How I Do It: Family Involvement + Outings

Happy Monday!  I hope y’all had a wonderful weekend!  We’re at the beach with this happy crew!  All twelve grandchildren, all under one roof.  We managed to snap this pic yesterday at the beachside service, and they’re all in order.  The children were a little too mesmerized with the water rather than listening to the sermon, but that always seems to be the case.

As I mentioned at the end of last week’s How I Do It post, this post has changed drastically since this post was first written in January 2013.  The most noteworthy change since then was our move from Charlotte to Charleston in 2015.  As always, I’ll share the previous post first, and add my updates in pink after.

How I Do It: Family Involvement and Outings

My parents and in-laws live in town.  While I’m blessed and lucky enough to have them so close, I don’t take advantage of using them that often (like maybe once or twice a month).  They are the best parents and in-laws anyone could ask for, and they’re so great with the children!  I am very, very grateful to have them!  The biggest comfort is knowing that they are right there, and I can call on them if I ever need help.  Honestly, the times that they do babysit is when I have a hair appointment or a meeting at school.  I know y’all are thinking, well, what about all of your ob-gyn visits when you were pregnant??  Well, the kids always all came with me.  Almost all of my visits, all they did was check my blood pressure and listen to the baby’s heartbeat, so the children actually enjoyed coming with me.

Update: While we obviously don’t have the luxury of having our parents in town anymore to help out, we moved at a good time.  When we were living in Charlotte, I guess I just never really went out much when my children were infants.  I loved being a home body and enjoyed time at home with all of them.  But now that we’ve moved, they’re a little older now.  I know that when they go to sleep, they’re not going to wake up in the middle of the night and they’re more independent than they used to be.

As for family involvement now, while we don’t see our families on a weekly basis anymore, they still help out.  Lanier and I finally took our first tropical vacation back in May since our honeymoon – that was 13 years ago.  My parents and inlaws came in town while we were gone and switched off taking care of the children while we were gone.  So grateful for that!

For young children, every outing is an adventure!  I always try and keep this in mind when running errands with my little ones.  While us adults think, ‘alright, I’m going to run right in here and drop off this package and be on my way,’ with young children, you soon learn that although it may take just a little longer on your outing, children take every single thing in – and with big wide-eyes.  So yes, even the post office is this cool place where you mail packages and get to meet lots of new people.  Not that I frequent the post office that often, but our post office ladies, Veronica and Terry, know my children by name.  And every trip, the girls leave with lots of free stickers and paper.  Cheap thrills!

Update: Not much of an update here.  My kids still get just as excited when we head out to mail off a package!  Still the same cheap thrills.  We honestly don’t run errands together that often.  As many of you know, I obviously shop mostly online…that goes for my groceries too.  I use the express lane a lot so I’m not taking all four of my kiddos into the grocery store.  It’s just so much easier to order from the comfort of my own home.

So the next time you’re headed to Target with your children, don’t dread it – enjoy it!  Instead of thinking, ‘oh great, here’s another trip to Target with the kids. I sure hope they behave and don’t whine!,’ instead tell them, “Who’s ready to go to Target, and hug the big red ball, and find some things for Mama and maybe for you too??”  Mine get excited every time!  As long as they’re receiving attention, even if it’s “hey, tell me to stop when you see the apple juice,” then there’s a better chance that they’ll behave.  I honestly find that mine start misbehaving when I’m not showing them enough attention.  Seriously, even giving them eye contact when strolling through the aisles can be attention enough.

All in all.  Slow down, it’s not a race.  It’s one thing to run through life always wanting to feel like “ah, I’m done” – it’s another to cherish each moment – no matter how small.  What I’ve learned is that through a young child’s eyes, everything is big and important!  Remember that the next time they show you that their half-eaten bread looks like a pirate!

P.S. Just because I’m writing this, doesn’t mean I accomplish this everyday.  Trust me, there are plenty of times I have to remind myself!  I’m not even close to being a perfect mother. But that’s the thing about motherhood, there’s always room for improvement and change, because our children are growing and they’re changing too.  And it always seems to be a balancing act.  Like maybe I have a clean house, but I’m not spending enough quality time with my children, or the house is a wreck, but I’m on the floor playing with my kids.  I like the latter a lot better personally…but that’s the challenge…to balance both.  Thank the Lord for my Bible, right?  And if you’re a working mother or a single mother??  Talk about challenging.  I don’t see how y’all do it!

Stay tuned…next Monday it’s all about the importance of SLEEP.  Not just for me, but for the children, as well!  P. S. How gorgeous is this sunrise I captured on the beach?

Hope y’all have a great start to your week!

2 thoughts on “How I Do It: Family Involvement + Outings

  1. I needed this. So true how any outing is an adventure with little ones. Single parenting means a lot of errands with my kiddos but this post gave me motivation to have a better attitude about it!

Comments are closed.