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!