it’s easy to lose perspective on life. These things that seem like such huge problems (ack – the laundry is piling up!!) are really no big deal. Life goes on and the laundry will be caught up, at least for a while.

For me, it’s so easy to plunge through life without stopping and recharging my batteries. One of my favorite ways to regain perspective is to get together with friends.

Just an hour with a good friend and a cup of coffee can make my whole week seem different. So I’m making sure to get as much quality time with friends in as possible. If not face to face, then a phone call is a great substitute.

This is sometimes a hard one to work into a busy week, but if I put it on the calendar before I get busy, it’s an appointment I always keep.

As head lion-tamer, I’ve got my work cut out for me.

If I don’t tame them, I think those lions just might devour me. But it is a thrilling place to be and I love all that action. And hey, eventually the lions all go to bed for the evening and I get to retire to the sidelines.

Are you running your own personal circus? What kind of lions are you taming these days?