family building motherhood

Wholehearted Women Building Wholehearted Families

“Love and belonging are irreducible needs of men, women, and children.” Brene Brown

I’m excited to tell you that my writing here is taking on a new focus! It has been on my mind and heart for more than a year. I’ve tugged at it here and there, but what it comes down to is this:

I want my family to have such a strong family culture that our children derive a deep sense of identity from it. 

I want to fill our family up with traditions, silliness, adventure, faith, celebration, and meaningful conversation—all with the hope of giving our children an unquestionable sense of love and belonging, right here at home.

“Do you know why kids join gangs? It is because they crave an identity larger than themselves. They join for the ‘uniforms,’ for the colors, for the tattoos, for the secret handshakes and the symbols. They join for the belonging.Richard and Linda Eyre

I realize our kids will look for belonging outside of us, especially as they grow and enter the teen years. But I want them to feel that no matter what friends they choose, no matter the choices they make—they will always be rooted in our family.

In order to do that, I need to be, as Brené Brown would say, a wholehearted person. If you’re not already a fan of the now-famous shame researcher, you should be. 🙂 She describes wholehearted people as people who live and love fully, and no matter what happens to them, they never put their worthiness on the table.

Most of the wholehearted people she has met and interviewed fought their way to it. Only a small portion were parented to it.

I wouldn’t say I’ve arrived at wholehearted. When I’m disappointed in myself, I still feel that nagging sense of “not enough.” But I try to live and love fully, and I think I’m moving in the right direction, which I hope will give my kids their best possible chance at being wholehearted themselves (without having to fight their way to it). 

new focus2As for the blog, this gives me three reinvented avenues to explore, and I hope you’ll join me!

1. Becoming wholehearted. 
2. Raising wholehearted children. 
3. Building a deep sense of belonging and identity into our families. 

I’ll still be processing motherhood and marriage just like I always have, but I think this new focus will help me channel what it really means to be a “purposeful wife and mom,” the informal tagline I’ve always used to describe Let Why Lead.

Long story short—Let’s live fully and fill our families up with love and belonging!

“For all the lip service we pay to families in our culture, most of us have a nagging fear we’re not doing it as well as we might. We know our families are the single biggest influence on our well-being, yet we spend surprisingly little time trying to improve them… Having beaten the biological clock to have our kids, now we race a different ticking clock to help covert those kids into a family.” Bruce Feiler

Who’s in??

photo credit
Linked with On My HeartWorks for Me Wednesday, and What I Learned Wednesday

  • Courtney
    May 14, 2014 at 3:39 am

    Wonderful! This has been on my mind so much lately. I really want my children to have a strong sense of family identity, and I’m excited to read your thoughts on how to do that.

  • Katie @ Wonderfully Made
    May 14, 2014 at 5:23 am

    Absolutely love this, Erica! I’m in!

  • Sarabeth
    May 14, 2014 at 5:34 am

    As a new momma, my little guy is 3 weeks old today, this is actually something I have read about and contemplated on many times. I’m glad to have read this post and look forward to you sharing with us your journey while we are on ours <3

    • Erica Layne
      May 14, 2014 at 10:07 am

      Hi Sarahbeth! You put it perfectly – We’ll all be on the journey together. You have a great day! Thank you for reading!

  • stacy
    May 14, 2014 at 5:59 am

    YES!!!! Count me in, wholeheartedly 🙂

  • Missy June
    May 14, 2014 at 6:26 am

    My sweet husband says I do everything I do with my whole heart. I already knew that I was kind of an all-or-nothing gal, so this line of thought fits with what I’m learning about me. I will be reading your thoughts and look forward to great ideas! What a privilege we have to shape our families!

    • Erica Layne
      May 14, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      Thanks so much, Missy! It IS a privilege!

  • Sarah
    May 14, 2014 at 7:17 am

    I love this and can’t wait to read more! This topic is often on my mind and I could definitely use some inspiration to be better.

  • MrsD
    May 14, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Yes! I’m really looking forward to this. I never had a stable family growing up and with littles here as well, I’m determined to give them what I didn’t have. It’s hard to know how to go about it sometimes.
    Still looking forward to your pizza recipe as well!! Your very hot oven pizza trick was fabulous!!!

    • Erica Layne
      May 14, 2014 at 9:28 am

      Thank you! It IS hard to know how to go about it. What I love about this is that we can all do it together – I could use the motivation, too!

      I’m glad the hot over made a difference for you! I need to get on that pizza recipe! Truth be told, I got distracted by a few new recipes on pinterest, but I think my tried-and-true recipe is still in the lead. Once I’m sure, I’ll share! 🙂

  • Mary B
    May 14, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I’m in! I’ve been thinking about the very same subject A LOT lately. Let the journey begin!

    • Erica Layne
      May 14, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      Mar – You could write the book on this! You are one of the most whole-hearted people I know, and with all those family hikes and pool parties, your kids are already benefiting from a close family culture. I’m so lucky to have you to look up to!

      …I can’t WAIT to see you! Counting the weeks!

  • Jules
    May 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    I’m excited! I had really enjoyed your posts about family dinner earlier. As I’ve been coming out of the fog that is having a new baby I’ve been working on building my family up- better family dinners (at the table now that the baby can join us!) and just trying to establish a real sense of family first, including traditions and ideas of who we are as a family and what things we do for fun. Sometimes it takes more energy than I have to give, but I’ve really felt closer to my children this past month and I like to think they’ve been happier too. I’m in!

    • Erica Layne
      May 14, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      Me too, Jules! I don’t have the time or energy to do it all, but if I keep picking away at it, I think it has the potential to make a huge impact on how close our family is. Your kids are lucky to have you!

      And btw, the new baby fog is REAL! I’m happy for you that you feel like you’re coming out of it!

  • Amber
    May 14, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    You never cease to amaze me! You are truly inspired and I’ll be following along 🙂 XO

  • Ashley
    May 14, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Love!!! This has been on my mind a lot over the past few years as well. I’m excited to read on your ideas and the reminders I need. Yay!

    • Erica Layne
      May 15, 2014 at 11:05 am

      You are already doing all of this stuff so well! I love getting ideas from you, and I hope I can offer a few in return. Exciting!

  • Rachel T.
    May 15, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I’m in! This is great!

  • Whitney @ Journey Mercies
    May 16, 2014 at 2:34 am

    My husband and I have been talking about our family purpose statement, and this is just one more great piece that I’ll think we’ll use to build it. I love the idea of our family being a safe place where our children know they can always find acceptance and love, rooted in our acceptance through Christ.

    • Erica Layne
      May 17, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      Hi Whitney! I am prepping to talk about family purpose statements next week! (Assuming I get my ducks in a row. 🙂 Good for you guys for working on yours. Ours is a work in progress, but I’m excited to share it in the upcoming mini-series I’m planning. If you share yours on your blog (or have in the past), let me know!

  • Amelia
    May 17, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I love your blog! It has been a source of inspiration to me, especially the Marriage posts! I’m so IN! Cannot wait for the insightful and probably thought provoking posts! Thank you for your inspiration!

  • Dana
    May 17, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    I am so in. SO in. Lately I have found myself telling me two small boys this a lot: “Remember who you are… who WE are.” it seems to remind them, and we, we belong to something bigger, and yet our little family unit is so strong in itself. I wonder if that makes sense… but i’m excited to read more!

  • alex
    May 18, 2014 at 4:08 am

    Thanks for sharing your heart.
    I would be honored if you
    would follow my journey
    with Huntington’s Disease.
    http://www.livingwithpassion90.blogspot.com

  • Nat
    May 20, 2014 at 9:00 am

    “Williams are workers!” 🙂

    • Erica Layne
      May 20, 2014 at 9:45 am

      You know it! We’ve had to adapt it to Nielsens, but the other day Chase told me “Nielsens are workers” casually when he was just chatting in the van, and I felt so proud! 🙂

  • 22 Kid-Approved Acts of Kindness You Can Do THIS Week -
    February 17, 2015 at 6:32 am

    […] But for me at least, wanting to do everything usually leaves me doing a dozen things on a surface level instead of a few things wholeheartedly. […]

  • 9,762