Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Raising (Un) Lazy Kids: A Personal Revolution

Before Phoebe was born, Finn was my little helper. When I baked, he stood by my side and "helped". When I was gardening, he was digging right next to me. When I swept, he toddled along beside me.

And then Phoebe was born and I was a mama to two precious babes. And suddenly it seemed like I had no time to myself. There was always someone touching me, needing me.. and my short every-other-day showers seemed to be the only time I had to myself.

And, over time, Finn started to help less. It often seemed easier (and still does) to make dinner all by myself instead of having him help. He would play in the water table while I worked in the garden. He would look at books while I swept. And as Phoebe grew, she fell into the same routine. From time to time they would still help me make cookies or plant seeds, but it wasn't a regular thing. Usually, when mama was "working" they would find something to do. And it seemed to work. It was easy. I got stuff done.

But over the years I have had this nagging feeling that I haven't been doing things right. That they have been missing out. That I have been failing them. Now when I ask Finn to help with dinner or gardening, he often sighs or complains, citing that he is busy drawing or reading. I have selfishly claimed the chores as my own time, and haven't welcomed them in. And now I realize that I have been raising lazy children, kids who don't really want to help because they never had to.

But now I am aware of how much they are missing out on. And I am on a mission to change that. I am making a vow to ask the kids to participate when I am making dinner, pulling weeds, or dusting shelves.

Phoebe happily helped me in the garden this week pulling weeds, eating kale and befriending snails. To her, the work was play.

And it was nice to have a friend there while I worked.

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  1. What a wonderful revolution :) It is hard, at times, to include our children when we know without a doubt we can complete the task much faster, and less messier, but I have found that through the process of letting my little man help my patience has improved, and there is a certain joy in having him lending a helping hand.

    Now that is not to say he always wants to help. There are times he doesn't want to, and I am okay with that, I know there will be many more opportunities for him to jump in and help me out.

  2. It is hard to include them but I promise you, when you are at my stage of life you will think back to those meals, and baking times and the "help" they give! I loved the conversations with them and that time together :) Go you!!

  3. I understand you, sometimes it is hard to include them in some of the daily chores and we all make mistakes and then we realize, it's in that second that we acknowledge what we are really doing where the change begins :)

    Have a lovely week!

    Lluisa xx

  4. Oh that's such an interesting plan - I think there are definitely times when I crave a bit of no one touching me time which tends to be doing the chores but it is nice to have the company - my girls like washing up and oddly enough cleaning the bathroom and I try to remember to let them help and to let it be fun as often as I can, and usually it makes it more fun for me too!

  5. I completely understand and agree with it being easier (at least in the short-term), NOT to include kids. I could definitely do a better job including my son in the kitchen, which is important both for the helping aspect, but also because being engaged in the food prep makes kids more likely to try things. Thanks for the reminder!