There are plenty of ways to get help, but sometimes all you need to do is get creative about managing the time you spend on chores--or don't spend. Here are some examples:
Think allowance: Although I never expect my kids to whistle merrily while sweeping the kitchen floor, it turns out that they can do a lot of things to help out. In my home every morning, my kids make their beds, get their lunches prepared (except Parker, the four-year-old), and empty the dishwasher. And every night, they set the table too!
Giving your kids an appropriate allowance each week can be a beautiful thing. It helps to teach your kids responsibility and encourages your family members to contribute. It also teaches children the value of money--a crucial lesson for children and adults alike. So many children do not understand the concept of money management and when those same kids hit the early adult years, they're lost. Giving your child an allowance is a good way to teach them how to manage money from an early age.
Have a nightly clean-up time; After a long day at work, do you still find yourself cleaning up toys, hanging up coats, and emptying the dishwasher? Stop doing these things all by yourself! These are things even your three-year-old can help you do.
When I come home from work, I always start by politely asking for everyone to "do a sweep around the house." Together, we hang up our coats, put away our shoes, and pick up dirty clothes.
Trade services with other mothers: It's no surprise that time is a valuable commodity, so trade it with other busy moms you know whenever you can. This does not just mean sending your kids to friends' houses on play dates for a little extra time to yourself. Consider giving a nice bottle of wine to your stay-at-home neighbor if she can wait at your house for the refrigerator repairman or the plumber.
My very good friend will often watch my girls get on the bus in the morning if I have an early-morning meeting. In exchange, I will watch her children on a Friday or Saturday night so she can have an evening out with her husband. It works for me, and I feel good about my contribution, too.
Be clear and then let go:The key to being a good delegator is being clear. "Wipe the countertops" has several meanings to different people. To me, it means spraying the counters to clean off any food or fingerprints that may be present. But to my kids it means wiping off the counters with the edge of their sweatshirts, not thinking twice about what might be left behind.
Whether it's your kids, a babysitter, or a housecleaner at the outset of a task, be sure to explain the purpose of a job, as well as your desired outcome. Giving clear descriptions and explanations will put everyone on the same page.
Now, quit hovering!: When I first had my daughter, someone told me never to criticize Scott for how he parented. "If he puts the baby in an outfit that you don't like, don't say a word. If he puts her stuffed animal in the wrong place or swaddles her 'wrong' at bedtime, let it go." Otherwise, he'd learn that I was the only person who could do things "right" and he'd never gain the confidence to take on these tasks. As it turns out, my husband has always been just as skilled--if not more--at many of these tasks. But it was still sound advice.
Once you have entrusted another person with a task and clearly explained the purpose and outcome, then you need to walk away. You have given someone else the authority and empowerment to complete a duty on your behalf, so let them do it. Don't be that mother that says, "You missed a corner."
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Samantha Knowles is the author of Working Mom Reviews. To know more know more about Ultimate Conversational Hypnosis check out Ultimate Conversational Hypnosis Review. To learn tips to know what men secretly want - quickly check out What Men Secretly Want Review.
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