When you are trying to live with PTSD (either the soldier or the spouse), the kids, finances, household and each other it can be over whelming. One of the first steps of healing a family is recognizing the issues and prioritizing them into a step-by-step plan. This series will focus on how to gain control of all the chaos and overwhelming issues you face as a military or veteran family. Being a family with a military background, living in what I call organized chaos is a life-style. Let’s get some organized chaos going for your family and start living in peace, having joy and showing love.
Week 1: Clearing the physical chaos
- If you have kids, create a chore chart with age appropriate chores and consequences. Post each child’s chore chart on their door so they can see it daily. Explain what the chore is and the expectation along with the consequence of not doing it or arguing about it. The hard part about this is holding yourself firm to the consequences that you give them. Stand firm, don’t cave in but also be encouraging to them for achieving their daily list. Make the initial chore day a fun day with lots of high fives, positive words but get the organization going.
Here’s a check-list of what need to get accomplished:
- Out with the old! This is the time to clear out those clothes. Make three piles: Keep, Donate, Throw away. Once the clothes are done move onto toys: Keep, Donate, Throw away. Then onto papers: Keep, Throw away. How about the kitchen. Food, dishcloths, dishes??? Remember, you don’t have to get it all done in one day but do a section at a time, not the whole house at once. Want to make a little money? Use your donate pile and do a yard sell then donate what doesn’t sell. You can do the traditional Saturday morning or have an on-line yard sell by taking pictures with the asking price and posting it on yard sell sites or social media. If you do this one, include the cost of mailing items in the price.
- It’s Budget Time! That’s right, let’s get a real budget in place and stick to it. First step, decide who is the budget keeper. Now this person is not the only decision maker of your household money, but they do keep up with the budget and the set bills and income. Decisions should always be talked about between each other. When you do this make sure you remember the unexpected budget items. Dave Ramsey has a great way of laying family budgets out. Jay and I did this years ago and I cannot tell you how it made such a difference in our life. Mr. Ramsey believes in living within your means. No credit cards as a way of providing income. You learn to save up for things, put aside your emergency fund that you use first. Be sure to make your budget one that you can live with not one that is unrealistic for your family (I call that one the “wish budget”). I have used this concept in teaching military families and assisting individuals with their budgets and have great success.
- Get to steppin’! That’s right, another part of getting the organized chaos in order is getting you physically in order. Believe me when I say that this is just as important as the other physical parts of your life. If you, your spouse and children don’t already take time to get outside and move then now’s the time to start. If you’ve been a sedentary family then start slow and build up. Here are some ideas for you to try. Make a play date with you and your family. Go for a walk, throw the ball around. When was the last time you rode a bike? Each week set aside at least one day to be active, even if it’s just you at the beginning. I know with Jay he would always say, “I did my PT time in the Army” or “I already did 12 mile walks, they were called ruck marches”. I just went with out him, it was my time to do something for me. Slowly and I mean slowly he came around. Being active is not only good for your health, it is also good for your spirit. This leads the fourth physical part…
- What’s for dinner?! As a wife and mother of three plus anyone else that showed up for dinner, I absolutely hated trying to think of something what to cook everyday. It was exasperating and not fun – I dreaded it. Finally after being so frustrated one day, I sat down and planned out two weeks worth of meals – dinners. What a stress reliever. Not only did I not have to think about what to cook everyday, it saved on the grocery shopping and the extra money spent running to the store every other day. So, while you’re thinking about chore charts, make a meal chart too.
Are you ready to get on the road to recovery? I want you to know that you are not traveling this alone. If you want assistance Warrior Family is here to give a hand. It doesn’t matter where you live, we can provide you with the tools you need to heal your family.