After ten years of being a working mom, God opened the door for me to fulfill my dream of staying home with my babies.
My head was filled with visions of morning cups of coffee while children sat contently watching Sesame Street. My home was going to be tidy and welcoming and we would have picnics in the front yard. And quiet time with God? Oh, it was going to happen every day. After all, I would have so much more time since I wasn’t working a 9 to 5.
Go ahead, you seasoned stay-at-home moms, take a moment and giggle at my naïveté. Imagine my surprise when, one week into my new gig, my status on Facebook read, “When exactly am I supposed to shower?” One of my dear friends commented, “You must be doing it wrong. Don’t you know we stay-at- home moms have nothing but time”.
Now, six months in, I can laugh at myself. And, you’ll be happy to know, I have figured out when to shower.
Being a mom is a non-stop, exhausting, amazing, make you want to scream, wouldn’t trade it for anything kind of job. But, for those days when you really need to drink that cup of coffee in peace, here are some great ways to briefly occupy your little ones without spending a fortune or messing up your house.
- Put some water in the sink with some plastic dishes. Children love to help. So, let them “wash dishes” for you. Just don’t forget the towel for the floor.
- Grab some dry beans and some measuring cups. The first time I watched my husband dump red beans on the floor, I thought he was crazy. Then, I watched my two year old have a blast for twenty minutes. Now, even the older kids want to play.
- Take two minutes and make some homemade play dough. One cup of flour and a quarter cup of salt. Mix in water until it becomes dough. You’ll be amazed at how much time this can buy you.
- Give your child a wash cloth. Seriously, that’s all. I happened upon this one accidentally when I was cleaning the kitchen table one day and my little one said “me.” I handed her the cloth and she proceeded to wash everything she could reach. Spray some Pledge on that thing and point your little one to those dusty tables. They have a blast and you can mark one chore of your list that day.
- Drape a blanket or two over the kitchen table and you have an instant fort, dog house, castle or Noah’s Ark. Let them bring some toys along and you will be amazed at how they can entertain themselves.
- Balloons are very entertaining to children. Blow them up and watch the children make up a thousand and one ways to use them. For extra fun, rub the balloon on their head and show them how it magically sticks to the wall.
- Cool whip on a cookie sheet. This one is deliciously entertaining. Your children will make designs, draw pictures and write letters. And, when they are done, they can lick their fingers. Kids (and adults) of all ages love this one.
As a mom to three, soon to be four, little ones, I’m finding that you need quite the arsenal of entertaining activities. They need to be quick to pull together and quick to put away. And, most importantly, they need to be able to entertain the children for at least one cup of coffee and maybe one segment of The Price is Right.
Because, sometimes, your sanity requires that you have just five minutes…