When it comes to family, every member of your tribe brings something unique to the team. Teaching them early and often how important it is to build teamwork will not only benefit your family; it’ll teach your child the value of working with others to accomplish a goal.
Talk with any human resource officer and they’ll tell you—being able to effectively function as a team member is a valued skill. They look for it when hiring new team members, along with other essential skills like communication, conflict management and problem-solving.
There are lots of fun ways you can build teamwork into your family’s daily living.
Here are a few examples:
Share chores. Since you aren’t running a hotel, it takes everybody contributing something to keep everything going. From feeding the dog, picking up clothes and making beds to clearing the table, loading the dishwasher, vacuuming, packing lunches and folding laundry, even the youngest family member plays an important role. Talk about the difference it makes when everybody works together to get it all done.
Cook together. Deciding on a menu, buying all the ingredients, prepping ahead of time and preparing the meal allows for lots of teamwork. Then sit down and eat the meal together to celebrate what you accomplished!
Play games as a family that require teamwork. Whether it’s going to an escape room and figuring it out together, playing Minute to Win it or Jenga together, or creating an obstacle course in your yard, these games teach the concept of working together to accomplish a goal and it’s fun in the process.
Volunteer. Giving back to others as a family teaches your child many lessons, not the least of which is the value of serving and exposing them to worlds they may not realize exist. Helping to build a hiking trail at a park, picking up trash along the river or in your neighborhood, serving food at a community kitchen, or mowing and raking an elderly neighbor’s yard instills self-confidence in your child. It also encourages problem-solving, teaches them their presence and voice matter and lets them experience the impact you can have working together as a team.
Plan a trip or a staycation. As you prepare for your next trip or even a staycation, add some fun to the mix! Instead of planning it all yourself, divide up the responsibilities among family members. (When and where you’ll stop to eat, sights should you plan to see along the way, the best route to take and how much gas will it take to get there, etc.) Oh, and be sure you have someone in charge of fun—as in elements of surprise that only you and the “fun person” know about! Give the ones working on food a budget to work with. And, share any cool sights that you know of as a jumping-off point for the sightseeing planners.
It’s worth it!
Getting the whole crew involved might be a bit more time-consuming, but the teamwork opportunities and lessons are endless. Not to mention you’re making family memories, especially when unexpected things happen like a flat tire, a detour or foul weather, requiring the team to make a quick adjustment.
While you’re trying to build teamwork, your kids might not be super appreciative. However, over time it’s pretty likely the benefits of working together will pay off. Things like: realizing that as a family, we can do tough things together and get to the other side. Having different personalities, likes and dislikes makes us strong together. We depend on each other to help carry the load. We can disagree or not do something right and still love each other. There’s more than one way to get a job done.
Here’s what’s really awesome: your goal is to get your family to work together as a team. In the process of doing that, you’re teaching your children a life skill that will work for them forever. That’s a good and powerful thing.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/pexels-august-de-richelieu-4259140-1-e1599658470726.jpg7101400Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2020-09-09 09:30:412022-04-14 10:40:395 Ways to Build Teamwork in Your Family
Chattanooga is home to a ton of fun events, activities, and experiences for kids of all ages!! Explore the rich history of the city, enjoy all the animals (from penguins to the average house cat), get your creative juices flowing, and more with these unique, Chattanooga local mother-daughter date ideas!
BONUS: Want to download this list of Chattanooga mother-daughter dates? Click HERE!
Polly Claire’s Tea Room This quaint, historic tea room is the perfect place for your next mother-daughter experience! Enjoy a cup of tea and your daughters company for an experience she won’t forget.
Pottery Painting (The Pottery Place or River City Pottery) Grab a brush, some paint, a pice of pottery, and create a masterpiece! Your daughter will love this creative experience.
ArtsyU Painting Studio Similar to painting pottery, why not take a painting class together? You and your daughter can create a beautiful piece of art while being instructed by a professional.
Chattanooga Zoo Experience wild peacocks, exotic animals, fun events, more at the Chattanooga Zoo! You can even book a wild encounter to get a behind-the-scenes look at the animals, how to care for them, and why they’re at the zoo!
TN Aquarium Who doesn’t love river otters, penguins, butterflies, lemurs, stingrays… the list just keeps going! Be sure to reserve a full day to get the most of all the aquarium has to offer.
High Point Climbing Center Don’t worry, you don’t have to climb the wall with her if you don’t want to! She’ll have a great time feeling strong and capable while getting some of that energy out!
Naughty Cat Cafe Any cat lovers in the room? Take a trip to Chattanooga’s first and only Cat Cafe! Enjoy a complimentary drink and snack while cuddling with kitties!
Chattanooga Lookouts You don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy a night with The Lookouts! Their season typically ranges from April to September.
Under $20 or Free:
Coolidge ParkThe next sunny day, be sure to stop by Coolidge Park for a great time with your daughter! From riding the carousel (only $1!) to having a picnic by the water.
Creative Discovery Museum (Second Thursday of Every Month) Family Night at The Creative Discovery Museum is fun for kids of all ages! Plus, it’s free!
International Towing & Recovery Museum Okay, this one might not sound as exciting, but it’s still a ton of fun! Explore a piece of Chattanooga history with your daughter while learning something new!
Chattanooga Market You don’t even have to buy anything (although popcorn is a plus!) to enjoy The Chattanooga Market. Typical season is from April through December.
Visit an animal shelter (McKamey or Humane Society) If you can have enough will-power to keep from adopting all the adorable dogs and cats, the animal shelter is a fun place for both you and your daughter!
Wilderness Outdoor Movie Theater Although this movie theater only runs during the warm months of the year, she’ll never forget the experience she had! Plus, it’s only 20 minutes from downtown! Bring cash though, they don’t accept cards!
Lake Winepesaukah Also best during the summer months, this local amusement point is a great choice for a full day of fun! From roller coasters to water slides, Lake Winnie is one of Chattanooga’s best attractions!
See Rock City If you’ve ever driven on I-24, you’ve seen the signs, the barns, and the billboards. But have you seen Rock City? Your daughter will love a full day exploring the beauty of Lookout Mountain and beyond!
Raccoon Mountain Caverns Take an adventure like never before and explore the caverns of Raccoon Mountain together! This guided tour will teach your daughter all about caves, the creatures that live in them, and how she can help protect their beauty!
White Water Rafting on The Ocoee River This activity is not for the faint of heart! If your daughter loves daring adventures, she’ll love the experience of racing through the rapids!
Hidden Hills Farm & Saddle Club Take a trail ride on a horse together or enjoy one of the many events on the farm at one of Chattanooga’s hidden gems! Be sure to schedule your ride in advance (and wear your best cowgirl outfit!)
Chester Frost Park Want a trip to the beach but don’t have time to hop over to Florida? This man-made beach on Dallas Bay has great playgrounds, picnic areas, and so much more!
Enterprise South Nature Park Not your average park! Follow these walking trails for an up-close look at part of Chattanooga history: the location of ammunition bunkers for World War II. Although they’re empty now, it’s still a neat sight to see!
Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center Book a guided canoe trip, do some birdwatching, or enjoy a peaceful walk on one of their many trails! You’ll both feel reenergized and reconnected with nature by the end of your trip!
TN Riverpark From the Chickamauga Dam, through Downtown, and on to Historic Saint Elmo, this 10-mile paved trail has plenty of opportunity for a bike ride, a picnic, or a fun time by the Tennessee River!
Sculpture Fields at Montague Park One of Chattanooga’s most recent additions, Sculpture Fields features 33 acres full of sculptures from around the world!
Warner Park Pool and Spray and Play For $2-$3 (depending on age), you and your daughter can enjoy a full day by the poolside! This public pool is close to downtown and open to the public for some summer fun!
Chickamauga Dam Recreation Area Featuring one of Chattanooga’s best playgrounds, this beautiful recreation area has enough for a full day of fun! Enjoy a splash in the water, grill some lunch, and explore the walking trails!
As a mom of two young girls, I struggle with the idea of being present vs. perfect. But I had this idea. A fun, whimsical baking sesh with my uber-helpful daughter, Jackie, baking a beautiful, homemade, delicious, vegan Frozen-themed cake for her 4th birthday party. I was determined to make it happen. I was going for “super mom” status as I prepared for a small family get together that became an elaborate Frozen-themed birthday extravaganza. I’d already sent out the FB event invite. This was Jackie’s “un-FOUR-gettable” birthday. It was too late. I had to make it unforgettable.
So the pressure was on. The ingredients splayed on the counter, complete with sifter and spatula. We went to work. Now, I have to admit, I’ve tried baking before. With okay results. Nothing too horrible. But when you’re a mom and you’re working with a limited time frame, and multiple kids running around, constantly needing something (water, milk, snack, attention!!) an easy recipe to follow suddenly becomes a daunting, time-consuming luxury you just don’t have. Or is that just me?
Either way, I welcomed Jackie’s help in combining the cake ingredients.
She helped sift the flour, held the measuring cups and poured the contents in the mixing bowl. It was a slow, imperfect process, full of spills and extra time allowing a 3 (almost 4) year-old to “do it all by my own.” There were so many moments where I had to remind myself that the time we spent together baking this cake was more important than the mess we’d have to clean up or the extra time it took with more cooks in the kitchen. Present vs. perfect.
I even had to re-envision my idea of a “fun, whimsical baking sesh.” The truth is, life is MESSY. And kids require A LOT of patience. To think we could bake a cake together in 30 minutes was downright laughable… it took roughly an hour and a half to finally pop that pan into the oven. By then my patience proved tested over and over. I revised my idea of a mother-daughter bonding time multiple times. I modified my expectations of perfection greatly.
It’s this elusive idea that parents know is actually impossible, yet continually strive for and are sorely disappointed when any factor detracts from their path to it (i.e. a crying child who wanted to use the small spatula, NOT the big spatula). We snap photos of a perfect smile, hoping we can mask the reality of tears, emotion, frustration, and impatience with a clever #unfourgettablebakingsesh! But the truth is, it doesn’t matter if it took more time to bake the cake, and it doesn’t matter that the cake didn’t even… ahem… turn out good (more on that later*).
What matters is that I took the time to include my daughter in helping to make her own birthday cake. It was special mother-daughter time, even if it didn’t go exactly how I wanted it to go in my head. Even though it wasn’t perfect. I was present. She was present.
The time we spent together is what made it unforgettable.
*I’ve come to accept that I’m clearly NOT a baker. I’ll gladly pay $45 for a delicious bakery cake. I’ve learned that I don’t enjoy it and I’m not good at it. And I don’t have the time, or energy, or desire to improve my baking skills. Although I followed the directions to a T… somehow the cake didn’t bake evenly and the middle ended up being a sunken pile of goo, albeit tasty goo.
Although I felt embarrassed and slightly ashamed to serve the cake at Jackie’s birthday party, I did it anyway. I warned people that the middle miiiight not have baked fully and that it wouldn’t offend me if they didn’t eat it. And while the adults all took some bites and shook their heads with a sympathetic “Mmmm hmmm” as they reached the goo-filled middle, I’m happy to report that all the kids loved it.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/grayscale-photography-of-mother-and-child-1089077-scaled-e1597074185171.jpg300450Tamara Slocumhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngTamara Slocum2020-01-13 12:51:022022-04-29 10:00:39Present vs. Perfect Makes For Unforgettable Moments
It’s here—that season when you throw sanity out the window and with wild abandon throw yourself full throttle into the holidays. I mean, there are things to do, people to see, and places to go. Not to mention there’s only a certain amount of time to make things happen. Right?
For the most part, we’re really good at our to-do lists. We get the coveted gifts for our family, hopefully at the prices we want to pay. We plan holiday gatherings and assign tasks to our guests. Plus, we ferociously clean and shop and wrap and eat. Then, if we’re honest, we often complain either inwardly or outwardly about how we try to make the season merry and bright for the ones we love. When that’s the case, we look a lot less like Santa and a lot more like the Grinch.
Maybe you gave up aiming for the “perfect” holiday, but you’re still stressed about all you want to pack into the month. Even if you’ve opted for simpler moments of peace and quiet, you may find yourself wrestling with everybody else’s expectations.
The holiday season is full of opportunities for us to really be there for our friends, family, and even strangers.
It may be tempting to rush through it all and complete our to-do list with as little financial and emotional damage as possible. However, this season has the unique potential to create a new mindshift going forward.
A couple of years ago, a holiday to-do list went viral, probably for a lot of reasons. But perhaps the most important reason is that in spite of how “connected” we say we are, people are longing for the presence of people in their lives. The list is a great reminder of ways we can be present during the holidays and in the lives of others.
Keeping this list in mind can set the tone for how you give what you give during the holidays and beyond. It’s kind of amazing that the most meaningful gift we can give doesn’t require us to spend money. But in our minds, it may be the most costly present—because we can’t be completely present with someone while focusing on something else at the same time. Perhaps the best present is to be present during the holidays. Time is the one thing that once you spend it, you can’t get it back.
Dr. Suess said, “Sometimes you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” There will always be things to buy, but the moments when we give our best selves to people are what make lasting memories.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/family-sits-on-table-inside-kitchen-3171153-scaled-e1597075054763.jpg239450Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2019-12-09 06:30:002021-12-21 17:49:06How to Be Present During the Holidays
A CBS piece shared the story of Dale Schroeder, a humble man from Iowa. He worked as a carpenter at the same company for 67 years. He never married and had no children.
Since he had no living relatives, he approached his lawyer about a plan for his money after he passed away. His lawyer asked him how much he was talking about, and Schroeder said, “A little shy of $3 million.” The lawyer said he almost fell out of his chair when Schroeder told him the amount.
Schroeder never had the opportunity to attend college himself. However, he wanted to help kids from Iowa who otherwise would not have the opportunity to receive a college education. Schroeder passed away in 2005, but his legacy lives on.
In all, Schroeder provided college tuition for 33 people. They call themselves “Dale’s Kids.” They’re now teachers, therapists, and doctors, among other professions. None of them have any college debt—thanks to Schroeder. While they can’t thank Schroeder personally, they can show generosity by passing his generosity on to others.
Certainly, giving financially to a worthy cause is one way to be generous, but that’s not the only way. You can also show generosity by giving your time or lending a listening ear.
For example, a 90-year-old woman sent a note to her next-door neighbor. She said she was lonely, scared, and had no friends. Then, she asked the neighbor if she’d consider spending some time with her. Sometimes just your presence is an incredibly generous gift.
However you choose to be generous, here’s the really cool thing: not only does it benefit the person you are helping; it also benefits you.
“Helping is love made visible in acts of generosity small and large,” says best-selling author of Why Good Things Happen to Good People, speaker and Stony Brook professor, Stephen G. Post.
Post says that showing generosity is good for our self-esteem and well-being.
In a study of people over the age of 65, those who volunteered in the past scored higher in life satisfaction and had fewer symptoms of sickness. Those who did not volunteer proved to be sicker and unable to give to others. Post believes that feeling happy and connected to others are fundamental components to overall health, and that being generous with others forms bonds that are meaningful which then increases our happiness. Being a generous giver actually makes us want to be more giving in the future.
Post also finds that showing generosity is empowering. It inspires others to be compassionate and pay it forward.
“When the happiness and security of others is as meaningful to you as your own, you are a person of love and you will flourish,” Post says.
Being generous is contagious.
When someone else is generous to you, it encourages you to show generosity to others, too. Giving of your time and resources can really feel good, and it has the potential to create a ripple effect of kindness in your home and community. Giving to others is powerful and makes for happier, healthier people.
Think about the many ways you have experienced blessings from others and the chance you have to bless people you know, as well as perfect strangers. The good news is, you don’t have to have saved $3 million dollars in order to be generous.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/cdc-F98Mv9O6LfI-unsplash-scaled-e1597075394919.jpg230450Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2019-11-25 00:00:002021-02-15 13:28:22How Can You Show Generosity?
Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Maybe you just aren’t feeling thankful this year. Maybe you haven’t felt thankful for a long, long time. Let’s face it, in a lot of ways, we live in some dark times. I’m with you. There is a reason that suicides go up* during the holidays. There is a reason that this is the season for infidelity and divorce. So, what do you do if, honestly, you just don’t feel very thankful on Thanksgiving?
Don’t beat yourself up for not “feeling it” this year.
It won’t help. You already know that you don’t live in a Third World country without clean drinking water and basic infrastructure. I’m not hitting you with all that stuff. Things can be hard no matter what tax bracket you’re in. Sometimes being more affluent makes it harder to be thankful. Mo’ money, mo’ problems. You don’t have to feel bad for feeling bad. You don’t have to feel bad for not feeling thankful, either.
It might be time to take a hard look at your Thanksgiving Game Plan.
Does it involve a lot of family and travel? Tons of cooking or hosting? Seeing people that might be family, but are difficult to be around? Traditions that come with all kinds of expectations?
This might be the year to start some new Thanksgiving traditions. This might be the year that parents, in-laws, and extended family are all informed that your family will be doing something different this Thanksgiving. (Translation: We won’t be piling kids into a car, fighting traffic for hours, and showing up stressed out with a casserole.)
Try this: “This year, we are taking advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday to stay at home and rest and focus on our family. We wish all of you a wonderful, Happy Thanksgiving!”
There is nothing wrong with that! Your family should get it. Hey, they might be relieved.
Is what you’re referring to as “not feeling thankful” really masking a deeper issue? Is it more accurate to say that you are “unhappy?” Maybe even depressed? Anxious? Lonely? Angry? Bitter? Think of your feelings as an iceberg. Not feeling thankful might be what is showing above the surface, but the deeper issues that need to be dealt with are below the surface.
Sometimes we slap a bandaid on a superficial issue, put on our brave face, go through the motions, and never address what’s really wrong. (We might even be able to fool those close to us for a while.) This isn’t a long-term solution. What we think we are hiding below the surface eventually will “bubble up” in ways that hurt us and even cause pain to those we care about. It’s probably already happening…
Take care of yourself. Hear that? Go get the help you need. This might be the Thanksgiving that you will always be thankful for because you took your mental and emotional health seriously and made self-care a priority in your life.
Okay, you aren’t feeling thankful this Thanksgiving. Often, we look at thankfulness as a feeling and it totally can be something you feel. But sometimes thankfulness is a practice or a discipline or a habit. Thankfulness can be something we do or something we cultivate, not just something we feel. (We get into this habit of letting our feelings drive our actions– I mean we’ve all tried to explain our choices by saying, “Because I felt like it,” right?)
Catch this last thing. This is really cool and it isn’t some Yoda or Mr. Miyagi stuff, but sometimes the actions come first and then the feelings follow. Read that again.
Cultivate thankfulness even though you don’t feel it. Yet.
1. Sit down and list everything you are (or should be) thankful for. Think of different areas of your life, include all the big and all the little things. Start really basic: “I’m alive.”
2. Write a “thank you” card to someone who impacted your life and explain how they influenced you. Try to avoid electronic communication if at all possible. A handwritten note gives you more time to ponder as you write and will mean so much to whoever receives it. Write a few cards if you can. They still make stamps, right?
3. Find a way to make someone else happy this Thanksgiving. It doesn’t have to be big or showy. Often, the smaller the act of kindness, the better. It can be totally anonymous.
Listen, this might sound heartless, but you don’t feel thankful on Thanksgiving this year. So what? How can you make someone else thankful? Make it your mission. Get creative. Get a little crazy. What is a need someone has that you can meet?
Hold on, hold on. Wait a second! What is that you’re feeling? Thankful…
*If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, there are a number of websites and organizations with excellent resources for you. HelpGuide is a great place to start, along with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/element5-digital-RPjyNMHDrFY-unsplash-1-scaled-e1597259509671.jpg211450John Daumhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJohn Daum2019-11-14 09:09:502022-12-01 10:31:13What to Do When You Don’t Feel Thankful on Thanksgiving
Being a parent makes life better. Let me tell you why.
I’m currently writing this while sitting at a coffee shop on a rainy afternoon, and there is a table of three very chatty, obnoxious, silly, giggly 12-year-old girls directly hovering over cinnamon rolls and muffins directly in my line of sight.
One of them – the slender redhead with clear blue eyes – is my oldest daughter. The other two, her friends, will be coming over later for a sleepover that I’m sure will be much of the same behavior.
As I peer over toward them from time to time (trying to remain undetected), I can’t help but think quickly through a play-by-play of my daughter’s life, starting with our first introduction to her in the hospital: sleeping in my arms, the tiniest, most vulnerable thing. And I remember thinking, “Does life get any better than this?”
Fast forward not too many weeks: middle of the night, trying my best to change a diaper in less-than-optimal lighting, taking on a less-than-optimal aroma as she fights through her cries and tears because all she really wants to do is go back to sleep. And I remember thinking, “Doesn’t life get better than this?”
Then there’s the memory of coming alongside her as she served a Thanksgiving dinner to the visitors of our community’s homeless shelter: watching her smile and bright blue eyes brighten the day for some folks who desperately need a bright day. And I thought, “Man, life just doesn’t get any better than this.”
Of course, growing up is hard and learning lessons can be even harder.
Like the time I caught her in a lie about what she was looking at on her cell phone: That was a tough discussion, and my heart and my brain were at odds with what exactly to do. Tough love won out in the end and she was grounded from her phone for a time as well as from attending the big school rivalry football game the next night. She went to bed distraught and in tears; I went to bed with my own tears, thinking, “Surely life is going to get better than this.”
And back to today: I look on that blue-eyed redhead as she talks and laughs with her friends (still trying not to be detected), seeing the joy on her face, and I think, “Wow – I don’t think life can get better than this.”
A friend of a friend of mine was once asked what parenthood was like for him, and I think his response is the best description I’ve ever heard: “It’s just… more.” It’s more ups, more downs. It’s more joys, more tears. More money spent, more stuff on the floor, more to plan for birthdays and holidays and weekends and vacations. It’s more laughter, more struggles, more trying to just figure things out, more seeing great things happen despite us. More pride as a parent, more hard lessons learned, more hope for the future.
If you are a parent and you’re in one of these (or other) phases of “more,” know that you’re not alone. All us parents are in the “more,” but one thing is for certain – when life as a parent doesn’t seem like it could be much better, days are still to come when life just can’t get any better.
Take notice of the times when you see your kids showing signs of growth. This is hard for a parent sometimes because a part of us doesn’t want to see our kids grow up. You have to intentionally experience joy when we see the little milestones of maturity – like when they’re enjoying time with friends at a coffee shop over cinnamon rolls. It means they’re one more step closer to being the adults we are working so hard for them to become.
Life is good in the “more” – even when more is a lot more than we thought it would be. As a matter of fact, it can’t get any better – until maybe tomorrow.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/anna-pritchard-7Xk0XlcGe2I-unsplash-1-scaled-e1597259659495.jpg300450Chris Ownbyhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngChris Ownby2019-11-06 15:52:102020-09-30 14:50:27How Being a Parent Makes Life Better
Buying a house is one of the most stressful things that you can go through as human beings. Especially if you’re newlyweds! Yes, it’s even more stressful than planning a wedding.
Not only do you have to decide on a house together, but once you do that, there’s also a *TON* of legal jargon, paperwork, and timely responses you have to work your way through, a 60-page inspection report to worry about, and a never-ending list of improvements you want to make. These things can wear you down to the point that you’re nearly ready to sell it before you even own it. THEN, you have to pack up everything you’ve stuffed into your little bitty apartment, and likely argue about what you should and shouldn’t toss out.
It’s. A. Lot.
Luckily for me and my husband, we had an awesome realtor, lender, and support group throughout the whole process. But we still had a plethora of challenges, especially since we’d only been married 7 months before we made this huge life change! Over the two months that we were deep in the house-buying process, we made a lot of mistakes. But you don’t have to!
Below are 4 things you can do to sail through the process without going crazy (unlike us)!
1. Schedule a date night every other week at minimum.
When you’re meeting with tons of people, packing up all of your stuff, reading through a 120-page document that puts you to sleep, and somehow managing to be a functioning human being, the weeks fly by. And date night is the last thing on the list of things to do. My husband and I literally made Google calendar invites for date night to make sure we set aside the time!
2. Get a good look at the big picture.
When we first started looking at houses, I was looking for our dream house while my husband was looking for our starter house. This caused a bit of miscommunication about what the non-negotiables were. Even if you’re able to afford your dream house right now, still do your best to keep your big picture in mind! Flooring can be changed, light fixtures can be updated, and any house can become your home with enough love and work. This is likely the biggest decision you’ve made together, so don’t let tunnel vision creep in.
3. Get a notebook/folder to store allllll of your everything in.
This is something I wish we did, looking back. There were a few deadlines we missed and fees we had to pay because we were a bit disorganized or never finished that conversation about who was in charge of talking to what utility company. If you keep a central location for all of your information (even if it’s digital), you’ll have a better chance at keeping up with it all!
4. Make sure all your finances are in order.
Buying a house costs more than just the down payment. There are a billion fees that are tacked onto the purchase, usually totaling anywhere from 2-7% of your total loan amount. And on top of that, you’ve got a bunch of moving expenses, too, from renting a truck to hiring movers. AND I won’t even mention the cost of paint & buying yard equipment & tools… you get the picture. It adds up. Even if you have it all ready and are fully prepared, go over each piece of it together. Every. Step. Of. The. Way. Money is one of the biggest causes of arguments in marriage, and with a large purchase like a home, tension can rise pretty easily. Taking the time to sit down and talk through all the little details of every expense will save you from some arguments down the road!
Having a home to grow in together is a great step for a marriage! Not only can it help you grow closer as a couple, but it can also be a great launching point on which to build the rest of your forever. It’s worth the stress, the many (many) decisions, and the late nights! Because now, you’re on your way to building your home together.
***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/nathan-fertig-FBXuXp57eM0-unsplash-scaled-e1597259877257.jpg300450Caroline Henryhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngCaroline Henry2019-10-16 09:22:362021-12-21 10:25:47How to Buy Your First House Without Going Crazy