let why lead
Welcome to Let Why Lead, a place for the purposeful wife and mom. I’m Erica, and I'm passionate about living fully and filling my family with love and belonging. For regular reminders of the whys of your life, I hope you’ll keep coming back.
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Is Family Breakfast the New Family Dinner + 3 Tips to Make It Work

I consider myself a morning person. But at this point, I’ve been one out of necessity for so long that I’m not really sure if it’s true.

Regardless, the little feet tiptoeing to my side of the bed—and the giant baby blabbering away in her mini-crib—get me up morning after morning.

So I try to make the most of it.

You too?

Too busy for family dinner? Breakfast is a GREAT alternative. It doesn't have to be fancy or last long. But it does have the potential to work more connection into your everyday. | Plus 3 Tips to Make It Work

Like a lot of families, our family finds it hard to do full-on family dinners on the weekdays. Lately, though, I’ve been noticing that breakfast can be golden.

No one has conflicts (unless, of course, you count my husband’s love for the bed), and everyone’s gotta eat.

Like I mentioned in my post on alternatives to family dinner, research says families really only get about ten minutes of talk time out of a meal, when you account for all the refilled cups and trips to the kitchen.

I don’t think it’s as much about the number of minutes as it is the quality of your minutes. So even if you only have five minutes before herding everyone to the car, breakfast has potential. :)

That said, breakfast clearly comes with a few challenges, so it’s almost impossible to pull it off without doing these three things:

1. Prep the night before

We all know this is any parent’s secret to successful mornings, but really, it’s worth repeating. :) If you don’t pack lunches and ready the homework folders in advance, the mental rush will prevent you from being present for those few precious minutes at the table.

2. Commit to sitting down

Funny how hard this is, right? Unless you really commit to sitting down with your family, I’m guessing you’ll catch bites of your breakfast in between starting a load of laundry and signing a permission slip.

Fun tip: Serve something for breakfast that you actually like to eat. When I take a few minutes to make scrambled eggs with avocado on top, or a bowl of oatmeal with a splash of whip cream and cinnamon, I’m way more interested in staying still. (Is everyone this motivated by good food?)

3. Come prepared

With groggy parents and kids, conversation can be slow going in the mornings. I try to come armed a couple mornings a week with a quick conversation starter or a story from my life. (Related: What Children Gain When You Open Up)

  • The simplest and most effective activity at our house is a gratitude practice.

  • Another is the high and low game, where we share the best and worst thing that happened to us the day before.

  • If you keep a family memory jar, breakfast is a great time to jot down a couple of family memories to add to the jar (to be opened on New Year’s Day).

  • And if all else fails, you can always pull up a picture on your phone and reminisce about how funny it was “that one time when…”

For more ideas on what to chat about (including a printable you can tape inside a kitchen cabinet!), click here

For families that find it hard to make it to the table for dinner, breakfast is a great alternative. It doesn't have to be fancy; it doesn't have to last long. But it does have the potential to work more family connection into your everyday. | 3 Tips to Make It Work

Now—If you’re currently thinking, “Erica. Girl. Really. I can barely get my eyes open every morning, much less initiate some quality conversation…” (You know who you are!) I highly recommend my friend Shawn’s Rise and Shine challenge, a free series of emails to help you use those first minutes as the rudder of your day.

Last week, when I asked y’all on Facebook whether you make breakfast or dinner count, most said dinner. Sleepy family members, busy schedules, different eating times. Yes, yes, yes. I’m with ya. But IF you can rethink your routines a bit or even just squeeze in one “slow” breakfast a week (weekends included), I think you’ll start to catch the magic.

As one breakfast-loving friend said on Facebook, “We take our time connecting to start our day.” That is exactly what it’s about.

Do we have any other family breakfast lovers out there? Feel free to share any tips on when and how you make breakfast count in your home! 

Thanks so much for your sweet words about my quotes in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “No Time for Family Dinner? Try Breakfast.” I was a little a LOT excited to be interviewed, and just as excited to share it with you! So thankful for your support! 

Linked up with Works for Me Wednesday


Kids: The Intersection of Truth and Lies

Kids: The Intersection of Truth and Lies. Plus, one of my favorite TED talks ever!

I was under the covers with a laptop at my fingertips, when out of nowhere my son jumped onto the bed. It was nearly 9pm, well past bedtime, and he wore last year’s Halloween costume—the Hulk—with nothing on underneath.

“Look, Mom! I’ve grown! I’m getting SHO big! I’m almost as big as the Hulk! I think maybe I AM the Hulk!”

With great pride he showed me his muscles and then pulled the costume up to show off his bare belly. (“It’s SHO BIG!” he says, sticking it straight out.)

In that moment, I recognized the beautiful intersection of reality and fiction. He knows, on some level, that he is not the Hulk. But on another level, he believes he is.

He’s four and a half. The lines between truth and fiction are much blurrier for him than they are for me. And it is beautiful.

Kids: The Intersection of Truth and Lies (It's a beautiful concept!)

It makes me want to help him run with it. To hold on to that incredible imagination for as long as possible. It makes me want to read him stories about hidden doors, hold his hand while we venture into a dark beach cave, and sprint with him through a silent Christmas tree farm.

Instead of helping him see what is real, I want to dwell with him in what isn’t.

Kids: The Intersection of Truth and Lies (It's a beautiful concept!)

To think more about the intersection of truth and lies, watch this can’t-miss TED talk, which you better believe made my list of top resources for wholehearted women. In fact, it might just be my favorite TED ever.


And to all the little kids out there who know they aren’t the Hulk and yet know they are, I believe in you!


Lost My Light

I lost my light for a few days there. Maybe longer. By the time I got the kids down every night, I had NO willpower to do anything beyond shrivel up in my warm bed. I was giving my kids the best I had and my husband whatever was left, but I knew I had lost it. I had lost…


Peppermint Ice Cream | A Family Holiday Tradition

Making peppermint ice cream is a tradition my kids look forward to all year. It started with my sister-in-law, who makes it every year down in Arizona. Since I regrettably can’t go raid her freezer every December, I started making it at home, and my boys caught the magic and ran with it. In the past, back when I was more ambitious in…


Perfectionism is SO 2004 + Printables!

I touched on perfectionism in my post last week, about editing our lives in order to live with more purpose. I used to think perfectionism was just being overly meticulous. Now I’m quicker to recognize that it’s… That compulsion to have my eye makeup neatly in place before I answer the front door. That desperation to contribute something homemade to a church social, even…