Stop doing it all.
Earlier this week, I wrote about the entire “housework” issue in Dare Thirteen in terms of who is actually doing what. Yesterday, I wrote about the “Do It All” woman, the one who is exhausted, burned out, and stressing out those around her. I received an email saying, “This also applies to men!” and I fully agree.
Today I’m going to share how we can get those around us more involved in the chores. This post is written to everyone who is struggling with this – doing everything themselves and have no idea how enlist help.
Dr. Kevin Leman has several books on raising kids that are stellar – Making Your Kids Mind without Losing Yours and Have a New Kid by Friday – and he recommends involving your kids in home life by daily chores from when they are very little. He’s a boss with teens, elementary aged kids and with little ones.
Suggestion #1 is: Involve your kids in the work:
- Help them succeed at it by being specific about what needs to be done
- Do chores with them from a young age to help them learn and have fun
- Hold rewards until the daily jobs are done – no computer, tv, social life, etc., until the work is finished
- Don’t yell at them or be angry while they are working, even if they are doing it wrong or poorly – help them get it right and make it a pleasant experience
- Also work while they are to avoid causing resentment in them
- Lower your standards from perfection – use the opportunity to be satisfied with “good” instead of “perfect” otherwise you breed a sense of “nothing I do is ever good enough” in your kids
- Compliment them on a job well done and the EFFORT they put into it – don’t criticize them (coach positively when necessary) or you’ll suck all the motivation to do a good job out of them
With the adults in your life, suggestion #2 is also simple: ASK
- Ask for what you want – don’t assume other people “just know”
- Include your spouse in a chore-chart discussion as you delegate specific daily responsibilities – creating a context for input helps ownership occur
- Follow up kindly, gently, as if it is the first time you are asking, “Hey, baby, I know we agreed we were both going to set a good example for the kids – I was just getting ready to have everyone finish up some things – can you join us in a few minutes?”
- Compliment your spouse on the effort, leadership, care, time, etc., s/he put into getting things done – don’t point out everything that was missed, it’s demotivating – and what you pay attention to GROWS!
- Don’t be afraid to flirt with your husband and have fun with this – for sex or for your wife with a night off (or other things) if they help with something – “you know, I’ll be highly motivated to play tonight if you can get the garage cleaned out today…*wink* “ or, “I’ll trade you putting the kids to bed and cleaning up after dinner and give you the night off if you’ll help me with those boxes in my office this afternoon…” This is in no way meant to be demeaning, but rather to connect with what motivates and fulfills him/her, or speaks directly into his or her love language. Please read a tone of “fun” and respect into this one! 🙂 This would be whatever would be considered a “positive” as Gottman discusses in his research (remembering that research shows healthy relationships have a 5 positives to 1 negative ratio). As an aside, many times men will view the “giving of sex” as a negative – they want us to be drawn to them, to want to BE WITH them – so ask God to change your heart if this is a “favor” you are doing “for him,” instead of an activity that celebrates the one-ness between you (remember marital math is 1 + 1 + 1).
- Don’t nag – if s/he doesn’t do what was committed to, allow a little time, then follow up by saying, “hey, I’m not wanting to nag you, and I know you have a plan for that pile of papers in the bedroom – can you let me know when you will have it done? I want to schedule the carpet cleaning and am waiting on it,” being factual, not emotional or judgmental or critical (which looks like, “I can’t believe you haven’t taken care of those papers yet! I have to do everything around here, you are so lazy. I can’t count on you for anything.”)
- Let reality teach if there are consequences for his or her not doing something – be your spouse’s friend, but don’t enable him or her – that’s not help.
And stop taking it all so personally. Every family has issues figuring out how to get the work done. Be proactive and work through them – use it as an opportunity to engage the people you live with in caring for your home. If you do, you’ll all have a lot less stress, you’ll be ready for company daily, and your kids will learn a good work ethic.
And in doing so, you’ll bring glory to God.
Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might…
Whatever you do, work at it with all your might, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, …. as to the Lord, and not unto men
And I confess I’ve not always been great at these things myself, but am working on it. 🙂 Totally worth it. Don’t quit. Don’t give up.
I hope you’ll subscribe and join our community here. I’m interested in what YOU are doing with your family… how do YOU get chores done?
AND… I’m REALLY wondering today WHY you think so many women in our culture think they have to “do it all?” What say you?
If you have tweens, teens, or twenty-somethings, you should totally follow Debbie. And if you want to read a very engaging novel about women who faced real-life dilemmas like these, read Dare to Respect. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter as @NinaRoesner. Come join the discussion!
Love to you,
If you want to explore ways of getting your tweens, teens and twenty-somethings to share in the household responsibilities, read With All Due Respect
Women who’ve read Dare to Respect can’t stop reading until they reach the last page!
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