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Doing things with my kids and enjoying it immensly!

by Isabel Johansen

"well, let's do something shall we?"

Clean only as much as you need to do so the house looks okay. In other words, surface clean. Pick a weekend or some other time to really get into the cleaning. Usually, with good organization and a routine it is possible to keep a house mostly clean without having to roll up your sleeves and really clean too often. I'm a surface cleaner and get down and dirty with the cleaning about once a month.

When cooking, employ the kids. My kids are 3 & 6. They cook with me. In fact, they each have a night of the week that they cook. Either myself or my husband is in the kitchen with them. Just last night my 3 yr.old make mac n cheese, potato wedges and sliced apples for dinner.

We started this for many reasons. We home school and cooking is part of their lessons. I got tired of them coming to the table and saying "ugh, I don't want that" or "I'm not in the mood for that". So, they each get to plan a weekly meal. Also, it gives them confidence and it gives us a chance to spend time together.

Read to the kids before bed. Do they have a bedtime routine? How much time do you have between dinner and bedtime? Maybe on a few nights you have a really easy dinner that you can eat in the living room and let the kids pick a movie that you watch with them. Take the time to read to them before they go to sleep. Or if there is time sit down and color or do a simple, not to messy, craft.

You could also have them pick one night a week that they plan the evening. Ask them what they want to do. Keep it a standing date. So, every Thursday, for example, they know it is their night. The activity or dinner or whatever should be planned in advance. I could offer you further help if I knew what kind of time you had after work and school. I work as a consultant for busy moms so I do this for a living.

Also, don't be too hard on yourself. I seriously doubt your children are feeling neglected. You're doing the best you can. As parents we often hold ourselves up to a higher standard and we end up stressing over things that we really don't need to. Your kids know they are loved and they are taken care of. The fact that you're even asking this questions shows that you're a good parent. Thank you for that.

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