Mothering From Your Heart.

I get so tired of the noise.

So tired of the world telling me how I should raise my children and build my family.  It’s exhausting.

Oh?  Your son isn’t potty trained?  You use disposable diapers?  Your kids aren’t playing any sports?  How many play dates do you schedule a week?  Your kids don’t know how to code?  You don’t work?  Aren’t you eating all organic?  You know, those pesticides… (insert shaking head.)  You don’t travel?  You haven’t even taken your kids to Disneyland?  (Insert audible *GASP*)

My head spins with all these expectations.

The world is in confusion.  Can you feel it?  Families are under attack.  Experts weigh in on raising our kids, celebrities voice opinions on marriage, news articles convey the latest trend that- guess what? is proven wrong the next day.  No one seems to know up from down or right from wrong.

Pure confusion.  I’ve had enough of it.

My best mothering moments come when I pull back from the world.  I turn off my screens, take a quiet moment and prayerfully look into my heart.  This is when I feel the quiet, whispering guidance that I desperately seek.

These quiet times have brought great fruit into my life.

I found powerful ways to strengthen my marriage.  I felt the push to cancel an extracurricular activity that was putting too heavy a burden on our family.  We now have more time at home, to just be together.  I found ways to improve a weakness that I’ve been struggling with my entire life.  I created ways to connect with my children one-on-one.

Great fruit.

But you know what?  None of these ideas are in align with the world’s view.  In fact, most are in complete opposition.  And if I hadn’t stepped away, I would have never seen these answers that were just waiting for me.  Like ripe apples, hanging low on the branches.

I know what is best for my family.  And YOU. DO. TOO.

Take time this week to step back.  Prayerfully look into your heart and find the answers you seek.

Let the confusion swirl around you.  You know what’s right.

Love Dawnie

 

Creating Unplugged Places and Times in Your Home

I’ll be the first to admit- I LOVE my smartphone.  I use it to track my morning runs; I listen to podcasts as I get ready for the day.  I have all my recipes on it.  It has Google (for when my fifth grader asks me homework questions, like- how many feet are in a mile?  Um… I think I used to know that.  Thank you Google. )

But I’ll also admit- I need a break from it.  Every.  Single.  Day.

Technology can be loud.   In your face loud.  Time-sucking LOUD.  It’s constantly telling you to buy the latest product.  Check out one more pin.  Keep up with the current news.    Make sure your profile picture looks good.  Clean out your inbox.  And on and on and on.

It hurts my brain.

So everyday, I push back.  I find ways to create a quiet haven in my home.  A place to be quiet.  To be together.  To. Just. Be.

Do you want to know a secret?  Amazing things start to happen when you create quiet, open space:  Your family begins to connect.  Your brain has time to calm and you can think uninterrupted.  You find more time.  You can focus on the big picture.

Amazing stuff.

To find this place, though, you have to consciously push back.  You need to put routines in place to make sure you get this time everyday.

The American Academy of Pediatrics put out a position statement in November of 2016, titled Media and Young Minds.  (Click here if you’d like to read it in depth.)   I love their blueprint for creating unplugged places and times.  Here’s what they recommend:

“Keep bedrooms, mealtimes, and parent-child playtimes screen free…  Parents can set a “do not disturb” option on their phones during these times.  No screens 1 hour before bedtime, and remove devices from bedrooms before bed.”

So, the unplugged places: bedrooms .  The unplugged times:  mealtimes, playtime with parents and bedtime.  How’s that for creating space from the noise?!?!

Imagine dreamily with me (if I could insert clouds or soft, soothing music here I would): a quiet dinner with no interruptions.  Then a quick, playtime with mom or dad (screen-free!) and then ship those kiddos off to bed.  Their little minds will be calm, and ready to sleep.  (Research shows that screen time before bed disrupts sleep.  If your little one has trouble sleeping, or wakes a lot during the night, this could be your culprit!)

Let’s continue this dream (cue the wispy clouds):  After the kids are asleep, you take your 1 hour screen break before bed, choosing to read all snuggled up in your pajamas or reconnect with your spouse 😉 or work on a personal project.  Then you quietly, end your day in deep, deep sleep.  

Ahhh.  Peace and calm.  (And seriously- deep, long sleep.  Doesn’t that sound amazing?  Sigh.)

Okay….  so maybe things won’t be this perfect every night, but you get the idea.  You need time away from the noise.  Your family needs to relax and rejuvenate.  It cannot happen in front of a screen.  (That’s mind-numbing, not relaxing.)

This week, try to put in some routines that create space for your family.  Try starting with pulling all screens out of bedrooms.  Then go from there.  Maybe your unplugged time will be during nap time or an evening walk with your spouse.  Whatever it is, try and create your own haven from the noise of the world.

It’s always worth it!