Ya know, being part of big family requires certain responsibilities. Actually being a part of any size family requires certain responsibilities. I have definitely found, though, that as our family grew, I had to make changes and adjustments to increase efficiency around the house, ensure I was teaching necessary life skills to all ages, and also maximizing one on one time with the children.
We do a lot of chores around here. Everyone from Little Sister up has at least 3 daily chores in addition to room clean up, zone clean up, and kitchen duty.
It has been in meal preparation that I have found some of those most fulfilling times as a mom.
You see, I always said I would NOT be one of those moms who always shooed my children out of the kitchen during cooking time.
But when my first 4 were so little (barely 5 and under, for the record ;-), I found myself doing just that. I mean, it was just too easy to send them away from the kitchen so I could get it done quickly and with as little mess as possible.
I soon began to recognize in my words, though, "No, just let Mama do it by myself. I'll be done so much faster!" that I knew I was becoming what I didn't want.
But four stirring the brownie batter? Four beating the eggs? There had to be a better way.
What is the saying about necessity being the mother of invention? Well, I didn't actually invent anything, but I had to creatively problem solve.
So, thus, the assigned meal helper idea was born. I assigned a meal to one child (plus snack time), and we began to work in the kitchen together, side by side, one on one.
Every six months, we switch the meal assignments around, so everyone gets plenty of experience cooking different things. Boy, has it been helpful to see how a few months into a new rotation how different children become little experts at different foods/meals.
This morning was one of those wonderful moments when you realize that the time you are investing is really paying off.
Middle Sister wanted to surprise me with breakfast. She wanted to select the meal and cook it w/o my attendance. I was a smidge hesitant to say yes, but I decided, "why not?"
She did a perfectly wonderful job of cooking breakfast burritos for the whole family! She has helped me make them several times, but this is the first time she has cooked all the ingredients and assembled them by herself.
And they were very yummy! :0)
I am so proud of her for taking initiative and being willing to work and serve her family. And I am thankful to see fruit beginning to ripen that was planted a long time ago.
You know, skills and character do not develop overnight. It takes time and perseverance. If I went out in the yard and planted some apple seeds, I would not have an apple tree tomorrow. It takes time. But if I don't take care of those seeds and tend to what I've planted, I may never see the fruit I desired.
Seems to be that way with children, too.
I pray the Lord will help me persevere and tend very carefully the seeds we've been given.
It sure seems worth it! :-)