This month we’re excited to share an update from one of our writers, Anna Brink. Anna, could you tell us a little about your family and share a recent photo with us?
Yes! This is a rare family photo taken on our recent vacation in front of a Yellowstone waterfall. My husband, Ryan, and I have been married for 18 years (in about 2 weeks!), and we have three kids: Bella (12, almost 13), Tristan (9), and Tabitha (6). Ryan is a computer specialist and project manager, and our kids are into theater, baseball, dance, golf, and our puppy, Willow. In addition to writing, I am a substitute teacher in my kids’ schools and I’m going back to directing musicals in the fall!
Here’s our puppy:
Cute! So, Anna, would you share a truth you heard this week that really impacted you? It could have been from a podcast, quote, song, or conversation.
Now that summer is here, some days have been really tough. The kids are home all the time which can lead to boredom or conflict between siblings but also good times together like our recent vacation. It’s been good but yesterday was just really long. I read a blog post and this quote stood out to me: “Don’t compromise your convictions for acceptance.” I realized that a lot of my stress was coming from trying to make everyone happy all of the time. When everyone wasn’t happy, I was frustrated! I started to ask myself, what are my convictions about everything: How do we spend our summer time? What do I want the kids to be doing? How do I want to spend my time? Do I want them to help around the house? How do I want them to eat?
Once I sat down and thought these things out, I realized how much I needed to realize and then communicate my convictions, and then lay out my expectations to the kids. And then hold them accountable! Not just try to make everyone happy all the time (except me!) — which doesn’t work anyway!
Well, I agree it is impossible to make everyone happy! What is your hardest parenting struggle currently?
Navigating the new waters of teenagerhood with my oldest. My husband, Ryan, and I are trying to find that delicate balance between rules and relationship. We’re working on discerning how much to let go and chalk it up to hormones, and where to draw the line and lean in.
That is tough. It’s probably different for each family. On a more positive note, what is going well?
We are having a lot of adventures together, and this has been really helpful in connecting as a family. We recently went to Yellowstone National Park and did everything from white water rafting (a first for all of us except my husband), panning for gold (during which there was a golf-ball-sized hail storm), finding wild animals (5 bears), and going on hikes (with snakes!). I will say that there were times when we would start on an adventure and one of the kids would whine or complain: “I don’t want to do this! I want to stay in the car!” We just ignored it and kept going. When we got back to the car, they were almost always all smiles.
That’s great news! It’s easy to see the tough parts but there are good things to find when we look. What else would you like to add?
With your teens and pre-teens, try not to let their moodiness rock you too much. (I know, easier said than done but you will get the hang of it.) When we were on one of the above adventures (it was the Battlefield of Little Bighorn), one of my children complained the entire time. It was too hot, too boring, too battlefield-y… We ignored said child and cheerfully enjoyed the experience the best we could. When we got home, I overheard her telling her grandma ALL ABOUT how interesting it was. WHAT?!? So, stay the course, mommas. Stay the course.
What is your least favorite household chore (which one would you pay someone else to do for you)?
LAUNDRY. 100%. I often joke with my friends that I’ll do their dishes if they’ll do my laundry. I don’t mind dishes.
I will trade with you!
Why not end this interview with your most embarrassing mom fail?
There are so many… Haha. I once threw my daughter a sleepover birthday party with way too many girls and it ended in disaster. I’ve had Sleepover PTSD ever since.? Just earlier today I accidentally knocked my youngest in the nose with my elbow, causing a major nose bleed. Ugh. I mean the truth is, we all fail. We are human. Give yourself a little grace every day!
Do you have a story to tell? Would you like to be featured in a future Moms in Progress post? Just click here (or the image above) and answer a few questions including the details of your story. We will do the rest.