If you are a woman who is trying to balance life and work, juggling between having a career, being a wife, mother, daughter, and a friend, you are likely wearing the ?superwoman mask.?
From the minute you wake up in the morning till you crash in bed at night, these thoughts keep popping up in your head: ?And now what needs to be done? What can I check off my to-do list? It will be quicker if I do it myself.? And there is just so much to do!? And you wonder why you don’t sleep well!
The good news is there IS a solution. Let’s talk about what you CAN do.
Let’s start with asking the right questions
You know it is not healthy to rush through your day. You’ve read enough books and articles explaining how important it is to relieve stress and you’re really trying. But even when you’re able to add a yoga class into your busy schedule, your mind keeps racing, thinking about the next thing you need to get done. You’re spending too much time asking the following questions:
?Why is it so hard for me to be more efficient with managing life??
At some point you get mad at your husband and your kids for not helping you. ?Why am I the only one who cares about this house?? you’re asking in your head, and what comes out of your mouth is: ?Are you ever going to help me, or do I need to do everything myself in this house??
?Why do I end up being so negative and blaming everyone??
Every week you start with an intention to delegate and ask for help, but you end up, again, doing most of the stuff yourself. You are annoyed that your husband can’t see how messy the kitchen is or what needs to be done in the house. Every conversation about it ends up in an argument.
?Help!!! How many times do I have to ask????
Relax, my friend. You are asking so many questions, but you are missing the most important ones:
Important question # 1:
What do you have on your plate?
Important question # 2:
What can you take off your plate?
And now it is time for the answers
Pause for a minute and think. What’s on your plate? Make a list of your daily and weekly tasks. Simply make one week of your life ?an awareness week? where your goal is to collect data. No solutions yet, just an evaluation. Don’t share the list with your family members yet?wait! We’ve got a surprise for them. Got the list? What’s on it? Waking up the kids? Making breakfast? Walking the dog? Cleaning the kitchen? Carpooling? Driving to after-school activities? Doing laundry? And there’s probably more.? Now write each task on a small sticky note and stick all the notes to a plate.
Here’s the beginning of your answer: you clearly see what’s on your plate.
How many notes are there? What kind of tasks? How frequently do you do them? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?
Yes, I know. I promised answers and I’m asking so many questions!
When you are ready to present your plate with all its sticky notes, it is time to have ?the talk.? Start with your husband first. In a loving and positive way, ask him to join you in a meaningful conversation and help you figure out how to get all family members engaged in managing responsibilities. Before having ?the talk,? make sure that you are centered and balanced. Make sure that you aren’t anxious or angry. And make sure you are clear about your goal: to team with your husband to create a family intention of sharing responsibilities and fully engaging in manning the household. Think about the important lesson you are teaching your children by creating this intention. You are teaching them to grow up and be independent!
Here’s a 10-step plan for engaging your family members in sharing responsibilities together:
- Make a list of what’s on your plate.
- Write each task on a sticky note and stick it to a plate.
- Ask your husband to join you in a conversation and tell him it’s going to be fun and creative.
- Have another plate with sticky notes ready for him. After showing him your plate, get him involved in making his own plate.
- Ask him (ask! Don’t tell!) ?What stands up for you when you look at both plates?? Suggest that you each share what comes up for you, what you notice. Look at the types of tasks and their frequencies as well.
- Team up in thinking creatively how to involve the kids in the activity. Plan a family meeting where the kids make their own plates and you all have a conversation about your plates.
- Play a game where you move sticky notes from one plate to another. Ask your children (ask! Don’t tell!), ?what can be taken off my plate and moved to your plate?? Have a curious attitude when you hear their answers, and add some suggestions of your own.
- Ask if there are any family tasks that are not included in any of the plates.
- Come up with a plan to implement the new responsibilities into the family life. ?Create a weekly family calendar with a list of the new responsibilities and who’s going to do them.
- Plan to meet once a week for the next few weeks to evaluate the responsibility share and play the plates game so you can all keep evaluating and correcting.
My coaching client, Fiona, was working on getting her family to engage in household responsibilities so she can free up some time for fun, self-care, and creativity. Her goal was to see her husband and her kids take more ownership in household tasks and to share the load.
Fiona sent me the picture after they played the ?Plates Game? and shared her and her husband?s ?aha? moments:
?Our aha moment was that it is not only the number of tasks I had on my plate, but it was also the frequency of when they needed attention. We realized that my husband?s tasks required monthly attention (yard, bills, etc.) where mine required weekly and daily attention.?
Another important discovery that Fiona and her family made after playing the game was that there were two activities that all of them wanted more of: family fun dates and planning romantic dates. Nobody had been taking any ownership of these, and surprise, surprise?they only happened ad hoc as a result.
Fiona is working on the next step now, which is getting her family dividing the tasks among themselves and creating a family calendar to give them the structure they need to follow the new plan.
Ready to learn fun ways like playing the Plates Game to eliminate chaos and overdoing?
Send me a quick email right now and I will personally help you find…