The Art of Delegation for Moms

What to do after Jedi mind tricks fail

See — cleaning can be fun!

First, I’ll go into what isn’t working for me in my household:

  1. Wishing people would help out. Resenting my family for eagerly gifting me all the chores. Wasting my life away doing an endless list of (what I consider to be) tiresome activities.
  2. Verbally telling people what to do. Being that nag-some mother that people dislike. Putting a wedge in my relationships. My family avoiding me so I don’t assign more chores.
  3. Doing everything myself. An exhausting and unfair alternative. This continues for several years until I can’t take it anymore and I end relationships. Unfortunately, ending relationships with own lazy kids isn’t an option *smirks*

Here’s what’s works:

  1. Building complex schedules, calendars and chores lists and putting them on the fridge. Expectations are clear. Removes the nagging and puts the focus on the weekly and daily tasks that need to get done as a team. This takes a lot of upfront work, but the payoff is totally worth it.
  2. Offering choices: “Would you like to do this or this?” People like having a say, which gains their cooperation, participation and support. For example, my daughter (who’s 14) introduced a delicious new recipe that she now makes once a week. Her soup starts with a Pho broth base and she lets me know what she wants to put in it, including shallots, beef or chicken, so we can grab it at the grocery store ahead of time. It is so nice to have someone else cook a meal! The best thing is, she came up with the idea herself and it is something she likes to do.
  3. Providing helpful guidance and feedback. Once you assign chores, you need to supervise the first couple of times to ensure the quality and output is satisfactory. Many times, with both my daughter and boyfriend, it may be the first time they’ve ever done something and they are nervous or unsure of how to do it. It took me a while to catch onto this, however, they both do better when I’m around to ask questions or show them how to do things. This builds their confidence and it gets easier and quicker to delegate more complex chores.

Alternating between the first three options is how I used to run my household. It’s no fun and it doesn’t work long term.

The last three solutions are mature and viable strategies for sharing the responsibilities at home. Basically, I had to soften my approach, gain cooperation and step into the role of manager.

Do you have something that works for your family? Please share in the comments below!

Calgary mompreneur | figuring it out, making it work.

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