Stone Soup for Five: Four ways to delegate when you don't have any minions...

Four ways to delegate when you don't have any minions...

Most of us are just normal moms, without servants or minions, just trying to get through the day in one piece and keep the children alive and mostly together by bed time.

So how do you delegate when you are home with the kids most of the day,
have no money for a maid,
and still need to keep the house somewhat together, 
AND the kids educated, 
and feed everyone multiple times of the day?


Since we are just normal moms, however, we have to delegate more creatively than the ultra rich or those with employees.

I've figured out three ways for me to delegate:

Delegate to paper
Delegate to people
Delegate to machines
Delegate for your future self

Delegate to paper

This starts with doing a brain dump.  Take some sheets of notebook paper and write out EVERY. SINGLE. LAST THING you are carrying around in your head.  For example:  the dentist appointments you still haven't made, the annoying car maintenance issue you still haven't dealt with, your son's attitude, regular Bible study, to do items for school, organizing the desk...

Write out all the "I should"  "I want" and "I need" items.  Clear your brain of every single thing that is just in there taking up space.  

Now let that sit for a day or two and come back to it.  Now you delegate.  Write Important To Do lists (the things that need to be done this week), soon to do lists (things that can wait a month or so) and eventually or not important lists (I wish and someday maybe kind of things).

Next organize that most important list in order of importance.  Rewrite on a fresh piece of paper.  If anything can be done in 2 min or less, do it NOW.  Get it off there.  Do the same for the Soon To Do List and file away the eventually list for now.  

Also, pick up a copy of the book Getting Things Done and think about implementing a system like he describes.  (By the way, it works wonderfully well with the bullet journal system!)

And remember, you CANNOT do it all.  Some of those things that you want on your important list are really going to have to go to your someday list and be filed away for this season of life.  And you can let that happen.  It's written down, you won't forget, and when your life changes to allow that in, it'll still be there. 
It's okay to let it go for a while.

Delegate to people

Now you may be thinking "Wait! I have no PEOPLE."  But if you have kids, you DO have people!  Delegate age appropriate chores!  And the age that they are ready for the chore is usually a couple years earlier than you think they are.
My boys have been doing their own laundry since they were in kindergarten and 1st grade.  We had a stool next to the washer, they would dump the clothes in, add a scoop of detergent and turn it on to where I had and arrow drawn on a post it note.  Then they would switch to the dryer, clean the filter, and turn that on.  They would bring me the clothes in the laundry basket (scooted across the floor) and together we'd fold the clothes and they would put away (post it notes on the drawers with a drawing of the item that was in it).  

I gave up on bright whites a long time ago, and sometimes we even had stains set in, but now, when they are teens, they think nothing of doing their own laundry, and even remember to get some of their own stains sprayed with remover.  They "fold" their own clothes and I never have to touch the crusty socks!

When they were younger they would:

pick up their own room

pick up toys around the house

set and wipe down the dinner table

put away dishes from the dishwasher 
(we moved the dishes all down to a lower cabinet, all the plates, bowls, cups were all below the countertop just so they could help with this.  It worked wonderfully!)

do their laundry

take out the garbage
(one time our middle son, who was about kindergarten age, took out the garbage, with the bag slung over his shoulder, and tripped on the step going outside.  I was in the kitchen and heard "OOOMPH!" then as I walked over to him he called out, "Dis garbage guy fell down... but he's okay!"

help dad with yard work

"sweep" the floors


feed the pets 

You'd be amazed what these little people can do with a little teaching and help.

Now that they are older, pre- and teen, my boys do a lot more:


plan, shop, cook, and clean up one dinner meal

take care of their own messes

do daily chores 
(cat boxes, vacuum, rooms, dishes, wipe the toilets and floor--gag)

mow the lawn

trim the bushes

assist in minor house repairs

clean out the cars

scrub stains from the carpet

you get the idea.  Delegate to your people!

Rethink how you currently do stuff, and change it so your tiny army can help out.

Delegate to machines

This pretty much involves my crockpot, my bread maker, and my dishwasher.

My crockpot is amazing and can prepare an entire meal while I do other things.  Look up tried and true recipes,
adapt some of your own recipes, 
do some breakfast recipes.

The only issue I've had with the crockpot is if we're out of the house most of the day it will overcook some meals.  
So I either make a soup or something that won't be ruined by hours of slow cooking or I use my outlet timer.

My breadmaker is used a lot but I only use it to make dough.  I do dough for Friday Night Pizza night, for cinnamon rolls, for french bread, etc.  My boys know how to use it and often make pizza dough.  It is old and has been used for years and well loved.

Dishwasher is obvious, but my boys know to load their own dishes, rinsed, and know how to fill it, add the soap, program and start it.  They also each empty one shelf of the dishwasher as part of their morning chores, so I don't have to use my time messing with dishes.

Delegate for your future self

This is probably the biggest part of delegation for me.  After I've delegated a lot of the stuff above, that leaves me time to do nice, sweet things for Future Kari.  

Future Kari is often seen by Present Kari as one who will have more energy, be better organized, and will care more.  But I've found that Future Kari is exactly as big a flake as Present and Past Kari.  Future Kari doesn't like to clean the bathtub just as much as Present Kari hates it.

So I've started being nicer to Future Kari.  

For example, after a long day of everything, I rarely want to make my husband's sandwiches for lunch the next day... and I'm tempted to think that it'll be better in the morning to do it because I'll be refreshed from a night of rest, and wanting to be cheery and "June Cleaver-ish".  But Morning Kari never wants to dig into wet lunchmeat and mayo first thing before coffee (urp).  So I try to make them in the evening (or when I make dinner, if I remember) not because I HAVE TO, but I've started thinking of it as leaving a gift to myself for the morning.  It changes everything.

I've also started picking up my desk in the evenings, so Future Kari can have a cozy, clean place to sit and do Bible study.  I've programmed the coffee pot so Future Kari can have a fresh piping hot cup first thing out of bed.
I also start a load of laundry right after I get my coffee and switch and dry it all in the morning, before the boys are even up, so future Kari and Mr. Measure can have nice clean clothes to choose from.

Think of these little things as a way of caring for and loving your future self.  A bouquet of flowers for Future You to see in the morning (I love them in the bathroom!), an organized desk so Future You can pay the bills quickly.  A meal in the crockpot so Future You can enjoy a meal already cooked.  

I do FLYlady's weekly home blessing on Saturday, so Future Kari can enjoy a clean house on Sunday and have time to rest and read a book. 

I plan my meals for a week or two (or month if I'm really nice to me) so Future Kari can have it all ready to go.  

I pre-prep what I can on Saturday so Future Kari can have meals ready to bake or cook in a flash.

I plan our school year up to the next holiday so Future Kari can enjoy the homeschool days and not feel rushed or like we're missing something.

Think of little things you can do now so Future You can be just a touch spoiled.

I really encourage you to grab a piece of paper and start your brain dump and think through what you can delegate.

There are things that ONLY YOU can do in this life.
But if you're so busy doing the things other people can do, how will you get to the truly important things?

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