Seriously? Why do people think they know what I'm capable of when they don't even know me? I am truly a greyhound when it comes to activity.
Want a sandwich for your school lunch? Cool. I like to use giant cookie cutters to make mine so they're shaped like fun things. Sometimes I make butterflies. If it's fall, I'll make leaves. For spring, I make bunnies. To make sure things fit into the lunch well, I pack it bento-style. I don't get as fancy as a Japanese mom might, but I have fun. Why not? And it's just as easy to pack one lunch like this as it is to pack five. Stack up the cheese, whack it with the cookie cutters. Ford was onto something with that assembly line business.
Laundry for the masses: Teach 'em young how to put their dirty clothes in the basket, how to put their clean clothes away, and once they're ready, teach them how to run that washer and dryer. My teenagers have been able to do their own wash for YEARS. It's not complicated, it simplifies life to have them responsible for making sure they have their own clothes clean, plus they make sure they don't wear things for two seconds and toss them into the hamper when they know they're the ones who'll be washing them.
Cooking: Kids love to help in the kitchen. Include them. Get them aprons, turn the kitchen chair around or grab a stool so they can join you at the counter. Let them help set the table, clear their dishes, prep the veggies with you. My kids have been with me in the kitchen for as long as I can remember. They started out in their high chairs, and now they make full-blown meals.
Get Creative: We have a game and craft closet that would make most school teachers drool with envy. It comes from years of collecting, teaching, and savvy shopping. We have a high-powered microscope for exploring finds in the pond or pool. We have craft supplies that keep the "I'm boreds" at bay. Two sewing machines stand at-the-ready. There's always an unexpected find or forgotten treasure to be found in that closet.
Books: A home is not complete without a library. My children are avid readers. I used to track their literary pursuits on Goodreads, but have since given up on maintaining that pursuit. They've just read A LOT of books. I try to keep their books sorted by subject, type, sets, etc., and rotate them to draw interest when possible, especially when they're younger. A well-placed book or two can pique a child's interest without much effort on your part.
Gardening: Herb gardens are fun and our current home has an enormous one. The kids love identifying what's growing in it, harvesting things to use in our meals, and taste things like mint or dill. We're also fortunate to have a plethora of fruit trees that provide year-round bounty. Currently, we've been picking pears. In past weeks, we've used the fruit picker to pick plums and have even had a few figs. Getting kids involved in gardening is a great way to connect them to their food, even if it's just an herb garden in the kitchen window.
Family Dinners: They might not happen like the Norman Rockwell painting, but they happen in some fashion as often as possible. We sit together, we eat together, and we talk to each other. Every person in the family has a place, a meal, and voice, and is heard. We work on manners when we feel it's a teaching moment. We get silly when it feels right. We are us.
These are some of the things I do to take care of my children. I also take care of my significant other, my home, myself, and my life. I always have.
Again, this is just a SLICE of life. My life. Our life. It's not the whole slice. It's really just a sliver, but it's more than is apparently known about me, assumed about me, or my home, my children, or my family. It's how we do.
It's also good to keep in mind that much of what I do I've done for many years, some of those years while my husband traveled for weeks at a time, some while my children were in school, some while I homeschooled one or both children, and some of those years my son's Tourette Syndrome was severe, most it wasn't. Some of those years my husband was dying and I was caring for him in a wholly different way, in addition to caring for our children. One of those years, he was dead, and it was just me. It wasn't always perfect, but it got done. My children are happy, healthy, well-adjusted teenagers in spite of all they've been through. To me, that's what matters most of all.
So, before you judge what I can do, you might want to reconsider who I am and what I've already done. And, don't short-change my kids. They're amazing. One of them loves nothing more than helping younger children. The other has an IQ that's higher than most and likes choreographing dances to old show-tunes just to make us all laugh. Mostly, they're awesome.
Seriously, we all know it's rarely what people say it's about anyway, right?