By Dana Fouche
Life is full of many different seasons. Parenthood is a season that makes taking care of yourself (or doing anything productive) a bit more challenging. What if taking care of yourself is the best way to care for your family? Our kids learn by example, what example are we setting? What if allowing them to get involved might actually make things flow more smoothly?
Many of you know we live on a farm here in New England. We have cows (two cows, a steer, and a heifer to be specific), chickens (layers and fryers) and also raise pigs off site with our neighbors. This means daily chores and lots of responsibilities on the farm like hay, fixing fences etc. Chores can take 15-20 minutes if you hustle and get them done. With children they can take twice as long but man do they enjoy being included.
I am reading a book titled Hunt, Gather, Parent (https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Hunt-Gather-Parent/Michaeleen-Doucleff/9781982149673). In the book she talks a lot about including the children in our day to day activities. She hypothesizes that turning down our children’s desire to help actually makes them less willing to help as they get older. This got me thinking.
My daughter loved eggs for the first five years of her life. Then one day she wasn’t interested in them anymore. A few months later she expressed interest in helping me crack and cook the eggs. At first it seemed like too much of a nuisance, we needed to get to work etc…. She asked again the next day. I agreed to have her help and her three year old brother joined in too. Low and behold she is interested in eating them after she helps prepare them. Her brother is too.
This wasn’t the first time I have witnessed the impact including youth can have in what they eat. I also have an adolescent nutrition client who expressed zero interest in vegetables until she started helping to cook them at home. Now she regularly cooks the vegetables and is eating them too!
Truth be told, the process will be messy some days. Yesterday morning my son missed the bowl entirely and I am still cleaning up sticky eggs on the stove but they are learning responsibility and how to help with family needs. Will there be days when I am just not in the headspace to have them help? Sure, and that’s ok but for this season we will work together and enjoy the process.
What about you? What activities have you found to be fun (even if not productive) with your kids? How are you both investing in your health and wellness? We would love to hear how it’s going. We do tough things and we do them together.