5 years ago when I started to blog, it was just Ryan and I. We purchased a fixer upper and wanted to share the projects we were working on. Now, we have 2 little helpers that seem to want to be involved with everything. At first, I was resistant to letting the kids get involved in my projects. It took me a long time to decide that I could keep doing what I love with littles under foot. Having kids takes patience I never knew I could have. Letting them help with things I want or need to get done takes even more patience. When it really comes down to it, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Let’s be honest. Little hands aren’t always that helpful. They are more likely to spill paint than to get the job done quicker. They are more likely to crawl on your new table than to help assemble it. They are more likely to eat the vegetables right from the garden before you can get them inside. They are more likely to drop the fresh eggs than to crack them neatly into a bowl. Sometimes, it really is just a mess.
It’s important to remember though, for every bit of spilled paint, Harrison has seen how his mom can paint neatly and clean up a mess. Even if he isn’t as careful as I would like, he is more likely to be careful next time. He knows how to make a mess and he knows how to clean one. If my boys help with a project, they have to follow through with the clean up. Sometimes it is easier to give them their own project or a pretend one, but they still get the experience.
This week, not only do they have a table sturdy enough to climb on (against my wishes), the boys watched their Momma build one from scratch. They know that anyone can build something if they put their mind to it, and women are no exception. Watching their mom and dad work hard is just their “normal”.
As far as eating from the garden, well, my boys like vegetables. I credit a lot of that to the fact that they grew them from tiny little seeds and watched them grow every step of the way. I may never see a full sized carrot at the rate the boys pull them out of the garden, but they will both tell you that is their favorite food.
Harrison cracked his first egg when he was just under 2. When I would cook he wanted to be involved. I bought him a cute little apron and we started to keep an extra chair in the kitchen for him to stand on. I always crack eggs into a bowl before adding them to the recipe just in case of egg shells. Harrison gets his own egg and bowl. Now at just 3 years old, he can crack an egg into the bowl perfectly and he is so proud. If the kids prefer to play with their toys nearby while I cook, that is alright with me. I don’t want to force my hobbies on them, but while they are interested I will teach them everything I can.
These are just a few examples, but let them spill the paint, check out your work, eat the food they grow, and help you cook. It isn’t always convenient, and it isn’t always fun, but their little minds always learn something. I won’t lie, they almost always make the job more difficult. I like to give the boys an easy job, like using a sanding square on furniture I am planning to paint. When I am cooking, the boys are great at stirring, or I measure the ingredients and they pour it in the bowl. The job doesn’t have to be big, they love it all the same. I am easily overwhelmed and stressed, but letting Harrison and Micah help with things has gotten easier over time and my patience has grown. Obviously, there are some things that kids need to stay away from. The boys aren’t allowed anywhere near a saw or the hot oven. They know that, and Harrison will tell you exactly how excited he is to grow up and use a chainsaw. Not today little man, not today. (It is important to make time for hobbies that aren’t kid friendly too, but that is a topic for a different day.)
As a stay at home parent, it is especially important for me to let the kids help me. Without my little helpers, I would never get anything done. For a while, I stopped building and crafting. Now, it does take longer when the kids get involved, but I still get to do the things I love while teaching them what hard work looks like. I really do believe our boys have found appreciation in what we do and how much work it takes. They also take pride in the things they have worked on. If appreciation, hard work, and pride come at the price of slowing down what I am working on, I think it is worth it. So, get back to doing what you love or start something new together. Now is as good a time as any!