Be more intentional in loving Erik and the children.
I don't think I'll ever learn to do this perfectly, but even so, what does it even look like for me to love my family with intention? Is it giving them constant attention and never being able to get anything else done? Is it never having any time to myself?
Obviously I don't think that(and the introvert in me sighs a deep sigh of relief.) But I am aware of my tendency to get overwhelmed by all of the laundry, all of the dishes, all of the just meeting basic needs, that I'm not always very good at just being with my family. That's where my intentional goal comes in.
My first priority in being intentional(and I already feel like I've used that word far too much for this one blog post. What other words could I try here..thoughtful? Considerate? Prioritize? Moving on..) is reflecting the gospel to my family. Pointing the children to Jesus and praying with them about the issues they are having. Praying for Erik and with him.
But what else?
Some things that I've found to be helpful is easing my work load around the house. I buy paper plates and plastic cups, that way I'm not cleaning up the kitchen and then immediately getting the kids ready for bed. I have a little more time in the evenings to spend with them. Getting rid of stuff is another thing I've found that's helpful. Limiting the kids clothing so that the laundry beast is kept somewhat under control. I've also found that limiting outside commitments, so we aren't constantly on the run, is very helpful. All of this is helping me live with more intention,er, focus(hey, another word!)
But even with that there's still only so much you can do. Dishes still need washed, and some outside commitments really are important enough to stick with. So, with that in mind, here are some practical ways I've been trying to be more intentional with my family.
1. Give them lots of encouragement.
2. Shower them with physical affection. I like what Ann Voskamp says about giving her children at least as many kisses as there are meals every day. And I don't think Erik would complain if I made that my goal for him either ;).
3. Laugh, play, get them involved in what I'm doing, and look them in the eyes. Even if it's just a 30 second game of This Little Piggy with Max, reading a story with Anna, looking at a pretty flower Lily found in the back yard, or looking at something Jack has created out of legos are all little ways that let your children know they are important to you.
4. Get off the i phone and the internet. Trust me I know how easy it is to get sucked into the internet. I'm certainly not immune to it's allure. For me personally, though , I really try not to be on my phone or the computer(unless I really have to like for bill paying or something) while the kids are up. And I try not to jump on it as soon as the kids go to bed at night so that I can spend some time actually talking with Erik. I'm definitely a work in progress in this area, and there's definitely grace, but this is just another simple way to live with intention.
Learning to be intentional with my family is probably one of the greatest gifts I can give them. It's not always an easy decision to make, but I know it will be worth it.