(Written with Erin Morris)
After our first date, I called my friend and said,
"Guess who I went out with?"
"And I’m going to marry him,”
Erin shared with me as we giggled through the grocery store.
Women’s intuition. Love to see it in my friends.
10 years and 3 boys later,
Erin & Scott
are one of my favorite couples. They are doing it.
and they still laugh.
Life isn’t perfect and yet they have a foundation of love.
Their well is deep.
Erin and I have been friends since junior high.
We first me in 3rd grade.
Early dismissal on Thursday afternoons for those of us Catholics,
and religious education classes at Our Lady of Lourdes.
Spending time with Erin and her family has been one of the many silver linings
of being back in my hometown last year to help my mom on her journey with cancer.
Going to the Morris house is the equivalent of going to an amusement park for my son.
And for me it’s solace, laughter, an old friend, & a loving family home.
Back at the Morris house, the boys are running circles. We could barely hear each other.
“It’s all about controlled chaos,” Erin gives me with a grin.
“That’s life. Getting through each day.”
Yup. Love this lady.
She’s got her mom’s balance of wisdom & hilariousness that's both comforting & inspiring.
As Scott, Erin & I talk parenting in the other room, I see one of our children’s butts flash by.
Our boys are mooning each other.
“We do laugh,” Scott or Erin said.
“Sometimes we just look at each other. This is what we signed up for?”
Parenting just seems to come natural to Erin and Scott.
They take most of their children’s antics and challenging behavior in stride.
They support their children in who they are.
Like Morris boy #2 who has inherited his father's sense of humor and love of sports,
here with his latest scientific interest.
Knowing about their own parents, I talk a bit about the concept of “good enough parents.” The scientific research says we don’t need to be perfect parents. In fact, it’s not possible.
But when we’re good enough parents, our children feel safe with us and they trust us.
We become a secure base for our children to be who they are here to be and to go out and explore the world—whether it be the playground, college, or across the globe.
People who had “good enough parents," tend to be good enough parents themselves.
For Scott’s parents, spending time with the family was always a #1 priority.
The kids’ toys were always around the house, in action. Not tucked away in some upstairs room.
Scott’s parents sent the message that their children were important, and a joy.
Family is important.
Erin echoed Scott’s comments about her family as well.
Erin said she always wanted to be a mom. To have kids. A big family. Lots of cousins.
Erin & Scott both got the message early on that family is good stuff. No questions asked.
“I’m a screamer,” Erin says.
They’re real this family.
“You’re relaxed when other people are around,” Scott says lightheartedly.
“Always in the back of my mind are all the household chores,” Erin acknowledges.
It’s not like Erin & Scott are free from all the responsibilities that come with a family of five.
They don’t have a cleaning service.
With 3 boys under age 9 in their home, Scott acknowledges that they often do a trade-off.
One person might wash the dishes, the other person watches the kids.
As for, sibling rivalry. These parents have got it down.
There’s no favorites. No one gets picked on by the parents.
No “perfect child.” No “bad kid.”
Erin & Scott are setting their children up to be allies. Life-long friends.
“They all get their fair share,” they note.
Scott breaks it down for us.
“We really hold them all accountable.” If parenting came with a formula, this would be one.
More parenting wisdom ala Scott & Erin.
* Allow them to be themselves.
* Support them. Nurture what they love.
*When they’re wrong, call them out on it.
Inspiring to see a hands-on dad who is a great role model for his boys.
And who captures his love for his family in ink.
Erin elaborates on how to reach and best support children who are unique individuals.
She is gifted in supporting the unique gifts of each of her boys.
As children today are often over-scheduled, this advice is price-less:
1) Expose kids to everything.
2) If they show interest or talent, support that.
3) Allow them to follow their hearts.
4) Even if society doesn’t deem their interest “appropriate,” follow #2 and #3.
5) Don’t force children to do any sports or activity if they don’t want to.
Let's talk about the kids' interests.
In a house of three boys, on the floor there's a mix of toys.
Wrestlers, Legos, Barbie's, ipods, ballet shoes, camouflage, and nutcrackers,
representing the favorite past-times.
The Morris boys are exposed to a wide variety of cultural and extracurricular activities.
Erin is a dancer, so the kids had early exposure to dance and theater.
Scott is an athlete. He would take all the boys to various games in the community, be it baseball, football, or basketball.
For example, the whole family goes to see the Nutcracker each year.
Matt & Brett love the magic, and Sean, a dancer himself, enjoys every aspect of the performance, from the costumes, to the backstage workings, the choreography, and the beautiful ballerinas.
Pure talent and joy is this eldest Morris boy.
And they all love wrestling, including Erin. Last spring, the Morris Family went to see the cultural testosterone fest of WWE Monday Night RAW.
Some Morris boys dream to be WWE superstars,
while another dreams to be on the performance stage.
Sweetest wrestler I ever did meet, the littlest brother.
The Morris boys are as different from one another as they come.
Parenting children with such extreme differences in interests,
especially some that may fall outside society's gender expectations, has its challenges.
But the Morris Family just likes to keep as simple as can be.
Three diverse interests.
Two have interests inside society's gender expectations, and one does not.
Each child is encouraged to do what they love and be who they are.
In their house, John Cena may be seen dancing with Barbie.
It's likely you'll be witness to a live wrestling match and dance performance,
The Morris House is always an exciting place to visit- and to live!
Do you have a story to share about your family?
Would love to feature your story in "From the Heart" family stories.
Contact Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Hi friends, I write from the heart to tell my life story, and the story of those in my neighborhood called life. Research shows that our children's emotional & mental health is contingent upon us parents being able to tell our life story, or "coherent narrative." This is my coherent narrative, my life story in the making, with some of what I love in life too. My goal is to share my life in a way that is real, uplifting & positive- sometimes serious, sometimes fun. In my practice, I inspire parents to empowerment through reclaiming our life stories and learning respectful discipline. My work is my offering to our children- our future. Wishing you all a happy family!