Lately, I’ve been sharing some of my secrets for how I do it. In one post, I shared about the need to ease into more responsibility (versus jumping in too deep at the start). In the last post, I talked about the importance of living intentionally, but also giving ourselves breathing room.
Today, I’m going to share another trick I have for managing all of my responsibilities. Here it is: I don’t manage everything. At least not by myself.
I have help.
No. I don’t have a live-in nanny. And no, I don’t have a full time maid—although I’d love for someone to bequeath one or the other to me in their will! And actually while they’re bequeathing, I wouldn’t mind a a chauffeur to drive my kids to all of their activities and a full time chef to prepare something besides frozen waffles and boxed mac & cheese.
Alas, I have none of the above. I’m the nanny, maid, chauffeur, and chef all wrapped into one—in addition to being a full time teacher and writer.
The reality is that I can’t do each of the jobs and do them well. I just can’t. Believe me, I’ve tried. And I’ve failed.
Although I’m independent and have a difficult time asking for help, over the years I’ve learned that I need support if I’m going to succeed. I’ve also learned that help can come in many different shapes and sizes, but that I can’t be afraid to ask for it.
We need support if we’re going to succeed.
We all need to surround ourselves with people who believe in us and what we’re doing. For example, in the ten years I’ve been homeschooling, I’ve become close to a group of women who are all going through the same challenges that come with home-teaching. Without their support, commiserating, and sharing of ideas, I likely would have quit long ago.
Same with my writing. If I didn’t have family and other writers who encouraged and believed in me, I’d have a difficult time withstanding the pressures and the criticism that come. Because they do come. There will always be people in our lives who don’t understand the things that are important to us, who think we should be doing something different, or who will point out the negatives.
Help comes in different shapes and sizes.
Over the past several years, my help has come in a variety of ways. First, I’ve enlisted the support of my husband. Since I gladly and willingly support him in his work, I only asked that he do the same for me. While it’s taken some time and plenty of conversations, we’re both learning to work together as a team in handling the many responsibilities of running a large family. In other words, he helps clean, runs errands, and even cooks some of the meals, so that the work is more manageable for both of us.
Second, I’ve worked at training my children to pitch in and help. In recent years, my older children (14 & 12) can handle more chores around the house. They do things like mow the lawn, fold & put away laundry, and meal preparation. I’ve even paid them to help watch my younger two children so that I can have more concentrated writing time.
My point is that, we often have more help at our fingertips than we realize. Which brings me to the next point . . .
We can’t be afraid (or ashamed) to ask for help.
We need to have open communication—especially with our families—about our desire for help. Sometimes it takes time for them to understand our passions, dreams, and subsequent needs, and we’ll have to patiently educate them. However, they won’t ever know what our needs are unless we actually have those conversations.
When I’ve opened up with friends about some of my scheduling struggles, they’ve gone out of their way to help me—particularly with the transporting of my kids to various activities. I’ve begun to realize that my friends and family want to help, but that they won’t know what I need unless I ask.
My Summary: So there you have it. Another one of the secrets of how I manage—I enlist the support and help of those around me. The bottom line is that we need each other. We can mutually edify and support one another. And in doing so lighten the burden’s we all have.
How about you? Do you try to handle too much on your own? Is it difficult for you to accept help? Or are you learning to share your needs and gain the support of those around you?
P.S. The winner of this week's signed copy of The Doctor's Lady is Carol Moncado. Congratulations, Carol! Remember, if you didn't win, there will still be LOTS & LOTS of opportunities to win a copy of my book during my blog tour! Check out my News & Events Page for all of the stops!
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