Friday, March 16, 2018

Where do you find joy?

I listened to a talk recently by Sister Jean B. Bingham. In it she asked, "What brings you joy? The sight of your loved ones at the end of a long day? The satisfaction of a job done well? The light in someone’s eyes when you share their burden? The words of a hymn that reaches deep into your heart? The handclasp of a close friend?" Isn't that beautiful to think about? Just what would you say? What is it in your daily routine that brings you joy? As I thought about my own answers, I wondered what others in a similar situation to mine would say about their own day, and what I could learn from it.

I asked this question to my friends on Facebook and Instagram and I loved the responses! It was so fun for me to imagine myself walking with each person as we shared back and forth about the things that brought us joy throughout the day.

I was surprised to find that for some of them what brought them joy was not necessarily what brought me joy. I think it's a testament to each mom's unique talents and gifts, and just another reminder that we should look inward rather than outward for comparison in what brings us joy.

Despite our differences, I learned so much from this list. Each day I would log in to respond to a few of the comments and each one would bring a big smile to my face as I thought of my own children and the beautiful gifts we are given as mothers. The list was so inspiring to me, I wanted it recorded here. P.S. If you are a reader here and would like to respond and haven't PLEASE do so in the comments or on Facebook! I love hearing them.

Here are the things that bring joy to some of the mothers of young children that I know!

- When they are all the same time😁 But mostly when they demonstrate on their own what I am trying to teach them. For example I have been trying to teach them to show more love towards the members of our family. Yesterday my daughter brought me a thank you gift(a LEGO creation she made). She said she made it for me to show me she loved me.

-My favorite part of the day is when they all wake up in the morning. Crazy as that sounds but they are all so cheery and happy to be alive. They are excited to see me and hug and kiss me each morning. The babies will cuddle for about 30 minutes even! They are excited for their day and have so much positive energy. It is hard for me to get up early and get them all going quickly but they are just so happy to see me. The just have such a childlike perspective on life and thy are ready to greet the day.

-I love teaching them how to read, reading to them, or seeing them play creatively on their own. Or when they're silly and funny.

- When they play nicely together and you can see how much they like each other. Teaching them card and board games and having them understand and like to play.

-I love lunch time! We get to eat food together and I read them stories from the Friend magazine.

-When they play together.

-Naptime 😂😂 But also when we have just free play

-Can stay at home dad reply? I like how amazing everything is to them. Like visiting the zoo or going to a park. Such enthusiasm in these little humans.

-Naptime! Hahaha jk I love to watch my kids learn new things and grow their imaginations!!!!

-Storytime, morning snuggles, and when we’re getting dinner ready. Tenley makes treats in her easy bake oven for dessert lately. It cooks while we eat dinner. It’s just fun and simple and little and I love it when we’re all working together

-My daughter and I often snuggle and watch a show while the baby is napping. I love those snuggles.

-Play groups! They are playing with friends and I get adult conversation. Best thing ever. If you don't have one where you are, you can start one. Totally worth it.

-I used to live for playgroup. When my kids were little and we were living in Brasil, we’d go to a new house each week, sit outside under the tropical, flowering trees, watch all the kids play, and eat snacks that our housekeepers made for us to bring 🙂. Those were some good times, and some sweet memories.

 -Getting them out of bed/wake up time! Also, slow days with little to no agenda (most of our days are this way) where we get to just play. I guess this is more of a phase of life than part of the day but I LOVE it.

-I love the morning when everyone is still home and happy. I also love seeing the older ones run to the car after school and tell me about their days.

-What a nice question! I like when we get to snuggle the kids, and watching them when they play nice. And baking together! So messy but so fun.

 -spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen, when we're all working together to unload dishes, and when we're doing something active together - going on a walk/riding bikes/etc.

-I used to love mornings with just me and the monkeys. During summer, I get to pretend I'm still a stay at home mom and morning is still my favorite. Not like 5am morning. But like, easy, wake up when we do, eat breakfast, pickup the house a little, maybe a load of laundry, then outside!

 -Reading to them, putting them to bed with stories and snuggles, and teaching them to read. I have realized first grade is a good fit for me because of how much I love reading and teaching kids to read!

 -Morning snuggles with no hurried timeline (like school!). Also, naptime. Reading a story and falling asleep together was always such a treat.

 -I not even a stay at home parent however I am a single father and my favorite things are spending time with my son and that awesome feeling I get when I have worked really hard at work and then I go to my parents house to pick him up and he reaches towards me and cries Dad Dad then I pick him up and he says I love you Dad Dad. It makes me cry every time because it fills me with such joy that I can't help but cry.

-The most joy I have with my kids is reading them books, teaching them things whether school related, life lessons or religious. I love having a devotional with them during breakfast. I love holding my baby close and singing her to sleep for her nap. I love seeing my kids work hard to mark off their chores. I love when my kids play together nicely and make up new games together. I love when I am having a rough day, and my kids see that, and they all try super hard to be helpful and kind and grateful to me. Other parts of my day that bring me joy are being able to drop my kids off at the YMCA child watch and knowing their having fun and learning while I exercise alone! :) I also love having quiet scripture study time during the day when they nap...and then getting the house all clean...again while they're asleep. It's a great life all of it!

-Laundry 😆 But seriously, I love to play music and dance with my kids in the house. I love reading them books. When I had several little ones at home, they followed me everywhere. When I worked out, they copied me, when I did laundry, they guessed who's clothes each item belonged to, when I cleaned, they dumped the Comet. They learned that exercising, cleaning, laundry, reading and playing were all important.

-The most joy I have with Rose was whenever I pick her up from her crib (after she starts crying in time to eat) and I would just hold her close to my face until she suddenly stopped crying. It brings me joy knowing that she feels safe with me. :)

-I love picking Emily up from school every day. When we get home I gather my girls around on the couch and we look through everything in her backpack and she gives us a recap of her day. I also love reading stories to my kids because we get to sit closeand they get so involved. I love it when all three of them are playing or dancing together and getting along. There is nothing sweeter than seeing them all asleep (they sleep in the same room) and first thing when they wake up in the morning. They sure make life pretty sweet.

-I need naps, and walks, and bike rides, breaks, friends, meditation, singing, and quiet time. I love putting on roller blades while my kids ride their bikes and rolling around the neighborhood. Exercise is a huge must for me. I am NOT sane without it. And I also have school and therapy and those things bring me joy too. My kids bring me joy, but my life is so much more than just living through my kids. I need my own passionate outlets too :)

-I love reading together on the couch and talking one on one with my kids. I also love when I get Soren out of his crib and he just lights up when I come to get him.

-Nap time and bed time! 😜

-The most joy? His smile. His laugh. When he wakes up and sleepily walks over to me and wants to cuddle. His imagination. When he asks me to act out different movies with him, "You be my little sister Joy," "You be Mufasa," "You be Penny and I'll be your puppy." When he tells me I'm pretty. When he intentionally makes me laugh. When he asks, "Can I go on a date with you and daddy?" When he sings his favorite songs. When he lines up all his toys. I guess mostly I just love watching how his innocent little mind works.

-I love just watching them learn new things. They are always so eager to show me a new song they have finally mastered, a chore they secretly did with out even being asked or something they have built on their own. Love chatting with them about just anything. I learn so much from each of my kids a day. I am so privileged and blessed.

- Cuddle times!

-I’m not sure if there is anything specific. Just being able to be the one that can raise my children brings me joy. Also, bed time. Bed time brings me joy! 🤣 seriously though it’s the small things, when they behave and get along. When Axel runs to the bus to hug his older brothers because he has missed them all day. My boys getting excited when they achieved a certain goal. Too many things bring me joy that I cannot name them all. That’s not to say I don’t cry, yell, talk my husbands ear off when he gets home and sometimes let the TV be a babysitter so I can get stuff done. It’s hard to be a mom. 😀

-I'm not a stay at home mom but I love bedtime. We read a book together and I sing to them every night

-Tom was having a nightmare, so I went and laid with him for a while. I thought he'd gone back to sleep, when suddenly he lifted his head, kissed my cheek, and snuggled closer. I love those pure expressions of love from both my boys. I love when they laugh, especially when we're all laughing together. I love when Derek shares his hopes and dreams, and listens to me share mine.

-Our basic day is movie, breakfast, go do something (play date, library) or hang out at home and just play, lunch, nap/quiet time, then either just play, baths, or errands or play date, then dinner, then bed. I think I get joy from visiting people. .. but sometimes we have really sweet tender moments at home that are good.. but we also have the most fighting when we are hat at home with the current 3 and 1 yr old. . So I try to keep us busy. ..

-When I get home from work and Ruby can hear me talking my boots off and shouts "DADDYYYYYY!" and comes running into the laundry room with her arms wide open

-Now that my kiddos are getting older, I find it so rewarding when they are presented with difficult situations or things that maybe test their morals and they make the right decision or are able to encourage their friends to do what's right. I love seeing the evidence of us (my husband and myself) pouring ourselves into these tiny humans over the last 11 years is starting to show in a positive light. And of course, nothing beats my 3 year old dropping whatever he's doing, running over, hugging my leg and telling me that he will "love mommy forever - ever.":)

-Watching them be sweet to each other. Seeing their enthusiasm for things I'd never think of being excited for. I love when they say things that surprise me with how funny, or thought provoking it was. I love when they say thank you for little things I do that I thought they wouldn't even notice I was doing it. I love to see their smiling faces when I come to pick them up from school each day because it shows me that they are happy to see me and to come home. I love hearing about their day. I love that my 15 year old son still can't go to bed without giving me a hug first. Their love for life, and for me, gives me so much joy each day.

-The parts when I remember I chose this. It wasn't something forced on me, it's not a prison sentence I have to endure. It was my choice--the moments I remember that, vomit on my favorite shoes and blood on my shirt and screaming tantrums don't make me bat an eye. I'm the literal eye in the storm, haha. Peace from conscious agency, I guess.

-I have thought about this a lot. Of course I loved reading with them or when they would said darling things. I loved when they were all ready to walk out the door for school with their hair all slicked down, holding their backpack and lunch boxes. I loved sitting with them as their practiced the piano and on and on, but I think my favorite time was when they were all in their beds asleep. It wasn't that I was glad to get rid of them-totally. It didn't matter what kind of a pill they had been that day or how hard it had been to get them to go to bed. When they are asleep they look so angelic and they are safe and secure in their little beds. All of the problems of the day are past and they can wake tomorrow refeshed and ready for a new day.

-These are mine: making Frank laugh. He laughs so easily and it's so fun to see him light up. Singing to my kids. Reading them books. Teaching them spiritual things. Doing anything outside with them. Seeing them play together. Thanks again everybody for your comments! It really brightened my day and put a smile on my face! this current season... 🤔. I have to say that I love it when a little one year old says “momma”, or when a little one year old runs up and wraps his little arms around my leg and just lingers for a quick minute and then he’s off again to find new discovery. Or when a three year old says something to darn cute for words. Or says something incredibly unique or funny but perfectly fitting for his vantage point in life. I love to find my five year playing lovingly with my three year old. Oh man. That makes my heart sing. I love to see my 8 year old interacting well with my five year old. I love it when they get along well. I love it when my ten year old understands. To see the understanding in his eyes is gold. I love these times. 💝

-I love nap time snuggles where I can just relax and know that Reed is resting peacefully. I also love watching him learn or discover something new and the excitement it brings him. I love when he has belly laughs- usually when I am telling a funny story and I don’t realize he is listening.

- I love making funny faces with Spencer and reading to him. I love when the kids are so sweet with each other. They often come together if someone is being mean to one of them.

-Naptime! And having dinner prepped before my kids get home from school. And when the kids first get home and I get to hear about their day.

-I love the hugs, kisses and "I love you"S from my 3 year old! And feeding my kids, either nursing my baby or feeding my 3 year old is something that brings joy to me. I love sitting at the table eating and talking and Jane loves it when we sit and eat with her too.

-The best part of my day is when I can be fully present. This happens for me when we do “special time” each day- that is one-on-one time for about 20 mins. It’s kid choice activity where they get my undivided attention- usually reading, talking, journaling together, Legos, go on a walk. It’s the best part of my day, and usually the kids’ too, and has made a really positive change for us at home over the last couple of months!

-When my kids are playing well together and when I hear them say please, thank you, and you’re welcome without my prompting. I also enjoy listening to podcasts while I tidy/clean. And having time to myself every afternoon during nap time and quiet time... I get a little grumpy when I’m interrupted one too many times. 😬

-Working on my passions and hobbies for a specified amount of time but then being completely PRESENT when I’m with the littles. And enjoying each moment.

-When we chat after school

-I'm happiest when we're outside. Fresh air + kids= peace for all of us. That's when it's easiest for me to be completely engaged in them and not distracted by home duties.

1 comment:

  1. Ashley, you and your "friends" should write a book!!!
    This stuff is awesome and precious and tender and important. It's how it was when you kids were kids! One of my favorite comments was that one written by a working, single dad.
    Love, Dad