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Friday, March 10, 2006

While we all want to feel needed, there comes a time when you have to stop doing for others and let others learn to care for themselves. This doesn't mean you are abdicating your role as a caretaker. It means you are giving your family a great gift - the ability to responsibly care for themselves.

Think about it. For the house alone, you are probably responsible for doing, arranging for, or coordinating over 30 activities: arranging for babysitters, bathing children, buying clothes for kids & spouse, cleaning rooms, cooking, disciplining, dishwashing, driving kids to school, dusting, feeding family, feeding pets, gardening, going to dry cleaners, grocery shopping, helping the kids with schoolwork, keeping medical & financial records, keeping tabs on items running low, laundering, managing finances, paying bills, picking up after the family, planning menus, organizing children's play, ordering catalog items, scrubbing floors, scrubbing windows, sorting and opening mail, vacuuming, washing cars, watering plants, etc.

Reading this list has probably left you out of breath. Paula Peisiner Coxe, in her book Finding Time, shares some ways you can breathe easy and help your family to help themselves:

  • Store individual-size snack foods where your kids can get them, so you do not always have to prepare snacks from scratch.
  • Keep a chalkboard or hanging pad of paper in a regular place for eveyrone to write down items that are running low, that they need to buy, or that need to be fixed. Check the list before you run errands or go grocery shopping.
  • Designate a spot where each family member can place dirty laundry. Have them put their own clothing in the hamper.
  • Store kitchen items in a designated place so time is not wasted searching for misplaced items.
  • Have a weekly or monthly calendar set up in a clear view (perhaps by the refrigerator) where each family member can look to see what chore he or she has to do...set the table, empty trash, wash dishes, do laundry. Divide tasks fairly, allowing each member to do what he or she prefers, when possible.
  • Trade off cooking nights with your husband and older children.
  • Set aside for a group meeting with family members to discuss how to solve common problems.
  • Make a regular time each week to compare calendars with your spouse and kids and coordinate activities.
Allowing your family to take care of themselves gives you time to take care of yourself. Don't feel guilty about this. You deserve some nurturing. After all, if you don't take care of yourself, no one else will. You're worth it.

Learn to get in touch with silence within yourself
and know that everything in this life has a purpose.
There are no mistakes, no coincidences.
All events are blessings given to us to learn from.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
9:00 PM | Permalink |


  • At 3/10/2006 10:45 PM, Blogger The Gnat's Trumpet

    Good advice. We're are still trying to get the hang of the idea that some of our home time belongs to us and not all of its to our two kids.

  • At 3/10/2006 11:16 PM, Blogger vanx

    The "caregiver" has been a big theme for me this week, with the death of Dana Reeve. I have also been giving a lot of thought to my mother as a caregiver. AND I recognize my wife's role in this regard. And mine, to, I admit, a lesser extent. Good post.

  • At 3/10/2006 11:38 PM, Blogger Amanda

    Good post!

    Here from Michele's

  • At 3/11/2006 1:55 AM, Anonymous chelle

    Great tips. There are so many days where I feel overwhelmed!

  • At 3/11/2006 1:56 AM, Blogger Trinity13

    That's a great list! We already do at least 3 of them, so I'm feel like we are on top of things here!

  • At 3/11/2006 5:37 AM, Blogger no_average_girl

    those are excellent tips - especially the last one: make a regular time each week to compare calendars with your spouse and kids and coordinate activities - if only we knew a week ahead of time what we were doing! lol we'd need to have a time each day to make our schedules, perhaps two or three even - incase plans changed! haha

    thanks for passing those along!

  • At 3/11/2006 5:47 AM, Blogger mommyof4

    good tips. I do not always find time for myself. I always feel like I am the eyes and ears for all my family members. Its like they think Mom will remember or mom will do it. Sometimes it makes me angry.I have the big calendar aside of the frige but everyone seems to be blind to it!

  • At 3/11/2006 6:42 AM, Blogger Lazy Daisy

    Great Post. My kids are grown now but I well remember the days of running around with my "hair on fire" wondering where the smoke was coming from. Have a great weekend.

  • At 3/11/2006 6:43 AM, Blogger Lazy Daisy

    Great Post. My kids are grown now but I well remember the days of running around with my "hair on fire" wondering where the smoke was coming from. Have a great weekend.

  • At 3/11/2006 9:36 AM, Blogger sage

    good post--i should pass them on to the wife (but wait, I already cook more than half the meals and do the dishes almost all the time and do my own ironing....) Have a great day, you always have a great attitude.

  • At 3/11/2006 9:43 AM, Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills

    What terrific advice..and you are so right...mothers (and other people, too) need time for themselves...!
    I'm here tonight from Michele, my dear..
    And by the way, I will email you (hopefully I hav your email) about the Cactus & Succulants!

  • At 3/11/2006 6:17 PM, Blogger Jean-Luc Picard

    That's a great list which would enable people to make more time for each other.

  • At 3/11/2006 9:25 PM, Blogger Linda

    Love those tips, not always practical for me....but my oh my, your commentary about what we do is SO wonder I'm worn out!

    Michele sent me....

  • At 3/11/2006 9:29 PM, Blogger Kathy

    Sometimes I look at what my husband does during the day compared to me and I flip. But when I discuss all of the things with him and my girls it helps, we can split things up and decide who can do what. I love your tips, I need help getting things done!

  • At 3/13/2006 11:13 AM, Blogger Blue

    I've recently posted about this stuff as well. I like some of the suggestions.

  • At 3/13/2006 5:53 PM, Blogger Meow

    Great tips and advice. Thanks for sharing. Take care, Meow