I have the joy of raising five really cool, little humans. They range from ages 8, 6, 4, 2, and almost 1. Something was activated in my heart the day I became a mother. I’ve always viewed motherhood as something profound. Being a mother has always made my heart swell with pride. For me, motherhood is beauty and grit. It’s peace and chaos. Motherhood is about savoring every moment and total surrender.
My husband and I both live full lives. We have five little ones and we both are going hard after our dreams. Life is abundant, rich and lively! Through it all our focus always comes back to our kids. We know that we will never get these years back with them. Making sure our children feel loved, seen and heard takes priority over anything else in our lives. Here are some practical ways we stay present with our kids.
I consider myself a laid back- go with the flow type person yet, I still appreciate a little structure. I like to make the absolute best use of my time because I know time is valuable. Every Sunday I plan out my week. I write every appointment, workout, play date, dinner etc. I block out certain times in my day for specific things.
There are some things that I allow for wiggle room and other things that are non-negotiable.
Even though I am physically with my kids for most of the day, I’ve come to find that my mind is often focused elsewhere or I’m busy working. If I don’t block out intentional time for only them, we don’t actually connect to the level that I feel we all need. I typically block out anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour of time that belongs only to my kids. During this time I ignore my phone (unless they ask me to film their performances) I’m present, engaged and focused. Sometimes we play tag or we lay on the floor and color together. Other times we go for ice cream or go for a hike. I like to use this time to ask my kids intentional questions. This time doesn’t need to be fancy. The beauty is the simplicity. Ask your kids what they want to play and follow their lead. Our kids want our time and they want our undivided attention.
Our favorite place to eat dinner is outside on a blanket or at the beach while the sun is going down. We use dinner time to ask one another questions. We typically share one high and one low from our day. Then we talk about what we are thankful for. We always spend time affirming one another as well. Sometimes we read a verse out of the Bible. My baby is usually crawling around everywhere and my 2 year old is typically sneaking food off everyone’s plates. Someone usually cries about something at some point during the meal. Our dinner times are not that quiet; they’re quite loud but, its always fun and full of love.
SEIZE THE MOMENT:
Whether you’re a stay at home mom or you work full time, there are many opportunities during our day where you can make connections with your kids. It may feel insignificant for you but, I can assure you that it will leave a big impact on your kids. As you drive your little ones to school each morning, speak life over them and remind them of who they are. While you’re pushing them in carts through grocery stores ask them what they’d buy if they had all the money in the world. Randomly stop them, pull them on to your lap and tell them how much you love them and that you think they’re great. You might not always get the response from them that you think you deserve or hoped for but, think about the long term goal not the immediate response.
To better understand what your children need I encourage you to establish your own family values. My husband and I have an ongoing conversation about the things we wish to instill into our children. We ask them questions based on what we are trying to develop in their hearts, minds and character. Sometimes we focus on certain words each week. For the last two weeks we’ve been talking about integrity; what it means and how we can each live it. Our values will be different than yours because we were all created uniquely. Don’t become overwhelmed, instead be inspired to make little changes here and there. Staying present with our kids is one of the best gifts we can give them.