31 Days of 31 Ways to Bond with Your Child

Life is busy. We can all agree that twenty-four hours in a day is never enough. It’s not enough if you have one child, two or seven.

My husband and I recently sat down with our calendar and instead of a date planning, we spent time date clearing. We found ourselves in a situation where there was something to do every week night and every weekend. The kids were in swimming, gymnastics and therapy. We had personal training, church and small groups. Although some of it was nonnegotiable, we made the conscious decision to cut what was.

Not only were we feeling the stress of constantly running, we realized our children were not really receiving any quality time with us. Our homework time was rushed, our reading time a blur and our bedtime a flurry of exhaustion. We’ve seen an increase in undesirable behaviors and a cry for attention. Amidst the chaos, our children were feeling left out, even though much of it was for them.

Children crave one on one time with us and even when we think we’re doing them favors by enrolling in all of these extra activities, that’s not always the case. Now, I’m not saying if your child is in extra curricular activities you’re doing it wrong! I’m simply saying that sometimes we can get overwhelmed with the extras and forget the fundamental basic of spending quality time with our children, bonding with our children.

As a foster / adoptive parent bonding with a new placement is imperative in creating a home where they feel safe and loved. This looks differently depending on the age of your child, but always comes back to the foundation of time.

Quality time.

Undistracted time.

One on one time.

All children simply want our time.

So as we head into October and the busiest season of the year, I want to spend time consciously giving my children exactly what they’re craving. I want to focus on spending time with my children, bonding with them, and embracing the stages and situations we currently find ourselves in.

As part of a 31 day challenge taking place through the entire month of October, I will be writing each day on a way to bond with your children. Therefore, I will be writing 31 Days of 31 Ways to Bond with Your Child. It is my hope that in doing this I will not only find myself truly having that one on one, quality time with my own children, but also encouraging other parents to embrace this moment and spend it in a way that will leave a lasting positive effect.

As the month progresses, I will update links to this post allowing it to act as a landing page to move from. Please visit often and find new ideas on how to embrace this moment, this stage, and bond with your child!

31 Days of 31 Ways to Bond with Your Child

  1. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/01/pray-together/

2. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/02/celebrate-them/

3. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/03/tell-them-stories-of-the-past/

4. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/04/tell-them-stories-of-their-biological-family/

5. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/05/allow-them-their-feelings/

6. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/06/keep-calm/

7. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/07/eat-meals-together/

8. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/08/show-affection/

9. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/09/take-their-photo/

10. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/10/compliment-them-often/

11. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/11/try-new-things-together/

12. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/12/maintain-routines/

13. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/13/leave-them-love-notes/

14. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/14/surround-them-with-a-tribe/

15. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/15/have-open-communication/

16. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/16/dont-force-it/

17. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/17/cook-together/

18. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/18/encourage-them-to-tell-you-stories/

19. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/19/allow-them-to-create-their-own-space/

20. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/20/mean-what-you-say/

21. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/21/listen-to-them-and-show-it/

22. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/22/read-books-that-celebrate-who-they-are/

23. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/23/spend-one-on-one-time-with-them/

24. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/24/allow-them-choices/

25. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/25/speak-kindly-of-those-they-love/

26. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/26/buy-them-something-thats-just-theirs/

27. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/27/watch-your-language/

28. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/28/dont-take-their-words-and-actions-personally/

29. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/29/be-empathetic/

30. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/30/tell-them-you-love-them/

31. https://angelajamison.com/2018/10/31/never-give-up/

Tough Mommy Calls

My son and I had a rough summer. His emotional regulation was way out of whack, his anxiety was through the rough and the summer was a roller coaster of Mommy guilt and tears.
Mid summer we had a medication adjustment and when that showed little results, we had another. In the past we’ve had some adverse medication reactions so any adjustment always brings fear.
We seem to be on an upswing with things and I’m hopeful we have found the right time and dosage combination.  I’m hopeful we’ll reach a point of ‘normalcy’. A point where he can function in society, in a group, in general.
He has recently acquired a terrible fear of bugs and I’m not talking about the “oh I’m a little scared, run screaming away from a bee” fear. I’m talking a “I can’t function or think of anything else aside from bugs” fear. It’s debilitating for him and heart breaking to watch.
We were at a church picnic last weekend and spent the majority of our afternoon convincing him he was safe. We thought we were making progress and he could handle being outside for more than 10-15 minutes, but we were wrong.
The worst part is we have plans to go camping this weekend. Camping with bugs for three days would be an impossible task with recent behaviors. So, I had to make the executive decision to leave him out.
I had to make the decision to leave my son out of a family event.
My heart is broken.
I know he will have an amazing weekend with his grandmother and I know I have made the correct choice. I know he could not have handled the change in routine, change in scenery, numerous strangers and extensive amount of time outside. Even knowing those things, I feel horrible.
I want my son to be able to enjoy what we enjoy as a family. I want my son to feel safe in his body, his environment. There is a struggle every day, but I want my son to feel capable, know he’s able to control his body and emotions.
Having a child with special needs is an adventure in and of itself, on top of the already crazy ride of parenthood. Having a child with special needs highlights your weaknesses and tests your patience in ways you didn’t know possible. Having a child with special needs opens your eyes to loving through difficulty and finding joy in the little things and moments.
Being a mother to a child with special needs requires an additional handbook. Unfortunately, just as you didn’t receive the first handbook, I’ve never seen the second. I do my best every day and still fail miserably often.
As I lay my head down this evening with a heavy heart because I had to make a tough mommy call, I praise God. I’m so grateful for my son who shows me new ways to do things and has shown me perseverance and creativity in abundance.
Sometimes it feels too much for my mommy heart, but as soon as I think it, I know how wrong I am. God has entrusted me with this precious boy and these tough decisions. God answered my prayers with this quirky child of mine and these tough mommy decisions are blessings derived from answered prayers.
If you find yourself facing a tough mommy decision, look to the One who entrusted you with your precious children. Believe in the strength your almighty Father provides and know your momma heart overflows with His love.

Dear Hot Mess Mama

Dear Hot Mess Mama,

I often feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. I feel responsible for myself ,my children, my husband and so many others. I carry this weight with as much poise as I can muster, but it’s hard.

I see you struggling, too.

I allow the weight to bring me down, lower my morale and plant guilt in my mind. I feel guilty about not being enough or not doing enough. I struggle to see my worth and often wonder if my purpose is more than knowing the recipe for magic butt paste.

I see you questioning, too.

Some days I need a break by 9am. Then, the guilt of feeling overwhelmed with the blessings that are my children weighs on me. I should revel in their stories, rejoice in their artistic talents and praise their problem solving, but sometimes I just want to be left alone.

I see you feeling guilty, too.

As mothers, we weren’t created to be perfect. We weren’t created to handle it all. We weren’t created to carry the weight of the world, never feel overwhelmed or do everything right. As mothers, we are still human. Flawed, hot mess mamas surviving only by the grace of God.

Embrace the truth today that God sees you, knows you and loves you just the same. He sees past the piles of dirty laundry and fingerprints on the door right to your heart. He sees past the moment of yelling and cereal for dinner right to your soul.

God sees past all the mess and loves you still.

Now it’s your turn to look past dirty dishes and carpet stains and love yourself. Look past the moment of lost control and barely controlled chaos and accept yourself.

You’re doing your best to navigate these waters and you forget to give yourself enough credit. Your burden is heavier from the expectations you load on it.

God asks for your obedience because he wants to carry that burden for you.

Let him.

Hot mess mama, you’re not alone! There are a whole tribe of us feeling the same way, understanding the defeat, fighting the doubt and struggling against the questions. Thankfully, God knows us all.

I would definitely be joining you on the hot mess mama list if God kept one. I’m thankful that he doesn’t. You see, God doesn’t see us for our hot messes, he sees us in the perfect image he created. It’s about time we see the same!

The next time you look in the mirror, embrace your disheveled hair and see that it represents an active life keeping up with your precious children. Find beauty in the wrinkles as they were created from laughing and happy tears. Have gratitude for the piles of laundry and dirty dishes that represent a family well taken care of.

You may be a hot mess mama, but you are a hot mess mama loved by a not-mess God. You are his perfect creation loved unconditionally and you are not alone.

I’m on your side!

A Fellow Hot Mess Mama

A Back to School Prayer

The back to school blues are setting in. We are about two weeks away and I can feel myself sliding down memory lane, in denial that my ‘babies’ will be in fourth, third and second grade soon.

How did that happen? I have no idea.

I vividly remember prying little fingers off my arm as a bus aide carried my oldest son to his seat on the first day of Kindergarten.

It seems like just yesterday I turned around and cried as my younger son’s face smashed against the bus window complete with tears and snot.

Every year I stroll down memory lane remembering the first days of the past and praying for the ones to come. If you, too, are struggling with the back to school blues as the summer comes to an end, this prayer is for you.

Dear Heavenly Father,

It seems like just yesterday you entrusted me with your precious children and now I’m entrusting them to the teachers and staff at the school. These people will spend more awake hours in the day with my children than I will and for them I pray.

Lord, I lift up the teachers, staff and administration in our schools. I pray they feel appreciated and loved for the job they do. I pray they recognize the importance of their role and embrace the challenge of loving even the most misbehaved in the classroom. Please fill them with your grace and understanding as they encounter children from different walks of life and in different levels of understanding. Father, give them patience for the children in their rooms, but also for the parents.

Father, I lift up all children as they embark on their new year. Whether it be preschool, middle school or college, may they feel the security of your love. I pray each and every one of them are filled with confidence and kindness. God, I know you hold all children in the palm of your hand and I trust you to keep them safe.

Father God, I lift up the parents who are sending their children into the world. Please fill us with the same confidence in ourselves as we hope for our children. Fill us with the belief that we’ve done our job well and our children will succeed. Lord, wrap your comforting arms around us and ease our worries, our anxieties, our pain.

As back to school nears, God, we need you. As children, parents, a community, we need your love and grace. I pray love and kindness overflow in our community and the back to school blues are washed away.

Lord, I invite you back into the schools, into the hearts of all children. I pray your name is glorified and not one child comes to the last day of school not knowing who you are.

In your most perfect name,

Amen

God’s Got This

My son shouts from the backseat, “Mom! We’ll get flu shots in October, right?”

“Yes son, but it’s only July. We don’t need to worry about it.”

The fact that we were three months early did not deter him from his questioning. He was stuck in a time trap remembering last October when we received family flu shots. He was reliving that moment and worrying about it’s reoccurrence.

This actually happens a lot with him. It is a product of his anxiety disorder, his mind working over time to accommodate his over-active imagination and steel trap memory. My heart aches for him at times when I’m unsuccessful talking him off a proverbial ledge, but at the same time I  see a lot of myself in him.

I worry more than I should. My imagination also works overtime at convincing me reality isn’t what it seems. Just the other day, I had a near panic attack when my mom didn’t respond to my text messages. I began envisioning awful scenarios and nearly sent out a search party.

She was just taking a nap.

When someone says, “don’t worry about it” or “it’ll be fine”, I don’t find myself relieved or less worrisome. Neither does my son. Needless to say, it’s been a struggle dealing with his anxiety, finding strategies that work to help calm his nerves. As an adult, I have strategies and a strong faith that help me through, but how do I convey that to my almost nine-year old?

I don’t have the magic answer, but we do have a magic phrase.

God’s got this!

When worry plagues my son’s mind, I remind him God’s got this. When my thoughts start down the wrong path of fear, I remind myself God’s got this.

God hasn’t let us down before and He won’t start now. God held our hand through family flu shots last year and He’ll do so again in October. My son and I both find peace in knowing God’s got this.

Worry hasn’t disappeared with our magic phrase, but it sure does seem less significant. Having a steadfast God takes a huge burden off this momma’s shoulders when it comes to quelling fears and worries. When I can rest assured our God will handle it, so can my son.

In your life, remember God’s got this with these Bible verses …

Matthew 6: 25-34

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 56:3

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

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