Welcome to week four of the series, Women of Intention! Over the next fifteen weeks, Maple Alps will feature a woman who will talk about intentionality in specific areas in her life. So glad you've decided to stop by! For more information, and a list of topics, visit our introduction post HERE.
This week's Intentional Woman:
Today, we are talking with Justine: blogger and owner of Little Dove Creations, an adorable homemade apparel and accessory shop!
Justine is an amazing wife and mother and I am excited to share her interview with you today!
Once you're done reading, be sure to not only check out her shop and blog, Little Dove Blog, but also share your thoughts (and if you want, the post too!).
Tell Us A Bit About Yourself: What are your passions, work and interests?
I love to bake yummy things, make pretty things, watch funny things, and read clever things. Most of my “spare time” right now is spent on my business—Little Dove Creations—where I blog and create unique and custom clothing for tiny babes all the way to adults.
I truly thought a lot about this question and I really feel like my passions all come back to one thing… wanting to be a better person; wanting to be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend.
I love to bake and create yummy things in the kitchen. Why? Because I love to do that service for my family. I love to create and craft and DIY. Why? Because I strive to make our home a fun, functional, and inspirational space for our family. I love to work on my blog and my online shop. Why? Because it pushes me and tests my limits. I believe that all these things are helping me to be a better person and that is why I’m passionate about them.
As a mother and wife, why would you say intentionality within the family context is important? How does that practically look for your family?
One day I was sitting on the couch with my children—I don’t remember why; it’s very rare that I’m sitting on the couch in the middle of the day. My three year old came over asking me for a hug and to sit in my lap. I pulled her into my lap and then picked up my phone to scroll through my email and Instagram feed—you know, the important stuff—when she whipped her head around and said, “Put the phone down!” I had been chastised by my own daughter for not being present in the moment, for not being intentional with my time.
Time passes by so quickly. The time when your children are small is especially fleeting. That is why it is so vital to a happy and healthy family relationship to know what is important and to make that your focus. Sounds easy enough, right? But life, as it so often does, gets in the way. Especially in today’s world of technology and social media screaming at us from every direction, it is easy to get lost in a fog and realize that your actions are no longer pointing towards your ultimate goal anymore.
The first thing you have to know is what your goal is. For us a major goal is family time. This includes spending more time together, enjoying being with each other, and being kinder with each other… something that I have learned is that sometimes quantity DOES matter more than quality. As in the above example, my daughter just wanted to sit in my lap. She wasn’t asking for a story to be read (in fact, I think she was watching a cartoon); she wasn’t asking for me to spend time working on an art project; she wasn’t asking for me to make her a snack; she wasn’t asking for ANYTHING other than for me to make a small space in my present moment (and lap) for her.
I imagine with four little ones, things tend to get a little crazy at times. How do you stay mindful when situations that are more stressful arise?
Somebody once told my husband that we had too many kids. I’ll let that sink in for a minute.
Our kids—as wonderful as they are—are far from perfect and our lives are pretty chaotic. However, I don’t believe your family planning is anyone else’s business as long as everyone is financially and emotionally cared for. The funny thing is that in those particularly trying times when I feel like I’m going to lose it, oftentimes it’s my kids that bring me back down and center my focus.
I think that my Heavenly Father knew I’d need help so he sent me my sweet son (who can melt my heart with a hug), my eldest daughter (who calls me to repentance with her words), my two year old little ham (who helps me remember to find the humour in situations and remember what actually matters), and my baby girl (who is a daily reminder that I’ve been entrusted with a great responsibility).
How else does your mindfulness translate into your every-day activities and work?
One of the things that I’ve been working on lately is separating my work and home life. I have to remember that my first and greatest job title is that of mother; it’s really more than a job as I see it as my calling here on earth. My other job (blogger, small business owner) should come second to that—always.
This balancing act used to be easier when all my kids were still napping, but now that two out of four don’t and the blogging is taking up more time… it’s a struggle; one that I’m continually battling with since I don’t want to miss my children’s childhood because I was sitting behind a computer screen.
For me I know I need to distance myself from my phone and computer more when my family is around. Simple things like folding laundry in the same room as my children rather than away in a room, or REALLY trying to not work on computer stuff while my kids are awake and active are good jumping off points to being more present and intentional with our family time.
What would you say to encourage someone who is struggling with intentionality in the area of family in their life?
Nobody is perfect; we are all just a work in progress. I’d been tricked (as I think many of us are) into thinking that the only moments with our kids that count are the “Instagram worthy” ones—the snapshots of frosting cookies with our children or taking them on walks to the park for a nature scavenger hunt. Don’t get me wrong, those things are wonderful! But what our kids (especially our young ones) need is quite simply our time; as much time as possible.
I think we all have our own “ah-ha” moment, where we realize that we will never be perfect or have perfect lives, perfect houses, or perfect kids. That’s just not reality—that is not the reason we’ve been sent to this earth. We were sent here to learn and grow. It’s very freeing when you have that moment! Once you realize that, then I think you enjoy being with your kids more; you enjoy being more present and intentional with your time. So give your kids all the time you can before they stop asking for it, okay?
What about you? Are you intentional in your family setting? Why don't you tell us about it in the comments, or connect with us on social media?
(Don't forget to use the hashtag #WomenOfIntention16 so no one misses it!)