A field guide to living an intentional, creative and fun life — with children.

Tag Archives: happy parenting

We’ve all been there. Stuck with a challenging situation — maybe a crying newborn, maybe a tantruming child, maybe a tantruming adult. Stuck and you can’t leave for whatever reason.

We’ve all been there. Rushing around trying to get out the door or in the door or up the stairs or to the next place.

We’ve all been there. Appalled by the impatient parent in line at the grocery store, in line at a big box store, on the way into school in the mornings.

We’ve all been there. Mind over here, over there — when really it should be right here, right in this moment.

Peace comes from within. It’s what we’re trying to teach our children. It’s what we, the parents, have to teach ourselves.

Imagine what the world would be like if we all took a few minutes each day to decide to choose peace rather than war, hate, anger, distrust, control, being right over being kind … etc.

Peace isn’t a destination. It’s the way. We won’t suddenly find some ephiphany that keeps us at peace forevermore. We have to find what gives us peace in our own hearts and use those tools each day. We have to find our own ways, every single moment of every single day to be at peace, even in the chaos.

It isn’t enough to talk about peace, one must believe it. And it isn’t enough to to believe in it, one must work for it.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

So, just how do we do this, how do we find peace? How do we find it among the chaos at work? How do we find it among the noise in the car? How do we find it at home or everywhere else in between?

It’s entirely up to you.

I don’t have the answers for you to be at peace. But I can share what works for me. These are my peace tools — my inner peace gadgets — that I use as often as possible to ward off the crankies.

Thank you to "D Sharon Pruitt" on Flickr for the original white board photograph that I have altered.

Here are some Peaceful Steps to Take Each Day:

PRACTICE GRATITUDE: Saying thanks for the teachable moments, thanks for the hard times, thanks for the learning curves, thanks for the blows and blunders is just one way to find peace in your daily life. Rather than dwell, say thanks. Thank you for this moment. I do not know what it means just yet but I know it will turn out just fine.

LOWER EXPECTATIONS: Yeah. I know. It isn’t how you thought it should be. It didn’t turn out right. Things will be all messed up. I know. I get it. Now get over it and find peace.

LOVE HARDER: Forget the tough love. Love yourself. Love your partner. Love your imperfect child. Being kind is so much more peaceful than being right. The days I choose kindness are the days I feel most at peace … and then, oddly, peace falls into place, naturally.

SAY YOUR SORRIES: Sorry I yelled. Sorry I snapped. Sorry I didn’t do the dishes like you asked. Sorry I messed up. Sorry I wasn’t nice. Say it and move on. This teaches our children to say their sorries, too.

MAKE TIME FOR SOLITUDE: I am a person who needs, needs, needs silence. It’s why I choose to not watch television. It’s why I have been declining more and more social events. I don’t have enough quiet time in my life since I work in an office all day, have the kids all evening and the weekends are jam packed with things to do. And yet I need it like I need water and food and sleep. It’s that essential. Once I figured that out, I became more peaceful knowing that those moments are all mine.

ENERGIZE YOURSELF: Yup, bringing back the trusty energy list again. It works like a charm. That’s all I can say. Write one. Keep it close. Guard it with your life. Follow it to a T.

WALK AWAY: When things get tough, walk away. When things get loud, walk away. When things get frustrating, walk away. Find your peace corner. If you can go outside, all the better. It’s not always possible and so if it isn’t, go to your room,  your kitchen. Clean. Scrub. Do something that can get your mind working in a different direction, a more peaceful direction.

LET GO: Stop caring so much. Stop controlling every thing. Simply let things go. There you will find peace of the most amazing kind.

Photo Credit: Nazer K on Flickr

FIND WAYS TO LAUGH: Seek out the silly. Eek out a smile. Follow your bliss. Indulge in things that make you happy.

BREATHE: Meditate, Meditate, Meditate. I came across this quote on Kind Over Matter this week and I just adore it.

Suppose you read about a pill that you could take once a day to reduce anxiety and increase your contentment. Would you take it? Suppose further that the pill has a great variety of side effects, all of them good: increased self-esteem, empathy, and trust; it even improves memory. Suppose, finally, that the pill is all natural and costs nothing. Now would you take it? The pill exists. It is meditation.

— Jonathan Haidt

What peace tools can you offer here today? What do you need to do or have to do to stay peaceful inside? Please share. I’ll share more of what I’ve added to our family’s peace corner FOR MYSELF on my Facebook page on Thursday. Maybe your ideas will spark new ideas for a brand new mom or dad who found this post when they were at their wit’s end and couldn’t take it anymore. The more ideas we can offer, the more our positive energy will flow out into the world. Let’s welcome these ideas with open arms in an effort to inspire others to muddle through another hour, another evening or another challenging phase.


Our intention this week is to be inspired. You can read about other Awesomely Awake intentions here.

Some days we have regular, average, nothing special kinds of days — you know, when you drop the kids off, go to work, pick the kids up and then go home and make dinner and then do homework and then give baths and then read books and go to bed.

Should I say collapse into bed?

You know those days, right?

They are regular. Nothing sparkled. Nothing shined. It was OK — and you had plenty to be grateful for, for sure.

I call them Mondays.

I can’t live that way. I don’t expect my kids to live that way either.

Part of my awake journey is to ensure that each day has a little bling of living in it. We get this one great chance at a lifetime of love and wonder and I believe we have to grab it with a firm grip and not let go.

Because a busy life naturally leads us to disconnect from what matters.

Of course, I have to be reminded of this time and time again, especially when life gets hectic as it has most definitely been lately.

That’s why we love weekends so much and hate Mondays equally. So, a while back I decided there weren’t going to be anymore Mondays in my life. That every day should be as fun as a Saturday. That’s when I started this project.

Lately, I’ve gotten extremely busy again and I can feel myself starting to endure another bout of careaholic burning inside of me. I have had to remind myself that to live an inspired, awake life takes effort and creativity. It takes a lot of deep breathing. It takes a tiny bit of planning. But when we do take the time, the results are magical and full of awe and wonder — as life should be.

Such as tonight when we split two big cupcakes and each shared our best moments of the day. Not perfect moments but things we feel we did better today than days past.

Life is meant to be lived. That’s why we are here, isn’t it? That’s why we are striving to be Awesomely Awake. That’s why we wanted a family and children, right?

So, let’s take a moment and really brainstorm how to turn a regular day into a spectacular day with very little planning. First, return to that lovely Energy List you made Monday, and the “Think Outside the Box” box list on Wednesday and read them again …

Now, we’re going to write a third list. Write the things you love to do as a family, things that bring laughter, things that bring big smiles to your day; things that give you energy, that make your day as a family shimmer and shine. Write for a long time. Keep adding to this list when new ideas come to you. They will for sure.

Now today, this weekend, next week … start doing those things as often as possible.

Science experiments always brighten a day

Here’s our family’s 9 Ways to Make Any Day Better:

Celebrate — Light a candle for something ordinary and lovely like how you did the crow in yoga or how your child was brave during the school’s fire drill. Put that candle in ice cream, a cookie or even a muffin. Anything at all that’s on hand. Even an Eggo waffle would do! Of course, the best is always a delicious chocolate cupcake.

Get Outside — Days are just better when we get out for fresh air. It’s as simple as that. Even when it’s cold and snowy. Even when it’s cloudy and grey. Even if we just play with sidewalk chalk, being outdoors makes everything better.

Talk Walks — Explore, wonder, live in awe as you walk. Make up stories. Walk in silence. Hold hands. Definitely hold hands.

Read Together — Carve out one hour to just read together. Could be anywhere but make it special and make it an ordeal with blankets and pillows and special snacks. Talk about the books. Stop often and really embrace the questions and comments. Be patient to move on to the next page. Really patient. When you run out of books, tell stories.

Throw a picnic — At the park, on the back patio, in the front yard, in the living room. A blanket and some fun food is all you need. Day better already!

Be silly — Have a night of telling jokes. Or drawing funny pictures. Dance. Play follow the leader and put Dad as the leader. Wear silly clothes.

Go some place new — I only recently added this to the list. We went to a very old-school diner kind of place and it was so nice to experience something so different together. I didn’t realize until that moment that we had been stuck in a routine that avoided some new experienes — all because we were so used to taking care of little children. Now that our girls are older this will certainly be a top energy driver in our family.

Mix up your routine — I like certainty. I like knowing things. If you pick your kids up from school or after care as I do, pack your sneakers and head across town to explore. If your kids go home on the bus, meet them at the bus stop and go for a dice walk. Let the kids make dinner. Skip baths and just play games. Go off schedule. Do anything that allows you to do less than you normally do.

Jadyn with her first Eiffel Tower drawing!

Creative boost — Anytime we use art materials as a family and create something we can be proud of it turns our day into magic. I love when we put a little family art into our day. Make a poster, a banner, special cards for family or church members who have been sick and need a pick-me-up. Or, just go with the flow and create anything.

Please add your favorite family friendly posts to the Kids Co-Op below!! Leave a comment with your link # so I can check out  your posts, in particular. Thanks!





%d bloggers like this: