I had my beautiful twin girls, Ava and Emma, before my daughter Cora’s second birthday. People may not understand why a stay at home mom with twin toddlers and a preschooler would want to blog about DIY projects and preschool crafts. Sounds crazy, I know, but I can explain why having projects is good for both me and my kids.
You see, I transitioned from working full-time as a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed K-12 School Counselor to staying at home full-time with the arrival of my twins. At work, I coordinated district-wide college- and career-readiness events, planned professional development for counselors, and developed the 6th – 12th grade guidance curriculum for our entire school district. Read more about me. The work days flew by quickly because I was doing what I loved. I was able to create a vision, dive into a project (without being distracted), measure my results, and receive recognition for my work.
At home, on the other hand, the moment I finish cleaning the dishes or putting away laundry, it’s mealtime again and the food ends up back on the floor and on everyone’s clothes. By the end of the day, it’s impossible to see or appreciate what’s been done because while I’m picking up the kitchen for the third time, my toddlers are busy dumping marbles and Doritos all over the living room floor. Get the picture?
If it’s my job as a mom to keep a perfectly clean house and hover over my children all day, I am failing. Fortunately, as my own boss, I get to write my own job description and conduct my own evaluation. Like all moms, I need to stop evaluating myself according to someone else’s rubric. Instead, I need to assign job responsibilities that play to my strengths, align with my values, and include my unique passions and skills. For some moms this may be cooking, cleaning, natural living, cloth diapering, making homemade baby food, organizing parties or play dates, scrap booking, or even blogging. Why do moms accept the notion that we need to put aside our passions, disregard our boundaries, and forget our own sense of identity in order to be good moms? That may work for some moms, but not for me.
For me, I’m at my best when I’m working towards a project or goal. Adding a kid’s craft or DIY project to my plate helps me wake up motivated, manage my time effectively, worry less about the little things, and feel more accomplished. It helps me set boundaries and keep routines and model problem solving and creativity with my kids. As my job satisfaction improves, so does my overall job performance as a wife and mother.
Not only do projects have the potential to make me a better mom, they benefit my children as well. By witnessing the transformation from chaos to completion, my children learn that you have to go through the process to accomplish your goals. It’s important to me that my daughters see their mom complete something that makes her feel proud. I believe it promotes autonomy, initiative, and self-efficacy, which are all key components for developing a healthy sense of self. My preschooler has a strong sense of self and plays very independently, telling me, “Look, I’m being creative” or ” I’m busy working mom.” Like her mom, she loves playing with tools to “fix things” around the house.
And when she’s not too busy, she tries to find ways to help me around the house. She understands that you need to keep working at something to accomplish your goal. Just as important, when I am working on a project, my daughter learns that sometimes she needs to wait patiently because every now and then mom actually has something else to do other than serve her hand and foot. My daughter has learned this lesson well, telling me with pride, “I’m being patient mom!”
In more ways than I can explain, I truly believe that children benefit not only from getting to be home with mom but also from getting to be at work with mom. Whether you’re more interested in home DIY projects or preschool crafts, I hope you enjoy following my blog.
Cora at 19 months, helping get the house ready for her baby sisters.