Kids Want to “Help”

r I never thought anyone would want to watch me clean a toilet. But there I was, cleaning the toilet in front of an audience.

Who would want to watch someone clean a toilet? A janitorial supervisor? Cinderella’s stepmother? That’s about the list, or so you’d think–unless you have kids.

Yes, my two youngest children were mesmerized as I tried to scrub the toilet. They crept up so close to look that I elbowed one of them on my scrubbing follow-through. “Please leave the room,” I said. “Go play with your toys,” I said. “Can I please just clean the toilet in peace?” I begged. No. And then, they started to nitpick my work. “You missed a spot right there, Daddy.” I feel pretty confident when I say: NO ONE wants to be heckled by their children while they are cleaning the toilet!

Look, I’m glad that my kids love me. It’s wonderful that they want to be close to me. I just wish that occasionally they could stay more than two inches away.

Of course, it’s not just when I’m cleaning the toilet, it’s when I try to do almost anything. When I sit down to write, they will often try to climb onto my lap–or into my laptop–“helping” me by hitting random keys. (Some might say their writing would be an improvement on my usual blather.)

Loading and unloading the dishwasher can also be an adventure. “Daddy, I want to help,” they’ll say. It’s very sweet, until they drop a plate and it shatters all over the floor! (That hasn’t happened, but it is my fear every time they “help” with the dishes.)

Cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, shoveling snow–all of these things are made more difficult when the kids try to “help.” Yes, I realize that they have to learn somehow. They’ll never know how to do these things unless I let them hinder me by “helping.” It’s just that I don’t like doing most of those things, so I want to do them as quickly as possible, without any “help.”

The irony, of course, is that once they are finally capable enough to actually help, they won’t want to anymore. At that point, I’ll be having to order, beg, and cajole them to get anything done. It’ll take me as much or more effort to get them to do something as it would take for me to do it myself (with or without their “help.”)

But, at least at that point, I’ll be the one who gets to do the heckling!

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Chris Baird
Chris Baird
Chris is a family man with a beautiful wife and four kids. Three Girls, One Boy. He enjoys playing basketball, being outdoors, and the old normal.

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