My dad is famous for his quotes. Some of them are wise words that we all repeated as children, like “When the sun comes up, it’s time to get up. When the sun goes down, it’s time to lie down.”
Some are spin-offs of known quotes; for example, “The early bird gets the pizza.” (Instead of “The early bird gets the worm.”) In this case he is referring to the leftover pizza in the fridge; it does make a great breakfast the next day, especially with a fried egg on top!
But the saying that my dad is most famous for, that is, amongst our family and friends, is what we have dubbed, “The Rule of Doing.”
The “Rule of Doing” is simple: “The one doing the doing, gets to do it his or her own way.” Simple? Very. Highly logical? Yes. Easy to break. All the time!
The “Rule of Doing” applies in every situation in life. From washing the dishes (by hand or in the dishwasher?), to driving the car (take the highway or the scenic route?), to putting the little girls to bed at night (bath and a bedtime story or a quick brushing of the teeth and a kiss good-night?).
For example, when my husband makes dinner, I cannot criticize him if the kitchen looks like a bomb went off! I just need to smile and say, “Thanks honey, for cooking tonight.” Why? Because he is the one “doing the doing”. And I got a break from cooking.
I was recently baby-sitting our neighbor’s young son for the night. Our neighbors were rattling off a number of techniques to soothe their baby. I thought to myself, first of all, did I sound like that to our babysitters? Secondly, “none of what you are saying matters because I am the one doing the doing..and I am going to do it my way.”
On the flip side, when we leave our little girls with grandma, I try to leave very few operating instructions, especially now that the girls are older and completely verbal. They can eat sugary cereal in bed and watch television until their eyes hurt. Grandma is the one doing the doing! And they love it! (Thank you Grandma!)
When my family looks at dinner with dismay and sighs, “Kale again?!” Well, yes. I was the one “doing the doing” and that is what I chose to prepare. Again!
The truth is, I will often have to remind myself about “The Rule of Doing” or otherwise be reminded by the doer, or those around me familiar with the rule.
For example, when I don’t like how the cups and bowls are being stacked in the dishwasher, criticizing is not allowed. This is when I resort to quietly rearranging them when no one is looking. Or simply dismiss the doer and do the task myself!
What the “Rule of Doing” has taught me the most is…how to let go.
How not to micro-manage the caregivers of my children – whether they be a hired babysitter or family. And how to be thankful, instead of critical, when someone is trying their best to help out – even if it is not done the way I would personally do it. Of course there are parameters. But in the end, as long as the task gets done and the end product is the same, it does not matter how the doing gets done.
Do you have any micro-managers in your life? In what ways do you help them “let go”?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Angela Y.
Photo credit to the author.