Working Moms Need to Delegate
You'll burn out, and the people right along with you.
This is way too much for you — you can't do this alone.
— EXODUS 18:18
Delegate? "I don't have time to delegate!"
"I don't have anyone to delegate to!"
"They wouldn't do it right."
"I'd have to fight to get them to do it, then I'd have to inspect it once it's done. It's easier to just do it myself."
I hear you. I've been there myself. But there's a secret you've probably never been privy to. It goes beyond wishing someone else would lend a hand and complaining if he or she doesn't. It's time for action. You need real solutions to make delegation actually happen.
If you have already decided to eliminate extraneous activities, what's left in your life now cannot be eliminated and must be done.
But here's the question all moms have to consider: Does it really have to be done by you?
If the scripture verse at the beginning of this module resonates deep within you, or if it seems God is specifically talking about your life, then this is for you: You simply can't do it all by yourself, and God doesn't expect you to.
It's always tough to delegate, but for a busy working mom, it can seem almost impossible. To use an analogy, being a working mom is very much like juggling. Learning to juggle takes practice, and it's especially stressful if the items you juggle are valuable and fragile.
It's hard to juggle three things, harder still to juggle four. Difficulty and stress increase with each addition. Ultimately, even the best jugglers will drop a ball. This is precisely what every working mom wishes to avoid while trying to keep up with schedules, relationships, work demands and running a household.
When you're juggling so many things, just trying to stop so you can reduce the number increases the risk of dropping something. This is the inherent risk in deciding whether and how to delegate. Believe me, I know you can't afford to let anything drop. However, you should be aware of the flip side to managing everything yourself. Sooner or later, your body will give out. Then you may be unable to do anything for weeks or months.
The tension from maintaining a high-stress lifestyle may show up as frequent headaches, muscle tightness or a constantly churning stomach. Constant stress leads to anxiety, and in the worst-case scenario, panic attacks. Take it from me — one way or another your body and mind will not allow you to keep up more than you can bear.
Fortunately, there is hope — even for the tough case of a single working mom with young children and limited finances. The key is delegation. Every working mom can successfully delegate some of her responsibilities. If you're uncomfortable or out of practice, start out small and delegate more as you see how well things are working. There are benefits to everyone (including you) when you delegate your workload appropriately.
Find Creative Solutions
Deanna, a former work-outside-the-home mom of four, shared an innovative solution with me. When she was a working mom, the most difficult part of the day was getting dinner ready. She suspected other working moms might have the same problem. After she became a stay-at-home-mom, she called a few of her friends and asked if they would like her to make extra portions of what she planned to cook for dinner.
Deanna began putting an entire meal in disposable containers and leaving it at the doorstep of her working friends' houses in exchange for a portion of their families' grocery/takeout budgets. Since Deanna buys in bulk now, the food costs are lower, and she can pocket the extra cash. Remember, it's not extra work for Deanna because it's what she's cooking for her family anyway. Now a few working moms get to come home to an inexpensive, hot, home-cooked meal!
If any of your friends are stay-at-home moms, find out if they would be willing to give this a try one or two days a week. Just imagine coming home after a hard day's work to be greeted by the smell of an already prepared dinner. Now that's a blessing!
Excerpted from Moms on the Job by Sabrina O'Malone, a Focus on the Family book published by Tyndale House Publishers. Copyright © 2006, Sabrina O'Malone. All rights reserved.