How I See My Kids Anew

One of the hardest parts of living away from family is so rarely being able to see my kids through their eyes.

When it is just you caring for your children 91 daytime hours a week, week after week, it becomes easy to lose the freshness, the vision of who they are. Slowly they cease being little spirits I’ve been entrusted with and start feeling like charges I’ve been burdened with. Thankfully, when I get to this point, it often coincides with a vacation to see family, and I begin to see my boys with the freshness that their grandparents see them with.

My freshness has been burning off lately, and I reached a low Friday. One more battle-of-wills would have sent me packing! (At least to my bedroom for a while, behind a locked door. 🙂 Unfortunately, we have no family vacations in our immediate future, so it was high time to whip out our second method of restoring the freshness: a great, big diversion.

Every prayer Trenton has uttered for the last month has included the plea, “I want to go to heaven someday. But only after I ride more roller coasters.” So it felt appropriate that our big adventure involve some kiddie rides. We headed to a small amusement park (Happy Hollow in San Jose), wandered for hours at our toddlers’ pace, and rode every ride at least twice. We were far away from home, free of the stress of jobs—basking in sunshine instead of the fluorescent lighting of the bathroom I would have been cleaning at home. At one point, I even lay flat on my back in the middle of a big patch of grass, right under the noon-day sun. As nice as that was, what I treasure about a great diversion is seeing undiluted joy on my boys’ faces.

Watching them let go of any inhibition (oh wait, my boys have ZERO inhibition) and just run, jump, and laugh like kids are supposed to restores my freshness like nothing else. Except maybe a trip to see family…

What do you do when you need to see your kids anew? (Have I told you lately that you all have the BEST comments! Thank you!) 


And Imparting Grace’s Grace at Home. Welcome to any first-time visitors!

  • Jessica
    April 16, 2012 at 5:18 am

    Oh man Erica, I totally wish San Francisco and San Diego were closer. I definitely know the feeling, especially after a week (or more) of Trevor being gone. A change of scenery definitely helps for me too. I love watching him take in the world around him. Also I find that I have to look past the whiney, stubborn 2 year old and remind myself how blessed I am to have this sweet spirit in my life. Looking at him in this light definitely eases stressful moments. Sometimes, when none of this works I put him in his room and take a mommy break 🙂

    • Erica {let why lead}
      April 16, 2012 at 5:41 am

      I wish our cities were closer too!!! That would be so hard to have Trevor gone for periods like that. Ryan’s hours are long and involve some travel, so we would definitely be hanging out if we lived closer. 🙂 And yes, it’s all about perspective with these little guys of ours.

  • Becky K
    April 16, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Oh wow, are you speaking to my heart. I had a draining mommy week last week – for no particular reason except for that my responsibilities were feeling mundane. (Oh, and an ear infection. There’s nothing like a trip to the doctor with a two-year-old to send your week spinning a bit.) I crave time for introspection, yet all day long I am surrounded by input. For me, it helps to put on the blinders – to the laundry, the dishes, the upturned bin of Play-Doh tools – and just watch my girls. I begin to see their beauty and their sweetness with fresh eyes, rather than seeing them as little people in the way of my to-do list. A change of scenery helps, too, I hear you. Saturday we spent the whole day playing outside. Enjoying God’s creation helps put my small life back into bigger perspective. That helps tremendously, too. Have a GREAT mommy week, Erica!

    • Erica {let why lead}
      April 16, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      May we both have much, much better mommy weeks this week than last! Yes, the monotony of it really gets to me too. I love how you say to just stop looking at the to-do’s and start really watching the kids. What a great way to think!

  • Alison
    April 16, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Great article, great idea, great picture.

    • Erica {let why lead}
      April 16, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      You’re sweet, Alison. Thanks! Hope you have a great week!

  • susan@avintagefarmwife
    April 16, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Erica-It would be really hard to raise your children far from family. I hadn’t really considered ” that seeing your kids through their grandparents eyes” would make it easier. But now, I get it! Trust me-their grandparents think they are every kind of wonderful-at least that is how I feel about mine!

  • Cheri
    April 17, 2012 at 1:50 am

    What lucky kids to have you and R. as parents! Rollercoasters!??! Did you see the Sunday comic: “Baby Blues?” The parents buy three tickets for a roller coaster ride with their little kid. Once, they are off the ride, the dad says: “And, that’s pretty much what parenting is like.” And, the mother says: “Except there’s more throwing up!” ha ha

  • Carly
    April 17, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks for being so vulnerable Erica! You’re right it is so important that we are refreshed so we can pour back out. Great post.

    Carly @

  • Ashley
    April 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Oh, I wish we had something like that close! It looks so wonderful!
    Being away from family is super hard- I hear you on that one! Almost more so after a vacation to visit them, I think, because then we’re all well aware of what we’re missing! :0)
    We’ve been trying to take the kids out on some one-on-one time- which is really hard to do, by the way, because there is always so much going on! But I find that when I do make that a priority, I enjoy my kids a lot more. It’s nice to just be with one and get to hear what they have to say and see the things that make them happy. I wish we could do it more consistently, but we’re working on it!

    • Erica {let why lead}
      April 17, 2012 at 8:09 pm

      That is a fantastic idea! Now that you mention it, the few times lately that I’ve taken Trenton somewhere with just the two of us, his cuteness is multiplied! So I can really see that that would be helpful! Thanks for the idea! I want to try it more too, especially as the boys (and our family) grow.

  • Vanessa
    April 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    There are tears in my eyes as I write this because I so completely understand! I don’t live near any of my family and you perfectly captured one of the hardest things about it…not seeing your kiddos through the eyes of loving extended family. And yet, like you, I have found that there are blessings which come that I wonder if we would have experienced had we lived with grandparents and aunts and uncles so close. We have made so many amazing memories just the 4 of us and have learned to rely on each other and God! Thank you so much for sharing from your heart…I found you through Imparting Grace and will be following you now! 🙂

    • Erica {let why lead}
      April 19, 2012 at 11:42 pm

      Thank you, Vanessa! I got tears in my eyes just reading your comment! 🙂 But yes, living away from family makes you rely on each other, and I’ve found it has also helped us develop closer relationships with friends, which I think it another nice bonus.

      You are so sweet. I actually visit your blog regularly and will continue to. You and Heather do such a great job with it!

  • Sarah
    April 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    You’ve put into words what I have felt when we are with our extended family! I come home from our visits so RECHARGED and now I know why. I am seeing my boys through someone elses eyes! Its the same with my house – I’m always making excuses for it’s size, lack of character, etc but when others are here, they see something different than me and compliment how “homey” it is. {not to be confused with homley!} Thanks for this post!

  • Richella @ Imparting Grace
    April 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Way to go, Mom! How cool that you were able to partner with God in answering your sweet little fellow’s prayer and at the same time allow God to answer YOUR prayer for refreshment! I call that a win-win. 🙂

    Thanks so much for joining Grace at Home!

    • Erica {let why lead}
      April 25, 2012 at 4:15 am

      Thanks, Richella! You put it so perfectly—and in a way I hadn’t thought of—that both our prayers were answered by that outing. Thank you so much!