By Ashley Eneriz
Has Pinterest become the working mom’s worst enemy? While the site might have been established to help individuals be creative, sometimes it can serve as a constant reminder we just aren’t doing enough with our kids. One minute you’re patting yourself on the back for making cookies with your children, and the next you’re feeling guilty that your cookies aren’t gluten-free or organic or that you didn’t include a homemade felt cookie counting activity with it. Thanks, Pinterest!
While I do poke fun at Pinterest, there’s a more serious underlying concern here. As much as we love our families, it can be a struggle to fit in meaningful crafts and activities with your kids. Here are some ways working moms can make time for fun projects with your kids, even when your to-do list feels like it’s bursting at the seams.
Focus on the purpose, not the project
Don’t get caught up in thinking what you make in your kitchen has to be homemade from scratch and organic. Don’t expect any craft you do to be blog-worthy or Instagram-perfect. Instead, treasure the quality time you’re spending with your kids. If you have a half-hour of giggling with your child while you make brownies from a box and then end up burning them, that’s 30 minutes well spent.
Something as simple as doing watercolors together or sitting side-by-side while you watch a knitting YouTube video can become memories they’ll remember. Your child might not remember the specific projects you make together, but you can bet they’ll cherish their special moments with you.
Get a little help
You’re no less of a mom if you rely on premade craft kits or boxed desserts. I’ve received several monthly craft and science kits, and I love how easy they make things. My favorite kits for kids are Kiwi Crate and Green Kid Crafts, but several others make great options, too. Retailers like Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores also sell lots of kits and sets that can be paired with a 40% off coupon.
Find activities you both love to do
Even from a young age, children can tell when you aren’t enjoying yourself. I even have memories of my mom feeling rushed or annoyed when I asked her to play with me. Try to remind yourself that your to-do list can probably wait, but our children won’t be young and wanting to spend one-on-one time with us forever.
As a mom, you sometimes have to fake it. There will be times you just have to pretend you are excited about playing house or doctor for the fifth time that week. We do it because we love and care for our children. As your child gets a little older, you can focus more on activities that you both love. I can read books until I am blue in the face and bake up a storm with my kids, but please do not ask me to build anything. Finding those special hobbies you can both bond over will make your time spent together even better.
The simple way to get in more craft and activity time with your kids is to schedule it. Maybe you dedicate 20 minutes each night before bed to do a little something or you block off a few hours one weekend. If your children know that their special time is scheduled and coming, they’ll feel less anxious and have that to look forward to. Also, if you have more than one child, scheduling one-on-one craft/activity time with each helps make the moment less stressful and gives your child your undivided attention.
Ultimately, it’s not about making crafts or cookies—it’s about making memories. There will always be something vying for your attention, whether it’s that email you need to send or work drama. When it’s time to do activities with your child, make it all about them. Put the phone away, stop thinking about what needs to get done, and just enjoy yourself. Your kids deserve this and so do you.
Ashley Eneriz is a work-at-home mom of two little girls. When she isn’t busy writing finance articles, she enjoys writing children’s books. Her first book, Doggie Diner, came out in October and is the perfect counting book for dog lovers.