For years I have operated under the “sometimes it’s just easier to do things yourself” theory. I think it’s also known as the “if you want something done right, do it yourself” theory. Back in the days when I was married, it was the “get this done before he has the chance to tell you all the ways you do it wrong” theory. Regardless of what you call it, it reflects a need for control. It results in being overworked and harried.
I’ve been known to complain about all I have to carry on my shoulders as a single mom. Once I’m done being a professional at work all day, I have to come home and manage the house, the kids, the meals, the chores, the bills, etc. It feels like too much. It is too much some days. Finally one day recently I got smart and asked myself why I was doing everything by myself. I decided to make a few changes.
I got Anna to fix supper. She did a great job! Did she go about it the same way I would have? No. Did it drive me a little crazy? Yes. Did I say anything? Absolutely not! (I refer you back to the “get this done before he has the chance to tell you all the ways you do it wrong” theory above.) She is also very helpful with the younger kids. She’s also one of the best personal assistants at work that I could ask for.
Soon after that, I taught Gus how to change the cat litter. Did he spill the dirty litter in the carpet on his very first unsupervised attempt? Yes. Did it drive me a little crazy? Yes. Did I fuss about it? No. Did he get an extra lesson in sweeping and vacuuming? You bet! He also gets a kick out of taking care of the trash and the recycling.
Tonight I taught Mia how to load the dishwasher. Do I have that down to an art? Yes. Does she do it like I do? No. Am I going to complain or correct? No, even if it does drive me a little crazy. She also loves feeding the cats and watering our one and only flower – the one she gave me for Mother’s Day.
I don’t know if I’m a control freak or if I just hate asking for help so much that I’ll be a doormat before I call for backup. I do know when I do let go, when I do ask for help, I’ve been pleasantly surprised not only at how much lighter my load feels, but also by the discovery that others people can achieve equal or better results, even if they don’t do it my way. (By the way, this is true at church too. Ironically, this was the post on the Acts 16:5 Initiative blog today.)
Teach. Let go. Trust. Observe. And finally – enjoy!
What took me so long?