The joyful Catholic Home and other thoughts I’m pondering these days

Do you know Parenting with Grace by Greg Popcak? I absolutely love this book and I think it is very inspiring for thriving families! Reading this wonderful book and pondering the thoughts of the authors I felt I wanted to share what I have learned lately.

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Popcak connects the Theology of the Body with his parenting concept which was surprising to me at first, but turns out to be not only intriguing but convincing and powerful all at once. To Pope John Paul II self-donative love is the core of every human relationship – be it marriage, friendship or the relationship we have with our children.

Living self-donative love will result in so many wonderful things

Christ is the one who modeled self-donative love to us. From him we can learn how to love our neighbor, spouse and children. As Christ models self-donative love to us, we model the same to our kids and they will imitate us. They will learn from us. They will internalize it. Self-donative love will be natural for our kids and it will be the way they treat others and themselves.

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Living in a family that lives self-donative love will ultimately result in a joyful home. And that is what we all want, don’t we? But in order to get something (the joyful home) we have to give something (ourselves). That is the secret.

Will a joyful home always be joyful?

No, it won’t. We all are human beings, we’re not perfect and we don’t need to be. Attachment Parenting is not about perfectionism or eternal happiness. That’s not going to happen. Attachment Parenting is about a secure bond between parents and children and this bond will result in a solid foundation of the family.

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That way a family can brave stormy times. And that’s what a joyful Catholic home is. A joyful home is not home that is always happy, always all smiles, flawless. A joyful Catholic home is real. There will be bumps in the road, there will be hard times. A joyful Catholic home is a solid foundation that can help every family member to cope with these times. A joyful Catholic home is a home with a certain atmosphere. The atmosphere of self-donative love…

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What I’ve been up to lately…

It’s gotten a little quiet here, hasn’t it? Yes, it has. We have had some major changes in our family and we are still adjusting so I have to set priorities. Don’t worry, everything is fine!

And I just want to let you know what I’m thinking about.

In the past I have been focusing on unschooling mainly. However, unschooling is something that just doesn’t work for us. Not because of us – we sure love it! But because of the country we’re living in. Unschooling is illegal over here. We have to either public or private school our kids. There is no alternative whatsoever.

I hate that thought and I will ponder about unschooling and homeschooling and home education and educational freedom some more, I promise. But I feel I want to focus more on Catholic Attachment Parenting in the future.

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How does that sound?

There are some great Catholic Attachment Parenting blogs out there and I think this blog can be part of this community. How do you feel?

So what am I planning to do?

I want to share some thoughts about why Attachment Parenting is Catholic – for me. What that means. What we can learn from our faith for our parenting journey. How we can parent our kids in gentle and loving way – not just infants, but also toddlers, kids and even teens.

I want to share some thoughts on how we can build strong families and why that is important. I want to share so many thoughts!

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Are you excited? I know I am!

But let’s take it slow, because I need to focus on my family right now. But what about you? Are there topics, questions, ideas you want to read about here at Living a Catholic Fairy Tale? What’s on your mind? Just let me know!

A Weekend in Pictures – July 23rd/24th 2016

What a turbulent time! Our weekend started with our parish priest stopping by for a cup of coffee and some home made waffles. Later on friends came over and spent the night. We had a great time talking, cooking, eating and watching the children play. Could there possibly be a better start for a great weekend?

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Other than that we basically spent the weekend packing up…

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… which was a lot of fun for the kids, but not so much for us. Every once in while we had to take a break, though…

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On Sunday after Mass we decided to eat out and to enjoy the sunshine and a little free time…

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The end of the weekend…

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How was your weekend?

 

A Weekend in Pictures – July 16th/17th 2016

We have had an eventful beautiful weekend – family trips, playground time, Holy Mass and great food. Is there anything more you can possibly dream of? Our weekend started on a very early Saturday morning when we were headed to the railroad station. What an adventure for the kids!

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Going on a family trip by train is something we enjoy as a family – we love trains and everything that goes with it! The kids had fun time looking out of the window, snacking, reading and running around.

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Since we had mostly sunny and warm weather we spent most time outside – on the playground, in the park, taking a walk. And also in the zoo. Although I really hate zoos…

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I think the kids enjoyed our trip to the zoo, though – and I don’t blame them. However, I really can’t help it, I always get so sad watching those beautiful creatures caged for our pleasure. Catching a glimpse of this baby zebra made me feel very ambivalent. Somehow I was happy to watch the two of them, but at the same time it made me so unhappy to realize that this cute baby zebra will never know what freedom is…

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Those two rhinos seemed to be very relaxed and didn’t bother being stared at by the crowd outside the compound. But I don’t like to see them caged. Aren’t they majestic creatures? It breaks my heart that they are critically endangered animals.

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Oh yeah, and I love this llama.

It has been a long weekend – which doesn’t necessarily mean that our kids are tired and need to sleep, though…

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Well, never mind. It has been exciting for our kids, so I do understand they can’t sleep. I wouldn’t mind your prayers, though, maybe they can sleep at least through the night?

Anyways. How was your weekend?

What do children really need?

Preparing for the birth of a new baby is a great thing to do – but sometimes you kind of get distracted by all the “needs” you will probably have to meet.

How many playsuits does your baby need? Will you be in need of a baby stroller or will a baby sling do? Will there have to be a nursery or will your baby sleep with you?

What does your baby really need?

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After all there is really one thing that your child will need: You. And that’s basically it. Your child needs you and your sensitivity. It s in need of your love and care. Combined with all the basic needs such as being fed when the baby is hungry, being rocked to sleep when the baby is tired, being comforted when the baby isn’t well, being held warm and dry, being cuddled that’s all there is to it.

Your baby doesn’t care about the color of his playsuits. Your child doesn’t care if his playsuits are all new or if they were pre-owned by another baby. Your baby doesn’t care too much about toys, baby strollers, a beautiful nursery and all the equipment you are made to believe a baby needs. However, your baby deeply cares about you!

So don’t get lost in details, don’t invest too much in “baby equipment” – try investing in yourself as a (becoming) parent, in inner growth, in your relationship with God and in your relationship with your child. That will do!

Why we’re treating our children respectfully

Somehow that sounds like a platitude: Treating children with respect should be the most natural thing you do. But what does that actually mean – to treat a child respectfully?

Just consider the following situations:

“Oh please, give Grandma a kiss!”

“A little teasing is just fun, right?”

“Don’t make such a fuss about that, it’s not that bad after all!”

“You’re such a cute little doll!”

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Would you consider that respectful? Would you feel treated respectfully if someone talked to you like that? However, that sure is the key question. What would you define as respectful?

I would consider the Golden Rule as a pretty good definition of respect. We can find the Golden Rule in Tobit 4:15, Matthew 7:12 and Leviticus 19:18. But I prefer the Golden Rule as it is written in Luke 6:31:

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

~ Luke 6:31

So, do you like to be teased? How do you feel about kissing random persons who consider you cute? Do you feel appreciated, when your thoughts and worries are not taken seriously? How would it make you feel when you’re called “a doll”?

Yes, treating a child requires a lot of thinking and pondering, it can be hard, it needs tons of patience and good will and willingness to personal development – but as a matter of fact not treating a child respectfully is really not an option!

God trusts us with our children as we can see in Psalms 127:3:

Certainly sons are a gift from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb, a reward.

~ Psalms 127:3

So we should treat children as the gift they are, we should treat them the way we want to be treated, we should treat as the little persons they are – not as cute little toys.

Two under two – Structuring the day

There are two things that you really need as parents of two kids under two: Structure and flexibility. That may sound contradictory, but actually it’s not. You need enough structure to get everything (or more likely: most things) done and enough flexibility to react to your children’s needs right away no matter what you’re doing.

Both things can get you through the day and both things can make life a lot easier.

So how does our family do it, how does Mom structure the day with enough flexibility to meet the children’s needs?

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Mom actually divides her day into two major parts – before naptime and after naptime. There are so many chores that need to be done and Mom distinguishes between before-naptime-chores and after-naptime-chores and she makes herself promise that she will only do as much as possible and to leave everything else half-done or even  undone. This seems to be a continuing learning process: Leaving things undone in order to not get bogged down with details.

So Mom found out she is able to neaten the kitchen, the bathroom and the bedroom before naptime. She does laundry right before she puts the toddler to bed for her nap. Then she has a little time to herself – that is: if the baby takes a nap, too…

After naptime Mom and the toddler have lunch, hang out the laundry, neaten the living room, go out for a walk or to the playground and do a lot of other neat things.

That sounds to easy to be true? Well, you’re right. Remember the part about leaving things undone? That is actually a huge part of everyday life with two kids under two…

But you know what? You can’t turn back time, so why don’t you go for moments that are worth remembering? Children grow up so quickly, so at the end of the day  what do you want to think of? Your neat and clean home or the fantastic afternoon on the playground with your little ones?