Without a doubt, that’s the question I receive the MOST often: “But Stacy…what do you do with your kids when you are ____?” (cleaning the house, making the food, folding laundry, etc.). Working with kids at home isn’t the easiest thing, but it IS possible.
For the first time in my parenting career, I had help this summer. Our family friend, Lillee, came over to watch the kids for a few hours each week (Mother’s Helper type) so I could work on my two online businesses. It has been wonderful to have that help working with kids. For 10 years I didn’t have that help.
So what did I do?
It was crazy important to Barry and me, when we started having kids, to make sure they would be fine without us. We didn’t want to raise them to be DEPENDENT on us for their every need. We wanted them to be able to play if we weren’t available. That might seem cold and harsh – but for us, it made the most sense.
I never want to have to rely on having someone with me to feel comfortable or content. Sure, I love having my peeps with me – but I am also okay if I am alone. Working with kids present is something that we needed to figure out, and it is important if you want to be able to get work done while they’re around at your home too.
Start Working with Kids Around Now!
We started at a very young age with all our kids. As we worked, they were WITH US but we weren’t always focused on them. As wee bits, they would play on a blanket beside me while I worked or. We were together, but I was working. When Barry is doing a task that’s safe and reasonably quiet, it is common that he has one (or more) of the kids in his shop with him. Start NOW with your kids, no matter how young or old they are.
Ours have been taught independent play by using things like dress-up clothing, blocks, magnets, books, and art items. “Here are your markers and paper. Sit here at the table and draw. Mommy is going to go back to the counter and make rolls.”
Babies? I held them on my lap while I worked and they played with toys. When they were old enough to sit up, they would sit beside me and play with blocks or other baby toys. Now that they are all old enough, they help me with certain things in the kitchen – and they have their own chores to do.
In the mornings, the kids don’t come out of their rooms before 7:45 unless they need to use the bathroom. Otherwise, they play quietly or read. We used a quiet morning basket to train them a bit, and now they don’t even need that.
Was this whole training process easy? Is anything easy with kids? NO. But was it worth the effort? Yes. Now at age 10, Annie can occupy herself all day with her crafts, books, and babies, if she needs to. She also loves to play with others – because we instilled a healthy balance in her.
I see her other siblings following suit. They can play together – they can play with me – but they can also play alone.
Now, that doesn’t mean I’ve got this whole thing figured out. Going out to run errands, for instance, is a totally different thing than being at home. They outnumber us…and they’re mobile (and fast)! I still take every chance I can to go to the grocery store sans kiddos or do grocery pickup (an amazing invention!).
But consider this: taking them out in public will give you a bunch of amazing stories of things they did that will make you laugh (after the fact) for years to come!
Always remember, you are training your kids. “Train up a child in the way they should go.” You can’t train them to need you forever. Eventually they need to fly the coop – and when they do, you still need to have purpose, vision, and passion. It’s good for your kids to see you have a drive to do other things – it teaches them to have vision of their own.
Mama, parenting is HARD. It just is.
But, it’s also worth it.
If you want some additional info on this topic, a while back I wrote a Q&A on being a work at home mom that might be of help. Check it out!