How to Keep Your Cool in Chaos

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There is a sign on my desk that reads: 

Keep your cool in chaos

My husband gifted it to me.  Telling, don’t you think?  

Chaos takes up residence

Chaos has been my constant companion for years. I can’t complete daily tasks without interruptions, most involve chaos. In fact, chaos stands outside the studio door right now. 

Here’s what it looks like at this exact moment.   My 18 year-old daughter is holding up my eight-month-old grandson for me to see through the windowed door.  She mouths words. I can’t hear her.  But her face tells all. She is panicking.  Gabriel, on the other hand, is giddy with delight.  He is smiling and kicking his legs joyfully. 

Me:  I can’t hear you.

Charity:  “HELP!  It needs changed.  

Me:  Well, change it. 

Charity:  But, It’s all over his legs.  

In Charity’s defense, she’s my youngest child. She did not grow up changing diapers like the rest of my crew.  Explosive diapers undo her.  We all hope that when she has children she will learn to deal with it.  For now, I  must set aside this blog article to clean up the eight-month-old. 

Chaos magnified

Of course, the story gets more chaotic.  Sammy, Gabriel’s toddler brother, followed me to the bathroom.  There are no diapers at my house (not normal).   I placed Gabriel in the tub and sent Uncle Zach for diapers.  It’s not a big deal because my daughter lives on the farm in a house next door. 

Next, I turned on the bath water. A sudden look of panic crossed the toddler’s face.  He’s potty training.  The sound of water triggers the need to go.  In one fell swoop, I place the toddler on the toilet.  He began shrieking for fear he would fall in.  Odd, he has done this before with no problems.  Not today because chaos must have her way. 

Chaos multiplied

I remove the toys from his hands urging him to prop himself up.  My return to the baby ends abruptly with a shrieking toddler who fell into the toilet after all.  I dried off his damp derriere, return to the baby, clean him up  and insist Charity finish the diaper job.

From the studio, I hear her protest, “But he is slippery.”

“Use a towel to dry him off,” I instruct.

Charity and Gabriel at Farmers Market. He cleaned up well.

How chaos starts for us

You may wonder why I am in charge of this task let alone my grandson.  Well, it’s simple.  It’s called teamwork.   We are a multi-generational farm family.  Specifically, three generations work together on the farm business.  Moriah, my daughter also young mother, worked on designing new soaps.   I started working on a blog article. Charity and Zach were taking care of my grandchildren.

The blinking cursor mocked me.  Writer’s block set in.

Me: What should I write about today?

Moriah:  Overcoming adversity.

Me:  Did that one already.

Moriah: Your youngest turned 18.

Me.  Wrote that last week.

Moriah:  hmmm….

Me:  I know! Chaos. It’s been chaotic all week. Chronicling Tuesday’s chaotic events would be perfect.

I churned out two sentences setting the stage for the story. At that exact moment, I looked up to find my youngest daughter at the door with my grandson.  That’s how prevalent chaos is around here.  It’s not hard to find examples of mayhem. Tuesday’s events now pale in comparison to this teachable moment. 

Because pandemonium is our constant companion, we’ve learned a few things about how to keep our cool in chaos.  Here’s a few ways to prevail.

Five ways to keep your cool in chaos

  1. Expect the unexpected.  Our businesses/lives involve many moving parts. Goats, chickens, young children, rain, aging parents, and unexpected bulk orders all have a way of meeting, creating a messy middle.  This is normal for us.
  2. Do the next thing.  Look at the chaos as a solvable problem.  Isolate steps and work on the next doable step.  
  3. Shift your mindset about chaos.  Viewing chaos as an enemy leads to unfavorable outcomes.  View disorder from a strategic perspective.  Approach it as an exercise in mastery over emotions and problem solving skills.  Chaos is just a problem that needs to be solved.  
  4. Relabel chaos as adventure.  The stories we tell ourselves make a difference between stress and relaxation, depression and joy.  Calling chaos an adventure adds a new dimension to the experience. 
  5. Laugh. To be honest, this has been a stressful week.  Completing simple tasks took longer than expected because of chaos.  As I told Moriah about Gabriel’s explosion, we couldn’t help but laugh. It turned the frustration into fun giving us traction to persevere. Further, the benefits of laughter are well known and  include reducing stress and anxiety.  

Keeping your cool in chaos involves a few simple paradigm shifts to make it work.  I am pleased to report we prevailed yesterday.  Take a look at these beautiful soaps Moriah designed yesterday despite the chaos.

First Kiss
First Kiss. experienced a color morph so we will tweak a bit more.
Graphite a new masculine scent that needs a new name before being released.

You can find more of our beautiful creations in the shop.

Do you find chaos knocking at your door often?  What do you do to keep your cool? Share your insights in the comments below.  

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  1. Thank you for sending these emails. I really enjoy reading them. Even though I don’t always respond, they are very insightful to read. Have a blessed weekend and hopefully not too chaotic.

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