Monday, June 3, 2013

Letting My Kids Just Be Kids

I'm still learning how to be a mom, a type "A" personality mom at that, and how to let go and let my kids just be kids when it comes to certain things.

My beautiful friend Sierra wrote a great post a few weeks ago that got me thinking. If you are a mom, why don't you go read it and I'll wait for you to come back. :-)

If you caught my post from Friday, you might have noticed that I find pure joy living in spaces that are organized and pleasing to the eye.

kids play space

Even if the space above is meant to be an inviting space for kids, the play-doh has to go somewhere and who doesn't love pops of apple green and bright white while you are rounding the corner to work on laundry.

When we were still thinking about adopting our three oldest kids, I was scared. They are some of the most precious kids on the planet, I wasn't scared because of them. I was scared because I didn't know how life with five kids would work. I didn't know how you go grocery shopping for that many people or how you do laundry for that many people or how you create a play space for kids over the age of 3 and for that many people.  

And then my mother-in-law said something to my husband that I have carried with me all of this time. It has given me hope every time I reflect on it when things are hard. I don't even think I have gotten to tell her how much it meant to me. 

With full confidence she told my husband, "Sarah just needs to figure out how to make it work." In the moment of hearing those words I realized that I just needed to step out in faith and do exactly that...figure out how to make this work. And if nothing else, my mother in law believed in me.

I haven't looked back since and not one day have I ever regretted the decision that we made to expand our family in such a giant leap.

My mother-in-law might have been describing a type A personality to a T...her comment could fit a lot of us.

We just have to figure out how to make it work! Things are calmer, more peaceful and feel in order when that happens. 

At least for me anyway.

The negative to my personality is that I could look at the picture above and be in a happy place all day long...but it isn't reality. 

making pot holders

I was thrilled when someone gave us some potholder maker supplies. It takes me right back to my childhood! I added them into the activities that we keep stocked in the craft room. Our oldest kids have tried to make some pot holders but they haven't figured out the weaving thing yet, they will get it any day now.

The reality is that most of the time when this tub gets used it is because my two year old has found them and decided to decorate the floor with them. 

(Like how the play stove is missing the burners...yeah they figured out how to rip those off after the first month and they are still in a pile somewhere waiting to be glued back on!)

letting kids just be kids

I use to find this frustrating. Kind of like, what is the point of having activities out for the older kids that the younger kids can destroy in one simple sweep. But then after reflecting on Sierra's post I thought, why not? Maybe I should stop looking at this as an activity for the older kids and instead realize that my youngest son finds GREAT joy in dumping them all out and evenly distributing them over every square inch of the basement!

letting kids just be kids is good

Sure they aren't in order. Sure it doesn't look clean and tidy..."but why not, Sarah?? I say to myself. Maybe I can creatively get my son to pick them up by saying "go find all of the blue ones!?!" Nah, probably not! The truth is...messes are ok, they are ok because kids live here and they way out number their type A personality mom. :-)

What is your personality type? Do you find it easy to let your kids just be kids or is it harder to let go?

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  1. Sarah, I love your blog. You are so amazingly creative!!!

    1. Thanks Rachel, you are so sweet.


  2. I don't know my personality type :/ how do u figure it out? any may I like a little mess a little disorganization to much stresses me out I don't do ell with structure that cant be bent a little yet if a parent tells me that I need the kids not to do this not to do that and do this and go to bed at this time I make sure that it gets done and no slacking call me weird that's ok lol but for me I don't like to be put under pressure but let me say I do let kids be kids when I watch them and there are things I dotn think about when watching kids like them sharing cups I think its cool as long as no one is sick lol then I am like go ahead but some people are like ahhhh they cant share. so maybe I have multipul personality types who knows I think my personality type is Chantal.

    1. Chantal,

      I like your personality type. :-)


  3. I realized I'm like you, so I've been working on letting go...but since we live in a small house & don't have a play space, I couldn't just leave the mess for another day or for the newly crawling baby to choke on/eat, it stresses me! So our compromise is, kids can play and be kids, but small things must be at a table and at the end of the day, everyone cleans up. This helps them to learn responsibility & working together, and that everything really does have a "sleeping"place. That way, we start fresh each day & they know where everything is! Plus, after they are on bed, I'm able to relax too & just spend time with my hubby instead of sorting & cleaning all night!

    1. Anna,

      I think that is a great idea! I can picture the kids now putting their toys to "sleep". :-)


  4. Great post! This is definitely something I'm learning. I feel so much calmer when things are clean and organized. I am learning, though, that it's better for my kids to be kids.
    I can sometimes get sidetracked worrying about what other people will think of me and my parenting based on how messy, mismatched, or loud my kids are. I am learning that it doesn't matter what they think if I am doing what God whispers to me ...
    I have 3 kids who are fun, loud and love to lead (two boys and one girl). This can make for lots of noise, instruments, drumming, running and messes.

    1. Mel,

      It sounds like your house is always full of JOY...I would want to grow up there if I was a kid. :-) It is definitely a process of learning how to let go of some things and still hang on to organizing other things. A good mix I would say.


  5. Hi Sarah,
    I have no idea how I found your blog but I've been following it for about a month now :)
    I read Sierra's post (as you suggested ;)) and was very encouraged by it.
    My dear husband has pointed out that I tend to read or hear about other people's situations and then try to apply it to our lives ~ which, for the most part, really doesn't work! Their situations are so very different than our situations.
    But I'm pretty sure that what you wrote is a very important & timely reminder for me to relax, let kids be kids, and to embrace the stage my three munchkins are in.
    Thank you :)

    1. Anita,

      I am SO glad that you were encouraged by Sierra's post! This mothering thing can be so challenging. It is a daily choice of letting go and holding on (kind of doesn't make sense unless you are a mom) to those incredible munchkins that we have each been given! Thanks so much for following along, I am glad that you are here! :-)


  6. Thanks for linking us to Sierra's post. It was great.

    I'm not a fan of messes. But I make enough of them myself! My son's toys are relatively organized. I have a few expedits in the family room and his toys are either on a shelf or in a bin on a shelf. Upstairs is a similar situation. I love containers. And although they aren't labeled I know where everything should go. So during the day I just let my 1 1/2 year old son go nuts. Some days he's easy on me and some days I'm kicking things out of the way to make a safe pathway to the kitchen. But at the end of every day I quickly put his toys away so he has a clean slate for the next day. This works for us. I think he likes taking the toys out of the bins just as much as he likes to play with them!!!

    1. Amelia,

      I think knowing what works best for your family is the key. I totally agree that those little ones almost seem to like dumping out the toys as much (if not more!) than playing with them. :-)



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