Do I Have What it Takes to Make a Strong Family?

I began another purge recently, piles of barely used, ill-fitting clothing and board games with crucial pieces missing, all piled up in my bedroom, in the hallway, in the garage. I love purging. Out with the old, in with the visible carpets.

I was hauling this stuff around, sweating, thinking, “We don’t need ONE more thing!” 

The afternoon after the purge we had an rare day with no appointments, ballet classes, or friends. Just me and my three girls, like when they were little. And in the span of about three hours, they made mud pies, jumped on the trampoline, and converted some big boxes into convertible cars that they “drove” around the house.

It was a dream. No squabbles or electronics or boredom, just creative fun.

Now, I have a crush on Amazon as much as the next gal (see pic), but I hate the constant nagging feeling that there’s something else I want or need. I feel it about stuff sometimes, and I OFTEN feel it about myself. I catch myself thinking about the things I need to learn, and my kids need to learn, and all the ways I need to change as a parent. I’m often dissatisfied with where I’m at today.

And I wonder sometimes, “Do I have what it takes? Is this little family experiment going to be successful?”

But when I saw my kids’ happiness in this simple activity, I realized it’s true – I don’t need ONE more thing!

I don’t need one more thing for my children to be happy and healthy.

I don’t need one more thing to be good at this. 

I don’t need a book, a course, a blog (haha), a degree, a flagellation for every past offense.

I’ve been helped along by many great people and resources, but this isn’t rocket science. At the heart of every strong family are the very same ingredients that were at the heart of every strong family in the 1800s. It was time together, and play, and hard work, and hugs, and positive words.

Our culture is constantly telling us that our babies need specific toys for their development, that our kids needs to start sports early in life to be successful, that they must go to certain schools, and that their birthday parties must rival a celebrity’s. On and on. It’s so tiring. And it’s totally false.

What we need is more of the basics.

And all of the wonderful things we add to our lives can take away from these basic needs. The activities and social opportunities we give our kids can take them away from US too much. The fancy toys we give them can impede their creative development.

At the heart of every kid big and small (even the eye rollers) is a person who just wants to be noticed, admired, hugged, appreciated, spoken kindly to, listened to. That’s the whole ball of wax.

It comes naturally when they are precious chubby babies who can do no wrong, except poo on your favorite sweater. As they grow, we must make it a priority. We must decide it’s as important and worthy of time as honor rolls and sports trophies and me-time.

Our kids don’t need ONE more thing. They just need time with us. And that’s very freeing. Because I break a lot of parenting “rules” and make a lot of mistakes. But I can do ME. I can keep showing up for them. 

What is your favorite way to spend time as a family? Let us know in the Comments below.


If you need more encouragement as a mom, check out The Good Mom, a manifesto for every mom who’s weary of striving and searching for worth. When you subscribe to my email list, you can download the PDF for free.

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