Rule 8: Chaos Builds Character

This is part of an ongoing series chronicling my attempts to regain a bit of my sense of self, and my sanity, by implementing Elizabeth Lyons’ 32 Rules that Sustain a (Mostly) Balanced Mom. Subscribe to my RSS feed to get the whole series!

Don’t forget to check out Elizabeth’s assignment for each rule at the end of the post!

“Don’t hold yourself or your mate accountable for anything you say to each other at three in the morning.”

That’s what I always used to tell the expectant twin moms when I headed up their group in my multiples club. They were scared. They were nervous. They needed to know that yes, it would be chaotic, yes, they would suddenly find themselves wanting to strangle their husband, but yes, it would be okay. If you can come out of those early days alive, then you are surely a better person for it.

I absolutely love this quote from page 73: The fact of the matter is, you birth chaos right after the placenta. The doctor doesn’t tell you because it’s too scary; your hormones can’t take any more at the moment.”

Every one of my days has chaos in one form or another. Usually in the hours between 4 and 8 pm. Or 8 am and 1 pm. You know, all the waking hours.

I have always said that my kids have made me a better person, and I don’t mean that in a sappy way. They have seriously taught me lessons on patience that I would have never learned otherwise. They’ve also taught me a few lessons on selective hearing and ignore tactics.

When they were babies things were so crazy, I didn’t know if I was coming or going. I’m only one person, and there were two babies. Someone was going to be unhappy at some point and time, crying on the bed while I changed the other on the changing table. What could I do? Nothing. I laughed. Because seriously, no one was getting hurt, and what good was it going to do to get frustrated? It’s not like the dog was going to swoop in and save me (I’m still a little miffed that he just sits idly by while I cook, clean, clothe, and care for all these dang kids).

I’ve realized in the past few months that I can handle a lot. Whether it’s tossing bananas and Cheerios their way to shush the hunger whines so I can make some freaking coffee or setting them loose in Build A Bear, where Rachel makes a mad dash to explore behind the registers while Claire heads straight for the stuffing machines and the bins of little red hearts they put in the bears, I have to keep my cool, give a smile, and say, “I got this!”

And the upside? I cannot tell you how much I enjoy being out with only one of my kids when I get the chance. Seriously, does it get any easier?

Important quote from Rule 8: Once you accept that chaos is inevitable, it’s quite liberating. Because  then — and only then — can you begin floating above it.”

Elizabeth’s assignment for Rule 8: The real point of Chaos Builds Character is to realize that life isn’t an emergency. Once, I walked into a coffee shop and saw a friend sitting sitting in a lounge chair half asleep. When I asked her how things were going, she said, “It’s chaos.” I thought, Wow, I’d hate to see what a real emergency looks like in your world!

The next time things begin to feel chaotic, consider what opportunity it presents? An idea on how to be more organized? How to practice patience? How to be calm in the moment? The realization that you’re doing too much?

For women who experience Morning Mayhem on a daily basis, this chapter will leave you with great perspective on how to manage that mayhem a bit less…well…chaotically!

Purchase your own autographed copy of You CANNOT Be Serious! You can also follow Elizabeth Lyons on Twitter: @elizabethlyons


Join the Conversation


  1. I like the quote about not holding each other accountable for things said at 3 am. My husband yells a lot in his sleep but he never remembers it in the morning. I used to take it personal but now I just ignore him.

  2. Oh, I love this perspective. Well stated.

    And the part about going out with just one child in tow? Yes! Yes! A thousand times, yes!

  3. Sometimes when life seems chaotic to me, I feel peace in making sure my son's life is as un-chaotic as possible. I grew up in a very unstable home–I never knew what was coming next. It's made me into an anxiety-ridden adult. My goal is to give my son more stability than I had, even in the midst of chaos!

  4. I love this! I am trying to get the chaos out of my life.

    I apply that same 3am rule in my life. It has nothing to do with kids though. Just Happy Hours that last too long.

  5. Hooray for chaos! I think I would have lost my mind a long time ago if I hadn't decided to embrace the chaos. 🙂

  6. I feel like my kids have forced me into being more patient. Now, I'm still impatient overall, but I've gotten a lot better.

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