My father has a signature saying, “The phone works both ways.” He often has said this when me or my siblings have asked why we haven’t heard from him. When I was younger, I used to repeat it back to him. I couldn’t understand why I had to call him, instead of the other way around. It wasn’t until recently that I truly understood.
My father wasn’t ever expecting his kids to put forth all the effort. See, he was always thinking of us, loving us, and working to support us. Of course, as children, we didn’t see it that way. Only, I wish I had. He wanted us to put in just a bit of effort as he was always putting in effort even when we couldn’t see it.
When my husband suggested the topic of it’s a two-way street, I immediately thought of this story and how I should have gotten my dad’s message earlier in life. And truly, the street is often multi-directional, because many times situations have many components and contributors.
We all need to give a little to meet in the middle. We should never expect anyone to give their all in a situation without any reciprocation. Essentially, we just need to care about others and put in effort to show how we care. When we do this, we can overcome so much together. And create a stronger, more peaceful, world for our children.
I am sure you have heard laughter is the best medicine. This is quite true. If ever you need a boost, or if you want to feel more optimistic, laughter is the way to go.
This is the same for our children. Laughter can offer distraction, change negative attitudes, and promote happiness. And what better way to get the laughter started than with tickling?
Our kids come to my husband daily asking to be tickled. It is quite comical to see them ask to be tickled, then giggle and shriek for it to stop. They know Daddy is the best source for tickles, and they know their laughter from such activity brings them joy. Even our youngest son, who is now 14 months old, has started making tickling sounds and attempts to tickle tummies and feet.
As parents the act of tickling is great too, because we laugh when we see our kids laugh. And playing with our children in such an innocent way promotes positivity and enjoyment.
However you choose to invoke laughter in your household, do it! Bring the happiness!
In our household we love the saying: Above all else, be kind. And we believe in living by it.
My husband reflected on this today. With all the heartbreak in our country right now it is more imperative than ever to deliver the right message to our children. When we start with kindness, everything else will fall into place.
Our children will learn what we teach them. Inevitably that is how things unfold. But with this, we need to be thoughtful on what we do teach, because with each generation we can instill more change, more hope, more kindness.
Today I ask you, as a parent, choose to teach your children to be kind. Teach them the foundation of kindness, and why it is so important. Teach them to love everyone, to help everyone, to be kind always. With that foundation your children can do anything. They can change the world.
On an ending note, much like the opening quote, the other saying our family lives by is: Be the change you wish to see in the world. It starts with how we teach our children.
Today I would like to give a tribute to all the dads out there selflessly caring for their families.
This is a tribute to the dad that get up early to go work many hours to provide for his family. While you may or may not be the only provider for the household, you work hard. Your time away from home is not lost on your family.
This tribute is for the dad who makes two dinners. One for the kids, and one for the adults (because making the extra effort to make two meals is well worth avoiding the dinner battles). He never complains, and only aims to please.
This is a tribute to the dad that makes the same Lego figurine over and over, because his son wants it so badly. But the same son also wants to recreate a crash with the Lego figurine over and over, so dad keeps rebuilding it.
This is for the dad that cuddles his daughter, because she’s a cuddle bug and missed her dad all day. The same dad that also chased her about and asked her many times to stop climbing all over the furniture and not talk back.
This tribute is for the dad that keeps at all the parenting duties all day, every day, getting little time to himself, and never complaining. You are a great dad. A wonderful partner. You are appreciated, always.
This week my hubby asked me to bring light to communication. This is timely as I’ve been working on a section about communication in the book I am writing. But, as this is only a microblog post, I will have to consolidate my many thoughts on the matter.
Today let’s focus on how to communicate. As all of you likely already know, our tone and body language hold even more value than our words. Let me use a child’s please as an example. If our child says “please” with a smile and sing-song voice, while excitedly bouncing and holding her hands together in an effort to keep contained, we can assume sincerity and hope. But if our child says “please” with a frown and tone laced with anger and frustration, while stomping his feet, we can assume the intent is forced and not genuine.
As adults we can infuse our words with much more through action, tone and body language. It is very important to communicate with our children and with each other with these aspects in mind. Yes, this will likely be a continuous work in progress, but that’s absolutely normal.
Today I encourage you to check how you say something as well as what you say. Do unto others as you wish done unto you. If you deliver your message in a way you would like to receive it, then you are likely on the right track.
Sometimes the best thing we can do to teach our children is to lead by example. Have you ever noticed your kids mimic your behavior? If you go through a season of raising your voice, they will do the same when talking to siblings or friends. Or, if you offer things to others, like making cookies for neighbors, your children will start sharing their snacks as well.
It’s true, when we lead by example, our children will watch. And one good way to do this is by offering a helping hand to others. This week my husband highlights helping others, because it’s something that gives an immediate and lasting impact.
Help can be given in many forms, and doesn’t have to cost a dime. Generosity in the form of helping others who need us can have a lasting impact. We can strengthen our relationships and show how much we care for others. And our children are ever watching, which means they will learn additional layers of kindness.
Truth be told, helping others also helps us. Not only does it teach our children good lessons, it also can offer us our own sense of pride and happiness. When we do things for others it can really help our emotional state and strengthen our ability to be positive, even during difficult times.
So today, from my children’s dad to you, it is encouraged to lend a helping hand. There are so many benefits, and the lasting effects are wonderful. You got this! Go be helpful!
As parents we can get busy. Caught up in the day-to-day, and forget the individual needs of our kiddos. This week my husband offers the reminder to spend time one-on-one with your children.
This can truly speak to moms and dads alike. If you have one child or ten, it’s fun to have family activities, but you can really strengthen your bond with kids when you take time to spend as a duo (just you and your child).
Children may have hidden insecurities or stresses they don’t know how to really express, or may feel embarrassed to share with the entire family. But if you foster your relationships with one-on-one time, it will allow children to feel comfortable and give them the opportunities to share their worries either openly or during the coveted individual time.
In addition it helps children to create strong, lasting relationships with you. And the memories, these will be strong! Children like to know they are special and loved for who they are, as individuals.
Finally, this allows the parents to slow down and get to know their children well. The foundations that can be established with routine one-on-one can be enjoyable and foster amazing relationships.
So this Tuesday, my husband encourages you all to take the time, one-on-one. Make a routine. And get those moments, those memories, developing!
My hubby is a BIG advocate for taking time each day with your significant other. He also believes in the importance of date nights and taking trips without the children. So today we focus on recharging yourself by taking downtime with your spouse or significant other.
Dads and moms out there, this message is for both of you. It is important to take time to enjoy the company of the person you choose to be with. To connect and find joy with that person. It allows you to feel loved, and to show the love you have for him or her.
Human connections are so important, and taking time to foster your relationship is imperative to its success and wellbeing. This reminder is not meant for just romantic relationships either. There are many parents out there going at this thing alone. For these parents it’s so important to take time to connect with those in your wheelhouse, such as a good friend or family member.
At the end of our days sometimes we can feel so exhausted and warn down by all our children need and the responsibilities that demand our attention. It can feel overwhelming to take time to give to someone else. But remember, you aren’t just giving, you are receiving. That person is there for you too! You are in this together, and it’s okay to lean on each other.
If you haven’t taken time to spend with your person recently I encourage you to start today. It doesn’t need to be big. Simply sit and talk with one another, or watch a TV show together. Just be present.
“Don’t forget the little things,” my husband said, as we talked about what advice he wanted to share this week. It seems so trivial, even cliche. But it’s some of the best advice we could all use to remember a little more often.
Raising children is hard. We can get so wrapped up in what we think is right. And frustration over little nuances that really don’t make a difference at all can consume us more often than they should. We find ourselves shouting, “stop that” or, “don’t do that” or more commonly, “NO!” And what for? Because our kids are playing a little too rough, or singing a little too loud?
In reality, our children are often not the problem, we are. We are too tired. Too overwhelmed. Too busy. Too burnt out.
What are we forgetting in all this? We are forgetting to enjoy the little things. Take those moments, big and small, even tiny, and find something to treasure. Remember to let go of the things that may frustrate, but are really not bad at all. They are just kids, living life, enjoying all the small things. And so should we.
In Washington State we are currently in the middle of a Stay At Home order due to COVID-19. What that means for our family is that all five of us are home all the time. My husband is not able to work from home, but my job has become an at home job that is taking all my time. And my husband, well, he’s become a stay-at-home dad caring for our children 24-7. For many families there is some form of this scenario at this time, and because of this my husband wants to tell dads to take some time.
It’s okay to take time for yourself at different times throughout the day. It’s imperative for keeping your sanity and for giving your children and family the compassion and support they need. Just like moms, dads need to take care of themselves before they can give the best care to everyone else.
So this Tuesday, dads, choose to do one thing. At least one thing. For yourself. This doesn’t mean weakness, this actually means being strong enough to say you are important, and some daddy self-care is imperative.