Mama Be Present: Let ‘Em Help

The other morning, it was only 7:30 a.m., and I already needed space from my sticky, 3-foot shadow. Not only did he wake up 45 minutes earlier than expected AND before I even had one sip of coffee (GASP!), but after breakfast he was following me ev.er.y.where. 

As I was trying to empty the dishwasher, JeeWoo was doing what every toddler is exceptionally great at: getting in the way. He also kept asking me to come and play…over and over. 

“Buddy, mommy needs to do the dishes real quick, then I’m all yours, okay?”

“Okay,” he said.

Those four letters confirmed that I was about to get a few tasty minutes of s-p-a-c-e. But…he kept standing there.

“Awww man, the poor kid just wants to be with you,” said the wise angel on my shoulder. “Let him hang. Turn on a song or ask him where things go.”

It had been a long time since we played that little memory game with our kitchen items, so I kicked it off. He. was. so. excited. 

Hearing the joy in his voice and seeing the light in his face every time he successfully pointed to where things belonged was nothing short of energizing. With each new placement, I felt more in my body and increasingly at ease. 

When that was finished, I asked if he wanted to help me fill up the dish soap dispenser.

“YEAAAAAH!!!” he screamed, like I had just asked him to take a train to the North Pole.

Then, with each painfully simple step of refilling the soap, his amazement was hilarious. I mean, all I did was say, “Now, we take the lid off,” and he was like, “Wait, WHAT?!”

And, oh my goodness, when I asked him to come with me to put the bottle back in the laundry room, he was so pumped. Then, when I decided to run, it sparked even MORE excitement as he did the other thing toddlers live for: he chased me.

It’s incredible how quickly that whole scenario changed — all thanks to a nudge to turn a mundane chore into a magical moment of interaction.


So, the next time you’re unraveling and your little one ain’t skeedaddling, maybe there’s a reason for it. Maybe it’s a chance to make the most of it. 

Why not ask them to help or learn how to do what you’re trying to do alone? Ya know, you just might need their help, too. You just might see every little thing anew. (Wait, WHAT?!) 


This post is part of the Mama Be Present series:

A joy-sparking journey + free community for moms who desire simple yet impactful ways to connect more with their little ones.

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