Moment 2 Moment Masterpiece Parenting Blog

Functioning under peace on your special needs journey

by: Elizabeth Thorndike

I have spent way too much time over the past 5 years trying to figure out how to not have chaos in our home. It is an ongoing cycle that usually ends with me feeling defeated and the kids feeling frustrated. It doesn’t make sense to have 7 people, 5 of whom are children, living under one small roof and have it tranquil! Yet, I try again and again.

Perhaps it is my desire to have a bit of peace in my own heart and head. Perhaps home is my happy place and I crave it to be a place of solitude and rejuvenation. Either way, I set myself up to fail EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Once a friend gave me a coffee mug that said, “chaos coordinator!” Needless to say…. I loved the gift and used it throughout the day to carry my 6 cups of coffee! (Ok, only 2 to 3. But you moms, that endure summer with lots of kids, know what I mean!)

Find peace in the chaos

Then there is the saying, “find peace in the chaos”. This is truly my mantra! I am forever trying to find a way to be calm in the level of energy and noise existing in our home. I recently wrote a post on our family’s noise. I really do love our noise and, if I am being honest, I do dig the busyness. However, as my kiddos get older, my husband and I get older. We find that we don’t recover from the crazy Saturdays with sports and birthday parties as quickly or as well as we used to. (Seriously people, we had 2 sporting events, 3 birthdays parties, one volunteer at church, and a sleepover just this past Saturday!)

Most days, I just throw in the towel and look up into the heavens and say, “well God, this is what we wanted!” It’s true. We decided to have a larger family. The diverse needs make it a bit more complicated, but this is what we wanted. I am learning, very slowly, to embrace the chaos. I have, in moments, found a peaceful groove and thrived during those times. I am praying they happen more regularly. (A girl can dream!)

About 3 years ago, I started to have panic attacks, and would feel so much anxiety when going to bed at night. I could not cut my thoughts off, and most of them were irrational.  After weeks of not sleeping well, I found myself spiraling downward. I was snapping at my kids and my husband. I felt like I was drowning with all the things I had to do, and I was always 10 steps behind. My thoughts were confused, and I felt spacey. I finally broke down one night with Dan and we decided I needed to talk to someone. I needed help. I was truly experiencing anxiety and my body was sounding off the alarm. I needed a plan. A plan that could, over time, get me to a level of functioning for my family. It has taken a while, and some restructuring for us all. I found some supplements that worked (thank you CBD!), and I started sleeping better. I slowed our schedule way down and made simple dinners. I was worth nourishing, and I needed to take care of me for a bit.

Today, I am at a much better place, but I still go in to panic mode from time to time. I am learning that I need to remember the small things that matter. The moments of deep breathing. Using paper plates and making breakfast for dinner again! (When in doubt, eggs it is!) Less pressure on myself and more grace.

Friends, no matter the size of the family, having children with diverse needs can add awesomeness to a family, but it can also add busyness too.  In our family, for safety reasons, we must know where 2 certain children are at all times. It can feel like we are constantly “on”, and that feeling alone, can be exhausting. For single parents, it can feel like this all the time. I admire you. I pray for you.

My hope is to have the where-with-all, one day, to consistently have internal peace in our family fun, noise, and chaos. Until then, I will continue to embrace the crazy! I have found, however, that small moments to breathe throughout the day really do help. I also try not to over plan our days if possible. I am constantly asking God for more daily grace and peace, as well as the strength and self-control to react less to my emotions. I allow the house to be cluttered more often and try not to sweat the small stuff.  I find ways to involve my kiddos in workouts for stress relief, and they are totally digging yoga. I am also known to play worship music in the background when things are amped up, and kids are arguing. They are going to argue. They are going to make lots of mistakes. I need to be there to help, and when I can do so with an internal peace, my days go much better, and I lead by example. But I am a work in progress…!



Things I have found that work for our family to reduce chaos:

  1. Time to quiet your mind and pray (even if it is only 5 minutes before the kids wake up)
  2. Dance parties when energy is too high (Of course, my favorite)
  3. Workout with your kiddos (try yoga, obstacle courses, or simple exercises that they lead)
  4. Mandatory “hang out in your room by yourself time”. My kids don’t always like this one, but once they engage in an activity, their creativity comes out. Then I have a moment! (P.S. They will need time to practice this one. At first, it will fail, but eventually the habit will form.)
  5. Encouraging notes strategically placed around the house to tell yourself “you are rocking this mom thing”
  6. Quiet the inner negative thoughts that try to take us to future failure and panic, and tell the enemy “Not today”, so you can stay in the present.
  7. BREATHE – it is scientifically proven that this reduces stress instantly.
  8. Have a bestie that you can text in the moment! Laughter from a “gif” works every time for me!!!

yoga peace in chaos resized rotated

yoga shay peace resized rotated

It takes a village, people!

Moms and dads, please share your ideas. Summer is upon us, and we need help!

Email us at:

I will share them!

Be blessed!

about us

Meet the Thorndikes - Moment to Moment Family

Hi there! We are the crazy cool parents to 5 amazing and crazy cool kiddos. But, first, we are Dan and Elizabeth Thorndike – married 15 years and living this life one moment at a time. We have a full and blessed life, but we are clumsily tackling a journey we never foresaw ourselves living.

Read our story of how this journey all started in our blog post titled:
“The Beginning. Our Special Needs Journey”


Elizabeth Thorndike

Introverted extrovert – that’s how I describe myself. I absolutely love being a mama but never knew how hard it would be, nor how deeply I could love.



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