It's difficult. It's trying. And sometimes I need to work magic to get an hour of productivity in.
Here are a few of my tricks:
1. The kitchen sink. Seriously, what is it about water that just makes life fantastic for a two year old? Fill the sink with water & bubbles, toss in some toys- cars, play food, dishes. Give them a chair to stand on and a sponge to scrub with. It's magic. Although it's also messy.
3. Craft Bin. My newest invention is my go-to craft bin. It remains out of sight on most days, which means when I pull it out- everyone gets excited. It's full of scraps, glue, glitter, special markers, googly eyes, stickers and recyclable materials. Whenever I bring it out, they scrummage through it like it's gold. It's the simple things folks.
4. Tape. Yupp, I said it. So simple, so easy. Make a box with some painters tape on your floor. Let your kids try to roll their cars into the box- scoring one point every time it stays in the blue lines. I have also seen others make racetracks on carpet with tape--also genius.
5. Dress up bin. This is another thing that has to be tucked away if you want them to be excited about it when you pull it out. Fill it with everything. Old clothes, shoes, ties, Halloween costumes, jewelry, hats, accessories. It can be for boys too. Fill it with Dad's old shirts and shoes. Maybe they could put on a fashion show for you while you work?
I realize that these all seem like no-brainers. But too often, as moms --and adults-- we look over the simple things of life. However, it's the simple things that get children using their imaginations. They can make the most basic item into magic. Let them.
oh, and embrace the mess --it's only temporary.