What This Is Like from Your Perspective

There really is more to get done than a person can get done in a day. You’re burnt out and want to let others help you with some of those tasks, but…

It takes time to teach kids how to do things… and that’s time you just don’t have.

Even if your kids know how to do things, they’re just slower. And they have other things that need to get done… and so do you.

When your spouse tries to help, them often do it wrong or forget to do some part of it. So you have to deal with that, and it seems like more work in the long run to let them help.

So asking for help seems to add to your overwhelm… it doesn’t remove it.


What This Is Like from Your Child’s Perspective

Children aren’t born mature, and they aren’t born responsible. They are driven by impulse, by the desire to seek pleasure and avoid discomfort. So when we do so much for them without asking to help…

They will make messes and leave them for us to clean up. After all, that’s what we’ve always done.

Most won’t instinctively offer to help us or do anything to make our lives easier.  After all,  we don’t act like we want their help.

They don’t recognize how much we do for them. They just assume “that’s what parents do.”

And then they wonder why we get so upset when they act “entitled” or “selfish.” They don’t necessarily know that they’re making our lives harder. They’re often just following our lead.



How It Usually Goes When We

Do Everything Ourselves Because It’s Faster and Easier

(An Internal Script)

Scenario: It’s Thursday evening and Deena is exhausted… but she still has to make dinner, pack snacks and lunches for her kids, start the laundry, fill out some forms for soccer, and respond to her son’s teacher’s email. 

Deena (thinks): This was such a long day and I am exhausted. And there is still so much that needs to be done before I can even think about relaxing!

And look, the kids are sitting there PLAYING while I’m doing all of this?!

I know I shouldn’t be upset. I don’t ASK them to help. But that’s because when I do, it’s just fighting, fighting, fighting! Sarah wants to do this and Dean wants to do that. So I’m breaking up the fights and nothing gets done. 

And even if I do get the kids to pitch in, they do everything so much more slowly than I do! And then we don’t get to any of the other things we have to do. 

Even if I asked my husband to write to Dean’s teacher, I’d have to explain everything first and that would take more time and energy I don’t have.

I need to just knock everything out myself and get it done. I’m used to being tired. 

Deena continues to finish the things she has to do, but she is exhausted and bitter when she sits down for dinner and everyone can feel her negative energy. The kids start to bicker and Deena loses it. 

How It Could Go

So We Don’t Burn Ourselves Out

(An Internal Script)

Deena (thinks): This was such a long day and I am exhausted. And there is still so much that needs to be done before I can even think about relaxing! 

And look, the kids are sitting there PLAYING while I’m doing all of this?! 

I know I shouldn’t be upset. I don’t ASK them to help. But that’s because when I do, it’s just fighting, fighting, fighting! … and that’s so tiring. And it takes so much longer when they do things… and then I’m more stressed…

(Deena notices that as she’s having these thoughts, her shoulders feel tense and her heart is beating fast. She knows that she won’t be able to think straight in this state. So she focuses on relaxing her shoulders and taking deeper breaths. She walks out of the kitchen and paces around, knowing that movement helps calm her down.)

A few moments later…

OK. I think I can think straight now. Here’s what I know: I have too much to do. And yes, asking the kids does take longer. It IS easier to do it all myself. 

But at what cost? When I do it all, I’m exhausted. And I yell at the kids, and their behavior gets worse, so we fight… and those fights take even MORE time and energy. Plus, when I do it all, I’m resentful. And that affects my relationships with my kids and my husband. And then we’re all miserable.

So what can I do? OK. I need to focus on what’s in my control and take action. I’m going to write down everything that needs to get done tonight. (She lists the items on a piece of paper.) 

Now… what’s one thing that would help me if I got it off my plate? Packing snacks and lunches takes 20 minutes. If I let the kids do that, I could start the laundry and fill out those forms at the same time. 

I can’t prevent them from fighting, but for now I can put them in separate rooms to put their lunches and snacks together. And if they do fight… well, I’m going to expect that and not let it throw me off. And I’m going to go into this knowing that it will take them longer than it would take me… but it will get done. And if it’s not done right… Well, it’s their snacks and their lunches so they’ll deal with it.

So that’s it. I will take take baby steps to dig myself out of this hole. I can do this. I will do this. The alternative just isn’t working for any of us. 

Just letting herself recognize her tension has helped Deena think more clearly. Creating an action plan that focuses on what she can control allows her to move forward instead of staying stuck and miserable. 

You will have a much easier time shifting your thoughts if

~you allow yourself to focus on your feelings and travel the Yuck curve.

(Once you do, it will be much easier to put things in perspective.)

 ~you recognize and respect that your kids have have a different perspective and agenda than you do,

but that you can control your own thoughts and actions.