Discipline,  Organization,  Perils of a Mom Writer

What Keeps Us From Delegating?

Delegating Responsibility To Find More Time To Write, Part 4

Throughout the month of February, we’ve featured posts on how to train your family to help you with household responsibilities. You can read the first three installments, here, here, and here

All of this series of posts was a selection from my book: When The Timer Dings: Organizing Your Life To Make The Most of 10 Minute Increments. Click here to order.

As great as all this advice is in theory, it’s much harder to actually practice. 

What Keeps Us From Delegating? 

1. Lack of communication. We’d like it if our children could read our minds and just know that dirty socks don’t belong on the floor. But they can’t. It’s up to us to communicate to them what we want to be done, how we want it done, and how quickly it should be done.

Good communication requires getting their full attention. Instead of yelling up the stairs that I want them to come down and get their socks, I call them personally,”Corbin? I need you. Come here.” I’m not going to tolerate him yelling back,”What do you want?” He has to come to me and that way I have his attention.”Are those your socks? Put them where they belong. Right now, please.”

Good communication keeps things simple. I fully believe that it is counter-productive to give him a lecture right there about his messy habits. Although, I’ve been known to say,”Find a home for this item in the next sixty seconds or I’m throwing it in the trash.” That works too.

Good communication keeps things pleasant. I am my children’s first boss. I want all of them to like contributing to the household. So, most of the time, I’m purposeful in my tone of voice. I need to refrain from berating them, snapping at them, and making obedience to be a negative experience.

I should also set a good example by staying respectful of their time, saying”please,” and”thank you.” I can’t expect them to do anything unless I model it first.

2. We may believe childhood is for playing. I’d like to argue that children must learn responsibility while they are at home. If they accept employment as young people, we want them to be the kind of worker that is thorough, respectful, and capable. With reasonable requirements, you can teach your child responsibility and still allow them plenty of time to pursue their own interests.

4. We don’t want to appear to be needy or incapable. It is rather humbling to admit that you can’t do it all. By asking for help you are not pointing to your weakness; rather, you’re inviting others around you to work beside you. It is far better to be humble, ask for help, forget your fear of looking bad, and accomplish more in the long run. 

5. We don’t expect to be heard. It could be that you have tried in the past to communicate your needs to your family members and found them unable or unwilling to help. People, unfortunately, are complicated and their behaviors and responses can’t be predicted in a book. If you can’t effectively communicate definitions and a workable plan with the adults in your home, consider getting help. It could be that your issues should be only addressed with the help of a family therapist, pastor, counselor or educator.

Why get them involved at all?

We may also think that doing it ourselves is the only guaranteed way to have something done right. It is always easier to do something yourself than to delegate a chore to a child. But short-term fixes are long-term regrets. I encourage you to take every opportunity to teach your child to do reasonable chores.

 A team around you will not only help you accomplish your dreams and save time but also build up a family culture that is supportive of each family member. 

This team can reinforce your foundational vision, making it all the stronger. By delegating, all of your life can be improved. 

Katharine Grubb is an author, poet, homeschooling mother, camping enthusiast, bread-baker, and believer in working in small increments of time. She leads 10 Minute Novelists, an international Facebook group of time-crunched writers. She lives with her family in Massachusetts.