Moms, what if we were more BEINGS than GIVERS?
I don’t know about you, but I was tired of doing everything for my boys (husband included). I was giving more to everyone else and had nothing left for myself. I was done being the only female in the house that was “expected” to cook, clean, nurture, etc. I wanted to sit on the couch on the weekend and just BE like everyone else.
So, I did! How did I pull off this glorious feat?
I gave the boys independence to do it their own way. And, as for me, I “Elsa’d” the rest: I. Just. Let. It. Go.
Chores are no longer all on me. Boys are learning problem-solving, and I asked my husband to help by communicating my needs better. Most importantly, I step back and don’t say anything other than “Wow! Thank you! That was such a huge help!” And, I mean it! I didn’t do it. And for that, I am grateful.
Now, I have less decision fatigue. I am in a book club. I get monthly facials and time to myself. I am able to recharge, refresh, and reimagine other areas of my life that could improve with a little innovative thinking. And, our boys ask their dad for more than they ask of me (even in the middle of the night!!!). I don’t work all day to come home to the 3rd & 4th shift anymore.
Have you ever watched LeBron James celebrating Taco Tuesday with his family? If you haven’t seen this, LeBron goes around to every person in his family and asks, “What day is it? WHAT IS IT?” They all respond sheepishly with “Taco Tuesday.”
I was inspired. Now, we do Toilet Tuesdays.
I get out rubber gloves for both boys and myself. Spray bottles of cleaner and special rags are collected. Then, I take a video of each boy spraying the toilet and wiping it down. I ask, “What day is it?” They both reply, “Toilet Tuesday!”
The boys are responsible for other chores, too. They do laundry and help with dishes. Chores not only help contribute to the overall cleanliness of our home; it is good practice for when they move out and have their own place.
Solve Your Problem
My boys used to come to me with every booboo, ouchie, snack request, you name it. But, I changed my approach. I started asking them, “How can you solve this problem?” I let them move chairs to reach things high in cabinets. I watched them struggle with a problem and then saw their excitement when they figured it out.
My favorite solution has been with pouring milk for cereal and orange juice. The boys use the dishwasher drop-down door as a serving area. If they spill milk or juice, no big deal.
We also moved all their bowls, plates, cups, snacks, cereal, band-aides to bottom drawers or shelves. If that doesn’t work, they know I will ask them how they will solve the problem. Most of the time they skip me and go straight to their dad!
Ask Your Partner for Help
Notice here that I said “partner.” I realized I was not in this by myself. I also realized that my husband could not read my mind. I was tired of built-up resentment. How was it his fault if I didn’t ask him for help? How would he know what I needed if I did not voice it aloud?
Most men are not likely to look at you and say, “Wow, you look busy; how can I help?” So, you might have to say, “Hey babe! Can you help me with x, y, and z by dinner time/before we leave/tomorrow morning?”
My husband has no resentments toward helping me. He willingly pitches in and shares the load. It doesn’t always happen the minute I ask, but it does get done. I have also learned that he will do it differently than I do. But, I ask myself, “Did it get done? Did you get to do something else? Did you rest, read a book, play with the kids?” Don’t watch the task being performed; go do your thing. Then, be grateful that you got to do something for you.
Please check these books out for more inspiration!
- Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much To Do by Eve Rodsky
- Duct Tape Parenting: A Less Is More Approach to Raising Respectful, Responsible, & Resilient Kids by Vicki Hoefle
- Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski