Around a year ago, I was spending one evening scrolling through Pinterest (in my world, this phrase is the equivalent to ‘once upon a time’). I came across this ‘daily heart’ idea, courtesy of the blog “Skip to my Lou”. I immediately turned to Jon and said, ‘we have to do this for the kids this year’. Being the sweet guy he is, he supported another one of my “let’s do this” ideas which, let’s be honest, don’t always come to life. I think I really surprised him when I jumped up and started rummaging through my craft shelves for paper and scissors (“Oh, we’re doing this now?…”).
We all have those days where it can be really hard to focus on the positives, especially when it comes to parenting. I never thought two kiddos could push me to the limits on some days (when I was teaching I had classes of 31 kids… how can only two test my patience like they do??). Staying patient and calm on tough days is the hardest thing I’ve done, so much so that some days I say I’d rather go through labor again (not joking).
I just remember that day a year ago was a tough one. Mila was 2.5 and it was a day filled with a classic case of “terrible twos” (which now I laugh at because those tantrums were nothing compared to some I’ve witnessed since… sorry if that scares any parents out there with kids under the age of 3). Tyler was only 5 months old and I’m not going to lie, he was just a more challenging infant than Mila was. I was getting my first glimpse of how he may handle teething (spoiler: not well at all). It was a long day and seeing this idea inspired me to try and end the day on a more positive note.
I was also super excited to find this when I did because when it comes to seasonal or holiday ideas, I always seem to find them after the fact or when it’s too late to get my act together to get it done (add it to next year’s checklist… which I most likely won’t remember). The fact that it was still January meant I could actually do this “on time” (even though there is no rule that says this has to be done February 1-14).
So there I was, cutting out hearts while Jon and I came up with 14 things we love about each kiddo. It forced us to only focus on the sweet smiles and the light they bring to our world while taking a moment to forget the tantrums, sleepless nights, etc. We reminisced on stories or memories that came to mind. I remember wanting to just go into their rooms and hug them afterwards, but obviously stopped myself because only a crazy person would interrupt sleeping children, right?
February came a few days later and this turned into a fun way to welcome “Love Day”. The best thing about it was how excited Mila got each morning when a new heart appeared and how eager she was for us to read “her hearts” to her. She also got equally excited to read Tyler’s which was even more adorable, especially since he just saw the hearts as pretty colors on his door to look at. It was nice to have the work we put into his validated.
Having them all done in advance was a big reason why this ended up being so successful for us – we just had to remember to tape one up on their bedroom doors before going to bed each night which was pretty easy most nights. Jon also became pretty skillful at secretly adding them to the doors right when the kids were getting up on those few nights we forgot.
We left the hearts up for weeks afterwards to keep those reminders visible for those tougher days. When I went to take them down to put up some Easter decorations, Mila protested and we ended up moving them to their closet doors. They are still there at the typing of this post. We decided to make this year even more exciting by trying not to repeat any hearts… challenge accepted!
I hope this inspires you like it did for me to focus on the positives even when the going gets rough. Or maybe it’ll inspire you to start a fun, new tradition with your family. Regardless of the time of year, just writing down the good in your life and putting it right in front of you can make such a difference, especially on those tough days.