by Natalie Gingrich | Jun 5, 2017 | Motherhood |
As a mom, I often look at my children and envision them in two different ways. At times, I look at their faces and am instantly transported back to the days of diapers, baby steps, and first words. This pulls on my heartstrings and reminds me of the growth our family has seen over the years. Other times, I am propelled into the future, trying to imagine their faces and lives 10, 15, dare I say, 20 years down the road.
Both are simultaneously incredibly beautiful and hard to believe.
But the difference is that when I look back, I can see the changes and growth that has brought us to today. But the unknown future holds many opportunities and moments.
And to me as a mother, the moments yet to come hold so much power and potential to truly make an impact on who they are.
We have the opportunity to raise successful kids.
To help shape them into decent human beings.
To teach them the fundamentals of life.
To leave a legacy that I can pass on.
Truly, for me, there is no greater gift or purpose in life than to be a parent that can leave a legacy for their children to emulate.
I want to lead by example, to pass on the best parts of me, passing on traits along the way that help to round out a fully developed adult. My desire is that I will help my children learn valuable lessons from their experiences in life. I want to leave my children with the life skills and passions that make this world a better place.
For most people, this means 18 years old: out of high school, entering adulthood, often times out of the house.
But, can we be real? When has any 18-year old ever been a fully developed adult? While an incredibly important milestone, 18 is simply the age they BEGIN to become an adult.
For me, I am not expecting my kids to be fully functioning, highly successful human beings by age 18. I’m willing to give them some extra years to develop and grow.
My hope is that by the time they are out of the house, going to college, or getting jobs, that they are on their way to leaving their own legacies for their own families–taking pieces of me along the way.
So how do we do this? How do we make sure our kids evolve and grow into capable adults? How do we raise successful kids ready to face the real world?
It’s all about operation: life skills–and it’s our job to teach them!
It is never too early to begin teaching valuable life skills. As each child grows in their abilities and understanding, we can use our time together to teach them.
We can teach our children how to cook different meals based on their abilities in the kitchen. We can teach them to mow the lawn and do the laundry. As your child gets older and starts to drive-–gasp!–learning how to change a tire, pump gas, and check their fluids are things that every person needs to know.
And it’s not just about skills to help you survive; life skills are also interpersonal and social. Learning how to look someone in the eye when speaking is as important as learning how to boil an egg. We should also teach them how to write a resume and how to present themselves at a job interview.
And finally, let’s not forget about teaching our children the importance of volunteering. From picking up litter to manning the boxes at a food drive, there are thousands of ways to give back. By raising children that understand this, we are helping to raise a kinder future together.
Listen, being a More Mom isn’t easy, and I know we will all go through our own peaks and valleys in parenthood.
But the goal is still simple isn’t it? By the time our journey as a parent hits a certain milestone, we want our children to be ready and able to contribute to society.
To be better than we were.
To build a stronger workforce.
To offer more to the future.
To help make this world bigger and brighter for everyone.
Our hope is that they will be the adults we envisioned 20 years prior one warm, spring morning as they smiled excitedly from the old swing set out back.
We somehow managed to raise successful kids, and now we get to enjoy watching them flourish as adults.
Oh, what a moment that will be.
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by Natalie Gingrich | May 22, 2017 | Motherhood |
When the schoolbooks close for the year and the heat turns up, we can officially welcome in summertime! And I have to say, every year that passes, I get more and more excited to enjoy, learn, and grow with my family of 4 during the summer vacation.
But the break from school shouldn’t be about wasting away on the couch, falling into bad habits, and simply passing the hot, sticky days!
This summer, let’s set a few goals to tackle and achieve, and make it not only the best vacation for our kids, but our family as a whole. With my 4 must dos for summertime success, this will be a laid back, fun and stress-free break for the books!
4 MUST DOS FOR SUMMERTIME SUCCESS
No excuses here More Moms! Especially in a day and age when our youngest tends to be more advanced at technology than we are, there are no excuses for a child over the age of 4 that isn’t helping with the household chores!
The summertime is the PERFECT time to introduce new chores or tasks to our kids, since they aren’t already overloaded with school activities, events, and homework. By getting our kids in the habit of helping out, we are raising our children to have an impressive work ethic–and nothing could be more important!
To stay on task, consider using a basic chore chart or the good ol’ “Carrot and the Stick” deal. While I try not to reward our kids with materialistic things (too often), I do suggest a trip to get yogurt could be in the future–if “X” is done. And “X” can look like anything for you! From vacuuming to cleaning the bathroom or taking out the trash, every child in our households can be responsible for something.
Want my FREE “Operation Life Skills” download, full of tips and a chart to use for keeping your kids on track? Just enter your info below!
Don’t forget to verbally praise your children as well.
More times than not, there’s no better feeling for a child than hearing “I’m proud of you” from their mama or dad!
- Reading! Reading! Reading!
OH, how fundamentally important it is to keep up this habit from the school year! Not only to retain the skills they have learned throughout the year, but to continue to grow with each passing day–and every new book!
But most importantly, lead… or read… by example! Let your kids see you doing the same things that are being asked of them. Get creative and choose themed books with correlating themed rewards; a trip to a pirate-themed mini-golf course would be a great reward for finishing a book about old Blackbeard, don’t you think?
If you need more inspiration… check out Lu & Bean Read for great books for children of all ages, podcasts with the authors and even a journal to keep the summer reading on track!
- Set a Date!
I know that a lot of moms mark the “BACK TO SCHOOL” date with bold letters, fresh ink and a few pointing arrows for good measure on their calendars. But this time, I’m talking about a different kind of date to set!
We don’t want the whole summer to be about squeaky-clean bathrooms and bookworms in the making, so take some time to turn up the fun! Maybe it’s a family date on the weekend, or individual dates with your kids to focus on their personal hobbies or favorite sweet treats!
I know that while my daughter would love a park date… my son, eh, not so much! There are so many options in the summertime to really take advantage of all of the “extra” time together!
And let’s not make this difficult–it doesn’t have to be an every week or scheduled thing. The simplicity of it is saying on a random Tuesday night, “Hey kiddo, thanks for the help in the bathroom… how about tomorrow, you and I hit the Melting Pot for a delicious and gooey bowl of chocolate fondue!” <<---- That right there sounds amazing for both of us!
But remember, spending time doesn’t need to mean spending a lot of money!
Free time spent together is worth just as much in the long run. Think about outdoor activities, arts and crafts and baking with things you already have in the house.
Or, if spending a bit of cash is in the budget, but you still enjoy a good bargain (who doesn’t?!) check out Groupon for things like bowling passes, cooking schools or fun warehouses. No, I don’t have an affiliation with Groupon… but with as many deals as I find, I should probably buy stock in them!
- A Family That Sweats Together, Stays Together
OK, so maybe you don’t have to be breaking a full out sweat, but still exercising… or just moving those bods of ours… as a family is a great thing to do! Try to get outdoors to hike on the weekends (hello date material!) or after dinner for a simple stroll, if you can.
By teaching your kids that exercising is not only fun, but also beneficial and therapeutic, you are well on your way to raising kids that will appreciate taking care of their bodies and minds.
And most importantly, from the family perspective, it’s about being together in what I call “God’s Space”- away from our screens and together with the people we love the most… it really doesn’t get any better than that!
At the end of the day, it’s so incredibly important for us to be solid role models for our children, teaching them through example: responsibility, activity, good ol’ fashioned fun and continued learning and growth.
If nothing else, the summer is a time to be together, and with these 4 must do tips, I foresee summertime success and plenty of memories in all of our futures!
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by Natalie Gingrich | Mar 19, 2017 | Motherhood |
How many times in your life have you had to sit back and admit failure to someone?
Probably a handful of times to your spouse, right?
And perhaps, you’ve screwed up a time or two at work, whether that means apologizing to a boss… or to your employees.
As adults… and hello, HUMANS… we definitely get lessons from time to time, in eating a bit of crow with our loved ones and peers.
But do we ever really admit failure… to our kids?
Not really, do we?
The thing is, I hadn’t even realized it myself, until an unfortunate accident gave me the opportunity to see the silver lining. OH YES… if there was anything good that came out of this, it was the chance to have a new perspective in admitting failure.
So, what DID happen to prompt this? Well…
One weekend our son Zachary was asked to “guest play” on a baseball team for a tournament. Of course we were all excited, because we’re a baseball lovin’, playin’ and watchin’ kinda family!
But when they won 2nd place? OH, WE WERE ECSTATIC! Every last one of us celebrated this win amongst friends and as if the title weren’t enough… the ring they gave out definitely sealed the deal!
But this wasn’t just any old ring for winning a game… it was Zachary’s FIRST ring for baseball, and so of course, it held a special place in all of our hearts.
Later that day, we headed to a birthday party at the kind of place that turns adults into kids. You know what I mean… a “fun warehouse” with ropes courses and laser tag and enough games to make your head spin!
But like any good mom, I stayed with the “stuff” and watched my (barely) baby boy take off with his friends to enjoy some much-deserved fun. But before Zachary ran off to go crazy, he handed me his now dearly beloved ring to care for.
Because, you know… I’m mom… Nothing could go wrong.
It wasn’t until he ran back to me sweaty and out of breath, asking for the ring, did I realize what I had done. Without answering, I ran off to the bathroom to search, only to come back empty handed. For whatever reason the ring… filled with rhinestones, not diamonds, ahem… was gone- and it was my fault.
Ya’ll, truly I cannot describe the sadness and pain I felt at that moment. I was so accustomed to being the “Supermom” in his eyes that I had barely thought about being the one to let him down. And the sadness in his eyes… well, you can only imagine how low my heart sank when I looked into those eyes.
So, what did I do? I apologized and held him and hugged him until I could physically pull myself off of him. I didn’t really know how else to express how genuinely sorry I was, so I just showed it physically, with hugs that felt like they lasted days… but that could’ve gone on for weeks if he’d let me.
Do we ever really show them the vulnerable side of us… and connect when we make mistakes?
As parents… and especially More Moms… it’s our job to protect our kids, so rarely is it us that turns their smiles upside down, right? Trust me, I get how hard it can be to handle this. Our natural reaction is to defend ourselves or deflect the situation.
But the biggest part of being a mom is being a good role model, and I knew what I had to do.
I took these steps to admitting failure with Zachary that night, and I know you can too, if ever presented with a similar situation.
4 Steps for Admitting Failure to our Kids
- Take a breath.
This truly helped me to regain my composure, if even just for a moment. Of course, I was also taking off in a mad dash in hopes of finding the ring, but just getting out of the situation for one moment allowed me to take a breath, think things through and attempt to come to a solution. It also helped me to…
- Accept and own up to it.
Trust me mamas, I had words almost rolling off my tongue that would have blamed Zachary for not being the one to hold on to his prized possession. Can you believe it? But because I was able to take a deep breath, I also was able to accept that there was no skirting the weight of the blame on this one.
And owning it means more than just saying, “Yep, my mistake.” It’s also about showing emotion and compassion for the mistake you have made. Trust me, there was a lot of emotion on my end, but it was the only way I knew how to express how sincerely sorry I was.
- Take off your cape for a minute.
I know you pride yourself on being Supermom… and that means never showing weakness, but in a weird way, this rare opportunity to show my child that I’m human too, was actually a relief. It was a silver lining to an unfortunate experience, that allowed me to crawl into bed with my 10 year old son, hold him and let him see me, without the cape, disappointment and all.
- Ask forgiveness.
It doesn’t matter how young or old your children are, the final step is to ask for honest to God forgiveness. And not only is this one last way to extend an olive branch… but I truly believe that asking for forgiveness, from anyone throughout your life, allows you to then open up for grace.
So there it is: my story about how the universe both humbled me and taught me how to admit failure to my children. Was it easy? Heck no! Will it happen again? Probably.
Whatever did happen to that ring? Well… we never found that one in particular but once again, I ate some humble pie and admitted that I had screwed up. We have some pretty amazing friends though, and they were able to get another ring for Zachary, leaving us only with a story to tell from that point on.
But the most important thing is that I grew from the experience…. and in my opinion, into a better mom and woman, than the one I was, holding the original ring.
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