“The second I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted my kid to have a playroom… It has just become our thing.”
(Photo Credit: Aria Photography)
Can you introduce me to your family?
Molly: My name is Molly Openshaw. Our oldest son, Flynn, is going to be three years old soon, and our youngest daughter, Everly, is almost one year old. My husband and I are both from Layton, Utah, and that’s where we met in high school.
Ben: My name is Ben Openshaw. Molly pretty much said everything that describes us, I think (laughs).
Does your family have any traditions?
Molly: Since our kids are young, we do lots of things at home. Since we are home a lot, we spend a lot of time in our family playroom. The second I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted my kid to have a playroom. It has just become our thing, I guess you could say. We have dedicated playtime at least a couple hours every week.
Ben: A couple hours a week? No, it’s a lot more than that. It’s like a couple hours a day (laughs). We wanted this playroom to be able to spend time with our kids doing what they love to do. We wanted our children to have a creative playground, so to speak, where they could play and use their imaginations. Molly still has the imagination of a child (laughs), so she was the perfect person to design a playroom that would be entertaining to our children.
Why do you think it’s important for parents to play with their children?
Molly: My parents always played with me when I was a child, and I have always remembered and cherished the memories we made while they played with me. I think that children associate “time” with “love.” When a parent spends time on the same level as his or her child, that child will feel loved. Children need to feel loved by their parents, and some of my strongest memories of love came from my parents playing with me, and I want to replicate that for my own children.
Ben: Just the other day, Flynn put on a little pilot hat and walked around the house saying, “I’m an airplane flyer.” So Molly decided just because he wanted to be a pilot that day, she built him an airplane out of a box. There were little controls, and a spot for a key to fit in, and Flynn had a great time with the airplane, sure, but he was able to spend quality time with his mother. Playing with children is essential to developing relationships with them. So our house, and specifically the playroom, has been an area where we could really get to know our children, and I am glad that Molly had the idea and motivation to give them a playroom.
Molly: Don’t give me all the credit here. You built some things in there, you are a part of it, too (laughs).
Do you two have any traditions from when you were growing up?
Molly: My mom went all out for the holidays. I guess somewhere along the way she decided we were Irish, and that made celebrating St. Patrick’s Day a really big thing for us.
Ben: For some reason, her mom actually wrote me a letter when I was in Brazil, telling me they were Irish… And the letter had random Irish poems in it.
Molly: I don’t know, I guess we had some ancestors that were Irish. So my mom would go crazy for St. Patrick’s Day. Everything in our house was green. We ate corned beef and cabbage. It was a madhouse. And that’s how she was for every single holiday. The house was always decorated for some thing or another.
Ben: Very decorated…
Molly: For Valentine’s Day there were Cupids all over the walls…
Ben: Even holidays that no one knew about or celebrated. It is great. In my family we acted out the Nativity scene every Christmas. And because I was the youngest, no matter how old I actually was, I was always the baby Jesus. If we did Christmas at my parent’s house now, I would still probably be the baby Jesus. I also got to be the one who put the star on the Christmas tree every year. Now I think my dad lifts my mom up to the top of the tree (laughs). They’re both seventy.
“The unconditional love from children is amazing.”
(Photo Credit: Aria Photography)
So why do you think that family traditions are important?
Ben: I think that because we had traditions as a family when I was young, we still have a desire to be a family now. We still enjoy spending time with each other and having family events because we developed a solid relationship when we are all living at home together.
Molly: It’s important to remember the good times of childhood. Childhood can be rough sometimes, and without those memories of tradition and happiness that were in your life, it could be really easy to get discouraged and lose hope for the future.
What has been the biggest challenge of being a parent?
Ben: Being a parent (laughs). No, just parenting, in general is a challenge. But I think the biggest challenge is just getting to know my children. I want to know how to help them in the way that is best for them. Even though our kids are so young, they both have different personalities and different things that motivate them. Flynn has an agenda all day every day. He has a plan, and he knows what he wants to accomplish, so it’s tough to take my agenda as an adult and try to bring it in line with Flynn’s agenda. But understanding what Flynn wants and needs and likes really allows me to get to know him. Flynn is a really intelligent kid, and there are some times I feel like he is more intelligent than I am (laughs). But that is his personality, and the better I get to know all the things that make up Flynn, the better I can help him get what he needs. But the whole process of getting to know who Flynn is — well, that’s the challenge.
Molly: Being consistent is challenging. Consistency in discipline, especially. I don’t mean discipline in time-outs or things like that, but discipline in the sense of knowing when to discipline or not discipline. Flynn is so smart, and if you tell him one thing, or don’t tell him one thing, he will remember that forever. If he gets away with something once, I will have the hardest time disciplining him in the future for the same thing because I didn’t discipline him before. It’s like kids can’t miss anything (laughs).
So what has been the biggest enjoyment of parenting?
Ben: The unconditional love from children is amazing. Just this morning I gave Flynn a simple bowl of frozen berries. And right before he finished his berries, he looked up from his bowl and said, “These berries are so good. Thank you for the berries.” I give him berries almost every day, but he still remembers to show love and gratitude for everything that I give him. Those moments make all the struggles and all the time-outs worth it.
Molly: I love when Flynn says funny stuff. Everly can’t talk yet, and I’m sure she will have plenty of funny things to say in the future, but Flynn is always making us laugh.
Can you tell me any funny stories that have happened recently?
Ben: Flynn jumps off of things. That’s just what he does. A couple of months ago, Flynn was just being his crazy self, and he jumped off the couch and hit his face on the table. He split his lip completely open, so Molly had to take him to the doctor. The doctor stitched up his lip, and at the end the doctor said that Flynn could get a little prize for being so good. So Flynn followed this girl out to the prize bin and took a toy out, looked up at the girl, and the girl said, “You can have some more prizes if you want.” So Flynn reached in with both hands and came out with two giant handfuls of toys. He had completely forgotten about the whole incident with the lip, and was just fine because he had two handfuls of toys.
Molly: Recently I was trying to get Flynn to put milk in his bowl of granola, and he kept asking why he needed to. I couldn’t come up with an answer right away besides, “Just because you have to,” so he just kept asking why. Finally I said, “Because it helps make the granola soft when you eat it.” And then he replied, “Oh. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That makes sense.” And I realize that I say that all the time! It was funny to hear Flynn say that because he was like this little rational human.
Ben: It’s amazing how much Molly and I learn about what we say, because Flynn picks up on phrases and words that we say all the time. Luckily we haven’t heard any bad words from the kids yet, so maybe we’re doing an OK job (laughs).
“Flynn is always making us laugh.”
(Photo Credit: Aria Photography)
If you could teach Flynn one lesson during his time at home, what would that lesson be?
Ben: That’s a tough question on the spot, but I think that I would really want Flynn to learn the importance of being kind and respecting others. The whole Golden Rule is one of the most important aspects of adult life, and if Flynn could learn that, I think he would turn out to be a great person. And Molly and I try our best to live that example for Flynn and Everly to follow.
Molly: I want Flynn and Everly to learn how to love others, but also to learn how to love themselves. I want them to understand that they are valued people, and that Ben and I love them. I want them to know that it is OK to be imperfect and make mistakes. And then I want them to have that same view of others. I want them to know and understand that other people make mistakes, but that doesn’t make them bad people. Everybody deserves to be treated kindly and to feel loved.
Flynn, how old are you?
Flynn: I’m three.
When is your birthday?
Flynn: In five years.
Ben (laughing): Say, “My birthday is in two weeks.”
Flynn: My birthday is in five weeks.
Flynn, what do you like about your dad?
Flynn: He has a red shirt.
Molly: What else do you like about your dad?
Molly: Well, you’ve got a great shirt, dear.