Having a household to maintain is a skill that is too often overlooked. There’s an art to blowing oats for your child until it is cool enough to eat. There’s an art in nesting and making a home – a home. It takes a real powerhouse to coordinate and nurture for most of their years alive. The amount of responsibility, inevitable pressure, and grace that has to be drawn daily to support a family is mystifying. Amid these roles are our own realities, that challenge us and affect who we become. Leading with love in our families and households is key to an intentional family and life.
Leading With Love: Your Partner
The relationship you have with your partner is the other half of the foundation you’ve built for your children. Relationship maintenance is so critical to maintaining harmony at home. Simply choosing to lead with love will create a safe space for you and your children. Leading with love with your partner looks like saying thank you when they’ve done something for you. Leading with love looks like asking them how their day was, then listening intently and allowing them to rest and recharge. The standard when choosing to lead with love is anticipating and following through with your partner’s needs. Love them how you would love yourself and learn to be present. Much of our time is spent away from our family, so we have to make the most of the time we do have together. Leading with love in relationships will look different for everyone, but the basics all come down to being a beautiful reflection of your partner. A good way to start your journey is figuring out what your love languages are.
Leading With Love: Your Children
Leading with love as a parent is something so important in times of stress and juggling all of our responsibilities. Sometimes, our children get whatever is left after we’ve given all of our energy to the day. Depending on what kind of challenges we are facing, our children may get a tired, snappy version of us. They may get a frustrated version of us who is overworked and has not done enough self-care for the week. Children have no idea what it’s like to be an adult managing a stressful life. They don’t understand the pressure we are under to provide and make the right decisions for a family. As parents, it is our responsibility not to let the turmoil from our life experiences bleed onto our children. Leading with love with your children is listening when they speak and hearing them and being honest with them and saying – “Mommy is tired, can we just relax and watch a movie tonight?” Leading with love with our children looks like letting your kids be who and how they are in every precious moment.
Coping Mechanisms in Leading With Love
One of the most important keys to leading with love in the household is taking care of yourself. You are the source in which your family feeds. Balancing your own mental and physical health on top of your duties at home can be overwhelming. Sometimes, it feels like the work will never end and you can’t catch your breath. In these moments of stress, do everyone a favor and remember to stop and tend to your own needs.
Say no to commitments that you know you’ll be too tired for. Leave some free time in your schedule to do nothing. If you say yes to everything, you will run out of gas. It’s as simple as that. Leave the opportunity for spontaneous breakfast dates with your family. Remain open to the concept of family time, so that your time together can be enjoyed. Think of the free time you have a chance to make lifelong memories with your family.
Being grateful has been one of my biggest coping mechanisms as of late. When I feel defeated and like the world is on my shoulders, I turn inward and think about my blessings. I remind myself that the experience I am having is beautiful and unique. I remind myself that my child and partner both chose me in this lifetime. I remind myself that there are people who desperately want to have a family but may not be able to. Gentle reminders to be grateful always put me back in the right headspace.
Address Your Past
This is a time to heal your inner child and forgive your parents for the things they could not provide you with. This is a time for you to love on your inner child. This will be a reminder of the things you do and don’t want for your children. As adults, we naturally pick up on some habits our parents had – but realize that you are in control. Leading with love in your family looks like breaking generational curses. Show love and ask questions to the elders in your family. Get in tune with where you came from, so that clarity is bound to your thoughts around love and family.
At the end of the day, you are a mirror to your partner and little ones. They learn and live through you. The better version of yourself that you are, the best they can be. Though raising a family can be hectic, it is also beautiful. I challenge you to lead with love, the entire month of February, Pretty Birds. This means being mindful and checking in frequently to make sure you are leading with love. The more intentional and grateful you become, you will notice the harmony that flourishes through your home.
Image by: @jilllavetsky