I have always put pressure on myself to make sure I did this one specific thing before my kids grew up and started a life of their own so they can have memories to share with their kids. When I say a lot of pressure, I mean a ton of pressure. It was my one life goal I felt would complete me as a mom in order to be able to make memories my kids will remember forever.
Like most things, this mentality I had stemmed from my childhood. For as long as I can remember, we were always moving. Every year or two we were in a new home, town, or state. It was difficult for me to connect with others and I never felt an attachment to “things” because I knew it wouldn’t last. I always knew my parents did the best they could and I can remember always trying to do things to help make our own memories.
As an adult, I found myself repeating the same pattern. I have never been able to live in a home for more than three years. I physically can’t make myself do it. After a year or two, I start feeling antsy. I guess you can call me a self-proclaimed vagabond.
At that point, I do one of two things.
#1: Totally redecorate the whole house. Subconsciously, I think that helps because it makes me feel like I am going through the moving process again.
#2: Move again…
That one thing I put have put pressure on myself since becoming a mother is owning a home that my kids can all their own. I would call it “stability” but I think our family has that.
The definition of Stability is “the state of being resistant to change and not prone to wild fluctuations in emotion”. An example of stability is a calm, stable life where you don’t have wild ups and downs.
I feel like my family is the definition of stability. Strong families are built on a foundation of love and there is no doubt in my mind that we have that!
We move often but try to keep within the school district as much as we can so the kids don’t have to move schools.
I told myself when my kids were young that I wanted them to go to the same schools and grow up with their friends. That is very important to me. Again, its because I longed for that as a child and I wanted that for my kids.
When we move, we make the new house our home. I know renters can have a negative reputation of not taking care of the home and being bad tenants. That is definitely not us. I always make it my goal to make it feel comfortable and look amazing.
I have this thing I do when we move into a new home. The guys move all of the boxes and set up the furniture and I take it from there. I will literally stay up all night or as long as it takes for all of the boxes to be empty and all of the wall art to be perfectly placed on the walls. I want no sign of us moving.
My son is now almost 18 years old. I recently started to panic because I realized I have had 18 years to find the perfect home for our family so we can make memories together. Around September of last year, I remember telling my husband “we need to but a house by the spring”. I was obsessing over this because my son was going to be off to college soon with no house to call his home and no memories to be made in it.
It put me in this place mentally that was not healthy.
In January, something clicked. As I was thinking about the Christmas that just passed and all of the small moments we made memories it hit me. Kids don’t need a house to make memories. They need all of the little things to make memories. Not the big things parents stress over.
Parents stress over money and making sure kids have all of the latest and best “things”.
Kids remember the time you sat down with them and played cars or had a tea party together.
Kids will remember picnics at the park.
Kids will remember the family game night.
Kids will remember their birthday parties.
Kids will remember their nickname or a sweet song you sang to them when they were little.
For me, none of these memories listed above will be compromised just because they weren’t made in the same home. All of the moments listed above will always be remembered.
How To Create Family Memories
“Making memories” is a way to create a lasting sense of common identity and share family culture throughout your family.
This can sound impossible during certain seasons of your life or when your schedules are all packed with activities. It is very easy to lose sight of the little things. You can plan a family vacation five months from now with the intention of getting away together and making memories but in the meantime keep passing each other in the hallway without having any kind of a connection until that vacation comes. In this case, it will not be the vacation they will remember. It will be the distance and disconnect.
The good news is, there are many simple things you can do to build memories with your children. If you can just take the time to notice small opportunities throughout the day to stop and bring them into focus, you’ll find that you’ve already taken a huge step in the direction of cementing meaningful, lifelong relationships with your children. By getting in the habit of doing this daily, you will see just how impactful they can be in order to build lasting memories and intentional relationships with your children.
The truth is, money can buy vacations and expensive gifts that will temporarily bring joy. There is nothing wrong with these things at all. What kid doesn’t like adventures and nice gifts? As long as you are also showing them that they are important and you are not trying to buy their love. Kids are smart. They know the difference.
Here are a few of “the little things”:
Time: I don’t think time is necessarily considered a “little thing” because it is one of the most precious and valuable things we have because once you waste it, that’s it and life goes on. Time doesn’t give you a chance to go back and make it up. Wasted time equals missed opportunities. However, time also gives us tomorrow! If you feel like you didn’t do a good job today, don’t lay awake at night crying and full of guilt like I have done many many times in the past. Wake up and try again.
Notes in their lunchboxes or left in random places: My kids love this. I like to randomly write little notes and leave them places for my kids. I don’t do this every day because I like the sweet surprise it brings when they are least expecting it. Maybe it shows up at exactly the right moment when they are having a bad day or need a little encouragement. If I did the same thing every single day, it wouldn’t be so special to them.
Holiday traditions: Since we don’t have that “forever home” to make memories in, I like to make experiences our memories. The weekend before Christmas, we like to go somewhere festive for the weekend. It’s always somewhere different but memorable. Last Christmas, we went to Chattanooga TN. Doing this really puts us in the Christmas spirit! For Saint Patricks Day, we typically visit Savannah GA for their weekend-long festivities. Of course, there are things we still do within our homes that are absolutely dear to our hearts (like our Elf On The Shelf that seems to follow us from house to house which is a little bittersweet LOL) and we will continue doing no matter where we live.
Birthdays: Birthdays have a way of making people feel special, especially children! There isn’t a more joyous occasion than their special day. I like to use this to my advantage. Putting the party and gifts aside, just acknowledging them from the second you wake them up with a loud “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” and pancakes in bed until you tuck them in at night with a special birthday prayer. They will always remember how special you made them feel on their birthdays.
Family Day: My family makes Sundays family day. We wake up, go to church together, have lunch after then we just enjoy each other’s company for the rest of the day. We never have pouting kids that don’t want to participate. We do things like go hiking, fishing, or just watch a movie together.
Connect and communicate: Sitting down and just having conversations with our kids is something we like to do often. It’s the only way we know what is actually going on in their life and it creates a safe place for them to talk. We even like opening it up to the tough stuff about life, struggles, fears, etc. Really trying to find ways to connect is key. It is apparent when conversations are forced. Knowing their passions and interests really goes a long way when it comes to connecting and communicating.
We have taught our kids that they can come to us about anything. FYI if you tell your kids that, you better mean it and get ready to hear some stuff. They will test you to make sure you really mean it so make sure you don’t overreact and ruin their trust because how you react and respond can make or break this idea of safe place. I tell my kids as long as they come to me and personally tell me when something happens, they will not get in trouble and they know there will still be consequences for their actions. But If I have to hear it from someone else, they know it’s not going to turn out good for them.
Yearly Family Pictures: Family pictures (with the right photographer) is so much fun. It is a memory you make at that moment that allows you to see it for the years to come. Naomi Hopkins Photography is a great example. When she took our family pictures, it allowed my family the freedom and space to laugh and express not only our individual personalities but our love for each other in a way that might have been awkward in a regular daily setting. She invited us out to a beautiful location that my family still remembers and talks about. I have no doubt that 20 years from now when we hear someone say “Arabia Mountain” or “Naomi Hopkins”, it will feel like we were there yesterday. Because of the experiences she has given us, we look forward to family picture day. (Credit to Naomi Hopkins Photography for all of the amazing pictures in the blog)
My kids might not have memories in the same building their father and I purchased but I pray they will remember us being there and doing things that matter. They will remember the sacrifices we made so they can make memories playing sports and doing things that brought them joy. They will remember us supporting their dreams and ideas.
Memories are the one thing that lasts forever. They can either be full of happiness or they can be full of regret and lost time. I can only do the best I can and be as intentional as possible.
Here are a few ideas on how to make memories form a few fellow bloggers:
Here’s to #makingmemories and #beingintentional