Posted on June 26, 2013
As my children have gotten older and I am delegating more and more responsibility to them, I have been asking myself the question lately, “are there things I shouldn’t delegate, or shouldn’t delegate as often?” Are there jobs that I should be continuing to do myself, since I am the mom?
Whether you have older children now that can help out around the house, have grandparents who can help, or you are able to hire someone to help out, I think it is good to ask those questions before you hand over jobs. What may seem like simple chore assignments or delegating now, could end up profoundly affecting our children’s upbringing.
For instance, I have six children that are capable of fixing meals, and they do on occasion, but if I had them fix all the meals they, and their younger siblings, wouldn’t know what “mama’s cooking” is like. There seems to be a feeling of comfort, nostalgia and fond memories that go along with a mother’s cooking which I wouldn’t want them to miss out on.
Another example, I was having my older children take the younger ones outside to play each day, during that time, I could get a lot done in a quiet house, it was very helpful. However, my older children would mention things the younger kids liked to do outside and it made me sad that I didn’t know my own toddler’s favorite things to do outside were going for walks and swinging. Or, that my preschoolers each had their own forts they had “made”. So I changed the way we were doing things and now I take the younger ones outside while the older ones are inside doing their normal jobs.
I think it is easy, when we have the option of older kids, grandparents or hired help to watch younger kids, of getting into the habit of giving someone else that responsibility too often. There is definitely a time and place for that, but I think it is good to be mindful of the circumstances, purpose and frequency of delegating that responsibility.
A couple of the rules of thumb I use are: I watch the little ones when the older kids have friends around to play with so they can enjoy playing and talking with their friends; and I am careful about how often I go out during the day without the kids, making sure my times out are necessary or beneficial to our family, and infrequent.
One area I have completely given over to the kids though, is the dishes. They do the dishes at all the meals. This frees me up in the morning to spend time with the little ones; after lunch, finish up school or catch a much needed cat nap (I’m usually up with someone at night); and in the evening, to visit with Jim or read to the little ones. Although, I must say I have contemplated starting to go in and help them do the dishes because they have lots of great conversations in the kitchen!
Another area I think is good to delegate out is general cleaning. Having a cleaning job in the house is a great way for kids to learn responsibility, a good work ethic and how to work together as a family.
There are lots of other things that can be delegated to kids or other helpers. It is a huge blessing having help now (and a long time coming :)), but I want to make sure I don’t give out jobs just because I can, but instead, delegate jobs for a purpose.
So, giving over responsibilities to others is a good thing for us and those who help us. But, I think it is good to not get caught up in the “convenience” factor when delegating jobs and overlook the bigger picture and long term affect our decisions can have on our children.
What jobs do you like to delegate? Do you have thoughts on delegating responsibilities?