Recently, while attending a goal setting seminar, I was asked the question, "What five things do you love to do?"
Among being a mom, sewing, standing in the rain, and traveling, I also said "working." This was a no brainer. I not only love what I do, but I love working. I was raised by a single hardworking mother, so I guess I am just wired for it.
When you have a family, work is not the most important thing in your life. It just can't be. However, it can still be very important. And when done correctly, I think it (working) can teach a very healthy and important life lesson to your family. The lesson isn't about working hard, or sacrifice, but about a healthy sense of purpose and the possibility of fulfilling dreams, whatever they might be.
People often see my son in the shop and ask about how often he is there, and what he does. I tell them the truth. He is in the shop 2-4 days a week in some capacity, and he loves it! This is because we have set ourselves up for success, not failure. Not to say that it is perfect, just that this is our life, and we are making it work "perfectly" for us.
This is our recipe for success:
1. Be prepared:
Having enough to do can sometimes be challenging with the attention span of a 3 year old, so we always have new and fun things to do at the shop. Today, the "something new" involved glitter, kite paper, glue, scissors, and a large sheet of paper. We keep quite a selection of art supplies on hand at Bespoke, so this is never a hard thing to do. A few of our favorites are : masking tape, markers, water colors, pencils, scissors, glitter, fabric scraps, a large needle and embroidery thread, cardboard, scraps of wood, colored paper... the list goes on.
2. Honor their schedule:
At 3 1/2 years old, Orland still naps. Sometimes for 3 hours! We try always to be home for his resting time. This creates the routine he needs and honors his body's natural rhythms. Eating is also a big part of a child's day. We make sure to always have snacks and meals for him. We will also take breaks to get a special treat at the coffee shop on occasion, just to keep the process fun.
3. Make it theirs:
It is not a surprise that kids like routine. Orland has a drawer just for his own toys, stickers, drawing books, etc... He almost always goes directly to it to play with something. We are always putting different fun items in the drawer for him to find. For example he LOVES opening mail, so we put all the junk mail in his drawer (teaching him to recycle the mail when done with it too.). We also utilize misprinted pricing stickers for Orland's sticking pleasure. Kids love stickers!
4. Ask for help:
In small doses, "working" can be really fun for kids. Orland loves pricing, vacuuming, and other basic "cleaning" tasks. Anytime a squirt bottle is involved, Orland is all in. The trick is to engage and involve kids in the process to get them to feel a part of the action.
5. No Technology:
We have a rule in our house: No Technology. I see it as a "lazy baby sitter," and choose not to open that door. Not yet at least. I truly look forward to the day we can share the experience of a movie theater together, but for now he is 3 1/2 and the world is just too magical to miss even a minute of it.
6. Do not be afraid to show people your life:
Last week while helping a customer, Orland came running out from the back saying "Mama, I need to go poop!" These things happen, and you just have to roll with them... everyone poops! I have learned to not be embarrassed of life. I LOVE my life, and sometimes pooping is part of it.
7. Work, but don't forget to Live!
Get outside, play, laugh, sing, hold a lizard, read a book, drink tea, watch a sunset, hug, *kiss*, run, jump, skip, and do what makes you happy.