It’s the busiest time of year for my business and I feel like it’s always the busiest day of the busiest week of my life anyway, honestly. If you can relate, I am sure you have looked around your home a time or two and tried to figure out how to unload more household chores and family management off own your plate.
My family agreed on a few things that I can fully attest are no longer my responsibility, and it’s so freeing:
1. Let them be terrible at it.
Surprisingly, I started with the baby. She’s six months so there’s not much she can do on her own, but I did decide early to let her feed herself. Don’t get me wrong; she’s absolutely terrible at it, but over time she will get better and much faster than someone that spoon feeds bite by bite. I give her a little bit of baby food and on the next bite, I hand the spoon to her. It usually goes on her face or down her shirt, but we just plan on a quick bath after. This allows me to feed the baby and unload the dishwasher simultaneously, and after she gets more practice, she will feed herself.
2. Take a mental load off.
When stress started to get to me, but before I got a giant stress knot in my shoulder, I decided to drop some of the mental load on my husband. As a wedding planner, my event days are long and full of work-related responsibilities and stress. I put all of those dates in the calendar and my husband knows he is responsible for anything related to childcare, like picking up our daughter from school, getting someone to let our dogs out during the day if I am at an event and my family is out of town. If I am working, I’m working…at least on event days and my husband is in charge of family needs. And in exchange, on the days he travels for work, I take on the family care. This allows us to focus on work but also guarantees that if there is some sort of family emergency, it’s the parent that doesn’t have to be at a job site that day that will respond.
3. Divide and conquer.
We then reviewed two very unpleasant tasks and decided to divide and conquer: he took on dealing with all things healthcare and I took on dealing with our taxes. If something has to do with insurance, that is his committee; when paperwork comes in the mail that has to do with taxes, like our W-2s and 1099s, we know it goes to me. I’m happy I don’t deal with the insurance just as much as he doesn’t want to deal with spreadsheets.
4. Take back time for yourself.
Finally, I started to review some of the chores I was doing that my family can do themselves. For example, I am in charge of the laundry but I hate matching socks. I used to match everyone’s socks but now I have them do it themselves. It’s just a little task that only takes a few minutes but if you add up all the little tasks you are doing for other people that are perfectly capable of doing for themselves, you may get some much-needed time back for yourself.
For example, I make my six-year-old gather dirty clothes and help load them into the washer. She will argue it’s the “most boring thing ever,” but I also make her unload the silverware from the dishwasher. My husband washes the dishes and it is my job to unload the dishwasher. Little does he know I have big plans to offload that task to my oldest daughter, and then I will be free from all dishes forever.