Something must have clicked, because before I doozed off to sleep, I was allowing myself to make mental pictures of my ideal at home situation – mainly focusing on the kids. I decided to make a list (don’t you love lists) with the things that in my opinion would help make this place a cosy nest, glowing with warmth and solid connections. I focused mainly on what I could do and provide, and tried to incorporate things that are already happening.
Let there always be something homebaked to nibble on
Okay, I admit, that is really my perfectionist side coming through. Let me defend myself: I love cooking. I’ve never really had a thing for baking though, because I’m not that much of a sweet tooth. Enter my kids. Especially when they come home from school and they are hungry. Even with full lunchboxes and snacks they always seem on the edge of starvation the second they run through the front door at 3.30 pm. So I provide snacks. Fruit and a cookie or something similar. And I want that cookie to be homebaked for some reason. It just seems the perfect way to show some love. And they can help me bake in the weekends or on afternoons. And I’ll up my baking game. Nothing but wins here.
Let there always be something to read by someone who wants to read it
That’s a biggie and we are already good at it. My youngest quite often asks me to read alout, totally neglecting the screen. And now that my boy starts to read by himself, he does his own bedtime story just before I tell hem a chapter from a chapter book. But I would love to have more reading time during the day, especially for my son.
I try to model reading as often as I can (doesn’t cost me much of an effort). When you ask my son what his mother likes to do, he’ll answer without hesitation: read books. In peace. There would be a lot more peace in the world if everyone just read instead of bickering.
Let there be games for all of us to play
Game night. I know quite some families who rock the concept. Not ours. Personally, I never really cared about games. But my children like it. The thing is: they can learn a lot from games. Biggest challenge: accepting bad luck or not winning. We have a lot of small games to play, but I have the feeling my 6 year old will be ready soon for some more extended board games. If you know some good board games, especially those that don’t focus on playing against each other, I’ll happily take suggestions.
Let’s go outside
Again: something the kids won’t mind at all. For me, it’s a different story. Especially when weather is bad and you have to put on coats and boots. We have some decent places to walk here, but it already takes the same time to get there by foot. I’m always losing my puff on that part. Two weeks ago I randomly decided to take a walk in the woods and drove 15 minutes to go there. It was rather fun and we came home tired and energized at the same time. I want more of that, but it seems so counterintuitive to drive somewhere to spend time outside. See all the ‘buts’? It’s merely in my mind. I should get over it, especially during the colder months that are coming. My oldest has soccer practice and game, and a weekly youth club where they spend the afternoon outside, so he’s covered. My youngest though… she could use some fresh air!
Let’s say nice things about each other
I’ve never wanted to be a yelling mother (who does), but I have to admit that I’ve totally become one. I try not to be mean, but with my kids, I’m losing my temper rather quickly. I don’t say hurtful things but even then, yelling is not okay. Instead of focusing on stopping the yelling (which I have tried already often times), I’ll try to model the behavior I do want to see in my kids (and hopefully I’m too busy doing that and the yelling will lessen a lot). I’ll make a special effort to double the nice things I say to my kids. To aknowledge they make me happy and to point out what I appreciate in their behavior. The same goes for my husband: I want to focus on all the things I like about him (which is plenty) instead of nagging about where he got it wrong. It’s something I personally want to work on, but I hope this will spread out naturally and reinforce our natural kindness. We are kind people after all!