Have you ever wondered why we chose to have our kids so close in age or how we create boundaries with technology? If you said yes, then this is an episode you don’t want to miss! And even if you said no, I believe you will still enjoy this episode, as I sit down + answer some of the top questions I get asked all the time. So grab a cup of coffee + enjoy!
In This Episode, Allie Discusses:
The pros + cons to having kids close in age.
How she views technology + what boundaries she sets for her kids.
Tips for creating a morning routine that will work for you.
Mentioned in this Episode:
DO YOU FEEL LIKE...
- you're stuck in survival mode?
- the mundane parts of motherhood have taken over?
- every time you get something clean someone is making a mess behind you?
- you’ve tried to get organized a thousand times, but it always comes undone within a few days?
If you are screaming "YES!", then Your Uncluttered Home is for you!
When you simplify your mess, you set yourself free to be a present, intentional mom who leads a purposeful life.
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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.
Hey ladies! Welcome to an episode of The Purpose Show!
This episode is super fun and relaxed which I very much like. I have been wanting to do Q & A for a while, just because I do get a lot of questions, emails, and Instagram messages. Questions about my life and how I do things. All the things that I teach on and inspire you to make changes with. Sometimes you just have questions.
As my business has grown, I have had to become more and more removed from interacting with each individual comment and message. Sometimes when I get messages, by the masses, a lot of the same question again and again, it tells me that this is something that needs to be answered.
I try to take notice of that. Every month I plan to have these episodes to just dive into 1, 2 or 3 questions that I get all of the time and just give answers. I think even if you aren’t a person who asks these questions, you might find these answers helpful. Kind of a free-for-all of inspiration. That’s my goal for these episodes.
So let’s dive in! Q & A with me…
QUESTION #1: I am in the having-babies, family planning season of my motherhood and would love to know… what do you like and dislike about having your kids so close in age?
This is a super great question.
For those of you who don’t know, I have four kids. My oldest, at the time of this recording, is 8. She will turn 9 soon. Then I have a 7-year-old, 5-year-old, and a 3-year-old. My oldest two kids are just under 2 years apart. My two older boys are about 15 months apart. Then Hudson is 5 and Emmett is three, so another 2 ½ years with them. We had a miscarriage in between Hudson and Emmett, the last two.
Our kids are very close. Brian and I definitely wanted our kids to be this close together. We had multiple reasons that went into that. But the main thing is we just really wanted to have a close-knit family. I think you can have that even if you have large age gaps between your kids. I don’t think that necessarily means you will or won’t. We wanted our family to be close age-wise, and relationally close.
What I like about it is that it is very easy to remain closely knit. The kids are all into the same things at the same time. We don’t have to deal with our oldest rolling her eyes and being really irritated that we are at the park for her brother, who’s nine years younger than she is. They have all kind of stayed into the same thing.
What this means is the youngest one will not linger in the baby phase very long. That’s probably what I dislike about having them so close in age. Well, it’s not that I dislike it. I guess it’s just a bit sad, a con I guess. There’s pros and cons to everything.
But Emmett didn’t really get into baby toys and baby stuff. As soon as he could realize, “oh I want to go and do this with my siblings,” he would want to go and play with what they were playing with. He is into Ninjas, Legos, and all those kind of things way younger than the older kids were into those things, because they didn’t have someone pulling them forward.
It’s kind of a pro and a con. I think it is mostly a pro. I think it is awesome that my kids are very close in age. They are all into the same things at the same time and can play together really, really well. I just really like my kids’ age gaps.
I think my favorite age gap is probably Leland and Hudson, who are 15 months apart. It is basically like having twins. They are very, very close. It has been a real positive for me. I have had no issues or complaints. The pregnancy was hard because Leland was so little. I also had Bella who was 2, when I was pregnant with Hudson. That was hard, but once they were all here and their relationships started to form, and Hudson was a year old, it was very much worth the difficult pregnancy season.
I think it just depends on you as a mom.
QUESTION #2. How can I begin to limit my kid’s tech use. I have no idea how to get started here.
I won’t go into the benefits of limiting your kids’ tech time. I think it is easily findable online. There are lots of studies that are being done or have been done recently. I have talked about it a lot on my website and in webinars.
I think first, do a bit of research. How it affects your kid’s brains. Their attitudes. Notice in your home how it affects your kids. Get a ballpark idea of what amount of time you are okay with per day.
I used to be pretty rigid with 30 minutes per day and that was it. Now it’s a little bit more fluid because we love technology and it is a big part of our lives. It is my entire business.
For the kids, we have the Nintendo Switch. We have a Vintage Super Nintendo the kids love to play with us. We have Netflix. We do all of that. We have a normal home in terms of technology.
It is just such a normalcy for us to limit it. I don’t really feel the need to be super, super rigid and have a timer like I used to. Because the kids will just naturally shut it down after that time.
Not always. There are some days where it is raining, freezing, maybe someone is sick, and they will play all day if we let them. Or they will switch between playing games and watching Netflix. That’s fine. It’s a sick day, a bad weather day. There are certain days throughout the year that are like that. I don’t think that’s a big deal. It’s a rarity. It’s not the norm. I think that is the key.
Typically, it’s 30-45 minutes a day. There are definitely days where there is no technology at all. The kids don’t even think to ask about it. It’s just not a part of our day.
I am really happy with the balance our family has struck with technology.
I think the first step in getting there yourself is researching, finding your ballpark timeframe during the day. Do you think it’s OK for your kids to spend two hours? 20 minutes? It depends on you as a mother and what your gut tells you feels right.
I think that it is a great idea to take a break from technology altogether for 1-4 weeks or so if you want to. It is sort of like a cleanse.
It will be awful at first. I am not going to lie to you. Your kids will totally go through withdrawals. They will be super whiny and bored. It will be really difficult.
But it is so amazing to see how their imaginations wake up from a deep slumber. They will start to use them again. Start to play again. Their relationships will get better with each other. They will be playacting and having conversations. Coloring and playing outside. Making up games. It might take a week or so, but they will get there.
I think it is really sad that technology has robbed our children of play in a lot of ways. I am very thankful for technology. Like I said it is a big part of our life. It’s in our home. We use it all the time. It is part of most of our days, but I do think that it can take over and rob us of a lot of good, sweet memories. Playing, that organic play that kids are made to be good at. It makes them unable to do it, like they don’t even know how. That’s not how I want my kids to grow up.
I would start there, by coming up with a timeframe. Maybe consider doing a technology cleanse.
Some of you may have followed me way back in the day, but about two years ago we did a cleanse from technology. We had found it was creeping back in and taking over again. We were going to do 30 days of no TV. No Netflix. No Nintendo. Nothing. We actually just removed the TV from the home to eliminate distractions.
Brian and I have had a TV in our room for a while, because watching Netflix together at the end of the day is one of our favorite things to do together. So we left the TV in our room for us. We didn’t really take a break. It was mostly for the kids.
We felt like we were relying on it a lot as parents, so we did a 30-day no-TV thing. We loved it so much. We were so thrilled with the results of our kids’ relationships from that cleanse that it ended up lasting for over 6 months.
The only reason it returned is because football season came around and we love to host our friends and family for football games, so we brought it back. After that, I feel like that was when we really hit our stride with technology being very balanced and not the main event in our house. It was a really cool time. We remember that season really fondly. We talk about it a lot. It was a neat time and started us off on a good foot with technology.
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Motherhood is just way too sweet a time to be spent struggling so hard and living in survival mode day in and day out. Our stuff is really the cause of that.
If you want to start this lifestyle, if you want to simplify your life… I believe that it all starts at home.
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Having said that, I think that you need to know in yourself what you want. Remember that you are the parent. Anything that you do for your kids in this area is meant for their well-being. You’re not being mean. You’re not being cruel or making things harder for them. You’re trying to make a good decision. Raise them well. Raise kids who know how to play, enjoy life, have conversations. Kids that know how to interact with people. Kids that have the right priorities. I think that is all a really good foundation. I think that is the most important thing.
Consider a cleanse. Find your time limit. Once you do, start setting those limits.
We have a timer in the kitchen. We use Alexa. We will just say, “Alexa set a timer for 40 minutes.” If someone is in the middle of a turn when the timer goes off, they are allowed to finish their turn, save it and then shut it down. There is no complaining. They know that’s the rule. There’s no freaking out, sighing, whining. They know to stop and turn it off. The way it got that way was just by us setting the timer ourselves, and saying, “Ok guys, let’s finish up this turn. It’s time to turn it off.” And not giving any attention to their meltdowns or complaints.
There was a period of time where if they complained or threw a fit about the timer going off and it was time to shut it down, we would just calmly say, “Ok this shows me that technology messes up your attitude and you need a break, so we will take it away for three days. Then you can have it back and we will try again.” They learned that if they freak out and have a meltdown after the timer goes off, then they lose it for a few days.
You can find your parenting foundation in that. What kind of a parent are you? How strict are you normally? Find a way to make this fit in with our parenting philosophy. What we do may not work for you. Or it may not sit well with you. You might not want to do it that way.
I don’t like to get into parenting stuff because everyone is so different. It’s such a personal preference. Everyone comes from different backgrounds. But those are some of the things that we have done that have really worked well for us. I feel really happy with and really proud of the place that technology has landed in our home.
That’s the journey we have been through. The different things we have tried. The rules we have implemented. At this point, it is just a house rule. My kids know they are not entitled to tech time. It is just not that way in our house. I feel really peaceful about that. I really love where we are with that. I hope that helps you guys.
Ok, we have time for one more question.
QUESTION #3: I would love to develop a good morning routine, but I don’t know where to start. How should I go about creating one that will work well for me? How do I know what to do during my morning routine? How do I know how early I need to wake up, etc.? Thanks for any help.
Morning routine really comes down to you and your life, and what you need to accomplish. I will use myself as an example, because there have been different seasons of morning routine for me.
A while back, a couple of years ago, I was in a place of starting my business. Brian, at the time, worked for a big company. He worked really crazy, long hours. He was gone all day. We homeschooled the kids. I didn’t want to be working all day with headphones in while the kids were watching TV. I really wanted to do the bulk of my work early in the morning and be done, so I could be present with the kids and focus on homeschooling during the day. Then I could focus on the business during nap times, quiet times and after bedtime.
That meant that I had to get up super early.
This was huge. God had really put this on our hearts. We couldn’t afford to quit Brian’s job yet. I knew this was really going to go somewhere and I was very, very dedicated.
At this point, I knew that I had four hours of work to get done, before Brian left in the morning, for me to really grow my business and get it off the ground in the very tight timeline that I wanted. I was getting up at four in the morning, dragging myself downstairs, pouring a cup of coffee, and getting to work on my laptop, almost every single morning except for Sundays.
That was incredibly difficult but also incredibly empowering and rewarded. My business took off fairly quickly and what I wanted to happen, happened. That was a season of my life where I knew what I needed to get done. I knew what time I needed to wake up to do that. That’s what I did.
There are other seasons where I woke up at 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning. I would get a few things done, have some quiet time, exercise, enjoyed my coffee, and then started my day with the kids.
Now my season of life is very calm and mellow. I am not in a super crazy hustle season of my business. I have a large team that does a lot of the backend work for me (pretty much all of the backend work for me). I am really focused on enjoying my life, my family, and my role in my business which is to lead you guys, put this show on, come up with new creative ideas, new topics and things like that.
Now my morning routine is very loose, simplified and enjoyable. I usually get up about 6:30 in the morning (a lot less early than I used to). I read. I pray. I have some time of meditation and worship. I will read my Bible. Have my prayer time first. Then pour a cup of coffee, read a chapter of a current book. I am always reading a book. Reading is very important to me. Usually I do some Yoga or take a walk. Then the kids come down for breakfast and we start our day.
My morning routine is a lot more relaxed. I don’t need it to be rushed. My husband is home with me and running the business with me. We are homeschooling our kids. It doesn’t need to be so rigid and crazy.
Hopefully, that gives you a bit of an example that it can ebb and flow, shift as your life does. Your morning routine should reflect where you are at in your life.
Having said that, where do you start? Look at your life. Look at your schedule. What would help you to get done in the morning before your day really starts? By that I mean, when your kids come out of the room and it’s time for breakfast, to get them ready for school, whatever your normal daily schedule is, what would be so helpful for you to have done?
Is it quiet alone time? Is it reading and self-care? Is it exercise? Is it just waking up, taking a shower, getting dressed for the day? Having a cup of coffee in peace before the day really starts? Is it getting up really early and knocking out a bunch of work tasks?
My biggest thing has always been, “what is the most important, key thing that I need to do today?” I want to start the day out by getting that done first. There is a saying that I read in a book once (I can never remember who said it), “If it has to get done in the day, then it needs to be done first.” Otherwise life happens, interruptions take place, and you probably aren’t going to get it done.
Right now, in this season, that’s self-care. I am in a place where my job is to serve other women. I see a lot of unkind messages on a weekly basis. I am dealing with a lot of judgement from other people. I have to be “on” all of the time and I am an introvert. That’s draining sometimes. My kids are at home all of the time and we are homeschooling. That’s also an energy drainer.
Right now for me to be my best self, the most important thing is to have that time with the Lord, and take care of myself first. Work can wait and start later. But before, that was not my season and I really needed to make things happen, to hustle, to get where I am today.
Ask yourself where you are at? What is the most important thing that needs to get done? Would it help you greatly if you got a meal in the crockpot? Got a load of laundry done? Got yourself dressed for the day before your kids woke up? Would that be, “Oh my gosh, that would feel so good!”
Or is it something else. Start there. Once you have your answer (pair it down to 1-2 small things; be realistic) ask yourself how long each task will take you and that will give you your wake up time.
If you know that you will have to get 3 hours of work done before your day starts, and you serve your kids breakfast at 7:30 in the morning, then you know you need to wake up at 4:30. See how that works?
Also a bit of a trick… if you are finding that it’s too much. If it’s an ungodly hour and you do not want to wake up that early to get those things done, see if you can fit something into your evening routine.
If your kids go down at 8 o’clock for bed, is there something you could do to “prep” and get it partially done? Maybe you could lay your clothes out. Set the alarm. Choose the workout video for the in the morning. Make breakfast for everyone and have it in the fridge ready to reheat in the morning. Maybe you could wake up a bit less early. Can you get your workout in at night? Can you get 45 minutes of laptop work done before you go to bed?
Look at your schedule and routines from an aerial view if you can. Detach yourself emotionally from the stress of planning it all. Look at the breakdown of what you need to get done each day? What does your morning routine look like? What does your evening routine currently look like? How can you find the cracks and fill them? Arrange it in a way that really works for you and increases your productivity.
This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you. I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!