This past Wednesday, I was in bed at 830p trying to get to sleep. I
went to bed early in attempt to get some extra rest because I was
getting up at 2am to go to work. I had just put Ryan to bed, Sawyer
was sleeping, Matheus was about to, and Jen was uptown. Ah….the
best laid plans…..
At 845p, Sawyer starting waking up. I tried to weather the storm, but
the crying grew louder…and louder…and louder. By 855p, it was
apparent he was not going to fall back asleep and I could hear him
walking around his crib. I got dressed and went upstairs to his room,
bottle in tow.
Sawyer was not happy with my feeding attempt, and he made it clear he
was not going back to sleep anytime soon. Oh, the pains of teething.
I did not want him to wake up Ryan, so I made the decision to take
Sawyer for a stroller walk around the neighborhood. In the past, I had
success getting him to calm down and go back to sleep.
On this night, the stroller tactic would be graded a 75%. He did calm
down, which I think is the most important thing. He began smiling and
talking in Sawyer-babble to me as we walked through the neighborhood
listening to the great William Danforth classic “I Dare You“. He
never fell asleep in the stroller, but he did regain his appetite, and
when I fed him when we got back home, he went back to sleep at 11p.
Super Dad, Super Dad, Super Dad! (twist to the Al Bundy classic
“Psycho Dad” http://youtu.be/swIZ1ascGCA
This whole incident only briefly frustrated me, which quickly
transformed into being happy and at peace. As I reflected on this
wonderful feeling, I concluded that I relish Sawyer’s dependency on
me. He NEEDED me to soothe him, he NEEDED me to take him out of the
crib, he NEEDED me to help get him back to sleep……and his smile
told me he was happy that I helped and snuggled him.
I find that I am relishing this dependency, because he (and Ryan) need
me less each day. They need my support, but less and less they need
me for hands-on care. The age-old cliche that “they grow up fast” is certainly true. You can’t freeze the moment, which is the point of me telling the story. The irony is, I do not (and will not) want to be a helicopter parent. I want them to learn how to problem solve, critically think, and be accountable.
Diving deeper into the reflection pool, I thought about how many of us struggle to delegate tasks/functions in our lives, and then say “I am the only one who can do this” or “it takes too much time to teach someone else how to do it”. If this is a struggle, on some level we may feel this way because we want to be needed, we want people to rely on us, we want people to ask for our help. If we delegate our value away, will we still be needed?
As you reflect if this is the case with some aspect of yourself, try asking yourself the following questions:
-is this the best use of my time?
-is this sustainable when I am gone?
-will delegating this task creating value and trust with another?
-for those of you with an entrepreneurial bent, can this dependency be a business? can I create this value being self-employed?
I try to challenge myself each day to create opportunities and value for others. I struggle at times with keeping tasks so I am seen as reliable and productive. I would love to hear stories about successes and struggles with delegation. Happy Monday!