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Motherhood is a ministry. We think as Christians that we have to bake cookies for the church fundraiser and serve in the nursery on Sundays and feed the elderly on Tuesdays and chaperone the youth groups outing and and and… But we don’t! Your #1 calling as a mama right now is to pour Jesus into your children. It doesn’t matter if you’re the governor of your state, a work-from-home mom-preneur, or a full time mom with a house that never gets clean, your top priority — after spending time with Jesus and nurturing your marriage — is to make sure your babies know about Jesus, whether you do that by sitting down and talking to them about faith or just in the way you show love by spending time with them!
Y’all. I am preaching to the choir! I catch myself constantly working harder at my blog and business than I do at spending time with my child. He’s 8-months-old; all I have to do is sit by him while he eats his toys and tell him what a good job he is doing, but I find myself thinking “oh, let me go and sweep, let me go and edit my blog post, let me go and…”
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Love Like Jesus
The young adults pastor preached a sermon to our congregation about a month ago on John 13 titled “Love Like Jesus.” Of course, the sermon was directed to the entire congregation young and old, male and female, but I couldn’t help but hear a message within the sermon that was directed at me as a mother ministering to her children.
If you want to watch the sermon, the video is available here: 👇🏽
Looking at Jesus as an Example of How to Be More Present with Our Children
This is the part of the sermon that really made me start listening from a mom-perspective. I’ve glanced over this verse probably dozens of times, but never gave it the importance it truly holds.
Jesus knew that within the next day, He would suffer and die on the cross. If that was us we would spend the whole night worrying, crying, biting our nails, and imagining how painful it would be. But Jesus? He spent the evening serving His disciples by washing their feet.
I have over 1900 photos and videos of Joshua saved on Facebook. That is about 237 photos or videos taken per month since he was born! Yeah, that came as a shock to me, too! How many of his firsts did I see through my phone and not by actually looking at him? How many moments did I miss something adorable or amazing or unsafe that he did because I was looking at my social media or working on my blog? Can you relate? If not, bravo! For real! I wish I didn’t have so much dependence on my phone!
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Want to spend more time with your kids and less time on your phone?
I love challenges! I’ve watched all of the Harry Potter movies in less than 24 hours (22.5 hours). I just recently did the 3 day military diet (oof). A few years ago I did a 30 day ab challenge. Yeah, I’ve succeeded in a few challenges, but more times than not, I don’t finish. But you know what? I’m better for the experience. Maybe I didn’t exercise every single day on that exercise plan, but I exercised a lot more than I did last month!
I say all that to preface this; I have a wonderful challenge for you to help you be more present with your kids. If it looks daunting, don’t worry! If you only do 5 out of 14 days, so what? That’s 5 days that you intentionally spent time with your children ministering to them in one way or another and making memories. Also, this list doesn’t have to take 14 straight days! These are activities you can come back to again and again to make sure you’re taking the time to be present with your kids.
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2 Week Challenge to Be More Present with Your Kids
Below is a list of my day-by-day challenges and Biblical explanations. If you would like a printable version of this to store in your journal or Bible or keep on your fridge, scroll to the bottom and follow the directions.
Day 1: Pray over your children
God has blessed you with the gift of children, even if they don’t seem like a gift every moment of the day.
Take a moment today to pray for your children. Tell God how amazed you are with these tiny creations that will grow (or have grown) into young adults. Confess any parenting guilt you may have and give that guilt to God.Thank God for their talents and their quirks. Ask Him to guide them to their purpose. You could choose to do this privately or over your children.
You may also be interested in: 5 Scriptures to Pray Over Your Children
Day 2: Pray about what is distracting you from your mom-istry
Today, ask God to spotlight exactly what is causing you to be distracted from the priority of spending time with and building up your children. Give those anxieties about not getting things done to God and ask Him to reveal to you how to balance the to-dos and your family. Also, ask Him to reveal things that you may need to say “no” to that are unnecessary and taking away precious time with your kids.
Day 3: Share and discuss a Bible story with your kids
Share you favorite Bible story with your kids or one that has been on your heart. Ask your kids what their favorite Bible stories are and read those as well. Discuss the stories. Why are they your favorites? How can you apply them to what is going on in your lives today? What is revealed to us about God in the stories?
If you have a baby that can’t understand stories yet, read a children’s Bible to them with lots of colorful pictures. It is never too early to pour the Word into your child.
Check out: How to Manage Your Time with a Newborn
Day 4: Set family-time goals
On day 4, take the time to write down a goal of how much time you want/need to spend with your kids. Pray about this and ask for guidance. This could be a daily goal or weekly goal. Or if you work odd shifts that keep you away from your family, your goal could be a monthly or bi-weekly family day with no distractions.
Day 5: Take care of your temple
Exercise with your family today. Go for a walk, play an exercise game on the Wii. Play soccer. Go swimming. And while you’re doing that, discuss with your kids about their temples and how and why we should take care of them.
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Day 6: Set screen-time limits
As a family — not you with your family listening — discuss the negative effects of overuse of screens especially before bed. Discuss together what would be a good time to turn off the phones, tablets, laptops, etc. and just spend time with each other.
My husband and I turn off our phones and I stop working on my laptop by 7:30 because Joshua is generally asleep by this time. We eat supper, talk about each other’s days, play games, and when we’re too tired for much else, cuddle on the couch and watch something we both enjoy.
You may also be interested in: 10 Baby Hacks for a Happier Baby and Happier You
Day 7: Really listen to your child
“Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. I can do a cartwheel.”
The things your children — even your teens or adult kids — have to say may not seem important to you, but they are important enough to them to share them with you (as I’m sure you have experienced when trying to share something important to your kids.)
Today, when your child has something to say, stop what you’re doing and really listen. If you’re in the middle of something, say “I really do want to hear this. Give me a minute to finish up with this and we can sit down and talk about it.” Don’t pretend to listen. Kids are smart! Children that don’t think you want to hear what they think is important to them turn into teens who don’t want to talk to their parents.
You may also be interested in: 10 More Baby Hacks
Day 8: Start a bedtime prayer routine
Teach your children to say their prayers before bed. Do this as a family every night. A house full of prayer is a house void of evil.
Remember this little diddy? “The family that prays together stays together.”
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Day 9: Date night with the kids
Go on a date with your kids. You could decide to do this as a group or separately with each individual child. You could take your sons out on a date and your husband take your daughters. Whatever works for your family. Show your kids what they should expect from and look for in a godly partner and how treat each other appropriately on a date. Teach them what to look out for and what to be weary of — with age-appropriateness in mind, of course.
Day 10: Enjoy a sweet moment without your phone in your face
When your baby giggles for the first time or your child does a precious dance, put down your phone. You don’t have to post every life moment to Facebook (again, I’m preaching to the choir!!). Live in that moment and see it for yourself rather than through your phone’s camera.
Day 11: Read together
One of my most treasured memories from my teen years is taking turns reading a novel with my family. We only did this once but we absolutely loved it. We were avidly spending time together and discussing what was going on rather than just watching TV in a vegetative state.
My mom started reading to me before I could speak. The benefits of reading to your kids, no matter their age, are infinite.
Related: Enjoy the Little Moments, Mom!
Day 12: Write down your prayers about your kids’ futures
Write down a prayer about your children’s futures; their career, their calling, their future spouse, their future children, their future grandchildren, etc. Hear what God is saying to you about their futures. Either give this prayer to your kids now or hold onto it until they graduate or marry.
See also: The 10 Mommin’ Commandments
Day 13: Family game night
Have a designated night once a week or several times a month — whatever works for your schedules — for family game night! Nothing helps you really get to know your family members like some good, old fashioned competition. My husband and I have a Monopoly collection of over 20 Monopoly games including Doctor Who, A&M University, and Sponge Bob. We are very competitive and I can’t wait until Joshua is old enough to play!
Here are some of our faves!
Day 14: Let them help
You know that thing that your kids always want to help you with but you know it will take to long if you do? Folding towels, going with you to the bank, watering the plants. Let them do it today! So it takes an extra 30 minutes? Your child wants to spend time with you. Before you know it, they won’t want to spend time with you anymore. So your towels won’t get folded perfectly? Be silly and enjoy the moment with your kiddo!
I hope you enjoyed my 14 day challenge to be more present with your kids! Want more ideas? Follow my Less Screen Time Pinterest board! 👇🏻
Want a printable version of the challenge to hang on your fridge? By signing up for my email list, you will receive access to my free printables library with LOTS of checklists and info-graphics for mommin’!