DIY and the Single Parent: Teach Them Well


It’s not easy, as a single parent, between working, kid activities, parenting, and basic household management to find the time to tackle projects around my new house as I’d like. My days off, aside from never really being “days off”, are often filled with catching up on all the things that fall through the cracks the rest of the week. So as it comes to finally biting the bullet and purposefully carving out the time to say, paint my living room, I not only count on the two sets of little hands watching me, but I strive to make these moments fun, positive memories on top of the obvious skill building.

Because what you obviously see here is me helping my daughter to navigate a paint roller, learning the “V” technique. Look carefully, though, and you’ll see my seven year old son is hard at work, too — his reflection is in the lamp, holding my DSLR and documenting this project. So are the photos he took the best quality? No, of course not — this instance was the first time I entrusted him with my fancy camera, though he does have a small kid version of his own. Just as his sister’s painting wasn’t close to consistent and required another, more even coat, I knew in both scenarios that the work my children would produce wouldn’t be up to my regular standards.

And that’s perfectly okay. Because they’re gaining skills to not only build upon as they get older, but hopefully they’re learning resilience and strength of character from trying new, harder things and being able to (rather quickly) see their efforts’ results.

In fact, in this moment, we all learned some valuable skills about team work, patience, trying new things, and trust.

Moving forward in our lives as a family of three isn’t all sunshine and roses. We have to relearn how to make our lives work, just her, him, and me. And it’s my hope in letting them help with small, yet not insignificant, projects like this help them take pride in our new home, and in themselves.

As for me, well, I hope I am teaching them life skills while leading by example — all while making memories I hope we all will cherish.

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