It’s 4:45pm- daddy is to arrive in t-minus 15 minutes. The dishes are a mile high, flour is all over the counter, your clothes are soiled with spit-up and leftover baby food from lunch. The floor has toys scattered everywhere, the sauce is burning on the stove while on your hip, Johnny is pulling your earrings out of your ears. The bread in the oven looks a nice shade of black as you question about the final fork to set the table- are all the rest of the forks really dirty? Sounds familiar….

I’ve delved into the book Raising Godly Tomatoes (thanks to August Goals) and am enjoying the recommendation on Tomato Staking. This concept likens parents to the rod that enables a tomato plant  (children) to thrive and produce budding fruit. The book challenges parents to keep their children close to them in order to enjoy their presence as well as correct them when necessary.

The following excerpt on dinner times was particularly revolutionary for my current attempt at parenting. I suggest you try the same challenge! She states,

Many moms, new to Tomato Staking, find meal preparation to be among the most challenging. While it might be necessary to put a baby in a playpen or give him to an older, responsible sibling to watch, most toddlers and preschoolers love to watch Mom cook. Let them sit up at the counter or table where they are close to you and under your direct supervision. Then, look for little ways to involve them. They won’t always be able to help, but it’s amazing how long they will be content to sit and watch as long as they know that you will very likely let them participate eventually in some small way, like stirring a mix or licking a spoon. Ask your little observers questions during the slow periods and explain to them all that you are doing. (p.92-93)

Today I decided to give this a try during my meal prep for dinner, as well as an afternoon session of making scones. I put Augustine in Bumbo seat on the counter and talked to him about each step of making pulled pork. From stripping the meat, to washing my hands, putting the tasty sauce on, and loading up the crock pot- he watched intently and happily. I really enjoyed his presence and was able to keep a close watch on him as he was right there on the counter top! In the afternoon I placed him back on the counter and gave him a spoon to play with- he especially enjoyed listening to his favorite doctrinal cds in the background.  He helped me stir the batter and paint the scones with the egg mixture. I love having him along for this daily activity instead of wondering what he is doing in the living room while I quickly rumage through the cooking steps. I also cherish teaching him a skill with which he may be able to bless others someday. In addition, I could also correct him promptly when he touched inappropriate items on the counter top (in contrast with letting him wander the house only to be “checked on and corrected” periodically between the morning’s chores). With his help with cooking, we had time to play together with some of his toys once he was up from his nap!

How have you faltered in your parenting? (You can see where I am learning to change!) Where has the Lord’s strength enabled you to act in wisdom? Feel free to leave a comment!

Thanks for reading!