Painting House for Normal Person:
8:00 Go Outside and Paint Two Sides of (Small) House
10:15 FINISH Painting House
12:00 Eat Lunch
Take Afternoon Off.
Painting House with Small Children:
7:30 Dress Everyone
8:00 Help them with Chores
8:30 Summer Preschool Time (Focuses Little Minds)
9:00 Baby Wakes! Feed/Change Baby
9:45 Set Up Baby and Kids in Fenced Yard
9:50 Spend 10 Minutes Explaining to 3 Year Old How to Paint (Today Other Kids are Going to Play. Only One Kid with a Paintbrush – thank you!)
10:00 START PAINTING!
(Stop 27 Times to Give Baby a Veggie Stick, 4 times to Help 2 Year Old, Once to Give 4 Year old a Time out, Once to Give 4 year old Something Else, 32 times to help 3 Year old with Brush, and [of course!] Accidentally Drip Paint in Her Hair!!)
10:47 Go Inside to clean up little people, make them lunch do potty breaks, diaper changes, and toss them in bed for naps!
12:00 ( Accomplished: 1/3 of a side of the house)
Admittedly Painting with a 3 year old is a little extreme but the example could hold true to any activity.
IT IS SO MUCH EASIER TO DO IT WITHOUT ‘HELP’Cooking, planting, and basic chores take so much more thought and time with little helpers.
But as tempting as it is to stick them all in front of the TV so I CAN ACTUALLY GET SOMETHING ACCOMPLISHED I am try really hard to use their ‘help’
(I do resort to the TV sometimes, but I try to view it as a ‘last resort’ for desperate times. Some weeks are definitely more desperate then others.)
- I Want that Time with Them OVER Getting More Done
Sometimes I have to repeat this to myself. I’m not a SAHM to have an immaculate house or gourmet meals, and if something has to give, it cannot be the kids.
It is really hard to remember that though!
(We unfortunately have a web filled with moms who are trying to ‘have it all’ – perfectly decorated and outstandingly clean homes, incredibly dressed children, and thriving careers. And between Pinterest and parenting forums and Facebook we become Mommy ping-pong balls – bouncing from one great idea to another. And rather than just soak up the minutes with our children, we look around and recognize our life does not measure up to all of the great ideas online.)
BUT our kids are why we are here. We are Stay at Home MOMS. So if we can get a cool Pinterest-worthy project done, that’s really just icing on the cake!
2. It is Fun to Work with Them!
I’ve made cake 100 times, but nothing is as fun as watching their little faces pour in the ingredients. Every task is new and interesting again!
3. It is a Perfect Time to Teach
Through the kids helping me, I have learned that one of them only works for seven minutes before he/she becomes bored. This has been a vital time to help him/her push past comfort zones and learn to work. An important lesson to carry through life!
4. To Each His Own
A friend recently shared how she put all of her dishes down on the lower counter level so the kids could independently put them away and set the table. It was a great idea for her family.
This idea would not work for us. Our present schedule, kitchen layout, and the vision of an 8 month pregnant me jerking out dishes at floor-level, makes the the setup almost stomach churning.
5. Kids Take Pride in Their Work
I still remember helping as a kid. We were taking off old laminate flooring. Mom gave Lyd and I (Maybe 5 years old?) each little kitchen spatulas and we went to work – scraping, peeling. We were proud of our progress!
God gave man work right at the beginning of the world – before the fall. It is good, natural and right for us to enjoy watching the fruit of our hands. (Ecclesiastes 12)
6. Eventually they WILL be a Help
(I’ve heard) The Amish have a saying. You invest into your children their first 7 years. At seven, they can earn their own keep. Around 10, they contribute to the family.
Hours teaching now, will make things easier (for the whole family!) later.
So at the end of the day, I may not have a fully painted house.
I have 1/3 of the side of the house painted, and a very happy three-year-old (with a little paint in her hair) proudly showing me her work. She learned to pay attention to detail and get all the cracks, she had 47 minutes to be with me (that was actually more focused then normal), and she learned that when she works hard, she has fruit to show for it!
Very productive morning for us!
I’m publishing part 2 of this series next Friday – Teaching Them to Help.