Gratitude is more than just good manners – it is all about mindset and lifestyle. Beck from Little Dream Catcher shares with me some proven ways to increase gratitude in your family.
Beck has written, designed and self-published a creative gratitude journal for children. If you would like to find out more about Beck or her journals check out her website.
Transcript of the interview-
Narelle: So I am so lucky today. I have Beck from The Little Dream Catchers with me and she’s going to share with me some things about her business and also about maybe her life as a mom. She has three children who I’m sure keep her really busy. And I love the story behind her business and how she wanted to share with her kids the things that she uses in her life, her mindful and keeping grounded. And then the journey towards the actual Dream Catcher journal, how you’ve edited, you’ve created, and you’ve self-published your own gratitude journal, which is a fantastic feat. I don’t know how you’ve done that in time as well. So welcome Beck.
Beck: Thank you.
Narelle: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Beck: As you said, I have three kids; four, seven, and nine. So my youngest just started kinder this year, which is a bit exciting. And the other two are in school. And they’re in a small school, we’re in a really small community in St. Andrews. So our school has 66 children and it’s a really … I don’t know any other way of schooling, that’s the only school that we’ve sort of been to, but it’s really nurturing and really loving, which is great for our kids because that’s the way that I live my life is just small knit, keep it small, it has the capacity to teach our kids all the tools that I use as well, mindfulness. They do meditation there. It’s really, really lovely. I also have two other businesses. My husband’s a plumber and we have Old Soul where we make vintage industrial pieces. So I do all the book work and social media and liaising with customers for that as well. So really, really busy times, but it’s all good. It’s been working so far.
Narelle: I love the bit about the school. So are the students altogether or is it, separate classes?
Beck: There are three composites. It’s getting bigger. This is the biggest we’ve had for many, many years this year. But it’s really nurturing. It works and the kids all play together in the playgrounds, different e-levels altogether. The kids run the school assemblies in the classroom with all the parents in the one classroom. All the mums go out for coffee and once a term we’ll all go out for dinner. We all just know each other. It’s really lovely.
Narelle: Yeah, I can imagine also sort of like that tribe, the community feels about the school that leads to even people in your lives that you may use as well [crosstalk 00:02:49] school.
Beck: Yup, it’s great. I love it.
Narelle: So tell us then, what’s one thing you’ve had as a struggle as a mom over the years?
Beck: I think the biggest thing for me was being able to do things for myself like I used to be able to do. I had all the time in the world, I could do yoga, I could do gardening, I could go anywhere, as you know, and I really struggled with that because I think I was a highly strung new mum nine years ago. So to go out, I found that would bring on anxiety so I didn’t tend to do that as often as I probably should have. So just fitting things in.
I’m okay, I’m really good at that now, making time to fit things in, but it’s been a challenge and a journey to work out what suited me and what works for me, and realizing that if you don’t prioritize, then things will not get done. And there’s no such thing as I haven’t got time in my life to do that, it’s a matter of prioritizing; don’t do that, do that. Or you can do this, but you need to put that on hold for a while. So that’s how I managed to create, design, self-publish, do the whole book on my own with running the other two businesses and a family, three kids. Just prioritizing. And having the drive, as well. Get your mindset of no, I can do this and I’m going to do this and everything flows. It’s okay.
Narelle: Yeah, I love those priorities, because that’s probably my main message is we all have time, don’t we? It’s just a matter of priority. If it’s not a priority, you’re not going to do it.
Beck: Sacrificing as well.
Narelle: Yeah, definitely. But it’s got to be something you’re passionate about.
Narelle: So obviously gratitude is really something that is a really strong value with you to drive you to have even created, self-published, and do the journal in the first place.
Beck: Yeah, totally.
Narelle: And thanks for sharing that about the anxiety as a new mum. Gosh, I can’t believe it’s nine years ago. Our daughters are the same age.
Beck: I know. And I’m just such a different person from back then. I was only just thinking, we had a women’s circle last night and we were reflecting the difference from 2009 to this year and it just sort of dawned on me that I was quite anxious and quite highly strung because it was just such a new, scary world. But you live and you learn.
Narelle: Don’t you.
Beck: And then you go back for more.
Narelle: Yeah, you did. I only went back once more. So what would you say then are your non-negotiables then? Two non-negotiables you have now in your life.
Beck: I didn’t have any for a while. I think after my third, I started to go okay, I need something for me now. So I’m in a women’s meditation circle, I do that once a week, and we meditate, but it’s about connecting with other women and it’s a sit group, so it’s a safe place for us to go. And we heal and we talk and we laugh and we help each other. So that’s one thing I do every week. And I see my mum every Wednesday. I’ve done that for the last ten years, every Wednesday. Even if it’s just for the morning, we see each other every week and that’s our way of connecting and having fun and she comes up to see my kids before school now that they’re at school. So that’s two things that I definitely make sure happen every week.
Narelle: That’s beautiful. And I love the women’s circle especially. That’s what I found has been the most powerful thing through the work that I’ve done is that connection, is amazing for women, and just having that space to share and feel safe to share must be really, really amazing thing to have in your life now.
Beck: Yeah, it’s really important for women to have some sort of network and it’s powerful, it really is. And you create and you evolve and you also heal and you hear their stories and that makes you be able to share your stories and know that you’re not the only one.
Narelle: Definitely, definitely. I think that’s the thing that comes out from anyone when I ask so what’s the best thing is just I’m not alone. I’ve felt so alone. And the power of the internet now to be able to catch up online with people, which I’ve done a lot more over the last 12 months than I did nine years ago. So powerful to have people … And you’re mum. I love that that you catch up every week. So now is your son at Kinder, is it just you catching up?
Beck: Yes. So now we’re okay, what are we going to do? Now it’s our time to probably go for a walk or something just simple, just the two of us. So I’m looking forward to that this year.
Narelle: That’s fantastic. Okay. And the last thing, what about some tips? Some tips for people to increase gratitude or mindfulness in their lives, especially with their kids?
Beck: Well, the easiest way to begin the practice of gratitude is just to have a conversation. Just talking about it. In the car, at the dinner table, at bedtime, that’s how we did it. And just using words that they can relate to as well. Asking your kids and your family, “What are you thankful for today? Why are you lucky today?” is a good one.
Narelle: That’s a good one.
Beck: Just using different words. And in the journals, the entries all have different prompts, so today I am a kind friend because to make kids also accountable for their actions. It makes them have a deeper thought process as well. So just starting the conversation. The more you talk about it, the more it becomes a habit and a daily ritual and a pattern. And the more you practice gratitude, the more you are going to focus more on positive things throughout the day, which brings in mindfulness. You’re noticing things as they happen, you’re not worrying about things that have happened or anxious about what is possibly going to happen or not going to happen and in the future.
It also flows from gratitude. If you’ve got a positive mindset, you are more confident in yourself and you have more self-belief. And then from that, you have more emotional resilience. So I think it all just starts with gratitude and it’s just such a simple thing we can do, just start the conversation.
Narelle: Definitely. Isn’t it that you find those plays, definitely the car I find, morning breakfast and then again dinner or even for my kids because I’m not working this year at the moment and they’re not in after school care, I like to have that conversation when they get home from school. What went well or what didn’t go well and we had an interesting little story came up the other day about my son and his friend and him broke up and I was like, break up? Tell us more about this break-up. And it was just, that’s his way of expressing that they had a fight and it was very cute.
Narelle: He would never have told us that.
Beck: And that’s the other thing, it’s encouraging emotional expression, which is really, really important. I don’t think we do it enough as adults. We weren’t taught to do that. We didn’t talk about that stuff when we were growing up. So as you just pointed out, it brings about expressing themselves emotionally whether it’s verbally or in writing or drawing, it’s really powerful as well. It’s a good lesson for them.
Narelle: It is, isn’t it? So before you go, I’d love you just to explain a little bit more about your business and what maybe drew you to start it and where people can purchase them as well.
Beck: Okay. Yeah, so I have designed and created a children’s gratitude journal because I couldn’t find anything on the market. There are journals, but they’re plain, they’re basic, every page is the same. And I wanted to be able to reach more kids and teach more kids all the life skills and tools that I use, and teach my own kids, to help us get through life and grow and evolve and learn. So it has space for gratitude entries. As I said before, they’re all different prompts. But it also has fun worksheets that all revolve and encourage self-belief and confidence and kindness. Kindness is my big thing, teaching kindness. And there are over 80 different positive affirmations in there as well to help build up their self-love and their self-esteem. There are animal cards in there, it’s packed full of stuff. So it’s a really, really powerful tool for kids to grow and evolve emotionally and become resilient.
Narelle: Beautiful. And so where can they purchase them?
Beck: Online at littledreamcatchers.com.au. We’ve got quite a few places stocking them now, which is great. I have counsellors stocking them and yoga studios and things like that, so that’s really good. We’re reaching kids, that’s my goal, reach kids. And help kids, as many kids as we can because they need it. There is too much anxiety and depression-
Beck: -they say. So that’s the goal as well, to alleviate that.
Narelle: Definitely, definitely. Especially yeah, you see the rise, especially with social media, and the way our world’s going. So this is so important. Well, thank you so much, Beck.
Beck: Thank you.
So why is gratitude so important?
- increases happiness levels
- connects you to the experience
- helps slow life down
- increases self-worth
- makes you feel positive
- provides perspective and appreciation – even in kids
There are some many different ways to develop a gratitude ritual for yourself and in your family. Start with something that sparks joy in you. There is no use trying to write in a journal if that feels difficult and you are unlikely to do it each day. My family shares three positive experiences of the day at dinner time. At the end of the week, one person writes down at least one thing we are thankful for and puts it in a jar. At the end of the year, we remember all the wonderful things that happened this year.
Image by moreGuthrie
If you would like a simple way to develop your gratitude ritual then join my Facebook group Simply Happy Mums. There are also lots of shared quick recipes, interviews and tips that help mums prioritise their wellness.
Imagine being able to connect with other mums experiencing the same struggles without leaving the house? Wellness Hour online will help you connect and identify your biggest struggles, feel supported, discover the secrets to better wellness and finally, enjoy time for you without the distraction of life or kids. Click here to learn more.