The husband would always tell me to delegate.
When I was still working as a trainer and marketing person, I would want to do things on my own than delegate. Soon I’ve realized that style wasn’t helpful. Not only did I stress myself for finishing everything from conceptualization to implementation and even reporting, I only showed a lack of trust and leadership. And for me to go up, I need that leadership skill.
Now that I’m a stay at home mom, I still do most household chores myself. And not only do I end up so tired but often feel unappreciated when the boys seem not to care.
What am I trying to tell here?
I saw a note from husband‘s work table. Husband is a structural engineer and he has a dozen and more men working as laborers, masons, electricians, and carpenters. He is also a real estate broker and has around a hundred agents under his care. He is quite the busy man, often leaving early to manage both his construction and real estate business. He comes home very late at night, and sometimes, would spend the night at the site barracks instead.
Anyway, I saw this note from husband’s work station. I felt the invisible heavy baggage he is carrying. He is our family’s sole breadwinner and hundreds of people are dependent on him for everyday food and the likes. The pressure must be too much but knowing my husband, he remains positive. He reflects. He acts.
He puts into writing this reminder to constantly tell himself to know his priorities.
That perhaps is what’s missing in my system – classifying the work in front of me.
Classify work according to 3 types:
a. only me
b. can be delegated
c. not mine
Chances are, out of my eagerness to prove myself or because I can’t say no to others, I always take several responsibilities. And most of these to-dos fall well outside the realm of my core role or time.
I may say, I am too old for enjoying challenges and demonstrating my skills. I’ve had tremendous opportunities that proved I could go beyond my limitation. I was able to genuinely handle successful projects, both professionally and at a personal level. At 40, I have proven to myself and even to the people around me that I CAN. Thus, there is no need to prove to anyone else my worth.
At my age and with a big family to care for, I must be enjoying the moment instead. Thus, taking heed of husband’s advice, I must know how to classify work that’s mine, for delegation, and those not for me.
My primary concern
Drop all “only me” work that does not bring value to Joema and family.
My responsibility as a mother is to prepare food for my family. I know household chores such as cleaning the house, washing and ironing the clothes fall under my care, too. But that doesn’t mean I embrace everything as mine alone. I can delegate. I may ask the boys to help me with some, especially if they are free to help. Looking after the two little ones is my priority, too, but I also have three teenagers who can help me from time to time.
Someone Else’s Work
Tidying up someone else’s garbage, for instance, is one time-sucking and highly infuriating task. It doesn’t contribute both to my professional and personal development. If I do not want to do it again, I must have the courage to tell our neighbors to do it themselves. After all, it is their trash, thus they need to dispose of it properly. I must not be afraid to shift the responsibility off my plate.
Someone else’s tasks are those that do not contribute to my professional and personal advancement. Such additional requests to demonstrate my skills but might compromise the quality of my current work are also for someone else’s and not mine. I must know when and how to decline and just focus on what's already on my plate. To add, saying no doesn’t mean I am no team player. It only means I am setting boundaries, always committed to delivering high-value outputs, and prioritizing work that truly is for me.
A wife’s reflection on her husband’s musings
I went back to my husband’s note to self.
Joema’s job is to …. create a home built on integrity, justice, understanding, and love.
There may be many times we do not agree on things. He has a few opinions I totally disapprove of but still, he remains the man who puts value to integrity, compassion, and love – the very qualities that made me fall for him 23 years ago.