We’re doing a bit of remodeling right now. Let me rephrase that; we’ve been moving into our house for the last 2 years, constantly rearranging everything and I’m now on my second round of painting our basement because we wanted some change. But that’s another posting. haha.
My 3 1/2 year old has been asking me “daddy can I please help you paint?”. Of course as the father of 3 young princesses I immediately turn to jello from her request and say yes. But something happens between saying yes and actually doing it. I start to stress and think of things such as 1) If she’s going to help then my 1 1/2 year old is also coming e.g. double the trouble 2) It’s going to take me 3 times as long with them, 3) what won’t have paint on it when they’re done.
After a few breaths into a paper bag to keep me from hyperventilating I decided to look at this from a different angle. My daughters aren’t going to help me paint the wall in the sense that they will assist me in completing the task. They’re going to help me remember how much fun painting can actually be! It’s an opportunity for me not to focus on painting a wall, but to focus on time being spent with them, helping them grow and learn and making them feel a part of what I’m doing.
Same event, 2 different perspectives and 2 totally different emotional responses. By taking the approach of focusing on letting them have some fun painting with daddy, the stress disappeared. In the end, they “helped” me paint for 30 minutes and loved every minute of it. I focused on them (instead of the wall) and created one of those memories that puts a smile on your face during a cold, dark Finnish winter day! It was a win win…except I had to keep painting once they left.