Hi, Katie! Can you start by sharing a recent photo and telling us a little about your family?
Sure! Here is a picture that was taken of the 6 of us last month.
We are all sweaty and disheveled at the end of our oldest son’s baseball tournament, in the sweltering Tennessee heat.? What a fun weekend it was for our whole family to travel and enjoy a mini vacation along with lots of baseball! I did not grow up in an athletic family, but I’ve been learning to love sports ever since our oldest’s first word was “ball” (yes, even before mama or dada!!?). He is now 9 years old, continues to love sports, competition of all kinds, and math. Our second son just turned 7, is laid-back, talkative, and loves animals. Our daughter is 5. She is tough and stubborn enough to hold her own in the middle of 3 brothers – while still loving purple, glitter, and ballet. Our 3 year old son lives large as the baby of the family. He would like to be the center of attention at all times and loves to make everyone laugh.
That sounds like a “good group of folks” as my Mom would say. ?
What truth did you hear this week that helped you that you could share with us today?
This summer I have been reading a devotional book with my kids, which goes along with the curriculum their Sunday school classes are using (Power Up by Lauren Terrell). One week is spent on each of the Fruit of the Spirit. I’m often surprised by how much wisdom is in this little devotional that is meant for kids! For example, in one of the sections about peace, I loved these words: “It [worrying]‘s almost impossible to avoid. But once you catch yourself worrying, the quicker you turn your thoughts to Jesus and ask Him to help you trust Him, the faster you’ll get back to His peace. The longer you spend wallowing in worry, the harder it will be to find your way back to living in God’s peace.” As a natural worrier, this is an area of my life that God has been working on for many years. Nothing good comes from me wallowing in my worries! I’m learning how to turn my worries over to God and to ask him to help me trust Him. And I’m seeing Him replace my worries with His peace!!
That’s so neat! Maybe that’s why God wants us to come to him like little kids, because His truth is simple. We adults tend to complicate things.
What is your hardest parenting struggle currently?
I have been struggling recently with my kids complaining. Not sure exactly why, but it can really get under my skin and ruin my whole day to hear my kids’ complaints, ranging from going to a certain place/activity or having to do chores around the house. My first inclination is to snap back at them and lecture them about gratitude and why they need to check their attitude. (I mean, seriously, WHY are they complaining when I’m taking them to a cool new splash pad park?!?!?) A harsh response from me never helps the situation, though. It just feeds into their negativity.
So, I’ve been asking God this summer to help me give a calm, brief reply to the first complaint. Usually something along the lines of, “I’m sorry you’re not excited about this activity. There are 4 kids in this family – sometimes we pick one of your favorite activities and sometimes it’s an activity that someone else is excited about.” or “We are all part of this family. We all have chores to work together to take care of each other and our home.” Then I deliberately ignore any further complaints or arguments (even physically walking away and hiding behind the closed bathroom door for a few minutes if I need to). Almost always, the complaints die away pretty quickly when I remove myself as an audience. And once the unhappy child decides to participate in the activity in question, he/she almost always ends up enjoying it. And I’m able to enjoy the outing because I’m choosing to not take their complaints to heart.?
Those are great practical steps to take to deal with complaints. They are hard to hear since we want their childhood to be fun and memorable.
What is going well?
Recently, I have gotten back into the routine of reading out loud to all four of my kids together before bed at night. I read a couple chapters for about 30 mins, while they are all snuggled up in blankets. This summer we’ve read Nim’s Island, Summer According to Humphrey, and The Wind in the Willows. It doesn’t work with the schedule every night, but we do it as often as we can. It’s a sweet time. They love it. I *think* it makes them focus and get showers, pjs, and teeth brushed more quickly when they know I am ready to read. I just love having some focused time with all four of them together. And I love hearing their giggles or watching their surprised or serious expressions at different parts of the story.
That’s a great tradition that they will remember down the road.
What is your least favorite household chore (which one would you pay someone else to do for you)?
Oh, without a doubt, dishes!! I have always dreaded washing dishes – even as a kid! Dishes are never ending, as soon as they are washed the sink is full of dirty dishes again. Ugh! Give me laundry or even cleaning toilets any day.
I hear you with the dishes! And those machines they invented still don’t replace my efforts! ? Lol.
Alright, Katie. We all have them; what is your most embarrassing mom fail?
Hmm, too many to choose from. A recent funny one was my son’s spring class picture day.? My first grader dressed himself that morning in a Pokemon tee-shirt, shorts that didn’t quite match, and athletic leggings underneath that clashed even more. I remembered it was class picture day, but I didn’t really want to fight him on what to wear. And I figured very little of the outfit would actually be seen behind all the other kids in the photo anyway. So, he went to school exactly as he was that morning. A few weeks later I had to shake my head and literally laugh out loud when the class picture came home. There was my son, front and center. Mismatched clothes. Not one, but both shoelaces untied. And a facial expression somewhere between confused and angry. It was noticeable enough that another parent from the class actually texted me about it – we both had a good laugh! Guess I could have put a little more effort into picture day attire and smile coaching. Ah well! So glad this wonderful photo will be kept forever in the memory books of some 25 other families.?
Haha! I can’t wait to hear what he wears next year! ?
When you’re all in one place, what is your favorite summer activity to do as a family?
Basically anything we can do outside – parks, splash pads, hiking in the woods and along creek beds, or even just riding bikes in the cul-de-sac. We all are happiest when we can be outside and active!
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