My Family – How We Make It Work!

A Mom, Wife, Boss, and Her Soulful Family Connection… “How We Make It Work!”

My family is my everything! And in this season of giving thanks for our blessings, celebrating life’s miracles, and preparing to move into a new year, I am filled with gratitude for the wonderful gifts of my husband, Arnez Sr., my son Arnez Jr. (age 14), and my daughter, Lauren (age 12).

Together, we create something extraordinary and very unique: A recipe for togetherness, unity, and an unbreakable bond that we live daily; that other people can see and feel as they experience us. We hear it often from people that know and love us, but it‘s also very common for complete strangers to approach us and comment on our very visible eurhythmic family bond.

A couple of summers ago, we took an unforgettable 14-day European vacation. On one of those amazing days, we got up very early in the morning, met our tour guide in Piazza del Popolo, departed the beautiful city of Rome and traveled to Pompeii where we enjoyed an incredible walking tour through the ruins of Pompeii. From there, we journeyed to beautiful Naples, Italy for some final sightseeing and late afternoon pizza. As we sat waiting for our lunch, we did what is very normal for us – we talked, laughed, shared stories, acted silly and slightly crazy, and just enjoyed each other’s company. My husband and I noticed a man that kept looking over at us from his table off in the corner of the restaurant.  He was with his family, too, but he was the only one not looking down at his cell phone. Every time he looked up at us, and we caught eyes with him, he’d smile, and we’d just politely smile back. After pizza, it was time to travel back to Rome. As we walked out of the restaurant, the man and his wife approached us. They introduced themselves as a family of four from Ohio on vacation, too. As his kids and wife walked ahead, he stepped closer to my husband and said he noticed how we were, “having such a good time together”. He commented that “no one was on their cell phones” and that our “kids seemed to actually like [our] company.” He said, “Clearly I am doing something wrong, my kids have no interest in talking to us.”

He then asked, “How do you do it?” “How do you make it work?”

That’s the question we hear all the time, even to this day. It’s the question every busy working parent who wants a fun and fulfilling family life wants to know the answer to. So, with the help of Arnez Sr, Arnez Jr, and Lauren, here are the “Top 10 Ways We Make It Work.”

Rhonda’s Advice (Mom, Wife, Entrepreneur, Success & Empowerment Coach, Self-Care Strategist, Author, Trainer, 21 Years as a Software & Technology Professional before leaving corporate America)

Live Your Core Values and Display Love Daily

Our family is our top priority and we are deliberate about displaying that core value to one another every day: It’s not just lip service or pretty words, but it’s how we model our lives and our household. We show our kids they are our priority by being present and available to them as much as possible. My husband’s rule is that we have a formal dinner together every Sunday. I have weekend movie nights with my kids and its pretty common to see me hanging out with my son or daughter enjoying quality time with each of them separately. My husband keeps me company when he knows I am watching a movie in bed so that we can spend time together. Every day right before he walks out the door for work, I give him a Rocky Balboa neck massage and three kisses, and if it’s not too cold outside, I’ll follow his truck down the driveway and wave goodbye to him as he drives away. And in the middle of his day, I randomly text him old baby pictures of the kids as a reminder of what and who he has waiting for him at home. He loves when I send those pictures.

It’s these little things we do that create and cultivate our tight bond and special connection.

What is your family’s core value? How do you and your family outwardly express this core value daily? How do you display love daily?

Set Non-Negotiable Boundaries

Early in our careers, before we had children, we were very intentional about living a life that was true to our core values. I never wanted to have success publicly, but come home to a mundane marriage and kids who were both indifferent to my presence and broken because of my lack of presence.

Every job, every certification and every business decision needed to be in alignment with my desire to create a family framework that honored my core values. I turned down promotions and career opportunities that compromised my core. I took risks at work and in business by creating boundaries around my time and commitments in the office. I worked for companies who accommodated my limits and boundaries to a certain point. There was always backlash and a few managers who did not support my core values. When I got tired of asking for permission to live my truth, and love my family the way I wanted to, I created my own company, became the boss, and said goodbye to corporate America for good.

What boundaries can you begin to set today to live your truth and get into alignment with your core values? What risks are you willing to take to protect your core family values? What are you willing to give up to uplevel your family life?

Put the Cell Phone Down

I get it! I can run my entire business, check my bank accounts, reply to emails, manage my volunteer committees, and play Angry Birds all from my cell phone. And some days I do! But not when I am with my kids or my husband.

Our rule is simple, when we are all together in the car, at dinner, or sitting in front of the fireplace watching Netflix – no phones! Period.

We recently stopped taking so many pictures when we are out so we don’t look at our phones. Cell phones can pull you into another world quickly, and immediately distract you from all the awesomeness and beauty sitting right in front of you. Our kids appreciate this and feel special when we deliberately and happily put our phones away.

How can you be more deliberate in being present and eliminate cell phones distractions that prevent you from delving deeply and completely into real-time family experiences?

Include Your Family in Your Work and Business

When I worked in corporate America, my kids came to work with me quite often. I wanted them to see what I was doing away from home in hopes they would develop an appreciation for my job and how hard I worked for the family. And they did.

When I wrote my first book, A Life Ignited – Ignite Your Inner Fuse, I dedicated it to them. I always want them to know they are the center of all that I create and that they encourage me to move forward even when the journey gets tough.

When the hubs and I started our first real estate investment company, we named it “Kinard Family Realty”, and when my husband left corporate America to become an entrepreneur, we incorporated, “Kinard & Son Contracting”.  Do you see a trend?

How do you include your whole family in your work? If you do “what you do” for your kids and family, how do they feel and soulfully experience the best parts of that, from their current view and understanding of the world? Do your children feel they are an important part of a bigger legacy?

Travel together

We love to experience new and exciting places together. There is something magical about seeing the world together, for the first time, as a family. Our children have been international travelers most of their lives. They were raised with an appreciation for different cultures, touring, and trying new things. Even when we could not afford Paris or The Caribbean, we created some of our fondest memories close to home like fishing in The Outer Banks, trying to beat my husband, aka “The Reigning Champ”, in a game of mini golf in Myrtle Beach, and simply enjoying the view from the National Mall after a long and educational day in Washington D.C. just to name a few.

And let’s not forget the singing and harmonizing in the car – priceless! My husband can’t sing, so he just listens.

When was the last time you traveled with your family, and just your family, not a group?  When is your next trip?  What are you looking forward to the most? If you have never been away with your family, start planning a trip today.

Dance, Be Silly and Laugh Together

Having a good time together is a priority in our home. If you can’t be a silly goofball at home, where can you be one? We dance. We sing: Check out my Facebook page. We don’t care how ridiculous we look.

When the world is being serious, uptight, and rigid, our kids know they have a place where they can let go and express the silly sides of themselves. We laugh a lot. Life is so much better when we are laughing, smiling, and having fun – together.

How can you create a silly zone at home where your family feels free to express their crazy, goofy sides? When was the last time you laughed so hard with your family your eyes watered and you could barely speak? What made you laugh so hard?

Take Care of Your Self

I make time for me. I take care of my health – mind, body, and spirit. I work out, eat healthy, and make my appearance a priority. I read. I pray. I meditate. I seek spiritual strength and guidance so that I can continue to be a strong, active, healthy mom who can continue to guide, provide for, and support my family. I take consistent steps every day to be a better mom, wife, and human.  I pour into my “Rhonda” cup daily so I’m able to continue to pour freely into others.

How do you fill your cup?  Do you have an overflow for your family?  How can you promote self-care in your home? How can your self-care strengthen your family bond?

Arnez Sr.’s Thoughts (Husband, Father, Entrepreneur. Protector, Friend, Walking/Talking ATM)

Pursue Happiness

“As the Father, it is my job to make sure my family is happy; and that has nothing to do with money, possessions, or things.

I’m grateful for my family. They see that and feel that every day. And because they have an example of what love and gratitude look like, they know how to love me back; and love each other, too. Through an honest display of love, love flows all around us and through us. That’s the magic!”

How do you pursue happiness every day?  In what ways do you show gratefulness for your family in a way they can feel, appreciate, and reciprocate?

Arnez Jr.’s Thoughts (Age 14, High School Freshman, John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, Academic Scholarship Recipient, Athlete, Volunteer)

Spend time together.

“Spend time, play board games, get outside together. This is important because you get fresh air while making memories together. Besides, when your friends are not around, you’ll always have your family. We enforce our family values through time together. That’s the key.”

Plan to go out and get some fresh air. Put “together time” on the calendar. Set the date now. What’s the date?

Lauren’s Thoughts (Age 12, 7th Grade, Competitive USAG Gymnast, Scholar, Entertainer, Dear Evan Hansen Fan, Volunteer)

Cherish Every Moment

“Cherishing every moment we have together is key in our family. We laugh and cry together. We are one with each other and care so much about each other. We all show so much love, and everyone is so selfless, especially mom and dad. We do whatever we can whenever we can together no matter how crazy or simplistic it is. I love this about my family because I have so many memories with them whether it is going on an awesome vacation or just watching a movie, I know these are memories I can never forget. Every day is a new adventure, and I can’t wait to make more memories that will last a lifetime.”

What memories are you looking forward to creating with your family in the new year? What memories are they looking forward to creating with you? Cherish them.

From our family to yours, Happy Holidays! As you move into a new year and new season of life, may you discover the untapped magic in your family.

Live unapologetically, love unconditionally, sing, dance, and continue to strengthen, indulge in, and enjoy the soulful connection of family this holiday season and beyond.

Be Magical. Be Memorable. Simply be – together!