Season 2 Episode 4
Welcome to season two of the Intentional Family Moment where the co-founders of Coriaria interview a variety of families seeking to live an intentional family life.
This episode is sponsored by Everflect – Your free couple’s council tool. Learn more at everflect.com.
On this episode, we talk to Laura Keith about living life on her toes with her husband as they navigate the “trenches” of raising four active kiddos five and under. They find fulfillment as they work on parenting more proactively and learning from each day to keep moving forward.
What is your family’s story?
Ty and I met in college. We were actually both born and raised in Ontario, Canada, and I had heard this new guy had just moved into our apartment complex and he was from Canada, so I kind of figured it was some common ground we could start with.
We hit it off and we were friends for a little while. It didn’t take long until we realized it was more than friends, and not long after that, we got married. It’s just kind of funny that we were born and raised so close together, but it’s not going to school in Utah for us to meet.
I think something that is a little bit unique about our experience is that for a lot of newlyweds, you know, you just kind of enjoy your time. As you come down from the craziness of getting married and the wedding and all that stuff just kind of relax. Probably the first month after we got married, we were both independently thinking about having kids, and that was pretty weird to us because we figured we would give ourselves some time and just kind of settle into being married. But within the first month of being married, it was on both of our minds. And so we we approached that question prayerfully and ultimately we decided to entertain the possibility of having kids a lot sooner than planned.
While we were quote unquote “making” this decision, I was already pregnant with our first daughter. The timing was not intentional. I feel like we were able to take that change in our plans gracefully. We had wanted to have our kids close in age and so we followed through with that plan and so we had Maddie 10 months after we got married. And then we had our son 14 months after that, followed by our next daughter two years later and our last baby two years after her, who was born just this past August.
It’s been a very crazy ride. We have a pretty full life, and I think we’re kind of a spectacle when we’re out in public. There’s definitely the people who smile and appreciate how adorable it is have so many tiny kids in a shopping cart. But there’s definitely those Costco shoppers who like to remind me that college is gonna be ten million dollars how full my hands are. And my response to that is that it’s all good things and that we chose this. So, yeah, that’s our family.
Something you said was that your life is very full. What are some things that you think contribute to feeling fulfilled and full in your life?
With kids, you can have the good, the bad and the ugly always in the same span of two minutes, and there’s challenges with that. But there’s also a lot of joy that comes out of what you learn from those situations where you’re having to deal with these little people who are learning how to use this body that’s growing at this ferocious pace and having to keep up with all these things. They’re just so excited to learn, so curious. They have so many questions.
I think one of the most fulfilling things for me is watching the lightbulb come on for them when they get something. When you know you can really answer those questions that they have and they’re able to move forward and be able to apply that knowledge for themself and be better in social situations, or solve a problem that they thought they needed help with before and things like that. It’s really fulfilling to see them grow and to know that you’re part of that process, even though you’re not perfect, that you’re able to facilitate that for them.
So in talking about the good, the bad, and the ugly that happens, what are some ways that humor plays a role in maintaining and promoting family unity?
You know, you’ll have those those moments that are really tense where you know they’ve done something or said something that clearly they shouldn’t have done. Somebody will just break and start laughing, or your toddler will just have done something in the moment you’re ticked off because they’ve unrolled the whole roll of toilet paper into the toilet, and there’s all these motions of like, “Oh! It’s wasteful, we have to pull that out of there now.” But, then you step back for a second and you look at it and you’re like, “Okay, this is all part of it. And this is gonna be funny in two minutes if I just give it a chance.” Sometimes it’s just funny now.
I think, watching the kids interact, you see and you learn that they are really good mirrors of what they’re seeing us do. Our third little girl is two, and she has this homely little baby doll. She’ll get in this mode where she’s like, “Where’s my baby?” And she’ll find it, and as soon as she walks up to it, she’ll yell at it and say, “Go to you your room!”
As a parent, you gotta look at that, and you’re like, “Well, I guess maybe I’ve just walked up to you and yelled at you and you’ve taken that to heart and I’m going to try to maybe the model better patterns for you in the future”. It’s funny to watch in the meantime. Life’s too short not to laugh.
I love that. And I love thinking about embracing the whole experience. Every part of it. Parenting especially involves the whole plethora of emotions and experiences. Like you said earlier, that these little kids they’re experiencing this for the first time. All of these new emotions, these things they’re learning from us and our behaviors and also what they’re trying to figure out themselves.
So what are some ways that you work together as parents in supporting each other in that crazy whirlwind of parenting?
I really like that question because I think that could be challenging. Earlier in our parenthood journey, there was kind of this vibe of not wanting to step on toes to the point where we weren’t addressing things that may be needed to be addressed. And so, as we’ve learned to communicate better and say these things sometimes in the moment, “Hey, is that really what we want to do here?”
Sometimes as a parent, you get on your kick where you’re not being as intentional with what you’re doing. You’re just kind of reacting. And I think sometimes if you take a moment to just step back and look at the situation and realize that this isn’t really the hill you want to die on, and letting the other person “No, I don’t think we really want to handle it that way. Is this what you really want?”, and giving them an opportunity to kind of look at it and say yes or no, and and move forward from there and not be afraid to let your kids see that you’re not perfect, and apologize to them if you need to. There’s never going to be a time where you reach this point where you know it all, and you’re going to do it perfectly every day because we’re all just doing the best we can and conditions are never really perfect.
What does it mean to you to live an intentional family life?
For us, I think having an intentional family life has gone back to having a vision for what we’ve wanted. I think with time and with life that vision changes from the very get go. That vision played into how we dealt with the fact that we had our first child come really soon and unexpectedly, we already had that vision that we wanted children and we wanted kids close together. And so we were able to maintain that vision and not get stressed out about the fact that it wasn’t working on the timing that we might have wanted.
Along with that vision comes prioritizing what’s the most important. For Ty and I, we’ve always wanted our family to be the most important thing in our life. For us now, we’re kind of at the tail end of having all these kids so close together and it’s been a lot. It’s been difficult at times, and there’s other things, other challenges in life and extended family and things that play into that and make it even more difficult at times.
We’re both kind of coming to a place where we realize that we need to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves and making sure that our buckets are full so that we have something to give to our kids on a day to day basis. If our well is dry because we aren’t thinking about what’s important to us, we aren’t pursuing the things that really make us feel fulfilled, then we’re not going to be able to be the kinds of parents that we want to be to them.
Along with that prioritization is just recognizing that we’re really blessed that we have these days, that they start and they end and a lot of them don’t go the way that we hope or that we plan. For myself and for any other recovering perfectionists out there, that idea of perfection is just a myth. Making progress and taking those little steps forward and doing a little bit better than the day before, That’s where the money is. That’s where we really see those lasting changes and that fulfillment of being satisfied with are our days and ultimately with our life.
We’d like to thank Laura for joining us on this episode of the intentional family moment. This week, we challenge our listeners to find some humor in a tense moment and share it with your spouse.