Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Delegated

The wee ones go to the chiropractor each Wednesday, as do both my husband and I. This week, I asked my husband if I could drop the wee ones at the chiro on my way home with carpool and he could take them while I made dinner and had it waiting on the table.

Why do you want to dump the wee ones on me? he asked.

Ummm well, I didn't consider it "dumping" our own children on him, but I was proud of myself for not making a snarky comment.

Wednesdays are my really long, hard day, and by the time we're done with the chiro, I'm just done, and I'd appreciate it if you could help me out by being in charge of the chiro which would also allow you to have a warm meal when you got home, I replied, calmly - and truly, I was calm.

What, you don't think I'm working all day, too? he asked incredulously.

It wasn't that. My husband is out of the house and to school before seven where he then spends his day molding 120 plus young minds. While he's absolutely got the personality for it and loves doing it, I don't dispute in any way that he's working hard.

But Wednesdays are my hardest day. From the moment the wee ones wake up, I am haranguing them to get ready, get dressed, clean their rooms, eat breakfast, get out the door, go go go so we can get to school on time. While our chore chart helps, there are still days when I need to redirect the wee ones and keep us on track. Once I get the wee ones out the door, I head to the gym for a quick workout - my me time, I'll admit. As soon as I'm done, I rush to do whatever errands need to be done, typically grocery shopping. I head home to put things away, toss in a load of laundry and begin making dinner. I then race to Mister Man's school (20+ minutes away) to pick him up for speech therapy at another school. I have to rush him out the door and into the car and into the other school to get there on time, as his class gets in from recess as we need to leave if we want to get to speech on time. I then race him back to his school and sign him back in before running home to get Little Miss off the bus where I change the laundry and - if I'm lucky - get a little housework done before I pack up Little Miss and rush to get to Mister Man's school to do the carpool pickup. I drop off the other kids in the carpool then head back to town to the chiro where I am directing the wee ones on what they're supposed to do and ensuring that in an unstructured and stimulating environment, they are behaving appropriately - especially given the small space. Then we head to the library (our only chance of the week and the wee ones' reward for good behavior at the chiro) before going home for the night. Then I have to finish making dinner before feeding them and rushing them into bed.

I can only push the wee ones to go quick hurry fast we can't be late so much before, mentally, I am exhausted. Having to come home after all this only to make dinner and try to ensure the wee ones get to bed on time (yes, we still have "early" bedtimes because they need the sleep) makes the day that much harder.

By delegating the chiropractor, I have take out almost a half hour of car time driving back and forth from carpool dropoff to the chiro and back home again. And it's two rushings around that I can avoid - the chiro and dinner; I actually rather enjoy the library time with the wee ones.

Ideally, I'd restructure our week so that there wasn't so much rushing, but the chiropractor really helps, especially Mister Man and his regulation. And with OT and tae kwon do taking up most of the rest of the week... it is what it is.

But yesterday, I dropped off the wee ones with my husband at the chiro before continuing to finish the carpool run (it is literally on the way home). Then I got home and sauteed some chicken and made some cous cous for dinner before slicing up a pineapple for dessert. I place everyone's plates on the table and added glasses of milk. I had just watered the Christmas tree and dealt with the day's mail when my husband and the wee ones walked in.

We all had a nice dinner before we headed upstairs for our bedtime routine, without me nervously glancing at the clock and calculating how long I could let the wee ones continue eating before I had to cut them off and hustle them to bed. Instead they finished, put their dishes away, and we got to bed at a good time.

And you know what? I felt good. I felt really good. I think I need to embrace this strategy of not "dumping" the wee ones on my husband but rather delegating and communicating when I need some help and to change how we're doing things in the house.

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Together We Save December 16, 2010 at 10:45 PM  

Funny how husbands can think taking care of their own children is not their job.

Susie December 17, 2010 at 6:33 AM  

Your day sounds like mine!! Crazy! And yes, I agree...I hate it when husbands call spending time with their kids babysitting! I guess the sex we had to make the children is considered sperm donation?

Melisa with one S December 17, 2010 at 6:42 AM  

Together We Save said exactly what I was thinking. :)

Good for you for delegating! I love when I make one seemingly little change and realize what a huge difference it actually makes.

That picture? SO cute.

Kori December 17, 2010 at 3:50 PM  

I love the picture, too, but can't help but wonder how snarky some of these women who so easily talk about how un-helpful their husbands are, not including you, if they didn't HAVE one. Just throwing that out there. I agree with the dislike of the terms "dumping" and "babysitting" (in fact got into a huge argument with a male co-worker about that very phrase one time), but also can't help but point out how lucky, lucky, lucky you all are. Truly.

*sniff* clearly I am overly emotional about this subject; feel free to NOT publish it! :)

One Petal At A Time December 17, 2010 at 6:48 PM  

I think all men think the same way yours does when it comes to taking care of our children. But I guess its in their nature lol. In the end they do what we ask them to do most of the time. I can see why sometimes men tend to make a fuzz about it because most of our hubbys work hard but they have to see our sides as mothers too.. we also need some alone time at least if its only an hour or two. Being a mom is hard work too! =D

Laural Out Loud December 18, 2010 at 1:33 PM  

Isn't it amazing how delegating one or two little things makes such a huge difference in a day? Now that my husband is home, I've been doing it a lot more, and I swear it's like living a different life, lol. By the way, LOVE the chiropractor. I need to start taking my daughter on a regular basis, too.

Mrs4444 December 18, 2010 at 11:28 PM  

Honestly, it would be one thing if you just wanted to sit on the couch and watch TV while they were gone (which is what most husbands would do). It's funny how we moms would feel guilty about doing that, but the dads never feel guilty about relaxing. What's up with that?!

Tara R. December 19, 2010 at 10:26 AM  

'Babysitting' and 'parent' should not be used in the same sentence. It's not dumping, each parent has as much responsibility for their kids.

I can't remember the last time my husband asked if his being out of the house, with me solely responsible for our kids, was convenient. But, if I want or need to do something, the planning involved is crazy sometimes.

Pat December 20, 2010 at 9:50 AM  

Whew! I got tired just reading that. It brought back memories of rushing and made me glad once again that I'm retired.

Your children are fortunate to have a mother like you, Michelle. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family. I hope you have some down time during the Christmas break.

Michelle December 20, 2010 at 1:39 PM  

Denise - My husband has never said that it's not his job, but this is as close as it's come. I don't think he realized the work I'm still doing while he hangs out with them.

Susie - It's always crazy, but Wednesdays are the hardest and longest. I thought it was supposed to get easier when they were in school all day but no dice!

Melisa - That little change does make a huge difference, doesn't it? I felt so much better.

Kori - I think that if there *is* a husband figure in the picture, the attitude of sharing in the raising of children is an expecation, as it's part of the deal they signed on for. That doesn't change anything at all about the difference and difficulties that single parents of all stripes face. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

One Petal At A Time - I have a few friends who don't feel that way, but it does amaze me how work magically gets distributed NOT 50/50 in all facets. And that hour? It's not alone time - it's working at home and getting stuff done there!

Laural - Absolutely! Finding ways to make my life easier is sometimes not nearly as hard as I make it - and I need to focus on that more.

Mrs4444 - Don't get me started. My husband is currently asleep on the couch. For his second nap of the day. I'm catching up here between bouts of helping the wee ones put together their Legos.

Tara - Hear, hear! And ummm yeah. Ditto on the not being home part. It's a pet peeve of mine.

Pat - People keep telling me how much I will miss these days when they're grown and gone, but ... I have a feeling there will be some bits of it that I *won't* miss ;)

septembermom December 22, 2010 at 8:14 AM  

You remind me that I have to delegate to hubby more. My challenge is to make sure he is awake to perform his assigned tasks. LOL. Great picture of the kids. Look at those smiles!

Kimberly December 28, 2010 at 3:51 AM  

I think the lesson from your post can be learned even by those of us without a husband. When I'm overwhelmed or have too much on my plate, I hesitate to delegate. But, at least in my case, my kids are old enough to take on a little extra. My dad would be glad to help if I'd just ask. I have a friend or two who would pickup the carpool for me...if I'd just take a deep breath and ask.

Michelle December 28, 2010 at 7:57 PM  

Kelly - Yep, you definitely do. And you need to make sure he's awake - only because that's my biggest pet peeve when it comes to my husband ;)

Kimberly - I can be learned by anyone, and YES go pick up the phone and ask. Gotta love the friends and those who will help no matter what.

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