Last Saturday was a kind of day off for me.
By that, I don’t mean I got to stay in bed the whole day. That would be good, but I wonder if I would stay in bed when my kids and husband are at home.
Sometimes, I act like I am the one responsible for everything that happens at home. Or is there some truth in it? If things don’t happen in a certain way — alright, according to my way — I think something is going to be terribly wrong.
If our toddler son is not in bed for nap on time, he is going to be cranky. But on some out-of-order days, I get so worried about his missed nap that I end up being the cranky one! That is just to say how rigid I can get.
OK now, getting back to my ‘day off’. I was off for a one-day training, leaving the kids at home with my husband from morning to evening. Actually, this was the first time I was leaving our 10-month-old-breastfed son for about 9 hours.
I am reminded of the first time I had left our older son with my husband for a day. He was about 9 months at that time. I wrote out clear instructions for my husband about what time he needs to eat, what time he needs to nap, and how much formula powder should be mixed with water.
Two years later, for our second son, I did none of that. I just told my husband that the instructions for mixing the formula are on the side of the can and he can look it up. What has changed?? I have.
Here goes my short list:
1. I know a little more about my husband now. He is not a ‘list’ kind of person, like I am. He can go to the grocery store remembering the 10 things that I told him to buy, and he wouldn’t have missed a thing. I am very different. I would need a list even if I was going to buy only three things.
Based on my preference, I assumed that he would find my detailed instructions helpful. As I later discovered, he only feels intimidated by lists. Ah, how often have I tried to fit others into my styles and preferences! It takes just a little effort to find out the other person’s approach, but in the end, the other person feels respected and things go much better than when I try to push my way through.
2. I am learning to be better at delegating. Who likes to be told what exactly to do and how to do it? Not me! I didn’t realize my tendency to micro-manage till I was at the receiving end. It doesn’t feel good at all. It only communicates a lack of trust and gets burdensome.
So, what is a good way to delegate? People like to be empowered. Yes, even my 2 year old. When I explain the situation to him and tell him why he can’t play with the coins, he tends to be more obedient and responsible.
After all, I wasn’t given an instruction manual with nap times and meal times for the kids. I just figured out when I had to. And yes, I made mistakes along the way. May be, I should just trust my husband to find out for himself and let him make a few mistakes (hoping that he makes only a few small ones).
This time, I just explained to him that our baby needs roughly 2.5 to 3 hours of waketime before he goes for a nap. I told him he can eat whenever he wants to. What a relief for all of us! It doesn’t hurt to be off-schedule for a day, especially if that’s the less frustrating option for everyone. This way, my husband gets to take decisions — about his sons, whom he loves just as much as I do — without having to be like a robot carrying out a set of instructions.
When I came home in the evening, the boys were just fine. I was the one who was sorry for my mistakes. What mistakes? More on that later – in another blog post. So long!