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Just do the dishes. Please. The kids will be fine

Because even though babies grow up it’s best if they grow up when the dishes are done.

Just do the dishes. Please. The kids will be fine

This article originally appeared on Rachel Martin’s blog, Finding Joy. It has been reposted here with permission.


Listen.

Before you get all panicked that this is another one of those articles that tells you to ignore the dishes until tomorrow because babies grow up to our sorrow let me reassure you: it’s not. It’s, instead, a breath for those who feel just a bit of guilt.

Do the dishes. Please.

Because even though babies grow up it’s best if they grow up when the dishes are done.

And don’t feel guilt about doing those dishes.

You’re teaching kids that dishes are a fact of life. You eat, you make a mess, you clean up.

Sometimes I think those articles that tell us to savor the moment miss that sometimes savoring the moment is WAY more enjoyable and easy to do when there isn’t a big pile of dishes staring us down as the food dries on it.

I know.

I’ve fought that part of me for a long time thinking that there was something wrong with me. I wanted to be the mom that ignored the dishes or the laundry or the to-do list, but truthfully, I wasn’t. And then, then because of all the poems and Pinterest pins and blog posts about how motherhood is short and we need to savor it filled my stream then I’d end up feeling guilt because there I was, scrubbing off dried macaroni and cheese that had turned to glue on the plate versus reading a book.

But friends, again, I really really struggle with reading that book when that pile of dishes is looming in the background. Like struggle. Like I’m the mom that will play with the kids but end up sorting the toys and making playing cleaning instead of playing. It’s about finding YOUR balance.

So I’m writing to you moms a word of permission.

Do the dishes.

You are not a bad mom if you’re not sitting there savoring every. single. moment.

Work must be done. We can’t live in disarray. Or, at least, my personality struggles there. And it, again, is teaching our kids the value of order, chores, responsibility and stewardship when we take care of things around us. And you know what? Doing the dishes might be important for you but not for someone else. But I feel like I just want there to be that permission, in a world screaming at us to savor every second, that doing the dishes or the laundry or all of that stuff is still good. It’s mothering. It’s life.

Do the babies grow up?

ABSOLUTELY.

My oldest is in college on the other side of the country. So I’m not a writer giving mom advice whose oldest is five. It’s really, really easy to think that one has the answers then. But, I’m telling you, until you parent a teen you cannot advise on a teen. And let me tell you, I cannot advise on motherhood beyond the age 20 years 9 months. Because that’s my time.

But, listen. In those almost twenty-one years of motherhood, I fought myself and my need for order because I allowed the guilt of missing the moment sneak in.

Do you know what happened?

I became crabby. I became frustrated. I became overwhelmed.

So I decided—forget the guilt. And I started creating order and peace. And in that space, the real me began to emerge—the me who could laugh and enjoy the moments because I didn’t have a million things staring me down.

I am a better mom when the dishes are done.

Listen, real life is just this way. We don’t get the luxury of wrapping up life in two hours like a movie or 38 episodes of a sitcom where the staff and set crew clean up the mess. You and I do it.

No more guilt. Do the dishes. Be proud. Love your kids. Savor the moment when you can. Find the balance that works for YOU and your family.

But seriously, if you need order, no guilt. That happiness matters.

Because you know what? I want my kids to see me happy.

And my happiness?

It likes a clean counter.

PS: My daughter survived. And she, haha, likes a clean counter as well.

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Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

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