Sometimes I feel like I am continually learning and relearning the same life lessons, over and over again. I’ll have a revelation and make changes accordingly and over time slowly slip back into old habits. Time passes, and I have the revelation again. It’s like a lightbulb that goes off, fades slowly over time until I don’t even realize I’m standing in the dark, then goes off again.
Last winter I blogged about micromanaging my kids and how it’s ruining my life. I’m happy to say that I’ve stuck with keeping the kids in charge of packing their own lunches and maintaining responsibility for themselves, but I still had to revisit this lesson again. Because being a family is about being a team, and teamwork is about more than just taking care of yourself. We have to take care of each other, too.
I can’t do this all myself. Running a household, kids and their activities, running a business, while also maintaining my marriage and managing any sort of “me” time with whatever is left over… I can’t do it all myself. I had a mini-breakdown the other day about this. Sometimes it feels like adding one simple thing, even if it’s just remembering to schedule an appointment for a child, or finding time to fit in an oil change, can feel like it will break me.
I was thinking about this recently as I angrily washed the dishes, listening to the kids toe the careful line between playing and arguing. Why does everything always fall on me, why is remembering to do everything my burden alone?
I had an epiphany, with the sponge in one hand and a coffee cup in the other.
It’s my burden because I refuse to share it. I’ve made myself into a martyr. When have I asked for help? I sit and sulk that everyone has downtime while I’m still sweeping or folding that last load of laundry, but the honest truth is I’ve trained myself and everyone around me to believe this is how it’s supposed to be.
So tonight after dinner, I told the kids to take care of the dishes. And they did. I had to let go of control, walk away and do something else. Because it certainly wasn’t perfect- but it was done. And does perfect really matter? Sure I checked on them every now and again to teach my son where the plates go. He’s the master at unloading, why have I never tasked him with loading before? My 9 year old is plenty old enough to handle the hand washing. Any time another task popped into my head and the familiar sinking feeling started to tug at me, I tasked one of the kids.
Part of my problem is my perception. In my mind, my kids are still too little. But in reality? They are more than capable and by not tasking them, I’m doing them a disservice. These are life skills and it’s my job to teach them.
I can’t do everything. And I don’t need to.
Here’s the rest of the week- full stories are on instagram.