Then I saw unmade beds, dishes in the kitchen sink, dirty laundry on the utility room floor, clean laundry on the sofa, dust on the furniture, and my dream for a clean and organized home hanging perilously over a pit of discouragement. It’s true, I could have used some help with more efficient cleaning routines and organization. But my house was not unhealthy or unsafe, just mostly cluttered with an abundance of life happening in it. Do you relate?
I Was Disappointed
I remember some days when we were not dressed and ready for the day until nearly noon. On most days I was disappointed with how I managed our home, thinking I was not accomplishing much of significance. It took so long to get anything done. It was easy to want to be more task-oriented when my children were very young and so dependent. I look back now, though, and see that much more was accomplished than I realized.
We goal-oriented women need to understand that the hours we spend with our children, even performing the mundane and routine tasks of daily living, are vital to our young ones’ growth and development. Allowing them to be a central part of our day, involved in whatever we are doing, offers opportunities for building relationship, stimulating language development, and establishing sensory and motor integration. These skills are NOT optional. If we want to see our children successfully learning during their school years, we must take this early development very seriously.
Sure, It Will Take Longer
So let your young child help make the beds. Sure, it will take longer to accomplish the task, but hand him a pillow to hold or play with until you are ready to lift him up and let him drop it close to where it belongs on the bed quickly made. Gently toss him into the basket of clean towels that are still slightly warm from the dryer while you fold the clothing from the previous load. Let him play with bubbles in the sink while you scrub the toilet and the tub. And let him try to sweep the floor, especially if there is a broom his size standing next to your big one in the utility closet.
Enjoy your child as you work together. If needed, make tasks a game, and be determined to have fun together. And when he doesn’t want to help you, then it is time to be creative and entice him to choose to help. Make the routine tasks fun and know that even though everything won’t get done, the truly important things will be accomplished.
Remember, the days may be long, but the years are short.