Friday, June 8, 2012

How Making Pizza Gave me more Quality Time with my Son

Pizza Dinner Compliments of my Son
As a single mom, with an insurmountable amount of things to do each day, I often find myself torn between spending more quality time with my son and checking chores off my “to-do-list”! Worse still, with my son’s nap time becoming increasingly shorter, I am finding more accumulation on that ever-present “to-do-list”. To put it bluntly, some days I feel like I am mothering my “to-do-list” more than my toddler.

Instinctively, I know that quality time spent with my child affords many benefits to his emotional, psychological and physical growth and development. So, one day, while sitting on the edge of our bed watching my son sleep and realizing I couldn’t recall one moment of unshared time with him that day, I decided to make that my priority! I sat up that night and brainstormed ways I could still get things done but bring in more one-on-one time with my son, and in a moment of clarity, it came to me…chores!

Now that my son is 2 ½, I could include him in many of our chores; feeding the dogs, filling their water bowl, making meals, and vacuuming. This not only helps me get things done, it also allows for us to spend quality time together devoid of Matchbox cars and Thomas trains (don’t get me wrong…I dutifully sit on the floor and crash vehicles with my son every single day but one can only get so much done sitting on your butt with Hot Wheels in hand J).

The other evening, I enlisted my son’s help in making dinner. I decided we would make our own pizzas! With whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joes and a bountiful selection of cheeses and toppings, my son and I set out to make the most glorious mess, together!

While the oven heated up and my son watched a quick 30-minute episode of Diego (although for those of you who have ever relied on a TV show to distract your child while you frantically work, you know these shows aren’t really 30 minutes!), I prepped the toppings: shredded the cheeses, sliced the tomatoes and sweet peppers, steamed the broccoli, and laid out the pepperoni. This way, all the sharp and hot objects could be put away before my son joined me.

With all the prep work completed, my son and I manipulated the dough into what was supposed to be a circle (as you will see in the pictures, our first attempt was a little imprecise). Then, we embarked on a fun-filled, Mommy-son activity!

We started off by smearing pizza sauce across the dough and adding oodles and oodles of shredded cheese.

My son added so much cheese the first time around that I had to shred more for our second pizza! This was followed by the toppings: tomatoes, sweet peppers, pepperoni and steamed broccoli (it’s a great way to get those vegetable servings into his diet)…

I even let my son have a crack at the camera. His picture gives a much better perspective…

Into the oven went our first pizza…

(My little guy actually took this picture of me putting our first pizza into the oven! Try not to covet my slipper boots, though!)

While our first pizza cooked, we created a second one...


Having learned a few tricks the first time around, our second pizza came out looking much better…

Then came time to eat our pizzas! Judging by my son’s face, I’d say he was pretty excited about eating dinner this night…



Even though dinner time has always been sacred in our home, no TV, no toys, no distractions, just family and conversation, making dinner together made eating dinner that much more meaningful and special.

I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with the results of my brainstorming that one discouraging night. Now, our early mornings are spent out in the yard feeding the dogs and filling their water bowls. For snack and mealtimes, my son pulls his chair up to the counter to assist in spreading the peanut butter on his toast or filling his snack cup with fresh blueberries or rinsing the dishes I’ve just washed (his plastic dishes, of course).

Not only are we spending quality time together, my “to-do-list” gets shorter and my son learns a valuable lesson in responsibility!

I’m always looking for new ways to juggle running a household and raising a child! How do you find creative ways to spend quality time with your children while at the same time managing your household?


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