Thank you Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® for sponsoring this post. When my children were babies, people would tell me their most important life lesson they learned in their life. Most of the time is was to savor my time with my babies because they wouldn't be little for long. I would smile and nod, thinking that if I could just get through the rest of the day, it would be a win. While I wasn't wishing away the years, I felt like I was barely surviving the days.
The cuddles and nonsense words were cute. The snuggles and piles of books to read on the couch were priceless. But I will admit that changing two kids in diapers at a time was not a fun time. I did look forward to everyone being potty trained.
Every day I woke up in the morning and started putting out fires. I would clean up one mess and find another one. I would put the baby in the play yard so I could make lunch and come back to find they had a huge blow-out. I would leave the older kids at the kitchen table with crayons, and leave to go to the bathroom. I'd come back to see that my budding artists took it upon themselves to draw on the wall and not on the paper.
It was one thing after another after another, all day every day.
Now, they don't need me as much.
Yes, I still need to help with homework and when they can't reach something. The five-year-old still asks me to lay with him because he's afraid of the dark. I do still occasionally have to help the three-year-old in the bathroom. But overall, we are out of the littles stage and I'm not sure I savored it enough.
But it taught me something.
The Most Important Lesson
Life is busy.
It's easy to get caught up in my to-do list. When the five-year-old says, “Mommy, can you lay with me tonight?” because he's afraid of the dark and all I can think of is everything I was going to do when everyone was in bed, I've forgotten the most important thing.
I have to be intentional with the time I have with my children.
If I wait until the timing is right and my to-do list is complete, it will never happen.
If I wait until I feel like it, it will never happen.
We have to be intentional.
3 Ways to Be Intentional With Our Children
1. Listen. This is one of the most important ways we can be intentional with our children. Sometimes it's HARD. When they want to tell us a story and it's been fifteen minutes and you can't remember how the story started, it's hard. Put down the phone and make eye contact. Repeat what they say so they know you are listening. Start now.
2. Spend one-on-one time with each child. With four kids, this is hard. While a few of my kids are okay with sitting on the couch and reading together as one-on-one time, sitting next to them while watching a movie, or going for a quick run around the block together. Others need extended one-on-one time together. Sometimes that means a lunch together, cooking a meal together, staying up later than the others. You can figure out what that looks like for your child.
3. Be there. Like really be there. Be present. Be intentional. Don't just be there physically. This sounds so easy, but as a work at home mom, it's not always as easy as it sounds. We have to be intentional. Sometimes, when I get the big kids from school, I'll pack a little bag of snacks and a blanket for an after-school adventure.
They never know when it's coming, so they are always surprised. I have to tell them “no” a lot when they ask to do things because of deadlines I have to meet or other commitments, so when I say “yes” they get excited.
Since we don't go back to the house, packing a snack bag is important. It always includes snacks that are easy to transport, low in sugar, and water bottles because we live in Colorado and it is DRY. Thank you to Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® for sponsoring this post and making connecting with my kids easier.
Packing Your Picnic Snack Bag
During the Summer I have a pool bag packed for impromptu trips to the pool. During the school year, I have a park bag packed that includes basics and enough room to add the snacks before we leave. The park bag includes:
1. A blanket for the ground. While some places have picnic tables, we like the ground. It's also nice to have when they decide they would rather lay on the blanket and watch the clouds go by. Those moments are perfect for intentional conversations. They open up a little more when they are staring at the sky while talking to you.
2. Books. These are not school books. These are storybooks and living books that help teach them about nature. Sometimes they read, sometimes they don't. But the books are always available.
3. Snacks. Honestly, I'm not a snacker. It's been hard for me to think outside the box regarding snacking. I have a high standard for after-school snacks because dinner isn't that far off. While I realize they are hungry when they get home, they also need to eat dinner. Water bottles are a given. They go with us everywhere because Colorado is so dry. Apples or bananas are usually included because they are easy to transport. The kid's favorite snack though is Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurt. It's like they know it's the number one organic kid's yogurt brand.
They love the taste. I love that it's organic, non-GMO verified, and has between 25% – 40% less sugar than the leading kids’ yogurt. Isn't that awesome?!
But what does that mean? Simply put, it means that each cup is made without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, artificial hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs. It means that Stonyfield farmers aren't feeding the cows GMO feed or planting GMO crops. I can rest assured that I am feeding my kids well. Not only is Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® a convenient and delicious grab-and-go snack, Stonyfield is also a certified B Corps. What?! YES! Stonyfield is committed to the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems.
Now that is a company I can get behind. They aren't just looking out for themselves. They care about the environment and the next generation.
Maybe you aren't really interested in a picnic park date after school. That's okay. It's all about being intentional. Plan a hike, go apple or pumpkin picking, have a movie night, or one of these 100 Fall Bucket List Ideas. Make sure to pack your Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® because it has less sugar, tastes great, and is easy to take anywhere.
Where will you take your Stonyfield® Organic YoKids®?
Thank you, Stonyfield® Organic YoKids®, for sponsoring this conversation. All opinions are my own.