They want to help.
They want to be included, to contribute. I want this, too. It is what I am supposed to be teaching them.
But I also want space, want to just get things done, want to continue on through each day as I’ve always done; doing things in my own way and my own time.
I have found that I often try to redirect them, pushing aside their requests to help. Why? Out of fear? Fear of messes, fear of not getting tasks done as quickly as I would like? Surely my reasons are not as trivial as that.
But maybe they are. I’ve had more than 4 years to get used to being a mother, and yet I still crave order, solitude, cleanliness–not the first words that come to mind when you think of children.
One day last week, we made strawberry muffins for breakfast. I fought my “no, just let me do it” instincts, my “watch out so you don’t spills”, and my “try doing it like this” commentary.
I let the boys help me (over)mix the muffin ingredients, reminding myself that fostering independence and a sense of accomplishment is more important than tender muffins. Tesla scooped the batter into the muffin cups, and Desmond chopped strawberries. (With a real knife!)
The boys loved contributing. I could tell they felt important, included. They enjoyed the muffins immensely, especially since they helped make them. That scene has played in my head, over and over since that morning. They are so much happier when I give them jobs to do, tasks to complete.
So this is me, telling myself, that I need to step back, relax, and let them learn.
Even (and maybe especially) when they don’t do things “my way”.
I know some parents are really awesome at giving their children responsibility. It is something I really believe in, but really struggle with at the same time. Does spilled flour make you twitch, too? 😉