Why It Wasn’t Easy to Have Little Kitchen Helpers

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The other day, I wrote a post about the benefits of having your kids help in the kitchen. But, I must confess … although it was always my desire to get my kids working in there, it was not the easiest thing to do once I started. It still isn’t sometimes.

The #1 reason why this was such a challenging task: I’m a big control freak!

The first kitchen task that my kids helped out with was putting together a gingerbread house. I know this is more of a crafty thing, but I thought this would be a good start because 1) no one will eat it once it’s done, and 2) it doesn’t involve any dangerous implements or appliances.

Not only am I a control freak, but I’m also a Wilton cake decorating “graduate” … a bad combination in this particular scenario. I felt myself tensing up when the candies were not being placed properly. This was a valuable lesson for me: if I’m going to train my kids in the kitchen, I seriously needed to loosen up.

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When having them mix means more flour will probably end up on the floor …. when adding in the next liquid ingredient means pouring it a couple of feet above the bowl … when making a favorite treat means half of it will get eaten before we even finish, it seems like such a hassle to have these little ones help.

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But, I’m learning to overlook the mess for the sweet memories that we share. Of course, I try to be realistic. There are times when I can’t always have them in the kitchen when they ask. But to replace those unplanned moments that cannot happen, I try to have prepared times of cooking or baking with the kids. Baking, of course, is their favorite, especially if it involves chocolate chips. 🙂

Even now, this continues to be an important lesson for me in being less controlling in order to savor the simple joys in life. Sometimes, I still have to fall flat on my face to be reminded of this important life lesson.

The kids and I have spent some great bonding times in the kitchen, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Though there will certainly be more flour to sweep off the floor and more spills to wipe up, there will also be more laughter and chocolate chip cookies to look forward to.

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19 thoughts on “Why It Wasn’t Easy to Have Little Kitchen Helpers

  1. Ah yes, there are always two sides to every story. I remember a friend telling me once that her mom always let her help in the kitchen. And she would ooo and aaah over how nothing would get done if her daughter wasn’t such a good helper. I remember thinking, Well, Allie didn’t get that mom! Ha. But we forge ahead in the kitchen anyway. Good post!

    1. We have to be realistic too. I know there’s going to be times, they just can’t help me in the kitchen. One time, I was tasked with making a friend’s wedding cake, and even though my kids were begging to help, they had to stay out of the kitchen.

  2. Oh yes! This is so true and such a great reminder! I feel this way about so many things. I know that my job isn’t to make things easier for myself, but rather to raise these people to be functioning, contributing members of society. Thank you for the authenticity of this! I’m so happy you linked up!

    1. You’re right, it can be stressful, so I try to do it when we’re making something that won’t be served to a lot of people.

    1. Before we even begin, I have to already be ok with the mess to clean up afterwards. Guaranteed, there will always be something to clean up. 🙂

  3. I can certainly get what you mean. I also want to do things with my son but being that I hate mess so much, sometimes I just ask him to play instead of joining me. LOL. But you’re right, we should treasure those moments when we can be with our kids.

    1. You can always plan something simple for him to help you with. I think I just started with making box brownie mix with the kids. It only takes a few ingredients, and they love being able to pour and mix. And you can’t really mess up a box mix. 🙂

  4. I was just talking with my mom about this. She said that her mom never really wanted the kids in the kitchen because it was always a time for her to get away and have peace and quiet to herself. I plan on having my son help me out in the kitchen eventually, but I do see the other side of it now!

    1. Most of the time, I’m making dinner on my home with my older kids helping occasionally. But, I’ve been trying to include them more with preparing lunches and of course, making desserts. Or even, prepping things, like washing and chopping veggies. Little baby steps is good, as they’re gaining confidence around the kitchen. My little ones just like the idea of pouring and mixing. But I’m starting to show my older kids how to hold kitchen utensils properly, how certain appliances work, etc.

  5. I totally feel where you are coming from! I too, am somewhat, a control freak and everything has to be just right. Although my child is grown (21 years old), there were many times that I just didn’t want to take the time to show him how to put clean dishes away, how to wash dishes, etc.( I had my own way of doing these things)

    Now, as time has flown by and my child is now grown, I wish I would have allowed him to help, as I miss those childhood days.

    Great article!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Even in my 20’s, I still had a lot of questions for my mom about how to do things around the kitchen. Now, I have my own family, but there are times I still want my mom to show me how to make certain dishes, especially recipes that I would want to pass on to my kids. Perhaps those teaching opportunities are still there for you.

  6. I wish I could kee my 2 year old out of the kitchen. She wants to help with everything but I am also a clean freak so it is really hard for me to just let go and let her do her thing!!

    1. Such a difficult balance sometimes, especially when we have to prepare a meal quickly, and we don’t have the time to teach them. That’s why I usually set aside a time to do things with the kids after dinner or in the afternoons, where we can bake or make a snack-y type of food together … then, I’m not so stressed out.

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