My Messy Mom Life: 12.4.19
I keep thinking about how easy it is to get caught up in our own world these days. It’s hard to think about others when we’re just trying to survive the daily grind. Even our kids have a lot on their plates. Stopping our busy lives to think about others, and teaching the little guys to do the same, takes effort and extra planning.
The holiday season is the perfect time to focus on compassion. Right now, I’m listening to a book about stillness … taking time in your day to think without distractions about the things we are grateful for. When we do this, our hearts are opened to be compassionate to those who don’t have as much. I’m trying to share this with my kids, and here are a few things helping me with the process:
▶ Exposure. I used to protect my kids from seeing the harsh realities of life. But then I realized that if they never see struggles in their community, how will they feel empathetic toward people’s needs? When I lived in L.A., I worked for an organization called Red Eye that brought teens from affluent families in Beverly Hills to Skid Row and government housing. Exposing them to kids who are growing up so differently was a truly eye-opening experience. They were changed forever.
▶ Volunteering. This is taking exposure a step further. They say kids learn the best by watching their parents. Volunteering for a day and talking to your children about it is awesome, but getting them involved is even better. This can be hard when they are young, but you can get creative. We spent a lot of time at an assisted living home the past two years with my grandparents. Everyone lit up around my kids, and they realized how happy they made the residents and how their kindness affected people in a positive way. I witnessed my 6-year-old move past her nervousness to reach out to others, and it truly was amazing. If you have older kids, check out @stlserves or stlserves.com, a new website highlighting ways to get involved with local organizations based on your interests.
▶ Gratitude Journals. The 3 Minute Gratitude Journal for Kids ($6 on Amazon) asks children to reflect on what they are grateful for that day and to draw a picture of a special moment they want to remember. My big kids love to sit down and reflect on their day. And it’s an easy way for me to talk with them about how to expose others to the joys they’ve experienced. I’m no psychologist, but pausing for literally minutes a day feels so important.
Katelyn Young is a local mom of three (her #crumblycrew) who shares real moments of motherhood as it relates to fashion, food and fun! Follow her on Instagram at @_katelynyoung_ or follow her blog at thebejuledlife.com.