Guest blogger, Erica Jacobs Green, the author of Whose Birthday Is It? writes from Iceland about motherhood, stress, and carving out special time to read personalized children’s books with her kids.
Honk! Was that a big rig? This month, it feels like there’s an interstate highway in the middle of my living room. I work from home and my job has become particularly busy. I have a handful of new clients and I’m trying to catch up from vacation days I took for the kids’ Spring Break. If that weren’t enough, we are also preparing for a big move, which means we are house-hunting and researching schools and trying to prepare for this big transition.
All houses and families can get like this: to a point where work and kid’s schedules feel totally overwhelming. During times like this I know one thing for certain: I need to somehow find a way to press pause.
To add to my life’s craziness, the weather has been erratic: from snow, to blazing sun, to freezing temps. Instead of letting this increase my stress level, I want to find a way to use the season to take a small break from the whirlwind of life, to help me press pause. But how can I use the season to bring calm to my family and to my life?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to use the natural world and the seasons in our family activities, in my kids’ playtime, and in our rituals. For me, it will mean getting outside into nature and embracing the weather—whatever it may be. There are dozens of ways to do this during spring, from taking a walk with your child through the rain, to picking a bouquet of spring flowers, to finding the one sunny spot outside to read a story.
Quiet time with a book always gets me grounded again. Sitting with my kids to read is like hitting a reset button. So this week, I’m going to head outside with my children and sit by the ocean’s edge, just down the street from our house. We’ll set aside 20 minutes, pick our favorite Paper Hat Press book, which for my daughter is Little Sparkle and for my son is Whose Birthday Is It?, and we’ll watch the water while we read. Since the stories are personalized, filled with details about us, it will give us a chance to think of all the great little things in our life that make us happy. Another thing that makes reading personalized children’s books more fun is that when we find all the little tidbits about us in the story, I know we’ll stop to talk about them, which will allow us to really savor this special moment.
We won’t let my busy schedule or the seasonal weather dissuade us. In fact, it may be more fun if the weather is crazy. We’ll vow to welcome wild and wonderful spring even if that means holding an umbrella over the book, putting on our thick Icelandic sweaters, or (if we are lucky) wearing our sunglasses.
How will you press pause and enjoy nature and your kids this spring?
Erica Jacobs Green has worked in book publishing for nearly twenty years. Her award-winning writing has appeared in anthologies, newspapers, and online. Currently a freelance writer and editor, Erica is also the co-founder of Ever After Studio and working on a novel. Her book Whose Birthday Is It? was recently published by Paper Hat Press. Originally from California, Erica lives in Reykjavik, Iceland with her husband and two small children in a house full of traveler’s artifacts.