Essential Family Life Habits – Part 2

This post has been a hard one for me to write.

The last couple of weeks I’ve been struggling a lot with letting Satan beat me down. It’s hard to post about how to do better as a mama when I keep listening to the lie that I’ll never be good enough.

The world is so full of perfect, pretty pictures of life and motherhood, and sometimes I just feel so overwhelmed by my shortcomings in comparison.

Often the most discouraging things can be those meant to encourage – I’ve read many times that at the end of the day, all that really matters is that I showed my kids that I love them. But what if I didn’t? What if I spent the entire day messing up – one sin after another – and I shut their door at night certain that I’ve destroyed them?

I’m convinced that Satan lives behind my bathroom mirror. When he attacks, I’m usually there. I hear his insults one after another: “you don’t deserve to be a mom, your kids deserve better than you, you are so ugly, you’re a terrible friend, wife, daughter, everything.”

And while I know Satan doesn’t literally live behind my mirror, I also know that he absolutely does attack us. BUT, if we’re suited up – with the armor of God – we are much more able to stand against his evil schemes. So it makes sense that my weakest, hardest days are those that I don’t start with God. The days that I don’t tell Satan to leave me alone in the name of Jesus!  The days that I don’t begin with a plan…and I leave too much space for Satan to invade.

The Bible tells us: “…there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1

Lysa TerKeurst explains it like this: “If I’m hearing thoughts of condemnation, these only come from Satan. There is no condemnation from Jesus, only conviction. It’s important for us to know the difference. Condemnation leaves us feeling hopeless and worthless. Conviction invites us to make positive changes in our lives.”

So when I believe all these lies that leave me feeling completely hopeless – those are not God convicting me to change anything other than my relationship with Him – my Father, the One who will lead and guide me on this journey, if I just sit quietly at His feet.

So what lies from the devil are you believing today? And what things are you truly being invited by God to change?

Today I’m sharing the second part of my essential family life habits, which is really just the list of things I know God is truly inviting me to do…to change, and to make a habit of, so that I too am changed – for His glory.

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I hope that my list might work for you too, or at least be a starting point for you to think about what habits God might be asking you to sow in your own life.

I truly believe that if we can create healthy and Godly habits, schedules, and plans for our days, we will leave less space for Satan to come in.

If you missed the first post, the top of this list shows a recap of the habits to make for ourselves, as mamas, and the bottom shows a summary of the family habits, which we’re going to look at next:

Essential Family Life Habits

So it doesn’t get too long, today I’m going to go over the daily and weekly family habits, and my next post (the third and final in this series) will cover the monthly and yearly ones. Here we go…

Essential Life Habits for Your Family

Daily

  • Do chores (and keep a chore chart) – have a chore chart for your kiddos. Make time each day for them to complete their chores, check them off their chart, and put up a sticker. My housekeeping post has the chore chart we use, and more info on how to use it.
  • Play together – if you ask your kids what they most love to do with you, I can almost guarantee it will include the word “play.” Few things mean more to our kids than when we take the time to sit down on the floor to play and show that we love them. Schedule it in, and make it a priority everyday. And if your kids are older – still make time for this…doing whatever they enjoy.
  • Have a ‘free play’ time – it’s also super important that our kiddos have free play time – time for them to just play unstructured, and on their own. This helps them to use their creativity, solve problems, and many other beneficial things. It also allows for you to get a few things done, so it’s a win-win for everyone. Check out this article for a complete report from the American Academy of Pediatrics on just how important it is.
  • Go outside and get fresh air – rain or shine, it’s important for all of us (mamas and kids) to get at least 20 minutes of sunshine and fresh air everyday. Sunshine is a natural producer of Vitamin D in our bodies, and can help with mood, and many health conditions. And as you know, being outside can help kids to run off some energy too! Here are some of my favorite outdoor activity ideas:
    • go for a walk
    • play at a park
    • ride bikes
    • play in the backyard
    • draw with sidewalk chalk
    • go to a spray ground
    • go to a pool
    • go sledding
    • build a snowman
    • go ice skating
    • garden together
    • look for bugs and birds
    • go flower picking
    • play in the rain
  • Snack times – schedule a morning and afternoon snack time each day. This way the kids will know when they get to eat, and they won’t be bugging you for food all day long!
  • Rest time – if your kiddos have outgrown their nap time, still make time for them to have a one-hour rest each day. You need it, and they do too. Have them go to their rooms and rest in their beds, or work on a quiet activity. If your kids are still napping, here’s a guideline for sleep requirements, and how many hours they need each day:

Daily Sleep Needs

  • Serve each other – each day, encourage your children to serve each other, and you, in some way. Also, make sure you are serving your spouse (and others around you) – leading by example is the very best way to teach them to have a servant’s heart.
  • Bible time & prayer  – if our faith does not extend from Sunday into our daily lives, we have little hope of passing it on to our kids. So make time each day to read the Bible with them, and pray together. We just bought a book, “Window on the World: When We Pray God Works,” and it is AWESOME!! It goes through an a to z list of countries, with cool information about each one, and how we can pray for them. I can’t recommend it enough! Teach your kiddos the importance of prayer (for everyone and everything), and point it out to them when you see God answer! And if you’re looking for a resource for family Bible study, check out Family Bloom, a GREAT guide from Jelly Telly. Focus on the Family also has a LOT of excellent resources on encouraging spiritual growth for our kids.
  • Eat dinner together – y’all know how important this one is, so make it sacred. Sit at the table together, and without distraction (no TV or phones)!
  • Read books together  – I’ve come across several sources that say we should read to our kids for 2 hours everyday. That suggestion overwhelms me, but I do agree that reading books with our kids is an important habit to make time for everyday. It helps kids learn, and it makes time for you to sit close and be together. If you don’t have time during the day, make a point to read at least one book at bedtime every night.

Weekly

  • Give allowance – have your kiddos complete chores simply because they are part of the family, then you can also give them an allowance just for being part of the family. We do $0.25 for tithe, $0.25 for give, $.025 for save and $1.75 for spend each week. You can indirectly attach the chores to their allowance by paying yourself (with their money) for any chores they don’t complete. Giving allowance will teach them how to be good stewards of what they’re given, and how to save and be selective in what they spend money on!
  • Attend church service together – being with our church families is a crucial part of our faith, so lead by example, and make it a priority every week.
  • Have a family day – as I’ve been working on our calendar, I decided that it could be hard to have a family day every single week, but if you can, try to make it happen, or at least have a family night. Here are some activity ideas:
    • pizza and movie night at home (or out)
    • dinner out and ice cream
    • have a picnic
    • go ice skating
    • have a game night
    • go camping
    • have a family sleepover
  • Cook/bake together – taking the time to let your kids help in the kitchen teaches them important skills, builds their confidence, and gives you quality time together. Curious Chef has every kitchen tool you could imagine for kids, and all their products are also for sale on Amazon.
  • Take a field trip – try to take a field trip out of the house once a week. It doesn’t have to cost money! Here are some ideas:
    • go to the park
    • visit the zoo
    • check out books at the library
    • go to a children’s museum
    • go to the theatre
    • go swimming – at a pool or at a free spray ground if you have them
    • go garage sailing
    • go sledding
    • check out one of the many (often free) activities offered by your local community center
  • Have a play date – an important time for the kiddos to socialize, and for you to have some mom socialization time too!
  • Serve others – try to find some (bigger than your daily) way to serve others – whether you take cookies to a neighbor, or buy a meal for a homeless person you see, try to find an intentional way to serve with your kids each week.

That’s it for this week. Please remember that these habits are not meant to create more work for you (at all)! They are meant to help organize and prioritize our lives, so we don’t waste time on things that don’t matter.

If we schedule-in and make time for the most important habits first, the only things we will run-out of time for are those that are less important!!

And like I said in the first post, remember to take it one step at a time. It’s unrealistic to try to master a whole new list of habits all at once, so start slow, and master just a few right now. Like life, and our walk as Christ-followers, it’s a journey. You can’t get from the start to the finish in one day.

Paul said it best: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” – Philippians 3:12

Until next time, may you press on toward your goals sweet sisters…

Hugs ~ Sara

And just for fun - since yesterday was Father's day...here's a sweet picture of my girls and their amazing Daddy after their dance recital this weekend. Love.

And just for fun – since yesterday was Father’s day…here’s a sweet picture of my girls and their amazing Daddy after their dance recital this weekend. Love.

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2 thoughts on “Essential Family Life Habits – Part 2

  1. Love it Sarah! I have been hearing Satan behind the mirror a lot lately too. Thanks for being so encouraging, I know your kids are little but even though mine are big I still struggle with the same issues you do. It feels good to know we aren’t alone in our battles! Love you Sweet Sister!

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