The Bureau

March 19, 2015 at 12:46 am (Uncategorized)

I have trouble keeping track of tasks (and things, and thoughts, and appointments, but those are other posts). When I delegate a task, I really delegate it. I don’t remember to check if it was done correctly, or really to check if it was done at all. It may as well have never needed doing ever. Both my children and past employees have taken advantage of this. 

Once I tasked my boys with folding and putting away their own clothes, I never looked back. They could’ve been keeping porn and weed in their dresser for all I’d know. (I don’t think so though; they are 10. More like candy wrappers and whittled sticks, if I was guessing.)

They were packing for camp and complaining they didn’t have enough T-shirts that fit. “Really? It seems like I can fill a washer load with them.” So I open a drawer of their dresser for the first time since, I don’t know, July maybe. 

It’s full. Open another. It’s stuffed full too. And another. Every drawer is stuffed to the gills. Every drawer is randomly crammed full of wadded shirts and shorts and underwear. With no sense of whose is whose. 

It became obvious that there was no real fold-and-put-away going on. There was only shove-in-somewhere. 

We found at least 15 shirts which no longer fit; that’s just regular wardrobe maintenance. I also found a pair of my workout pants, 4 of Mark’s shirts, 2 of Willa’s shirts, 1 pink sock, 1 pair of Dora underwear, and 7 pairs of Mark’s underwear!

Perhaps the moral of the story could be that kids (and sometimes adults) need a little more checking up on. Some (no parent of 4 I know, but some) might say that they weren’t ready for the task. Even take the responsibility away from them.

Me, my interpretation is that saving even a minute daily in putting their clothes away is worth an extra hour every six months. The bigger savings is really freeing up the brainwaves for remembering to do it, thinking about the best way to do it, thinking about remembering how I need to coach/nag them to do it differently, or thinking about what logical consequence I should impose for not doing it to my standards. 

My head is so full of one minute tasks and internal debate about how best to complete them that I usually feel one task away from my head exploding. Standards, who has standards? Is the toilet 20% cleaner than before you swished a toilet brush around in it? Ok, you cleaned the toilet.

I’m going to continue my lackadaisical delegation techniques. Sometimes they get away with saying they vacuumed the hall when really they covered one vacuum-sized swath through it. But I don’t have to think about it.

At least now I know where to look when I can’t find my favorite sports bra- it’s probably in my boys drawer. 

After I organized their drawers with them and was leaving with the Goodwill pile, you know what Parker said?

“Hey Mom?! Thanks.”

I must be doing at least something right. 

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