Have you ever refused to let your child load the dishwasher simply because they just don’t do it the ‘right way’? Have you ever let them load the dishwasher then completely reloaded almost the whole thing afterward before starting it? If you said yes to any of the above, you and I have something in common! I wouldn’t exactly call myself a perfectionist, but I’m realizing there a few things I get a little bit hung upon.
A few years back I started school majoring in web development. I knew that my life would never be the same once I did. Juggling college courses, housework, children, shopping, cooking…..you get the idea. On top of it I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and my energy levels were dropping significantly. Not to mention the pain. I knew I was going to need help but my husband was in school taking even a tougher course load as I was and working as well. I couldn’t very well afford a housekeeper either. It was than I realized I would need to turn to my children for help.
Have you ever refused to let your child load the dishwasher simply because they just don’t do it the ‘right way’? Have you ever let them load the dishwasher then completely reloaded almost the whole thing afterward before starting it?
My oldest at the time was 6 years old. I thought that had to be too young. I couldn’t ask her to help with this! I was wrong. Not only did she want to help, she actually was thrilled that I trusted her to do so! She knew her job was unloading the dishwasher and she did so with pride! Now granted, that excitement wore off rather quickly, but it did instill a sense of confidence and accomplishment in her.
Eventually her younger brother took notice and he wanted to be ‘Mommy’s helper’ too! I felt it was time to ‘promote’ her to the task of loading the dishwasher. This was VERY hard for me. Why you may ask? Well, I have a little bit of a perfectionist view when it comes to this chore. I know it needs to be done right or the dishes won’t get cleaned for starters, and I like to make sure it’s organized in such a way to get as many dishes in there as possible so as to not waste water. With that being said, I knew that this could also take many teaching moments, and much patience on my part. I also discovered that my 6 yr old son would rather help with the laundry than unload the dishwasher. So I have had my daughter back to unloading the dishwasher and only loading it once or twice a week. Meanwhile he helps to empty the dryer and fill the washer with whatever I ask him too. I’ve taught him how to separate clothes and I even bought a laundry hamper that has a separator in it to make it easier for him to know which pile to put in. He loves adding the soap and pushing the buttons too! He even knows he has to empty the lint out of the dryer each time! We lovingly call him our ‘laundry boy’!
My daughter is now 8½ and she is tad on the stubborn side. I’ve explained several times the right way to load a dishwasher, pretty much the same way my mom taught me. She’s been loading the dishwasher now for a few years and I STILL have to fix it every..single..time. I’ve considered giving up and just doing it entirely myself. However, here’s the thing, she’s getting better, she’s learning, and she’s gaining a life skill. It’s not always my way, but its okay. My 6 yr old son doesn’t always put the right clothes in the washer but so far nothing has turned pink, and well we don’t own any fancy clothes in this house anyways! He is very shy and giving him more responsibilities is one way to help grow his confidence too.
Last night I was helping my 4 yr old (who has special needs) wash his hands more thoroughly with some foaming soap, he decided to clap his hands together the moment I applied the soap to his hands for him. At first I caught myself raising my voice in aggravation as I can’t stand getting my eyeglasses dirty, but then I caught a glance of myself and him in the mirror. We both had soap bubbles hanging off our faces. The look on his face was priceless and I couldn’t help but bust up laughing at the sight of us both! He’s teaching me not to take myself so seriously. Something I could use reminding of once in awhile.
My children may be learning something new from me now and then, but I find that they quite frequently show me when to be teachable and be a better listener. I am trying to listen to my children more with a childlike heart than my adult ears. One thing is for sure, they bring a smile to my face every day!
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As the founder of Why Not Mom; a unique online directory of mom-owned boutiques and mom-invented products, Tonia has strived to create a unique organization of female business owners, creating a diverse network that assists each other in driving more business to one another, in addition to providing tools and resources to achieve success in their business endeavors. It is her passion to make Why Not Mom the world’s largest online directory of women-owned businesses in the pursuit of strengthening families and supporting small business owners worldwide.