Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.” Exodus 18:17-18
Despite being someone who needs to have control, and oversee everything, now that I’m back to work I’ve had no choice but to delegate some things to my kids. I’m not one to experience a ton of mother’s guilt, but I definitely have been feeling some over the past few months.
What I wasn’t prepared for was what would happen to my kids.
Historically, my tank gets emptied as the week goes on. I use Saturdays to sleep in, spend time alone in my room with God, and refill. I hold these mornings sacred, knowing deep in my bones how desperately I need them.
But when an opportunity came along to deliver food baskets to the needy one Saturday morning before Christmas,I thought I could rise above. It was just one day. I could suck it up for a good cause and help spread the Christmas spirit. So I signed my little family up.
Unfortunately, when that Saturday arrived, I was especially depleted. It was the holiday season and I had been using every spare second to scurry around and prepare. I was downright desperate to catch up on sleep and reconnect with Him to rejuvenate. With my family’s reluctant permission, I bowed out of the food basket deliveries and sent them on their way.
Wouldn’t you know, they had a great time without me! In fact, my husband later commented on how Zack stepped up with the navigating, carrying the heavy boxes, and socializing with the recipients. My husband saw a side to Zack he wouldn’t have seen had I been there.
More recently, Jocelyn was telling me about her class spelling bee. She said her teacher was amazed that she was able to spell one of the really difficult words. Jocelyn said, “I told my teacher how Mason helped me study. He knew that word was a really hard one. So he made me practice it over and over again.”
Whether it’s out of a need to be needed, or pressure from society to be highly involved in every single aspect of our kids’ lives, we moms sometimes take on more than we should. Of course our core motivation is a good one: We want to show our kids how much we love and support them.
The irony is: When we do take on too much, we run the risk of limiting them. If we’re doing too much, orchestrating everything, present to them in every moment, our kids may not step up. Why would they if we’re doing it all for them?
When we take a step back, and trust our kids to step up, they feel empowered. Suddenly, they feel challenged and inspired to do a little more. And when they do, they feel great about themselves. In these little baby-steps of taking on more, they mature and blossom.
Needles to say, if I hit the lottery tomorrow and was rolling in money and time, I wouldn’t take back any of the tasks and responsibilities I’ve delegated out. Seeing my kids step up and shine has been one of the gifts this tough transition has blessed me with.
Questions for Reflection:
* Do I routinely reflect on how much I do for my kids to assess when enough is enough?
* Have I tried delegating some things to them to test their potential?
I love this, Claire! I am not surprised that they stepped up. You can see the pleasure they get from helping and I believe that comes from seeing you and John doing the same!! xoxo
Thanks, Mom! It’s been amazing to watch. And I’ve absolutely LOVED the help! 🙂