Most of the time I hesitate to have my kids help because either A: it will take ten times as long, B: they will make a mess or perhaps break something, C: they may not do it right- or at least with the same quality that I would or D: their “child labor” will result in weeping and wailing guaranteed to only irritate and make me tired. So what ends up happening is I do everything only to get frustrated and tired. Occasionally there are small glimpses of life that the stars are aligned and I have the desire and patience to take on the task of having the kids help. There’s nothing more rewarding than when those times are rewarded with some awesome productivity that I could never have done on my own. Here is an example of one of those times.
Thanks to some awesome friends who have apple orchards and let us pick apples to can every year we had 2 laundry baskets full of apples to make my homemade applesauce this year. One late afternoon I ventured into the world of canning applesauce without recruiting the help of my children for the reasons listed above. By the end of the night I had spent almost 4 hours and had a mere 4 quarts of applesauce to show for my aching feet and legs.
The next morning I was determined to can the rest of the apples no matter what. It was when I was getting ready to start that my two younger boys Marshall and Brady (ages 7 & 5) were looking lost as they wandered the kitchen. So to get them out from under my feet I gave them a chore (my secret weapon!) But I decided to try having them help make the applesauce, after all there wasn’t much that could go wrong, and if they whined or didn’t like it they’ll stay out of my hair the rest of the day. After giving them instructions on what to do I put one of them at the top of the kitchenaid with a spoon and a bowl of cooked apples to put into the top of the applesauce attachment, and the other at the other side of the kitchenaid with the handle to push the apples down into the machine.
They had a BLAST!! They were singing songs, laughing, and talking about how they were such big helpers. BINGO!!
THIS is the time when their help proves invaluable and I ask myself why I don’t have them do more things.
After 4 hours we had made 14 quarts of applesauce! My math is a little out of date, but I’m pretty sure that 14 quarts is better than 4 in the same amount of time.
Lesson learned: sometimes it’s worth the 5 minutes of time to teach your kids how to do something. It will lighten your load and help them become more independent and able adults. (someday)