My friend Jessica Smartt joined me on the podcast last week, and today she’s sharing a few of her favorite family traditions!
Has there ever, in the history of humans, been a more busy time in which to raise families? I don’t need to give you an exhaustive list of all the nonsense moms have to do, because you probably already have one running — all the “shoulds” and “have-to”s you’ve been sucked into or are late for, bogged down with, and overwhelmed by. Time has never been a more precious commodity for families!
Do ever lay your head on your pillow at night and wonder if you’re missing something? Do you feel regret about how you’re spending your time as a family? Are you making time for what matters?
I have all those same fears and questions. A few years ago it dawned on me that there was a solution to that “Mom Angst,” and that solution is traditions.
Traditions are anchors in our day, our week, or our year that remind us who we are and what we love. Without traditions, life drones on monotonously without any special celebrating or meaning. (Ask me how I know!)
With traditions though, family life becomes rich and full, and when your kids leave, they have a suitcase full of memories to bolster them up in hard times and root down their character.
Some traditions are “big deals,” like that all-out Christmas buffet. But some are simple, like saying a certain prayer as you tuck a little one in bed, or pulling out a red dinner plate when someone achieves something noteworthy. Very often we do not realize the power these traditions hold!
If you’ve been looking to implement some traditions as a family, here are a few of my favorites:
- Vacation tradition: Many families take vacations, but there are little steps you can do to maximize the time together. We love doing a special craft, reading a book together on the trip, doing one special “big” thing together, and having “beach church” on Sunday at the beach!
- Special mealtimes: We love “Sunday snack dinner,” and also our family dinner night, where we enjoy a candlelit meal with extra-delicious food.
- Family day: Every summer we celebrate a “Smartt family day” where we make the whole day about us and our family.
- Reading great books – Perhaps you can read a book together in the evenings, have a reading time in the afternoon, come up with a prize for all family members who read 20 books in a year, or make a family “bucket list” of books to read before leaving home.
- Give your kids a Bible when they learn how to read, and a devotional book every Christmas.
- Have a shared family hobby that you do regularly. These are the things that give families character, richness, and bind the members together. It can be cheering for a beloved sports team, taking bike rides together, or playing Settlers of Catan.
The great thing about traditions is that you can cater it to your own family. Don’t feel the need to copy my family or any other! Choose a value you want to pass on to your kids (like faith) and choose a tradition that implements that value (like evening devotions).
To create more traditions, consider picking up a copy of my new book, “Memory-Making Mom: Building Traditions That Breathe Life Into Your Home.”
About Jessica: Jessica Smartt is a former English teacher turned homeschooling mom of three. A week after her first baby was born, she began her motherhood blog “Smartter” Each Day. Jessica and her husband live in sunny North Carolina, where she loves hikes with the kids (mostly), steaming coffee in the afternoon, family bike rides, and anything that’s ever been done to a baked potato. In March Jessica released her first book, Memory-Making Mom: Building Traditions That Breathe Life Into Your Home. Follow Jessica on Instagram: @jessica.smartt