Four tips for getting help at home
My husband quietly walked into the kitchen and began transferring food from a large bowl to a smaller one. He found lids to cover the leftovers and put them in the fridge. I looked at him and smiled, then quickly went back to washing the dishes so as not to somehow stop this miracle in progress.
He doesn’t like to wash the dishes. He doesn’t cook on the grill. This area is almost foreign to him: his knowledge of the kitchen is limited to taking out the garbage or going in to eat.
He said almost apologetically, “I don’t know if I’m doing it right.”
I thanked him with a smile and washed the counter. We finished our work and took a second cup of coffee out on deck to freshen up and rest a bit. I needed to take some time to tell her one more time how much her help meant to me. I also reminded him that I liked his company.
It seems that as the years go by, we have become more sensitive to the needs of others and try to be helpful where possible. That’s a given for most families. Today he taught me by example a lesson that I believe we could all benefit from.
When offering to help, don’t just pick the things you enjoy and ignore the rest. For my husband, helping clean the kitchen is at the very bottom of his list. Not only that, I know that he had his own work to complete in the other room; he wasn’t in the kitchen with me because he was bored.
Here are what I think are three keys to (eventually) getting help at home:
1. Recognize the help you already have. Does someone in your house take out the trash, answer the phone for you, put your things away, or carry the laundry baskets to the laundry room? Take the time to thank them for that; appreciate the little things. Let them know how much it helps.
2. When more help is offered, take it as it comes. I will never tell the one who helped me that they covered my plate of leftovers and refrigerated it! Nor will I waste time wishing they had done things differently; my way is not always the right one. (By the way, that has been a very difficult lesson for me to learn. How about you?)
3. Don’t drag people kicking and screaming to help you. Politely ask for help when needed. If you are rejected or ignored, make the best of it. Every year my husband seems to feel more comfortable helping with the cooking, laundry, or cleaning. I think asking him to periodically do little things for me in those areas has helped him feel more comfortable and equipped to help more. A man (or woman for that matter) doesn’t feel safe trying to help out in unfamiliar territory.
4. Don’t waste your time complaining about not having help. Be grateful for the skills and resources God has provided you, and try to enjoy even the most insignificant daily tasks. Be thankful that you have someone to share with and let them know that they are more important than what they will or will not do.
A verse in Colossians 3 comes to mind that seems to sum it all up:
“And whatever you do, do it from the heart, as for the Lord, and not for men.”
May your lives be enriched by the people in your home and those you care for as you continue to hurt others along the way.