07 Nov How to Bring Your Heart Into Your Home
Remember the time before you had kids? Remember the sweet ideas you had about what being a mom would be like?
Idyllic days of wonder and outdoor adventures. Moments of learning (for both you and your child!). Hugs, kisses and cuddles before bed. A sticky hand engulfed in your larger one.
My reality did include sweet moments of affection — but also a toddler who wouldn’t go to bed or put on their shoes and felt fine melting down in the supermarket aisle. This wasn’t what I’d bargained for. It all felt like a surprise to me.
I recall sitting on the park bench while my 2 kids played and barely being able to keep my eyes open. I wanted to interact but I was just too tired and also stressed because I knew the “fun” of dinner and bedtime lay ahead.
Being a mom had turned into a chore. It became busyness and lost its joy and wonder for me. And that wasn’t good for my kids either. An exhausted, frustrated, bored mom doesn’t lead to easy moments of affection — she might just miss the moment of affection when it comes along.
When all you’re doing is doing-doing-doing, it’s easy to forget how you want to be. When you’re in reaction mode, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture of intentional family life.
I want you to connect with the meaning and practices you long to bring into your family. You see, r(E)volutionary mamas drive the bus. We create the ways of being in our household. The tone (busy or calm), the vibe (responding to what arises or intentional), the practices (homemade or takeout, loungy or active, organized or spontaneous) — all these come from our energy and intention.
Our homes are places that reflect the personalities of our soul — an organic garden and chicken coop, overflowing bookshelves for a clan of readers, bikes for everyone, a corner with a meditation pillow, a cabinet full of vitamins and supplements. All of these are intentional choices.
Our choices create a culture in our homes and families. Creating a culture is some of the most rewarding work we can do. I know that you long to bring more of your soul into your home. So, let’s dig into some simple ways to move into your vision.
And I get it — this all takes serious energy and focus! But a garden needs water, and without focus the garden of our home can dry up.
Here’s how to water your family garden — as simple as 1, 2, 3:
1. Small first step: Decide on one thing you want to add.
Think of a thing you feel is missing from your family culture. Some ideas to consider: healthier foods, connection time, adventures, art in the city, camping, reading out loud, cooking together, family meal time, girl time with your daughter, environmental awareness, sharing your family history with your kids, volunteering. (Please don’t choose “getting my toddler set up for Harvard” or “my 6-year-old playing first violin in the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra.”)
2. Devote energy: Create an intentional plan.
Brainstorm the steps you’ll need to follow and the hurdles you’ll have to overcome and prepare for. Start with the basics you know will need your attention: food, sleep, emotions. Prepare in advance as well as you can — so you can let it happen. (And remember, all those preparations include taking care of your needs too!)
Be gentle with your timetable. It may take weeks to set up the family vacay to the lake you swam in as a kid or take the train to the city, but allow it to evolve. You might miss the farmer’s market 3 weeks in a row but get there the 4th time. Or that trip to get veggies might only last 30 minutes due to a bee sting. It’s all okay!
3. Invite support: Ask for what you need and accept what comes.
Share what you want to do with your partner, friends and family and ask for help to make it happen. Maybe grandma and grandpa will join in for family reading time, or your neighbor wants to share their garden’s abundance. Ask on Facebook if anyone has a membership or coupon they’d like to share. Even the simplest thing can make it easier on you — your honey putting the clothes in the dryer the night before creates ease in the morning.
My real life example: I always wanted my kids to be exposed to art and museums — it is one of my passions. When my first kid was 4 years old, we received our foster daughter (also 4) into our home. It was chaotic. The kids were adjusting to sharing a room and she had to navigate the emotions of her new environment. Meanwhile I had to deal with CPS and other government agencies (and OMG the endless forms I had to fill out). I felt overwhelmed and tired. Yet I still wanted us to enjoy each other. I felt that art could create some fun for us and it would feel like I was bringing my soul into my family.
So first I set my intention and committed to it: We were going to take a trip to the art museum. That was my small first step, and it meant letting other things go (like a super clean kitchen and folded laundry) to make space for it.
Next I devoted energy to thinking about how it would go down. I knew the kids needed a good night’s sleep ahead of time. I checked out upcoming free days at the MOMA. I knew I’d need to shop the day before for snacks to keep the kids fueled. A full tank of gas would make the morning trip easier. I had a plan.
I also knew it might not happen on the first attempt. Who knew if one of the kids would spike a fever the night before or if I would just be too tired. Turns out my husband offered to prep the snacks and wear out the kids the night before with a huge game of hide and seek to ensure they’d sleep well. So I got support. And if the trip didn’t launch that day, I would have just had the kids make art and create our own museum in the living room.
My wish for you is to relax into a few intentional ways to bring your soul into your family. My kids are teens now and they know and (mostly) love the museums of San Francisco. In fact, often they give me a family trip to the museum as my birthday gift. So now they are gifting me with the very same culture I committed to!
The truth is the energy we put into a day is energy spent — whether we’re serving our family culture or not. We can redirect this life force into something that we will feel good about and create memories that will last in our family culture forever. When we make our heart’s desires real our family culture becomes soulful. And our love is made visible.
Get intentional here! Click here to get your Soul Survey, r(E)volutionary mama, so you can get clear about the family culture you desire.