There is a thing that happens when we become parents. We fall totally and completely in love with our kids and then society puts a ton of pressure on us to love every single thing they do all the time no matter what. We’re only allowed to talk about how great and fun and amazing they are. But guess what. Sometimes our kids–beautiful angels that they are don’t always cooperate when we’re busy and if we aren’t careful, keep us from getting things done.
This is where parenting becomes especially challenging. We have grown up things to do and take care of! How do we take care of those things while also giving our kids all of the love and attention that they need? Here are some things that I’ve found to be really helpful in the past.
Plan Around Your Kids
When your kids are babies, it’s pretty easy to get stuff done. Strap your kids to your chest, sing fun songs to them while you go about your chores and take care of your obligations and viola! Everybody’s happy! As they get older, try to put off the really attention-grabbing stuff until your little ones are in school, play group or at a play date. This way you know they’re happy and taken care of and you can concentrate on the task at hand until they need to be picked up.
Ask Your Kids for Their Input
With bigger tasks, asking your kids to help you make decisions is a great way to keep their attention while also ensuring that the task goes smoothly. This is especially important when the task is something emotional. For example, when packing for a big move, ask your kids to help you sort through their toys and decide what to keep and what to give away. They’ll be less traumatized this way than simply finding something they’ve loved has gone missing.
PRO TIP: Don’t ever ask your kids to “get rid” of something. Ask them to “choose things to give to kids who need toys/books/clothes too.” This makes parting with precious toys they’ve never played with a lot easier on them.
Ask Your Kids For Help
Once your kids are old enough to take on their own simple chores, you can often keep them from getting underfoot by simply asking for their help. You’ll be happy because they’ll be occupied with something that keeps them from interrupting and they’ll be ecstatic that you trust them enough to let them help you with whatever it is you’re doing. For example, if you’re cleaning out the fridge, ask them to help you smell things to determine whether or not those things have gone bad (they’ll get a huge kick out of this).
For example, when moving to a new house, you are the person who gets to choose which movers to hire. Your kids, though, can be asked to help you “direct” those movers as they load and unload your belongings from a truck. They can stand a safe distance away from the truck and tell the movers which room each box lives in.
Pro Tip: Make sure that the movers you’ve hired are in on the plan so that your kid suddenly shouting out “that goes in my room!” won’t be surprising or annoying to them.
Ask for Help
There is no shame in hiring a baby-sitter or mother’s helper to come over and help entertain your kids for a while if you need some time to concentrate on something or don’t want them to be underfoot (as in our aforementioned moving scenario). Setting up sleepovers at friends and relatives’ houses is also a good idea if you have a lot that you need to accomplish.
The point is: it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. You do not always have to choose between your kids and your other responsibilities. In fact, getting your kids involved in those responsibilities is a great way to teach them how to be responsible themselves!