Welcome back! I’m so grateful and excited that this series seems to be resonating with so many of you, it’s been on our hearts to share for a while! A little refresher… I’m teaming up with 3 of my favorite local bloggers to share how we are focusing on mindful, purposeful living in various areas of our lives this fall. Go here for week one which was all about mindful rhythms of self care for MAMA. This week is all about Living Simply KIDS and I hope it’s inspiring to you! I’m mostly excited to see how four different mamas seek the same goal of intentional living with different families, personalities and gifts.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m mama to three girls. 4 year old twins and a 1 year old. The twins came into the world fast and furiously at 31 weeks with an extended NICU stay. I talk a lot about that experience and how it shaped my experience of motherhood in this article on The Everymom. Wren was born at 39 weeks and got to nurse and come home with me from the hospital, both things I missed with the twins and it was such a redemptive experience. This past year with Wren and the twins has been such a sweet year. 4 is such a fun age and Wren just smiles all day and sleeps 13 hours a night (PRAISE).
For this Living Simply KIDS week I thought I would share one of our overarching parenting goals and how we are pursuing that in simple and easy ways throughout our days. One of the most important principles of our parenting is to raise girls who are confident in their God given abilities and gifts and who work hard to pursue their calling.
Confident - because their confidence is rooted in the power of Jesus to work through every circumstance for their good.
Confident- because they have a family who is fighting for them to become who they were created to be.
Confident- because their gifts are being built up and encouraged.
Confident- because they were taught to think and not take things at face value but have the ability to dig deeper and make their own decisions.
Confident- because in Jesus weakness is strength and its not up to us to be perfect or strong.
Confident- because Jesus calls us enough and loved we don’t have to strive for other’s approval.
Our goal as parents is to (imperfectly) live out and pursue these truths, speaking them over our girls so much that they become part of who they are. Here’s a few ways these truths play out in our home in simple ways that built on things we were already doing.
Independent thought. With the constant stream of questions coming from two 4 year olds I’m always trying to turn the questions around on them and ask them what they think and then encourage their ideas. “Why are there so many clouds mommy?” “Why do you think there are so many clouds? Do you think its trying to tell us something?” Their responses are hilarious.
Decision making confidence. I try to give the girls little decisions to make around the house and then encourage their thought process on those decisions. Even if its just asking them what they want to wear and then complimenting what they choose.
Getting one on one time is so important, especially with twins that are lumped together so often. We turn Trader Joe’s and Home Depot runs into dates.
Reading Reading Reading! Right now we are reading the Illustrated Hobbit out loud and its been so fun! It’s only 5 or 10 minutes most days but its becoming such a fun tradition. We snuggle on the couch with blankets and read right before bed most nights.
Lots of time outside. We got on walks almost every day and the girls will walk up to 3 miles with us. We are constantly talking about the colors of the moss on the ground and how soft it is or how the wind blows our faces and the trees.
Play based learning! Building forts is a great way to learn about structures and strength of materials. Role playing restaurant and house are also big around here.
We build chipmunk houses outside using leaves and sticks and make kitchen, baths and beds for the chipmunk at our local park and then they run to check on the chipmunk house every day when we walk!
Grace to mess up and have hard days. Teaching them that we all have hard days and mess up gives them grace and takes the pressure off of constant perfect performance. I try to apologize to the girls throughout the day as I mess up and always point it back to Jesus and how we all need Him and He gives us so much grace and forgiveness like we need to give to each other.
All these things we do are very easy and add onto things we already were doing. We already went on walks a lot but being purposeful about pointing out beauty while we walk builds a culture of beauty in our home. We already played in the playroom but asking the girls to build a fort and see how they attach the blankets and point out the structure is an easy 2 minute conversation. We already read books together but making it a special thing with cuddly blankets and a beautiful book makes it more purposeful. We already go to Trader Joe’s each week but calling it a date and taking one girl while the other two are at home with Daddy makes it special.
I think if we were sitting down to coffee and we were talking about this topic face to face I would encourage you to define your parenting goals and find little ways to reach those throughout the day by being purposeful with things you are already doing. Every family and parent has different goals with different gifts and personalities and Jesus gives us creativity and grace to pursue our individual calling. There isn’t just one way to be purposeful as parents. If your family loves music maybe you are purposeful to point out music all day as you hear it around town and sing in the car. If you love to travel maybe its building a family culture of travel by trying different restaurants around town from different cultures and learning about each culture. There are so many ways to be purposeful about your parenting and I would just encourage you to hold fast to what you love!
“They watched their young daughter and sighed as they did.
What would they do with this curious kid,
who wanted to know what the world was about?
They smiled and whispered, ‘We’ll figure it out?’
And that’s what they did- because that’s what you do
when you kid has a passion and heart that is true.
They remade their world- now they’re all in the act
of helping young Ada sort fiction from fact.
She asks lots of questions. How could she resist?
It’s all in the heart of a young scientist.”
Ada Twist, Scientist
One of our favorite quotes from one of our favorite books!