- At the beginning of this year I spent quite a bit of time re-evaluating my priorities. It should have been easy to do because family has always been number one, right?! As I dug a little deeper, and looked back on the habits I’d made since we moved back to Utah, I realized that my kids had taken a back seat. Not on purpose, obviously, and we still spent lots of time together, but I just felt like my quality time with them had dwindled. Being awfully honestly with myself, I realized I just wasn’t making them a priority. My little BFF starts first grade in the fall, so I have this small window of opportunity to really seize some great moments with her and get into a routine that really compliments us both.
As I’ve been preparing for 2018, and setting new goals, I’ve decided to make my kids the real priority. And that doesn’t mean I’ll be quitting all the things and spoiling them. It just meant I needed to think hard about the time we had, how we were going to spend it, and what I was going to do to facilitate a good experience for everyone. I came up with 10 relatively easy things that I’m going to incorporate into my life so that my kids feel even more loved.
1. Be ten minutes early to the bus. Instead of running late and scrambling to get out the door I want to take them to the bus early so that we have some time to chat! When we’ve been early in the past, I like to read them an article out of the Friend magazine and then we talk about ways we can be kinder and better and happier! The days we’ve done that, there has been a special spirit in the car before the kids hustled onto the bus. I felt so confident about them going to school and being around kids that might now share our same values, like I’d just put this armor on them! It’s such an easy thing to do, ten minutes! You can jam out to tunes, have time to tell jokes or just probe them with questions about life and how they’re feeling. Plus, it’s an easy way to make them feel loved. y
2. Fix things together! Brian is really good at this one! If something breaks, or a tire needs to be inflated, Brian will invite Boston or Savy to help fix it. It’s so easy and so much faster to just do it alone, though. Seizing those learning opportunities is such a great way to build relationships and show love. The next time I’m working on something that the kids could help with, my goal is to let them. I can’t count the times I’ve said no, it’s okay, I can do it. Which only pushes them away.
- 3. Plan monthly dates! We started this tradition back in Ohio and when we moved to Utah it sort of just went away. This year, we’re starting the tradition back up! So how it works is I get to take Boston on a date one weekend and then Daddy gets to take Savy on a date the next. Then we swap kids the next month. It doesn’t need to be an expensive date, it could even be running to the grocery store after dinner to grab a few things. Typically I’d leave the kids home for an errand like that! But instead, I’d take one of my big kids, they’d help me find what’s on the list and then maybe afterwards we’d go get an ice cream cone! A simple way to spend quality time!!
4. Set aside one night a week to be together as a family. In our home we call this night Family Home Evening. Every single Monday night we stop what we’re doing and spend time together. We usually start it off with a prayer, sing a church song, read a scripture and have a five minute lesson about Christ, but you could omit that part if you’re not religious and just go straight to the planned activity. Usually it’s playing games with each other or baking cookies! Something that everyone can do that gives us just one more opportunity to get to know our kids.
5. Turn the phone off. When we run errands, or I’m taking the kids to practice or school, I’m usually talking on the phone to my mom or sister, or trying to catch up on missed calls. Even listening to podcasts or books! My goal this year is to turn the phone off in those moments, and use that time to hang out with my kids. Ask them questions, play the alphabet game or just jam to music they like! My goal is to be present in those everyday moments so that they’ll trust me to be with them in the big ones.
6. Combine worlds. We finally decided to give Savy her own YouTube Channel. She’s been dreaming of this for over a year! Begging me to take videos of her crafting or baking! I thought that starting up a channel for her would be a great way to combine our worlds and spend time doing something we both loved. We’ve filmed several videos for her channel and I gotta tell ya, it’s been amazing. We get to spend time picking out what she wants to share, and then we get to go and collect all the ingredients and things she needs for her videos. I get to help facilitate her doing something she loves and it’s been such a positive experience for both of us!
Brian’s mom had three boys that were obsessed with sports. She took it upon herself to learn everything about baseball and football. She watched the games, read articles and watched ESPN. She knew what was going on with all the players and who won what so that she could participate in her boys’ conversations and be their biggest supporter! I’m prepared to do the same when my boys start playing ball or whatever it is they chose to love. Combine your worlds! And if you can’t, try to join them in theirs!
7. Wake up 20 minutes earlier. Right now I wake up when the twins wake up. It’s usually around 8. I roll out of bed, stumble around trying to figure out where I even am for twenty minutes and I’m rushed from the minute my feet hit the ground. Gotta get everyone dressed, gotta get breakfast, gotta make sure everyone brushes their teeth, that they are ready for school and it’s go go go until Boston is safely on the bus. And every morning I feel like I’ve failed him! Like I haven’t paid much attention to his needs or been able to enjoy him before school. If I were to wake up at 7:40, get dressed and be ready to actually hit the ground running at 8, I could be so much more organized and prepared to help myself and my kids have a happier day!!
8. Have breakfast together. Now, I’ve done breakfast with my kids since they were born. If I didn’t make them breakfast, they didn’t eat. And since the twins were born it’s been harder to enjoy that time together because it’s chaos. I’m trying to give them warm food, get them all their drinks, give kai another pancake and help Coop clean up the milk he spilled. It’s been just a little bit chaotic! And as I’ve searched for ways to have a smoother breakfast routine, I kept thinking about pre made breakfasts. That way I’m not rushing to get things cooked and out for them! I’m going to make a huge batch of pancakes for the freezer every couple of weeks, make a huge batch of oatmeal and cut a whole bunch of fruit a couple times a week. That way, I can be there for them when they spill their milk, or when they want another pancake it’s not this huge thing! I want to bring back the tradition of me reading scriptures and stories to them about Jesus. What a better way to grow closer as a family?!
9. Spend 10 minutes a day with each child. I know, that doesn’t seem like a lot. I made this a huge priority last year and it was incredibly helpful! I’m picking the habit back up. It means that I ask Boston to help me make dinner and together for ten minutes he’s got all my attention. I’ll show him how to make it, how to set the table, etc. It might mean dinner is on the table a little bit later, but it will be well worth it! It might mean I get on the floor with the twins and push their little tractors along the floor for ten minutes! No camera, no phone, no side conversations with Brian. TEN minutes. What I found last year was that the ten minutes usually turned into 15 and sometimes 20 and that I still got everything I needed to done, and I felt so much happier about how I’d spent my time.
10. Last but not least, give yourself grace. I received a DM the other day from a sweet struggling mom who has a rambunctious 3 year old and a brand new baby. “How do you navigate motherhood and give your kids the attention they need”? She talked about how she felt like she was drowning all the time, that her oldest was feeling forgotten and she just felt like she couldn’t possibly do it all. I told her that navigating motherhood is HARD! It’s the hardest job in the entire world and it’s impossible to be perfect at it. But no one wants more for our kids than we do. We love them unconditionally and we want them to be so happy! So when you need to, give yourself grace. This stage of life might be harder than the next, but that’s how it was designed! God means to stretch and pull you and when you find yourself in the refiners fire, you give yourself grace. Your kids will be fine! And you’ll get into a routine and figure life out. You always do! But if you’re going to be successful and navigating the ins and outs of life, you need to be kind to yourself. You need to love yourself and remember that you’re amazing and that eventually, you will figure it out!! You’re dong enough, you’re loving them enough, and you’ll always be enough for your family!
- I hope you guys enjoyed this post!! I hope that at least one thing stuck out to you, something that you can apply to your own family. If you have any other suggestions, or you have any cute traditions you do as a family or with your kids, please write them in the comments! I’d love for people reading this post to find even more amazing ideas in the comments and you guys have so much to offer.
Thanks for supporting this blog and know that I love you so dang much!