Parenting with Monthly Intentions

Monthly Intentions

Set resolution. Break resolution. Does this sound familiar?

Instead of a New Year’s Resolution, where I break said resolution after two weeks and feel like a failure with a capital F, I chose a word to describe my monthly intentions in 2018…and then tried my darndest to put it into action!

By setting an intention monthly, I could focus on one thing for 30 days rather than an entire year. The intentions I chose were to make me a better parent and by the same token, a better person.

12 Monthly Intentions

January – PAUSE
Life is crazy and chaotic with jobs, kids, meals to make, chores to do, activities to attend, etc. etc. We often miss the little and beautiful moments in the mundane of daily life.

This month I really paused to SEE and HEAR and FEEL and GIVE THANKS. Pausing to see the droplets of snow melt, really hearing the laughter of our children, feeling the glorious sun on my face and giving thanks to God for it all.

February – LAUGH
Because laughter really is the best medicine. I tried to find more humor in everyday life…especially in parenting three boys.

It is loud in our house and I can get a little agitated with all the yelling and commotion. Although I love to hear the boys laugh and joke with one another, often times it can be about things I don’t find very funny…like bathroom humor. Instead I tried to laugh more and see it from their point of view. I’m definitely a work in progress when it comes to the bathroom humor though!

March – SMILE
According to my 10-year old, it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. If that isn’t enough reason to put on a happy face, I don’t know what is!

Yet I wondered how my kids would describe me when they looked at me. Did I look cheerful? Was I smiling? Or did I have a scowl on my face from my constant job as a ‘referee’ due to sibling rivalry. I vowed to smile more and frown less.

April – ACTION
Just do it. Enough procrastinating already!

My oldest had a project due and kept putting it off and putting it off. I talked to him about how great it would feel to get the project done ahead of schedule. To give himself a little more time rather than being in a rush.

Well, he finished his project days before it was due. He told me how good it felt to have it done when other students hadn’t started yet. It is a lesson I tried to practice in my own life. Isn’t starting sometimes the hardest part?

May – JOY
Before school one morning, one of our sons said, “What if we didn’t exist? Isn’t it crazy that we’re here? That we’re alive?”

Yes it is. It truly is. And I told him if we stopped and thought about that it should make us want to shout for joy.

But that’s not reality, is it? Instead we too often sweat the small stuff. It can weigh us down. When my mind started to drift to THAT place, I tried to remember we are only here for a little while. So choose joy instead of fear.   

June – SPACE
Webster defines space as “the opportunity to assert or experience one’s identity or needs freely.”

Summer has a way of letting us breathe a bit easier, linger a bit longer, experience a bit more deeply. During the school year, our lives are very scheduled and it’s go-go-go.

Instead of running here or there to the kids’ activities, I got to play a game of basketball in our driveway with the kids. Had a water gun fight in the backyard. Went for a bike ride. Sipped lemonade. Made space for cherished moments.

July – PLAY
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw

The kids love when I play with them. It doesn’t matter what it is…sports, board games, Legos, cards. As a mom, there is always something that needs to be done around the house. But you know what? It can wait. It’ll be there tomorrow. My kids, on the other hand, won’t always be asking me to play.

August – CREATE
My husband and I have always encouraged our kids to create…through whatever means inspired them. Blocks, writing, drawing, painting, you name it. The kids would see an empty box and ask if they could make it into a carnival game. They’ve dug through our recyclable bin many times to find treasures to use later for a project.

I’m not naturally what you’d call a ‘creative person,’ but the kids have inspired me to create. By writing this blog post, I’m creating. I tried to find ways to create every day.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou

September – IMAGINE
The mission of MarbleSpark is to spark kids’ imaginations by creating mindblowing personalized books. Sparking imaginations in our own kids is also my mission.

It is very easy to keep kids occupied with technology, but they can’t let their imaginations run wild staring at an iPad. They need to unplug. Kids imagine when they read, create, explore and are bored. As the boys get older, balancing technology time with activities to improve their imagination will get trickier, but I’m up for the challenge.

October – MAKE TIME
We can’t make more hours in the day, but we CAN choose how we spend them. I didn’t want to spend them being more productive or checking off more to-do’s. Instead, I tried to intentionally design my day around the things that matter. Family was at the top of the list.

November – GRATEFUL
I repurposed a candy jar and told the husband and kids it was our ‘gratitude jar’ for the month. Each day we wrote down something or someone we were thankful for and put it in the jar.

At the end of the month, we slurped ice cream shakes while reading what each of us was thankful for. It was a humbling and eye-opening experience. By intentionally thinking about being grateful and writing it down, we naturally began to be grateful for the little things. This is a family exercise I plan to continue each November.   

December – PRESENCE
Presence over presents. Yes, what kid doesn’t love to open presents? Adults included! But what they really want and crave is our presence. When we are present in the moment with our children, we are telling them they are loved and important.

I hope that by sharing my journey on living life with monthly intentions, it has lit a spark in you to do the same.

Happy New Year!

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