As parents and caregivers, there are so many parenting activities that we lovingly do for our children. We sing songs, play games, crawl in the dirt, and even play beauty salon.
But sometimes, there are tedious parenting activities our children request and things that they do, that require a deep breath or two.
All of a sudden, we are performing tasks that either may be outside our comfort zone, or may just plain make us want to tear our hair out. Conventional wisdom states that we are supposed to, “Enjoy Every Minute.” Whoever came up with that statement clearly did not have children, or is just so beyond the stage of throw up in the bed and screaming tantrums in the store, that they completely forgot what it was like to slog through this journey we call “Raising a Family.”
For me, there are many parenting activities I enjoy doing with my children, such as gardening, teaching them to sew, making healthy dinners, and reading stories at night. I lovingly do these things for my young boys.
But, as we know, with the good comes the “Arg!” and there are a few things in my house (or car, or grocery store, or playground…) that I begrudgingly (but lovingly) do for my children:
Clean up the half eaten apples.
No, I’m not kidding. You read that right. We call our youngest son The Nibbler because he always wants an apple to eat. But, before we can catch him, he often stashes the half eaten apple somewhere in the house. See the photos for proof of where I have found his half eaten booty, and no, the one on the corner of the box spring was not placed by me for effect. I actually found it there! I have found apples in the bathroom sink, under the bed, on a bookshelf, and many other places. Because I am one who really does not like to waste food, I do try to keep tabs on when The Nibbler is eating an apple. This way I either save it for later or finish it myself. On occasions when I find old versions of these lovingly placed gifts, I am extremely glad we compost.
Make the baby pancakes.
When I was little, I always loved when my mom or dad made us “baby pancakes.” These were the smallest pancakes you could imagine. Essentially a drip of batter on the pan. Now that I am a mom myself, I realize what a gigantic pain in the butt these things are. Have you ever tried to flip a baby pancake? No? Let me explain – when you have a pancake the size of your two year old’s pinky nail, you can never walk away from the pan or it will overcook within seconds. Then, when you try to flip it, you need to ever-so-gently poke the corner of the spatula into the pancake, and then as quick as you can, flick it so it lands on the other side. Honestly, sometimes their tiny pancakes are only half cooked. But you know what? My kiddos love these little pancakes, especially when I make a stack of them in size order, so I will continue to do it.
Let my children play with my hair.
I know, I know. This is not a big deal. I get it. But the sensory piece of letting someone else touch my hair other than my hairstylist is really hard for me. I know some people have no problems with this one, but for me, it’s tough. Usually, I will patiently sit there and let them have at it (mostly after work when I know I will restyle in the morning). Other times, I will steer them to a more desirable activity such as throwing dirt outside or chasing the cat.
Listen to the same. freakin’. CD. over. and. over.
Okay, that was an excessive use of punctuation. But I also know that if you have children, and you listen to music, you have been in my exact situation more than once. Lately, it’s been this disco compilation that my husband made in college. How many times can you listen to “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang or “Shake Your Booty” by KC and The Sunshine Band, you ask? Way, way too many times.
Let my son paint my toenails.
Yes, this is a cute one and I actually do like the bonding time I have with my oldest when we do this. However, (you knew there was a catch, didn’t you?) the amount of cringing I do on the inside as he “paints” my toenails is a full on workout. As you can imagine, when a five year-old does your toes, it is in fact, the whole toe, and not just the nail that is painted. So while he paints the nails, I bat clean up, and come prepared with plenty of remover, cotton swabs, and cotton balls.
There are so many parenting activities that I lovingly do for my family. But as we know, we can’t, “Enjoy every moment.”
There are much rougher things than getting your toenails painted, such as deciding whether to just leave the full shopping cart in the store during an epic tantrum or finish shopping, or playing referee between two cranky children at the end of a long day of work. Even so, some of these small parenting activities that we go through during our day to day lives are ones that we can smile about later, even while pitching the half eaten apples into the compost or putting our frizzed-out hair in a pony tail.