How to stop doing it all and get what you need
Feeling overwhelmed and under-appreciated right now? Here's how to stop doing it all and get what you want.
Most likely you’re in lockdown with people you love but still, that can be frustrating and overwhelming. You can’t keep the kids out of the pantry or your hair, the dog needs another walk, your boss is ringing and there’s stuff to be hung on the line.
And guess what, it feels like it’s your job to do everything, to be Captain of The Whole Damned Thing.
Let's sort that out.
First thing to know is people can’t read minds. If you want help, ask. And don’t hint—come straight out and say what you need. Don’t do a song and dance and make it emotional, just be direct and detailed.
Also, this is not all on you. It could be tempting to go down the martyr road (woe is me, nobody is helping) but that's a childish short term solution and you're way better than that.
You could also be tempted to go down the path of feeling you should be happier and more positive right now: you and your family are safe, you have a full fruit bowl, there's laughter at the dinner table.
What's not to love?
Because society seems to prize that 1950 housewife notion of us being content in our domestic bubble, we struggle for it to be okay for us to express the full range of our emotions, whatever they may be.
I wrote about this last year in Ultimate You. and it's applicable for any number of situations where you want to heal, reclaim and live your awesome life. If the thought of that transformation is too much in this one moment, try this to explore those difficult emotions:
—Feel what you feel: No distractions. No denial. No suppressions.
—Label how you feel: Be as clear as you can about what the emotion is.
—Acknowledge how you feel: without judgement or shame.
—Feel the feeling completely: if you need a good cry, have it. Then complete the feeling and release it.
—Ask yourself what you learned.
So, that's you looked after. Now to sort out everyone else so you can stop doing it all and get what you want.
Get the family or whoever you live with to sit down and make a list with you.
If you’re not taking the kids on the quick grocery run during COVID-19, when you leave the house get them to sort, wash and fold the laundry. Great life skills. Get them washing the car too—it’s fun and useful.
Share the cooking with your partner 50-50, unless one of you really loves doing it.
One friend of mine avoids housework conflict with a regular system: she cleans the bathrooms on Saturday mornings while he shops.
On Sunday mornings, he cooks breakfast—truffle and pecorino scrambled eggs with roasted tomatoes and Istra bacon, usually—and she changes the linen on the bed. Sometimes they switch duties but mostly they do what they prefer.
Make everyone accountable, especially the kids. This is how they learn to be independent, which is a major goal of parenting.
And let them know you’re not going to add ‘making sure things get done’ to the list. That’s just another job for you.
Remember: communication is the key here. Say what you need.
Footnote to that: I'm expert at saying what I need. I get that maybe it's harder for other people. Have a flick through Ultimate You for answers, or get in touch with me and let's talk.