Parents worldwide are holding dear to their children and sanity; by the thousands, we are flocking to local and national parks in search of some understanding from Mother Nature. Here in California, we are following in John Muir’s footsteps who wrote: “Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communion of life and death, their joyous inseparable unity.”
While we may have prolific hopes for our family hikes this fall, in actuality they often turn out to be quite a struggle. Toddlers beg to be held and the older kids yearn for their favorite toy or device left back in the car. Here are a few tips and tricks that have reshaped my family’s hiking routines over the last few years to make our family time in nature less stressful and more enjoyable.
My kids are 5 1/2 years apart. When I was pregnant with Eleanor the most common question I pondered and was asked, "Do you think they'll play together?" weighed on me. When our lives merged together the age gap wasn't an issue because they had separate lives: Oliver was in school and Eleanor was at home; they had different friends; they had different interests. But COVID changed their time apart, they are constantly together now. I grew tired of keeping their activities separate and desired more of a bonding learning experience. We started a morning learning lesson together and it quickly became our favorite time of the day. Here are the kid-approved activities that have cultivated more learning and connection between my kids, and I hope they'll serve yours in the same way.
Strategize 20 Minute Attention Pockets to Prevent Tearful Blow-ups and Build More Connection with your Kids
You can give a child the entire toy aisle of Target and they will still want your attention. Attention seeking is one of the top motivators for negative behaviors. Right now, parents worldwide are preoccupied with pandemic-stricken news and an oversaturated struggle to tackle work and life balance leaving children frustrated and longing for attention.
When I started brainstorming ways to tackle negative attention-seeking behaviors, I sought out Nicole, founder of Meetings and Motherhood. We come equipped with years of experience balancing work and child-rearing at home backed with degrees in Child Development and on-the-job counseling with emotionally struggling children. We’ve come up with 5 opportunities to build in 20-minute attention pockets throughout the day to proactively address negative attention-seeking behaviors in your home. Let’s dive in!
How to Build a Long-lasting Working Mom/SAHM Blended Mom Tribe: Guidelines found through new and decade-old mom tribe interviews
In the mama world, there’s a debate going on. I’m here to squash it. It’s about mom tribes. The most essential component of mothering success and sanity. Many moms theorize that it’s impossible to have a blended working/SAHM mom tribe. Nope, not true. Here are 6 guidelines to build your tribe and sustain it for decades, yep-decades, I interviewed mom tribes that have been together for a WHILE.
Monday morning drop-offs. There's no amount of caffeine, uplifting kids tunes or Pinterest-worthy lunch menu items that can stave away the case of the drop-off blues. You get into the weekend flow with slow mornings and leisurely activities then BAM! back to Monday.
I've just reintroduced the drop-off routine with my second and it is tough. I know that nearly 10 minutes after I'm gone her tears have dried and she is dancing around and eating berries (proof in text pictures), but the drop-off is HARD. To wrap myself in comfort on the car ride away, I have come up with a few mama mantras to conjure a positive spin on my day. Here they are:
Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash
In the back of a rental car whizzing through France, I wrote the passage below. We were on a trip with my mother-in- law and after days of awkward interactions and hiding behind a self-made wall of negativity I had blamed on her, I realized I had built this wall and it was ugly. Ugly for me and my kids to see. It hit me like a ton of bricks: I had a control issue and it had tarnished my relationship with my husband’s parents and my parents. Writing how I saw control and how I wanted to abolish it was incredibly cathartic.
I have never been a control freak but when I had my first baby the need for control was palpable. I had to know everything and make every decision. Control hardened me. Now that I’ve seen it all I can do it try to combat it, try to be more open and see the hardships that have grown from it. Control does not make me a good mom.