More on Doing What You Love

I would love to hear more about what you wrote recently on planning something we love to do into our days. What would be some other ideas of fun things? I feel like I'm kind of in a slump right now. The only fun things I can think of are "me" things. Like I enjoy cooking, but I am not enjoying doing it with little helpers. I love painting, but it's not fun anymore when it's just about cleaning up messes. Any thoughts?

-Phyllis

Yes, Phyllis, I know what you mean. I've had to find a balance between teaching my kids to cook and shooing them out of the kitchen because I'd rather just cook by myself. While you see our cooking science days and the fun we're having, I'm not posting any pictures of me telling a child, "No, there really isn't anything you can do to help me tonight", although I say that often, too, while cooking dinner.

There's obvious give and take here, and what one mom can handle another cannot.
I happen to be a mom who does not enjoy sewing with all of these little people around; I can't stand having to make sure everything is put away after each and every time I sit down to sew. Of course if it's not put away, I run the risk of someone eating pins or something.

I've also learned to enjoy activities I wouldn't necessarily choose to do when I get a moment to myself. Nature walks, picnic lunches, sitting on the back porch watching kids yell, "Mom!" while jumping on the trampoline or off the diving board.

The trick, I think, is to figure out what you actually can do and enjoy while raising a young crew. One summer I was so engrossed in the autobiography of Barbara Bush that all I wanted to do was read. I declared our quiet reading hour to be a time where we all read in the same room but no one was allowed to talk. Sneaky, huh?

Other ideas:

-gardening (scale down and expect them to pull out viable plants thinking they're weeds)
-letter writing (you write while they illustrate their own letters)
-needlework (give them lacing cards and turn on an audiobook to keep their attention long enough for you to feel you've made progress on your project)
-garage sales (can't really help you here- I never could figure out how to do this without keeping my kids in the car for long periods of time, but I'm certain at least one of my readers will comment with ideas :) )
-couponing (you cut the coupons, they cut out the other stuff, ie, pictures of Cinderella snow globes and china baby dolls)

As for the stuff that really takes thought or concentration, save it until they're in bed. I write these posts typically sometime between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., and major projects get done at night, too.