Today’s episode is PERFECT for the busy mama...the mom who feels like she is working a lot and is having a hard time getting that QUALITY time with her kids.
When you aren’t getting quality time with your kids...your work often comes with a dose of “mom guilt.”
Maybe you’re asking yourself questions like...
- How can I be ALL IN with my business with CONFIDENCE because I am ALL IN as a mom?
- How can I shift from focusing on work to fully “present” with my kids?
- How can I connect better with my child or children when I spend time with them?
- What is something we can do TOGETHER?
I know how you feel!
One of the things that I’ve learned over the years is that the SLIVERS of time matter. They actually make all the difference when we use them well.
I will forever be growing in learning how to “make every moment count”
But today I want to share with you my absolute favorite daily “habit” for lack of a better word that helps me be FULLY present with my kids and fill their LOVE tank FAST...it’s SO simple and OH SO GOOD!
LET’S STAY CONNECTED
Full Episode Transcription:
Welcome back to The Nourishing Mompreneur Podcast, where we get encouraged and empowered as we pursue our greatest potential within the walls of our home. Hey Mama, my name is Michelle Hiatt, and I'm so thankful you're here. Do you feel like your life is good, but something in you feels unfulfilled? Do you feel stuck in the trenches of motherhood, exhausted and working so hard, but feeling like you're getting nowhere? Do you have big dreams you hold in your heart, but you've been living small? Are you motivated for more, but don't have the clarity or the courage to do anything about it? Do you want to discover God's best and see if it's really possible to be an excellent wife, an intentional mother, and be successful in business, all for the glory of God? As a wife of 16 years, a homeschooling mom of five, and an entrepreneur, I know exactly how you feel. Every bit of it. I truly believe that the most important work you will ever do is within the walls of your home and that there is purpose in every season. If you are a fellow business-minded mama, with a heart for home and a love for Jesus, let's process this journey and grow together.
Hey friend, I know that as a fellow mompreneur a mom pursuing more God's best for your life. One of the biggest challenges that you face is how to manage growing a business and still feel like a great mom. When we're raising kids they can consume our life which makes it very frustrating to try to make progress with a business or a side hustle. So you block off the time to work, your focus determined intentional to have time away from your kids to make an income. Or maybe you're with your kids all the time, but not really present because you're building an organization on your phone. But then there's that underlying guilt that you aren't being the mom that you're supposed to be because you're drawing boundaries to get the work done. The thoughts that can flood your mind that maybe you're being selfish, you're missing out the fear that you're going to feel your kids in some way. These are real thoughts. These are real struggles. But you've got to ask yourself, How can I be all in with my business in confidence, because I'm all in as a mom? How can I shift from focused on work to present with my kids? How can I connect better with my child or my childrenhen when I spend time with them? What is something that we can do together? We're gonna talk about that today.
I'm a big believer that quality is better than quantity in life. I think that if you're intentional about how you manage your time, you can be both productive in work and most importantly, you're super fulfilled mama, feeling the freedom of knowing that you're being a great mom and the time that you do have with your kids. Today I want to talk about one of the most special things that I do with my kids to be fully present, to use the slivers of time well, to connect with my children of all ages, all at the same time and to initiate quality conversations to fill everyone's love tank fast. So this is one of the staple essential habits that you'll want to adopt into your home and that will serve everyone this is a simple activity. Really a mom hack I think an entrepreneur mom hack. It works well whatever season of motherhood that you're in, whether you're working from home, working outside the home or you are just up to your eyeballs and babies it doesn't matter. This is going to be great for everybody. So, are you ready for it? I'm going to give you a heads up. It's super, super profound. Okay, just kidding.
I'm talking about reading to your children are what we call read aloud. So don't tune me out real quick. Just stop and think Oh, I already do that. Ask yourself. Am I reading aloud intentionally? Is the time spent actually serving my family? Well, that's what really matters. Now there's a ton of information that you can research on this topic but I want to share with you some of the benefits that I personally experienced in my home, and the reasons why I love reading aloud. I'll also give you a behind the scenes look on exactly how I execute this in my home. So the first reason I want to mention is that reading aloud to your kids, it forces you to slow down and to be fully present. I think that is such a challenge for us as moms more than we realize. We're always looking about the past or thinking about the future our mind is going a million places there are so many details to life. We can get really scattered and all over the place and even if we're not multitasking in action, our minds are multitasking in every capacity. I'm thinking right now that visual of what a woman's brain looks like it's like a like a plate of spaghetti and then the men does like all like I don't know, like a bento box. Life is not a bento box. A woman's mind doesn't work like that. We get all over the place. So how do we slow things down and be fully present? Not just being present, but being present with our kids reading aloud. It's so good for your mind, but it's good for our kids hearts. You cannot be thinking about other things are multitasking much you can't be doing a whole lot else while you read your kids. So this is a perfect time to put that phone away which is something that I think we are all trying to do more I know our phones are so addictive. So having better boundaries is something that I know you are working towards and very aware and intentional about already. So this is a great opportunity to do that. In this distraction laden society. It really forces you to be present fully. And that alone it means so much to the kids, our kids. They're smart and they can't be fooled.
Think about the times when you sat down to watch a TV show with your kids or maybe you play a game with them or something do a puzzle on the floor. Then you find yourself getting distracted by your phone or even discreetly scrolling while you think they're not looking. Our phones are so darn addictive and it forces you to put your fingers on the pages of a book rather than on your phone. So I love that it breaks up that habit. The key is for you to be fully there with your kids and read aloud give the opportunity for this time. And by the way, it gives you a mental break too. Like I just gave you that picture of a woman's brain of spaghetti it's almost like it cleans the plate. It slows our minds mind down and it can be an unexpected recharge.
The next reason I want to share with you why read alouds are so valuable in the home is it puts everybody on the same page. It physically brings everybody together and it's a unifying time. I love doing this at the end of the day. It just gathers everybody together. And honestly it just feels like a breath of fresh air. Today the kids were scattered. We were all kind of doing our own thing and everybody's here and there. Even when you homeschool even when you work from home and you're all in the same house. You can all be doing your own things and kind of disconnected through the day. So this is a place where it brings everybody together. So today, I sat everybody down at the couch after lunchtime and I read for a whopping like 10 minutes. That's all I had time for, but I literally felt such a peace wash over our family. I laughed at myself and I had to take a lot of pauses because one of the characters of our story died and I was legit cry like I had to go get a tissue I like could I could barely finish the chapter. But I think struck so close to home because we just experienced a death in our family. My kids just lost their grandpa, my husband lost his father I lost my father in law. We just went through that so it just hit close to home. But it reminded me too that the lessons that we can learn from reading, life and death is a part of life. And so when our kids can taste and see experiences through the pages of a book, of course make sure that it's filtered through you first that it's clean and appropriate and all that but when they can experience that through a book, they can be prepared for their own personal life experiences in a subtle way.
Alright, the next reason I want to mention is that you get to have new adventures and experiences together without ever leaving your home. This is amazing. If you are an introvert mama, if you are a homebody, I'm raising my hand here. If you are not a super playful, adventurous mom or you don't feel like you are this is great for you because you can have so much fun experience adventure through reading a book and it doesn't make you a nerd. I know it sounds nerdy but it's not hear me out. Life is so full of work and it's not always that exciting this is just the grind of life but really together. It gets you as a family together out of the four walls of your head and having fun together through the pages of a good book. Such a great experience. You can truly experience and feel all the fields and go on adventures and whatever you desire depending on the books that you choose. So I say for that reason alone #momhack because this is amazing. And I I love the opportunity that reading aloud provides just for this alone.
Okay, another reason that read alouds are so valuable is that it cultivates quality time. And the slivers of time that we have it fills everyone's quote love tank fast. Every kid has a love language and so this is something that it serves everybody I've noticed that all of my children I have five there are so unique but reading aloud truly filled each one of their hearts and they all enjoy it different personalities, different ages, different stages, different love languages. It's something that kind of crosses all barriers and borders and it's just this once almost like this one size fits all solution. My kids they do love to read and they read independently during the day all the time. It's really one of the most important things that I wanted to teach them. When I decided to homeschool. I know that if they enjoy reading and they love learning, there's nothing they can't do in life. They can learn anything if they read and learn and are open to discovering success is theirs for the taking. So I think reading is super valuable. But let me tell you although they read independently daily, it's not the same as when mom read to them. It's just not the same. My kids melt in satisfaction when I read to them. They begged me to read and they begged me not to stop and I love that it lets me know that this is a good thing for our family and that we were reading the right book too. I like to leave them hanging sometimes with where we stopped. It's kind of fun, but it fills my heart to know that they love reading with me. It's such a beautiful time. So many good conversations and beautiful moments are cultivated when you take the time to slow down and to explore another world together and when you walk by the Holy Spirit, when you partner with God, he's in everything and so you can use a book. It's just a way to guide further conversation. There are so many spiritual connections and life lessons that can be learned and and we can just see God and everything when our eyes are open. So stay available as a faith filled women. Mom, stay available and listen. See how God leads you because I just believe that a book can be a tool to a greater connection and understanding of who God is.
One last little benefit that I'll throw in there is reading aloud to your kids. It suddenly instills in them the love of reading the importance of reading books to your children. Regardless of how you read or how much you read, I'll talk about this actually in a minute, but it just it's important that our kids know that reading is important. Not just scrolling on Facebook and playing video games but actually holding a book in your hand and really is valuable. And like I said there are so many resources that are available. I thought about when I was wanting to talk about this podcast, I thought oh, let me pull up some cool statistics and let me get some, like meaty information and I was like, you know what, no, I'm just gonna they can do their research. I'm just going to share my experience and share my heart and you guys can dig into it. But let me tell you for reading aloud to your kids and finding good books there are so many resources. One resource that I will share with you is called "ReadAloudRevival.com". Don't you just love that name?
"ReadAloudRevival.com" I will put that in the show notes below so you can look that up. I don't use her resources a lot. I have printed her book list before because she's got some great book lists but I did hear her I can't even think of her name right now. Anyways, the woman behind the Read Aloud Revival brand, I heard her speak at a homeschool convention and I totally resonated with her. I love her heart. I love her vision. I love her mission and she is a fantastic resource that I support. So definitely check out her website for some encouragement in this department if you're looking for that but always ask God for wisdom guys this is just one woman's perspective. This is just me sharing my perspective, my experience but you are different, you are unique.
God chose you and chose your children for you so do what works for your family. Do what fits you and just take what you can learn from other people. This is not about comparing, and I hope that you've never ever feel condemned by any of these conversations but that it is more of me sharing my journey to inspire you and help you ask good questions to enhance yours and just be the best mom that you can be either best entrepreneur that you can be grow into the woman, the wife, the mother, that God has called you to be. So again, these are just conversations and I hope that they uplift you and point you in some good directions and give you some good food for thought but there is not a one size fits all for this. That being said, I'm going to tell you how I've organically, very easily implemented read aloud into my home and y'all know I have five kids and a super busy life. But listen, I make time for this because it is worth it. And I already mentioned there's not a right or wrong way at all but I'm just sharing what works for me and I'm gonna answer some of the questions that you might have off the top of your head.
So the first question, what time of day is best to read to your kids? So my answer to that would be whatever time is best for you. What time works best for your family. You know your schedule, you know your team. So for me, I personally I love to do a Devotional Bible focused reading in the morning, like the book hero tales. So if you don't know what I'm talking about, you have to go back and listen to the last episode. I believe it's episode 17 You'll hear all about this but it is so amazing. You want to hear about that. I love reading something. In the evening though. That's fun. Just a fun chapter book. It's usually around dinnertime or after dinner. At the end of the day. It helps me connect with my kids well, and it's so much better than watching a TV show with them. It's just a great way to regroup for the evening.
So what if the kids are older? That's a great question. Usually when the kids are little we read those picture books. It's kind of that's just what we do. But I wonder why do we stop? As the kids get older? It might maybe just because they start going to school, some of them or life gets busy but why do we ever stop? Reading to our kids? That's a real question we should ask. I'm a big believer and starting as you intend to go so I think start reading to your kids young and just continue that it will become a culture in your home. I'm specifically talking to you moms today with kids in elementary or middle school ages. I don't know how well read alouds will go over in high school just yet. I'm not there. But I've learned from experience so far that kids don't outgrow this quality time. You just grow with them and make sure that what you read nourishes their heart and their mind and is interesting to them in that season. The key is in choosing the right books that will satisfy the appetite of your children. So I always cater to the older kids, usually the older three and the younger ones kind of get folded in there because usually the younger ones they already get their own special read time anyways, they get their extra time where the picture books are rather than before bedtime. So they already have their time. I really focus on this family read aloud time where everybody's included, but yet the what I choose to read is focus towards the older ones. Because remember, our older ones, their attitude and their example trickles down to the younger one. So if the older ones don't enjoy reading time, are you reading to them, then none of the kids are going to enjoy it. That attitude is going to spoil the whole time for everybody. So make sure that the older children are really feeling excited about this time and that it's really serving them well and if they're enjoying it everybody will be on board.
So what kind of books do you choose? I say find something that's interesting to both you and the kids, especially the kids of course, but I don't pick any books to read that I personally don't want to read. The purpose is for everyone to enjoy. Look for chapter books. Books that you can't read in one setting a story that will captivate you take your family on a journey or an adventure that'll last for days or even weeks, even months. Look for what I call living books. It's not my term. I'm thinking of it's Charlotte Mason who uses that word but it basically just, it's good quality literature. It's it's books that come alive. It's not dry textbook material. It's really engaging, exciting books that you can feel like you're a part of. If you go on Google you can just type in Charlotte Mason living books, you can type in book lists for 11 year old girl, things like that. You can go on read aloud revival and look at their book list, but there's so many resources where you can find some good books. Just make sure that they're clean, they're safe. They have quality ideas and inspiration. My kids are trained and they've read enough good books that they let me know if anything seems off or if anything just it doesn't seem like mom would want them to read it. They'll they'll naturally bring it to me or put the book down. So that's always important to mention.
How long should I read? Again, however long works for you. Each day in my house is different. Some days we read for longer, and sometimes it's just quick. But even if we're only reading a few pages, it's still meaningful. Because something about it. It draws the family in together and it settles everyone. It always amazes me how a good book can change the atmosphere for the good in the home. It literally puts you on the same page as a family and as a team. And the life is always wanting to divide and scatterer us life is so busy and as the kids get older, we go our own ways and we do our own things. Even when you're in the same home even when you homeschool. This just happens naturally. But reading a good book together it brings you back in the same space and in the same place.
So question, what if I'm not a reader myself or I don't like to read? Okay, can I be honest for a minute you guys I am not a reader. I wish I was but I'm not and this is part of the reason why I think that I am so big on wanting my kids to be good readers and to prioritize reading. When I grew up the only books that I ever read were at school, dry boring textbook material and the only reason I read it was to study for a test to find the answer to homework and I would just read it, regurgitate it and poof out of my brain it went and that was the only experience for the reading that I had. And then of course summertime came which is where we're at about now. And we had those blasted book lists where we had we had to read the certain books over the summer and I hated it. It felt like homework it felt it just reading books always felt like work to me. Reading books was always associated with homework schoolwork. It just had a negative feeling I never learned to enjoy it to embrace it to savor the words on a page. And so it really hurt me as I became an adult because anytime I wanted to read or learn something besides an article or something quick, I didn't want to read a book because it just felt like work and I couldn't relax and enjoy it in my brain. And then you have start having kids and you got every excuse you're like well I don't have time to read. So it's still one of those things I really would love to learn and grow to become a reader and and to enjoy reading but I really jam on Audible stuff. So this is why I love the podcast because I can be doing things and be moving. I don't have to be sitting in one place holding a book and be still and I can, you know, get things done. But it's different when you read your kids. This is the time where you do want to put everything down and hold that book in your hand and just read with them on a personal level. I don't love reading and I'm not a good reader. So this is something that even if that's you if you connect with that if you relate to that, this is for you, and this is especially valuable for you. I love reading to the kids even though I struggle reading my own personal books. And I always want to emphasize to the kids that reading is important because after all leaders are readers and we're raising leaders, we're raising world changers and we want them to be reading and writing lots of from a young age independently, but then also beautifully together.
Okay, last question. I think this is the last question I had what if you have a hard time being still, what if this sounds hard to you? So I totally understand that. I know how it can feel hard to sit still with your kids, or for your kids even to sit still for you to read to them. Somedays cuddling up with your kids and having a good book is just what the doctor ordered. But for me most days were fully present when we read but we're active at the same time. Let me explain. Here are some ways that I like to make my reading time engaging, productive and intentional for both the kids that I'm so if the younger kids can't sit still, they're allowed to roll or throw a ball quietly back and forth. They can play with Legos, they can color in a book. The only rule that I have when I read is that there's no talking. I teach the kids that this is a sacred time and they must honor it. It's a privilege for me to take my precious time and to read them this exciting book. So to them, they've got to be respectful while they're listening if they want to participate. And because I cater the books to my older kids, a little kids they do have the freedom to route to roam and run around and that kind of thing. So they sometimes leave the room come back but they're not always right there because the book is give or take for them. But they're always a part. They're always welcome and they really enjoy more than I even think they would sometimes. Now my big kids they do love resting while I read but I don't always want to sit because I've been sitting too much during the workday already. So I like to walk back and forth or pace around the room walking circles around the room. As I read. This is a great time mom's to get out that step counter and get a little activity and so I think that's super productive. It helps me stay focused too often we actually take walks together as I read, we have a really long driveway. So I'll walk up and down the driveway and read the kids follow me around like little ducklings and we all walk together after dinner and they just stay close to listen, but we enjoy that. So we're getting some physical activity. We're getting outside and we're reading a good book.
Another time I read to the kids is during dinner a lot of times we eat dinner as a family almost every night. And sometimes if dad's not home in time or he's tired and he doesn't want to be peppered with questions about his day. You know, sometimes men come home and they're just like, I'm here, and I'm at the table but I just I don't want to talk right now. So I always ask him first if he's okay with it out of respect for him? If he wants to engage in a conversation that is always priority. So when your husband's home, let him be first priority and always consider his needs first. But you know, sometimes even when you're at dinner as a family, there's even that awkward silence or there's not much to talk about when you've been together all day with your kids. It's like well, how was your day? How was your day? Well, we've been together all day, so we kind of know what we did. But reading aloud it's a great time because it puts a focus and a purpose on the dialogue of dinner. Often I'll eat dinner first, because if Mama's hungry, Mama's not happy. And once I'm nourished, I'll get up and I'll walk around the room as the kids eat. And I stop from child to child and I scratch their backs or rub their heads. And this is so great because I'm loving them through reading a book but I'm also loving them through physical touch and some of my children, the ones that I know, thrive off of physical touch, and that's more of their love language. I just take extra time to touch them to rub their back and I know it just fills their heart and makes them feel just so happy inside.
Now if we're really busy or we have a lot to do already to the kids while they're doing their evening chores. They could be picking up their room or cleaning the kitchen but they've got they've got to do it anyway. So they've got to clean the kitchen anyways, they've got to wash their dishes. She's got dish duty, he's gonna sweep the floor. They they're gonna do it anyhow, so I might as well make it quality time so they can listen to a book while they work. Usually the little ones just roll around on the floor or something. They're just around running around but the older ones get to get their chores done and it's a much more enjoyable experience because Mama's reading to them. And of course you can always read your kids before bedtime to most importantly, don't let this be a stressful time. Keep it sweet and find what works for you.
My kids beg me to read each day and then like I said they beg me not to stop this is a good sign that read aloud are serving serving our family well and I'm confident that it would serve your family well to start young. The younger you start, let it be a part of your daily routine your daily rhythm whether it be a culture in your household. So in conclusion, give yourself permission to work hard. It is totally okay to delegate and designate time where you're away from your kids. You're working in your focus. But when you do engage with your kids, let it be quality time and make it a priority to read aloud to them. This is one of the most simple, beautiful ways that you can do that. I hope that this conversation spurs you into action to take this daily activity more seriously and know that it is making a difference if you're doing it already. Don't just think about reading to your kids as a mommy obligation but it's a privilege that comes packaged with long term benefits to be enjoyed by all at the end of the day. This is just a small way that we can love our children well. And just like you I don't have a lot of time but I do make time to read to them. And if I do nothing right all day, if I don't get a lot done if the day is just one of those days, but I take the time to connect with my kids by reading to them. I count that as success. Remember, you define what success is to you and read alouds give me the opportunity to be successful, a successful imperfect mama.
Father, I just pray a blessing over the mom listening today that you would give her an amazing day that you would encourage her as a mom, give her the confidence to work hard, but also give her the confidence that she is an amazing mom that she is anointed and called to lead her children into greatness. Lord, I pray that you will give her wisdom with how she can use books, reading to them as an opportunity to help them be the children that they're supposed to be, be the family that they're supposed to be and to rise up together for greatness. God, we love you and we bless you today. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Hey Mama real quick, before you run off and do all the things, if you found value in today's conversation it would mean the world to me if you left a review on my podcast. I know you know how precious time is. The biggest thing that you can give me for taking the time to share on this podcast is to leave a written review. This helps me on my mission to encourage and empower others who are pursuing their greatest potential from home. Head over to iTunes and scroll down to the bottom of The Nourishing Mompreneur Podcast to rate and leave a super quick review to let me know what spoke to your heart. AND if you're feeling a little extra today, take a screenshot of today's episode and tag me on social. I value your time so much and appreciate you connecting with me. Find me at NourishingMichelle.com/connect