I was approached in January 2017 by San Mateo Mother's Club to write an article about love for their February 2017 newsletter. Below is the article that was published, I hope you enjoy it!
By Jen Quan, wife to Eric, mommy of four spirited littles, and owner & chief big kid of rec room creative in Burlingame
Give yourself some “LOL”
Can you relate to being pulled in a million different directions? Imagine that your physical, emotional and mental well-being is represented by the water contained in a bucket with many holes in the bottom, and that all the people and “stuff” that require your time, attention and energy are represented by the spouts of water leaving your bucket...
Three learnings I’ve embraced over the years:
- Filling your bucket isn’t selfish, it’s necessary. An empty bucket leaves nothing...for anyone. Find out what fills your bucket, then partake regularly!
- Don’t deprive others of their opportunity to be a blessing. We are often givers allergic to accepting help. LOL by accepting a loved one’s organized or random act of kindness toward you.
- It’s OK to say, “No.” Try it, people will understand. Avoid allowing your bucket to be depleted.
LOL as a Spouse
Six years ago, my husband asked a colleague in a thriving, decades-long marriage, for one piece of invaluable marriage advice. His colleague replied, “Invest in time alone with your spouse -- weekly date nights, quarterly weekend trips, annual week-long getaways...oh, and don’t talk about the kids.”
Back then we had three littles under 4, so we slowly worked our way up to following his advice. The first getaway was uh-mazing. It literally felt like we’d gone away for an entire week! Now, we don’t get away quite as frequently as he recommended, but we LOL by choosing to make time to enjoy and grow in each other. We have a perfectly imperfect marriage that we are intentional about, and work hard at & we like to think we’ve become better spouses to each other, and therefore model a loving marriage for our kids.
LOL as a Parent
Have you ever asked your kids the following questions:
“How do you know mommy/daddy loves you?”
“When do you feel most loved?”
If not, I highly recommend it! Discovering love languages is transformational. Our kids’ responses were eye opening, and varied greatly. One LOL response was doing “little 1:1’s” and “big 1:1’s”. Little 1:1’s include fro-yo, park outings, cuddling with books, etc. with mommy or baba -- these happen regularly. Big 1:1’s are less frequent getaways tailored to each child’s unique interests and love language/s.
LOL @ rec room creative
In our planning of rec room creative, we defined LOL as organized and random acts of kindness, and it’s our way of contributing to our local communities and doing a little good in the world. Three learnings helped shape how we LOL:
- Do small things with great love. - Mother Teresa
If actions haven’t caught up with your intentions, let me encourage you to start small. Ask your littles how they would go about creating smiles in the community. It’s amazing what they come up with! As examples, sometimes we’ll pay for the person ahead of us in line, we keep care packages for the homeless in our cars, and sometimes we just smile REALLY big to passers by: the possibilities to create smiles is limitless...and fun to brainstorm around!
- If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try locking yourself in a room with a mosquito. - African Proverb
It’s easy to doubt our ability to make a difference when the world’s problems are sooo big, but remember that if you’ve made a difference in one person’s day or life, it mattered to that individual! One fun, easy LOL activity we did with littles at rec room creative was creating shaving cream marbled cards. Littles wrote notes, drew pictures, and hand delivered them to firemen or left them around town to be found.
- Create connections with those you’re serving.
I’ve learned from experience that even acts of service and compassion, when detached from whom we’re serving, leave unintended gaps. For our ‘organized’ acts of kindness, we will host integration days with Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area and Life Steps Foundation Children and Family Services. We hope you’ll join us with your littles when we do, and that you’ll encourage, play with and love on these families!
LOL yourself, within your home, and outside in the community -- we’ll be cheering you on as you do!
Jen Quan is the chief big kid of rec room creative. LOL or “Love Out Loud” has been a core objective for her both personally and professionally. rec room creative is an indoor play & community space for families with littles (0-6 years old) in downtown Burlingame. They provide open-ended, collaborative and tinkering type play, and provide opportunities to engage in mini-maker activities and lol (love out loud - organized and random acts of kindness). They will be co-hosting the Turnbull Community Festival on May 21st. They strive to bring together family, creativity and doing a little good in the world.
rec room creative can be reached at recroomcreative.com, or 1419 Chapin Ave, Suite 101 in Burlingame