As moms, we know how important it is to connect with our kids. And with summer almost here, we have a great opportunity to do just that! In this episode, I share ways to have more connection with your kids through novelty, slowing down, creating traditions, being creative, and making sure each kiddo knows that they are truly loved. We can even combat negative self-talk by reminding our kids that they don’t have to do anything to be lovable. And finally, I give tips on how to make hugging our kids a regular part of our day. So let’s make this summer all about connection and creativity!
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Hello, my friends. Sterling here. How are you doing? May is a crazy, crazy time. I just saw the Holderness family calls. It’s May Sember. And I was like, yes, that is exactly what it is. It’s like December, but we don’t collectively talk about it like that. So if you feel like things are extra crazy right now, they probably are.
You’ve got a lot on your plate. I have a friend who is 36 weeks pregnant right now, and I was just like, I cannot imagine doing May and all the things and things and things while being pregnant. And so take a deep breath. You’re doing okay. You’re here. You’ve made it 100% of the days so far. God loves you. Some things are important, but not everything is important.
And so today I want to talk about connection, creating a summer of connection. But you can also begin to do these things now in the midst of a frantic, crazy jam packed. May. So I’ve been thinking about creating more connections with my kids lately, and I think that that for me at least, is a better word than fun. So we definitely have at least one, maybe two podcasts about having more fun with your kids. And you should definitely check those out. And we have this idea that summer should be fun, but I really want to create a summer of connection. You only have so many summers left with your kids, and I think when we realize that number, it’s very interesting.
And you don’t actually have the summer that they are 17 or 18 and maybe not even 16 with them, really. Right. So my daughter is twelve. I will have this summer, her 13 year old summer, 14 and 15. I have four more summers with her until she wants to get in her car and hang out with her friends. Now, we can still create connections with teenagers, and we will, right? But I have four more summers where she’s here, where she wants to spend time with me. And when you think about it like that, all of a sudden a lot of other things that seemed important aren’t quite as important. And so I wrote a few things down for ways that I plan on creating connections with the kids, and I wanted to share them with you.
One way to create connection is to do things that are novel, things that you’ve never done before. And so, Lord bless the internet, you can go to Pinterest and just type in anything to find something your family hasn’t done before. I was at Goodwill yesterday and there were these bath paints. And we’ve never had bath paints before, and it could be a terrible idea, but at some point I’m going to pull them out and I’m going to say, kids, here are some bath paints. And I’ll probably do a brother bath. And the girls can do baths separately and they can paint in the bath. And that will be a novel situation and they will be excited about it. I will say, I got these for you.
I’m so excited for you. We’re going to do this. So I want you to think about novelty. Novelty gets a bump even if it doesn’t work out well. So if you go on a hike that you’ve never been on before and it doesn’t work out well, you still get the benefit of it being a novel experience. I really want to try biking more this summer because my youngest is three and a half, so I’m not logistically sure how we’re going to do it, but I think certainly the oldest four can bike themselves and I’ve just got to figure out the younger two. But also because we don’t have a lot of babies, I think we could really lean into biking more. Now.
We have biked in the past, but I think this will feel different. I also want to bike with my girls. I think I can drive seven minutes, park the car, and then we can take our bikes and drive into town. So the town is 20 minutes, but I can do the first seven minutes from the car. But then there’s this bike pathway into town and grab a smoothie with the girls and then bike back to the car. I really want to do that with them this summer. That’s a novel experience. Now, it will require some planning.
I will 0% feel like doing that. I will also tell you that I know that about myself on that day. I’ll be like, it’s too hot or It’s too cold or I’m too busy. And so built into having a summer of connection is just knowing that your brain isn’t going to want to do it. The next thing that you can focus on is creating traditions. And what’s really crazy is that I’ve been a mom for a little over twelve years, and as we watch the internet and we see liturgical traditions and things that other families do, we feel a lot of pressure to do them. But I feel like you really get to create the traditions in the last half of your family. Like, none of my kids remember what I did ten years ago.
Not even the twelve year old. She barely remembers three years ago. And so it’s just now where I really feel like the oldest three will remember what we’re doing and we can begin to create and add in some more traditions for our family. I’m not going to pick a ton of things, but having connection with your kids and creating a family identity often revolves around traditions. Now, there are some that we already have. We have done an Easter egg hunt for the last four or five years, maybe longer than that. We’ve just made it a slightly bigger deal. Each year my husband hides them with more and more difficulty for the kids.
And so it’s really fun and it may just be that our family has a tradition of biking in the summer, right? So it might be a rhythm that happens not necessarily on May 15, we do this thing. So there’s novel things, but then also traditions, things you want to do every year. And you may tell yourself, I’m going to try a tradition this year. There have been plenty of things that I’ve tried and quickly discovered. That’s not really what I want to do every year. But if you want more connection with your kids and with your family, I think purposefully and intentionally cultivating traditions is really powerful. Another way that I’ve been creating connection with my kids lately, and I really want to encourage you to do this too, is slowing down for 60 to 90 seconds. As moms, we tell ourselves we’re so busy and we think everything is so important and we don’t have time to slow down.
But I’ve just been telling my brain, you have 60 seconds. We’re not going to sit here and let the child monologue at us for ten minutes, which they will do if you let them. But I will give them 60 seconds. And if they’re a littler guy, then I get down on the ground and I look in their eyes and I hug them and I ask them, oh, what’s going on? Or, what did you think about that? And then I still cut them off and move on, because when we’re busy, we just cut them off and move on. No, I don’t have time for that. Tell me later. I can’t talk about that. That isn’t important right now.
And instead, even with my almost eight year old just holding her hands, looking at her face and saying, oh, I see that this is important to you, tell me about it in a little bit less than 60 seconds. And then I say, okay, well, we can talk about that at a different time. I hear you. So I’m still probably not dealing with it, because kids, they ask you about what’s important to them all day long, and it’s usually not the best time, but I’ve been trying to just add this 60 seconds in between where I create a connection with them. I validate that the thing is important to them and that I love them and that what’s important to them is important to me. And then I move on. So just slowing down a little bit, hugging them more, and I’ve shared this before that hugging is just not intuitive to me. And so planning to hug them more by anchoring to other things that are happening in your day.
So maybe you think, okay, I’m going to hug these kids around breakfast, these kids around lunch, and these kids around dinner. Or every time I pass a kid at this point in the hallway, I’m going to stop and hug them before we get in the car or after we get home somewhere. Pick something in your mind to help you remember to hug them more and hug them for at least 10 seconds. Another thing that I’ve been doing recently to create more connection with my kids is I’ve been saying, what do you need to do in order for me to love you? And the first time, some of them will think about it, and they might even say, love God or clean my room. And then I say, no, you don’t need to do anything for me to love you. And then I ask them, is there anything that you could do that would make me stop loving you? My older kids really thought about that when I asked them, and I say, no, there’s nothing you can do that would make me stop loving you. I love you just the way that you are, simply because you are, and I will never stop loving you. And I’ve been saying it more and more to them.
And the older girls will be a little like, you already told me, mom. And I say, I’ve been saying yes, and I’m not going to stop telling you. Because in coaching, a lot of coaching comes down to feeling broken or unlovable. Those are kind of the two big buckets that almost everything comes into. I feel like something’s wrong with me. I’m broken or I’m unlovable just the way that I am. And even those two things kind of go together, but it’s a slightly different flavor. And so as I was thinking about that for work that we’ve been doing in Masters, I thought, well, what can I do as a mom to just counteract both of those narratives? So I’ve been working on I love you just the way that you are.
You don’t have to do anything to be lovable. I have not figured out yet how to say that you’re not broken. And I don’t know by the way that kids have even formed that thought yet, maybe the older kids. But I think that’s something that the world kind of does to us over time. So slowing down, hugging them, telling them that I love them, those are all ways that I want to create more connection with the kids this summer. Another way that I want to create more connection with the kids this summer is through creativity. And I think, moms, most of us have, like, a love hate relationship with crafts and paints and things like that. But I’ve been really trying to think about how we can be more creative outside with flowers or grass or dirt so that it’s not necessarily pulling out glitter in my kitchen.
But I want to have more creativity with the kids. I want to try a few more recipes, just things we’ve never tried before, which hits, I think, creativity and novelty and then just using the everyday things in our life in a more creative way. I’m sure there’s lots of cool things you can do with grass and I just don’t remember. And certainly flowers. And we have a lot of chickens, so we have a lot of eggs. And I know that you can poke a hole through them and blow out the eggs and paint the eggs, and that’s an Easter time thing. And I did not do that at Easter time, but I thought that still seems pretty cool. Like, if I could set them up outside with an egg painting station and they could hang them from our tree and just look at them, that seems pretty cool.
So I’m trying to be better about finding creativity and crafts and art that doesn’t then also drive me bananas and create a ton more work for me. And I’m up for that. Sometimes I am up for the whole painting rigamarole, but I want some more options that don’t have that high of a bar for effort. And then the last thing that I want to do to create more of a summer of connection with the kids is to cultivate a culture of celebrating. And I think that in this world we’ve gotten to this place where everyone gets a participation trophy and schools are so scared to offend anyone that they just tell everyone that they’re doing a great job. I think most of us see that and we don’t like that. We’re like, oh, something’s not quite right about that. And so I’m worried that we then withhold celebrating real things because we don’t want to contribute to this culture of entitlement.
And entitlement comes out of being celebrated for nothing. Like, if you didn’t do a good job and someone said you did a really good job, then you feel entitled to placement or honor or rewards without having done the work of that. And so a culture of celebration in your home is celebrating real things that your kids did do. Hey, I saw that you were really frustrated earlier, but I also watched you calm yourself down. Good job. I’m really proud of you for that. I watched you reading your book when nobody asked you to. I saw you clean this thing.
Thank you for playing with your brother. The other day, my seven year old was reading a book to my five year old, and I just nearly cried. It’s just the cutest thing. Those two are not historically the best of friends. And it was Mercy Watson, and I love those Mercy Watson books, and I do everyone’s voice in a Southern accent. It’s very fun. And I think that celebrating is really good and celebrating effort and work and virtue. I think that’s how Catholics can kind of reclaim this culture of celebration by really celebrating virtue, because that is what we want to reinforce in the kids.
And so this is my plan. My plan is to connect more with my kids this summer knowing that I don’t have a ton of summers left with them. And I think that even if you had a really busy month of May, which I will fully acknowledge I do not, I don’t have that much going on because we’re not in sports. My daughter already made her first Communion, which was amazing. That’s pretty much it for us this month. But if I had graduation and sports and recitals and wrapping up school projects and all of that, I would still seek connection with the kids, because that is one of the best ways to calm yourself down. You need to give your brain something to do, and if you don’t give it something to do, it’s just going to freak out all the time. It’s like, hey, I know what to do.
I’m going to freak out about dinner and about this week and about making it from this event to that event. And what if I forget their shoes and then they’re wearing soccer cleats and whatever it is? And instead, I want you to tell your brain everything important is going to get done. It always does. Even if there’s a lot of yelling before we get in the car, everyone will have a dress on. Everyone will show up to the thing. Even if we’re ten minutes late, we’re going to feel really terrible on the way. And then the event will still just happen. We will come home and we will hug each other, and we will go to bed.
Tell your brain that in the midst of all of that, you want to create more connection with your kids. Isn’t that cool? So here are those things again, to have a summer of connection, even if you want to begin it in the crazy month of May or May Sember. I love those novelty traditions. Slow down. Tell your brain, I can give this kiddo 60 seconds right now. Hug them more often and for at least 10 seconds, tell the children that you love them and there’s nothing they could do to earn it or nothing they could do to lose it. You just love them because they are creative. How can you be more creative as a family and then create a culture of celebration? I’m praying for you.
It’s not easy being a mom, but I think that we’re better moms than we think we are. And what we really long for is connection with our kids. And the more we do this, the better we feel about ourselves, because there’s a rightness to her. Like, yes, I was created for connection. That is my job with these children. All right, ladies, as this comes out, we’re still doing our sweatshirt promotion. So now between May 15, if you sign up for Masters, you get a free made for greatness sweatshirt, and they’re super cute. And if you’re already in Masters and you refer one of your friends, then your friend gets a sweatshirt and you get a sweatshirt.
So we just wore sweatshirts all around. Super fun. We’ve been really enjoying it. And we’ve had a lot of people join us. So if you’ve been thinking about wanting to have a better life, wanting to feel better, wanting to have more confidence, come join us in Masters. We will help you have a summer of connection with your kids. And remember, ladies, you are Made for Greatness.