OK to let some things go

Oh boy does life get overwhelming sometimes! I have a lot on my plate as a mom working from home. I have writing deadlines, I have advertiser deadlines and conference calls to make all while making sure my little sweeties are all comfy at home. This can be really hard to manage on top of everything else the household demands of me. You know- the laundry, the dishes and the broken handle on the fridge, and pretty much everything else.

A few weeks ago I decided there is no reason to take all of this on myself. I know I am the one home most of the day, but there are four able bodied humans living here! We should all be pitching in to maintain our home. I’m also very lucky that my kids like to help out. It isn’t without grumbling some days because no one here is perfect. But, they do help out.

The last few weeks I have delegated much of my evening/after dinner routine to the hubby and kids. I hand off a chore to each of them while I do the dishes and clean up the kitchen. The girls are five now and can easily wipe down the table and chairs, or sweep up under the table while hubby takes out the trash. Once all of that is complete we move on to toy pick up.

I do not own the Strawberry Shortcake doll house, nor do I own an entire collection of Care Bears. So, why am I the only one putting them away? Now, after dinner we all work as a team to put away the toys and mess we’ve made during the day. My kids even help me get their school bags ready for the morning and lay out their own outfits for school. This is great prep for Kindergarten in the fall! (They don’t know it yet, but that’s when they’ll start packing their own lunches too).

The kids have started taking care of their own laundry. They carry their own hampers to the washer, put their clothes in and start it up. (Obviously, I add in the detergent). I put it in the dryer and fold it then they put it away. I know they won’t enjoy this chore for very long, but I am taking full advantage of their enthusiasm now.

When either kid complains (because every kid complains) we remind them we are a family and a team. We pitch in to help. We do not pay them for chores. But, their eagerness to pitch in does count! We take into consideration how helpful they are and how much they are growing into their responsibilities and we reward them with a trip to Build-a-Bear, or a surprise trip to their favorite ice cream store.

We aren’t using any chore charts. I simply hand off a task when I need help. Also, I’m not looking for perfection in their efforts. I just want things to feel livable. If all the clutter and crumbs are put away I really do feel better, and it truly makes for fewer items on my to-do list.

I’m not sharing this for any accolades or to impress anyone. Because really there are times I let the crumbs and clutter pile up because I can’t make it all work. I am sharing to let you know it’s OK to hand off items on that to-do list to your family members. We often feel like we have to do it ourselves because no one else can match our standards. Well, to that I say change your standards. Maybe you feel like your kids are too young to help, and to that I say they have to learn some time! If you are like me and find there aren’t enough hours in the day and you feel like you are always behind, give out tasks to your kids, or spouse. Start small and then add on. Even toddlers can help by wiping a table with a cloth or sponge or clear their own place at the table.

As much as I miss my little babies being babies, I am actually excited about this new phase. We can now work together as a family to get things done quicker. This makes less work for each of us. On the days this all works right (again we’re not perfect) we get extra time to snuggle and sit on the couch together and talk about our day. That to me is worth it!

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley ParentandMasshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

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23 Comments on It’s OK To Let Some Things Go

  1. I am so in the same boat as you are. My kids are old enough to help out and I am not the one who spit their toothpaste all over the bathroom sink. I am finding little things here and there to delegate to my kids and it is glorious

  2. Oh yes, I am looking forward to those days! My older two are starting to be better about taking care of their things. We are all about chore charts around here right now, but I still tend to hand off tasks when I am overwhelmed!

  3. I don’t have kids so I can’t relate to handing tasks off to the kiddos BUT this is something I have been working on in 2016! Handing off tasks that don’t have to actually be done by me but can be done by someone else…and it’s really freeing!

    • It really is freeing! Before kids I had a hard time handing things off too! I wish I had known then how much stress I was causing myself. It didn’t feel stressful at the time, but now I can see it! Good luck with your 2016 goals!

    • I’ve learned that it all gets done eventually! I am a recovering perfectionist so handing things off was hard at first. But, now I feel like even if they don’t do it perfectly half of my work is done already. 🙂

  4. I think it is so important to have kids help out with chores. I use chores as an incentive and a learning tool that you must work to get things you want in life. If my daughter wants a toy, we have chores and rules in place that she must follow for a week or two before I buy her what she wants. My daughter just turned 4, but she always wants to be mommy’s helper so she’s been helping me with chores since she was 2. She would put clothes in the washer (we had a front loader) and dishes into the dishwasher. Now that she’s 4, she knows she has to pick her toys up off the floor every night and she makes her bed every morning…which is kind of funny because I have NEVER told her to make her bed. She just started doing it all by herself one morning.

    • We’ve also had chores since around age 2. Two kids and a husband- I was outnumbered at the get-go! lol I needed to get them on board quick! Plus, it’s life lessons, not just obligation.

  5. My girls both have chores, the little one mostly runs errands for me, which is when I hand her things to go put them in the right room when we are picking up, but it works really well!

  6. I could have written this post myself. 😉 I definitely hand off a lot of chores to my husband, but I think motherhood is the biggest chore of all so the boys can handle the household stuff!

  7. I remember being a perfectionist before kids. My friends would always say, just wait. I thought no I will do everything. Now I just try to get through the day and do what I can.

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