Today’s guest blog is written by my dear friend Taslim. Taslim is a beautiful, talented writer, and a wonderful mother and friend. I have no other words except: she makes my heart happy.
Taslim is the voice behind the blog Let ME Out!!, author of various works including her creativity and self-discovery workbooks, and creator of Make-A-Wave Cards found here. She is happiest being with her husband and three children, living their motto: Keeping Up with the Jaffers, not the Joneses. She fills her days cranking out articles, dreaming up ways to create social change through art, and folding laundry. You can also find her on stage sharing her stories and poems!
In Taslim’s guest post she shares ways she lives authentically with her family, and ways you can too!
Living authentically as a family-Taslim Jaffer
I know what it’s like to check my Facebook feed and get that panicky feeling, like maybe I’m not doing enough for my kids – maybe I’m not being fun enough, or giving them enough experiences. I know that feeling of hearing someone say they did such and such over the weekend, and I think, “Gosh, what did we do this weekend?” and completely draw a blank. But I also know now, after 8 years of parenting, what kind of mom I am, what I’m about and how important it is that my family live according to our own values.
We hear the phrase ‘be authentic’ thrown about all over the place, and usually we are asked as individuals to show up in a way that is true to ourselves. I think it’s just as important that we do the same as a family. It’s the best way to teach your kids how to march to the beat of their own drum; instead of just telling them to be who they are, we can show them the benefits of doing so. And we can show them that we are brave enough to do it, too.
Whether we are new to parenting or not, we all need to check in and make sure we are creating the family life we truly want. We need to make sure we are not adding activities to our schedules or volunteering for things just because we think that doing that will make us more known or better liked, or make us look like great parents. On the other hand, if being active in certain roles is totally aligned with what you want for your family, then you should confidently go about doing that.
Also, if you do get those weird feelings when you check your Facebook feed or you hear about someone else’s life, ask yourself, what do these feelings mean? Do they mean you want to try something new with your family? Do you wish you were living a particular value and need to add something to your life? That’s great! Feelings aren’t good or bad – they’re just maps to tell you where you want to go. So listen to your feelings without judging yourself.
It all boils down to: what does your family value and what choices can you make that support those values?
It’s helpful to sit down together and brainstorm around these questions. You can make this a creative activity by building a manifesto digitally or by hand with phrases that reflect who you are as a unit. Examples would be: Get outside, Make art, Cozy nights in, Family first, Pray, Volunteer or We Are MUSICIANS. Add as many phrases or words as suits your family at this time. Proudly display this manifesto in your home somewhere and use it as a check-in point to make sure that you are choosing activities that jive.
My family loves and values unstructured time together, so to help ensure that we are getting that time, I circle at least one weekend in a month in my agenda and write DON’T PLAN ANYTHING! right over it. And while that sounds simple, it does take a certain amount of commitment on our part to say ‘no’ to things just so we have that time together. We never regret it, though. And that goes with the territory of living authentically – it takes commitment but it always pays off.
In addition to the manifesto, coming up with a family motto is fun and creative, and can help keep your unit on track, too. Our family motto is Keeping Up With The Jaffers (not the Joneses), which basically reminds us that we only have to live according to our own lifestyle, not anybody else’s. It’s funny how that short phrase is enough to do the trick.
When you are conscious of your values as a family and are making choices to support those values, your home becomes your haven, your hub for building the most important relationships and a foundation for your children’s authentic adulthood.
Thank you Taslim for sharing how you ‘style the inside’ as a family, by staying true to your values and authenticity.
For more inspiration from Taslim, you can follow her writing and creative self on these social channels. Her words always find a way into my soul, and I hope they will for you too!