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How to Delegate

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Hanging on to your sanity by a thread, busy mom? I hear you. And many days I am you. But here’s the deal: I’ve become aware that in one crucial way, we moms are our own worst enemies. We don’t delegate. We try to do too many individual tasks ourselves. So let’s talk about it: why don’t we delegate and how can we overcome those obstacles?

We don’t delegate because:

  • We’re perfectionists. One of the problems with the magazine-slick media world that we’re exposed to is that we believe that our real lives should look this way. Leave perfectionism behind! It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just needs to be done.
  • We don’t want to argue. Ever looked at a sink full of dirty dishes and thought, “I know my teenager can handle that, but I don’t feel like arguing, so I’ll do it myself”? Our fear of backlash from our kids often curtails needed delegation.
  • We enjoy certain tasks. “But I like to vacuum,” you might say. “It’s weirdly therapeutic.” Fine—sometimes. But other times your plate is so full, your pet tasks need to be farmed out, as well.

Why we must delegate:

  • We’re robbing others of opportunity. The only way others can become proficient with some of the tasks you hoard is to practice. Let them practice and learn.
  • Your team needs to get stronger from top to bottom. When everyone on the team—at home or elsewhere—is more capable, the team is stronger! A family where everyone can pitch in and get the chores done quickly is a family with more free time later.
  • True success is measured in the long view, not the short view. By staying focused on getting the project done quickly by yourself, you’re over-investing in the here and now. Remember the long-range target of training your children.

3 areas where you can delegate:

  • Household chores. Every person in your home, from toddler to adult, should have a short list of daily and weekly chores for which he or she is responsible.
  •  Parenting duties. Whether it’s playing catch, checking homework, or picking up your daughter from dance class, talk to your older children about how they can assist their siblings.
  • Volunteer commitments. It’s fine that you agreed to be the chairman of the school science fair, but break it up into smaller parts: decorations, awards, photos, etc., and let other moms handle smaller areas of responsibility.

Dana Hall McCain writes about marriage, parenting, faith and wellness. She is a mom of two, and has been married to a wonderful guy for over 18 years.


Do you like to help mom and dad? Which job is your favorite to help with?

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