Intentional Mothering from a Free Spirit Mama

My whole life I have been a bit of a free spirit, I have balked at lists and schedules and the clock. 

I just wanna go with the flow

Then I had three kids under the age of 3 and I clung to our schedule the way they clung to my legs while I made dinner.  I decided that maybe a schedule wasn't the worst thing in the world, in fact it was the only thing keeping my kids {ok, me} sane during those early years, maybe I could be an intentional mama.

Fast forward a little and now my kids are older, and there are 4 of them, ages 7, 5, 4, 2.  Having a schedule is just about impossible.  Dropping off and picking up from school alone is a circus performance that has me running all over town at different times every single day.  I have noticed that not only have we lost our schedule, but we seem to have lost a bit of each other.  There seems to be little time that we aren't in the car running around, doing homework, or playing hard, and I miss my babies.

So, here are 5 things that I have started doing to make sure that we don't lose one another, and to get back a little of that intentional mama that I have begun to miss . 

The big PLUS is these 5 intentions have been fairly easy to implement, even for a free spirit go with the flow girl like me!

#1 limit screen time for EVERYONE

{yes mama, that includes you} 

We run a tight ship of media sticks at our house.

yep, those are pipe cleaners, I am that brilliant, you can go ahead and pin that

yep, those are pipe cleaners, I am that brilliant, you can go ahead and pin that

Every stick is worth 1 show or 20 minutes of game/tablet time and they get 4 a day {each child gets their own color}.  Unused sticks can be turned in at the end of the day for 25 cents, which works great for my first grader who rarely has time to even spend one stick.

Also, my husband and I have decided to put our phones away from 3-8pm every day.  It's actually quite lovely and I double dare you to give it a try.

#2  Do a devotional together 

We do Jesus Calling in the mornings at breakfast and in the evenings our oldest reads to us from the kids bible app.  It opens the doors to great conversations and prayers that come straight from the heart.  We aren't perfect and there are definitely some days we have missed one or both, but we still make the effort and I know that it is worth it.

Jessica Thompson has a great one called "Exploring Grace Together" and as soon as I find what I did with my copy of it, that is what we will dive into.

{a little side note for the mamas of little littles, it might not seem like they are listening, or even paying attention to you but I promise that they are.  I taught preschool for years before I became a mama, sometimes preschoolers do their best listening while they drive a truck up your leg, and the seeds your planting will absolutely bear fruit one day}

#3  Play a game of high/low around the dinner table. 

Every person goes around and shares the best part of their day and the worst part of their day.  Sometimes they are ridiculous, but often they are a window into your kids and how they experience the world even if you spent the whole day by their side! 

#4  Ask deep questions in the car.

We spend a lot of time in the car and so I decided to start using it to my advantage.  I ask my kids questions and just keep digging deeper, it's like a treasure hunt in their precious minds.  Like what do they think it would be like to be homeless or  what would be the greatest job in the world or can they make up a story about the lady in the car next to us, where is she going and why?  I believe they open up more because we aren't sitting face to face, they can feel free to just look out the window and let their minds wander.  This is becoming one of my favorite parts of any day.

#5 Start bed time earlier so that there is time to just lay down and chat at the end of the night. 

If I am being honest, this is one of those that is on my heart to do, but I haven't.  I know that my kids are so much more open at night.  They are dying to stay awake longer so they'll tell you anything.  I also know that before long they will be kicking me out so I should start this tradition now.  I think the secret will lie in getting them into actual bed earlier so that I feel free to spend time in each bed.

Do you do any of these to make time with your kids more quality?  Do you have some I didn't put on the list?? I would love to see your comments and learn from you all too!!

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Amber is a writer + speaker + story teller looking to find beauty and Jesus in everything.  connect with her on twitter @ambervnewberry

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