Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How Can I Help?

Remember the post about learning to thrive within your limitations?  Three weeks have passed since I wrote that and I still feel challenged by everything that's on my plate.  I know this season won't last forever and that growth is often painful.

I've been working hard to put into practice the things God is teaching me.  I haven't worked in the evenings since school started.  I got those two projects done and made some progress on another big one that's looming on my To Do list.  Running feels therapeutic again and I'm even getting my speed back.  HOORAY for progress.  But I still have a lot of room for growth.

As a wife and a mother, it is my job to manage my home and my family.  It is NOT my job to do it all.  A good manager delegates work.  I've been a terrible delegator. My line of reasoning is logical but not always helpful.  If I can do it more efficiently or accurately, I do it myself.  If I don't want to deal with whining or complaining, I do it myself.  I've been so inconsistent with expecting the kids to help out around the house that when I do ask for their help, my request is often met with indignation and drama. Our current system leaves me feeling overworked and under appreciated and is teaching the kids to be lazy and entitled.  Clearly this is not beneficial to any of us.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, patience was nowhere to be found.  I was irritable, cranky and completely overwhelmed with two soccer games, soccer pictures, a football game, an evening work event, and a house in need of cleaning.  When my kids couldn't find their gear for their games and blamed me for not knowing where it was I about blew a gasket.  The Holy Spirit convicted me of my temper tantrum and then began to show me what I could do to change things in our home.

After I asked my family for forgiveness we sat down for a Family Pow Wow.  I reminded the kids that we are a team - Team Stilp.  As the overused saying goes, "There is no I in Team,"  but we were all functioning selfishly.  We talked about how God hates laziness and expects us to work hard at everything we do.  We talked about ditching the bad attitudes and replacing them with a willingness to be helpful with a happy heart.  And then we rolled out a new system.

I made a chart listing all the things our family needs to accomplish on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.  A lot of it was stuff I have been single-handedly doing for everyone.  After we made the list, we delegated.  Each weekend we'll split up the house cleaning and yard work chores between the six of us.  We're all geared up for this weekend when we'll test it out for the first time.  I'm praying it goes well.

We also made a big sign that said, "How Can I Help?" and posted it on the pantry door.  I can't expect my kids to be helpful if I haven't taught them to be helpful.  I told the kids that every time they ask"How can I help you Mom?" and then do whatever job I give them with a happy heart, they can have a treat.  I've heard those beautiful words - "How can I help?" - more times in the last two days than I have in their lifetime combined.  And oh is it music to the ears.

An unexpected bonus from all this delegation is that it has freed me up to ask the kids, "How can I help you?"  This morning I was able to ask my girls how they needed help to get ready for school on time.  It felt really good to be able to bless them with little favors I haven't had time for lately.  Alli lit up when she discovered I made her sandwich for lunch, Paige actually let me help her pick out her outfit for school, and Katie was thrilled that I filled up her water bottle with extra ice.  We were all blessed by helping each other.

What about you?  Are you being a good manager or do you need to delegate more?  Or do you need to look around and start asking the question, "How can I help?"


  1. Great story and it sound like you have a good, workable system. Thanks for sharing! Love you! - Faith

  2. It's mommy does everything for everyone around here and you're right, it doesn't end up going so well for me. Thanks for setting the example in how to approach it as a team. I know I'm not doing my kids any favors by waiting on them hand and foot while they play all day. :) I hope you get a good system down my friend.

    1. Thanks C. It's still a work in progress so we'll see how it goes. But I think we'll all benefit right now from working together as a team. And my kids will be better adults if they learn to work hard and be helpful now. I'm glad the Lord opened my eyes to see this deficit.