Tiny Living As A Family (Episode 241)
It's getting Cramped here...
This was our month to really dive into travel, and share about the 90 Day Family Road Trip and how to create a life you don't want to escape from. We're tackling being together in close quarters this week, and tiny living as a family.
Yes, our plans, so typical of life, may change. Regardless of whether you're thinking any travel or vacations, you may be looking at downsizing and moving into smaller living quarters together, or some other form of tiny living as a family.
For us, it was hitting the road full time in our RV and exploring the states, starting back in October of 2016. As we hit the road - the core element of success for us as a family was not about having the perfect road trip planned out; it was our ability to live together peacefully in our tiny living quarters.
In times of conflict, struggle and stress, these same strategies apply.
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This may be a time where vacation is the last thing on your mind. This may be a time where you aren't traveling any further than you can walk.
Yet when it comes to transitions, upheaval, tensions, stress, conflict and more, even the biggest house can feel like the walls are closing in on you.
How do we hear each other?
Intentional communication isn't simply talking about what you already know. It's leaving space to hear the other person as well. This is powerful. Our family has been so big on communication, we typically have no problem telling others in our home what we're thinking/feeling.
Yet what I found was that we'd gone down this slippery slope of simply talking AT each other, sharing our perspectives, and...honestly, wasting a lot of time shouting from our towers about what we were seeing/feeling. That's only going to get us so far. Where we really hearing one another?
Are you having a collective monologue of people communicating...yet no one actually listening to one another?
This was quite the epiphany. There are two ways to listen to another's perspective. One allows them to simply talk at us and we try and connect the dots. The other is truly seeking to understand.
Opening the Door to Conversations
There are so many great resources out there to spur on conversations and connection with your family. A few we've personally used are the BrightLittles Conversation cards and Big Life Journal sheets. You can find journals, worksheets, a podcast, growth mindset movies and so much more over at the Big Life Journal site. I love it and highly recommend them. We're doing 5 Steps for A Positive Morning Routine right now that is a free printable I got from their newsletter, and it's amazing what little shifts can do to set the trajectory for the day. Simply stating what we feel and how we want to feel can make such a powerful impact!
With the BrightLittles cards, these are such a powerful way to open up deep and meaningful conversations with your kids, and get to know them better. Not just telling them the answers, but seeking to understand and really bring to light what they know and what they might have questions on. We had a beautiful conversation about the importance of this on episode 227 of the Mama Says Namaste Podcast. They are coming out with journals to go even further with these conversation cards.
Check your Openness
As you seek to connect with one another, are you truly creating the space to allow for it? Are you always wrapped up in just "one more thing" before you can show up for your family? I've completely been guilty of the "finish what I start" syndrome to a detriment. While it's great to have perseverance and stick with things to their completion, if completing a task sends a clear message on mixed priorities, it's time to re-think whether it's worth it. If I'm constantly sluffing off family dinner because I want to answer "just one more email", my need to complete my work has just negated the importance of family dinner. And my actions scream that emails are a higher priority than being with my family in that moment.
Are you open to hear someone else? Are you open leaving the more trivial things unfinished if a higher priority shows up? Are you willing to set aside a task for a relationship? Are you willing to course-correct when what you thought might work isn't helping?
Check Your Responsibility
On top of your willingness to show up and be present for those relationships that are a priority to you, it's also important that you step into personal responsibility for your own actions and your own communication.
It is not up to your family to read your mind and be fully responsive to your needs. There are a lot of moving parts in a family. To truly work as a team, just like in sports, you aren't waiting for someone else to do your role for you - you are responsible for doing your part.
That means communicating what is going on in your head - no mind reading. If you are fried, communicate it and take the space you need to recharge so you can show up fully. If you are frustrated, share what's going on - maybe you need to preface it by explaining you just need to vent, or you need help - with clear communication on what's going on in your head and what support you are looking for from others, you are able to bypass so many games, assumptions and miscommunication.
When you step into knowing yourself fully and how to get the best out of yourself (meaning you know how to recharge, what motivates you, and what triggers you), you're better able to be a support to the family team, and to focus on what you all can create together versus try to decipher and figure out in each other. We have to be able to voice what we're capable of taking in/processing/doing at the moment.
This doesn't mean you just check off "knowing yourself" and you're golden. It's a life-long process! It simply means you're willing to, first and foremost, bring awareness to your actions and reactions in life, and take full ownership of them. It's not getting it perfect; simply taking ownership. You can continue to learn, grow and refine throughout your lifetime.
Meet Each Other Where You Are
Every time we have a transition, trauma, setback, or even positive change, it shifts us. We have to step back and get to know ourselves in this specific dynamic. We're constantly changing, ebbing through the struggle of life lessons and epiphanies that open up new insights and understanding.
Since we're all constantly changing, we have to be open about where we are - with ourselves and each other. And, we have to be willing to meet people where they are. We have to be willing to course correct. Maybe our plans have changed because of the weather or sickness. Or maybe our plans have changed because we're aware that a mindset shift has to happen first.
When my oldest was a toddler, we would have some epic battles of tantrums where we both were too stubborn to give. I was the parent, dammit, and she needed to buck up and show up.
And yet she couldn't see past the devastation of the moment, where she was angry and what she couldn't do. The more I'd force her to "get over it," the more she'd resist.
And I got a powerful insight from a friend. "Meet her where she's at."
That was a monumental shift in our relationship. The next tantrum she had, I simply sat with her first. I acknowledged her anger and frustration before we ever talked about a solution. We simply sat with the moment of what was being felt. And giving validation to her present feelings first created an incredibly beautiful shift in our ability to work through things and move on.
A different Perspective
Like I mentioned above, we got to such a "great" level of communication that our whole family could simply sit in our own towers shouting out our perspectives. Who was really listening?
Try this on for size - instead of simply sharing your perspective, think of it more like an interview. You two are trying to figure out how the other thinks, processes, and desires. What if you had a conversation around seeking to understand one another? What if, instead of just stating your perspective, you share an insight, and then, allow the other person to ask a clarifying question to better understand?
What if, when you're frustrated at how another person reacted, you went to them and asked them to help you understand their thought process vs. you simply sharing how felt?
Don't simply create a "collective monologue" like the quote above. Ensure it's not just everyone sharing perspectives - it's truly people seeking to understand one another.
Think of Yourself as Garlic
Anyone who has watched Shrek knows the onion analogy - people are like onions with different layers, correct? Well we recently heard a different slant on this - people are like garlic.
Think about that - a garlic isn't layered; it has many different cloves. Similar to the different characters we may play. I'm a woman. I'm a mother. I'm a daughter, sister, friend, businesswoman, wife, niece, aunt...
There are so many characters and roles we play. Instead of shoving some of them into a deeper layer, play with all the characters that represent you, and what you want to show up for each situation. There are times where my mom-hat takes a back burner while I go into business-mode, or shift to intimacy with Nathan.
How do you want to show up in this relationship? How much are you investing, and are you intentionally stating what emotions you want to feel (which you're capable of creating)? Being honest with all these different "cloves" of who you are not only helps others better understand you; it gives them permission to do the same.
Experiment with what works for all of you as a family - use that red-light-green-light approach to see what works for you all in this current season.
What can you do for 90 days? What can you try as a family - with showing up, being honest with where you are, and where you want to go? What little shifts might you try?
Really think about this. What is your goal in your conversations? Do you understand what triggers there are for your family members? What sets people off into reaction mode? Are you teasing each other about your flaws, or otherwise speaking to/affirming that negative vs. what you want to see?
Are you allowing for breathers and space for everyone to recharge - on their own, as well as shifting family dynamics around to let everyone experience 1-1 with each other as well? Try a new dance. Get creative. When you're talking with someone and sharing perspectives, do it in such a way so that it's not shouting from your tower, but two people interviewing each other; seeking to understand how and why behind the processing, so you truly can celebrate how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.
- Mindset with Let's Travel Family (Episode 106)
- Travel Lessons Learned (Episode 103)
- How to keep your sanity on Travel Days (Episode 54)
- Travel Gift Ideas
- Florida State Parks Volunteer Spotlight on the Logsdon Family
- Our Experience as Camp Hosts - Ashley Interview on the Workamper Show
- Working with Families as Camp Hosts on the Park Leader Show (Logsdon Family Interview)
- Adventure is a Mindset (Episode 52)
- When Adventures Go Awry (Episode 51)
- Family Dreams – Seek Adventure Together! (Episode 48)
- Thankful for The Life I Don’t Want To Escape From (Episode 226)