I heard Tiffany Dufu talk on a podcast a couple weeks ago. What she said about balancing family life and work life grabbed me. She shared her story of navigating through managing her time and collaborating with her hubby on how they manage their household. It spoke to me so clearly, hitting me right where I am at. After finishing the podcast, I hopped on the computer and put a hold on her book, Drop the Ball: Achieving More By Doing Less in my city’s digital library
I lucked out. Because the book came out recently, I was fairly low on the holds list. So I got it within a week or two. I was able to listen to it this past weekend while we were on spring break vacation. And can I just say, it was exactly what I needed to hear! Tiffany shares her own experiences and ups and downs with time and balance. And what it is to be a woman trying to do it all. She talks primarily from the perspective of being a mom working outside of the home. However, this book will be meaningful to women and their spouses, whether you work outside of the home or inside the home.
This book is a fast read or listen! Through her experience, relationships, and hearing from others she has come to the conclusion that she can’t and shouldn’t do it all. She realized that she needed to “drop the ball.” Meaning that she shouldn’t do everything for and control the whole household and children. She cutely and appropriately coins the term in her book, “Home Control Disease.” In an interview with Good Housekeeping, she defined it, “When it comes to our homes, many women feel a compulsive need to control, to make sure everything is managed in a particular way — our way.” So many of us do this…exhausting ourselves and our spouses by our need to do it our way…on our own.
Home Control Disease is a struggle. We feel like we are expected to carry our household and children. Sometimes we don’t even realize the expectations that we are putting on ourselves. We often go into our marriages with expectations of all that we will take care of. Then we find ourselves getting bitter when our husbands don’t notice our need for help, offer to help, and do the help our way. She shares how she came to the conclusion that she needed to be intentional about asking for help from her husband, sharing the responsibilities, and trusting her husband to do a good job. Not micromanaging how he did the tasks. This was her first step in dropping the ball and letting him pick it up. She learned the key was that she needed to respect her husband enough to let him do the tasks she dropped the ball on…his way. Through this she and her husband were able to capitalize on their own gifts.
Then the second step in dropping the ball was utilizing the resources of those around her. When other women or people offered to help her family instead of saying “no” and acting like she could handle it all. She would take them up on it. She would drop the ball to them. The third way, she dropped the ball was by deciding there were some household things that would not be done by anyone. They realized that there were things in their household that they were doing just because they felt they should, not because it supported their values and goals. These were things like dusting the house and folding/putting away socks and underwear. They discovered freedom in deciding these things would not be done during this season of their life.
I devoured this book and shared it’s insights with my husband too.
Here are my 3 main takeaways:
1)It’s Ridiculous for a Married Couple to Run A Household Together without Talking About Who Does What:
Don’t get me wrong. My husband and I discussed some division of tasks in the past, but there was a lot that we left out. We need to go back and discuss all of the household tasks to decide who does what or what we won’t do at all. Then as life changes or the time passes, it’s important to reevaluate this.
2) I Can’t Expect My Husband to Do A Portion of the Household Tasks But Do It My Way:
I have to confess that I want my husband to do his share of the household tasks, but often I want him to do them my way. I need to let go of this. When I try to get him to do his tasks my way, it shows a lack of respect for his ability and it blocks him from using his talents and gifts to manage those tasks.
3) Know Your Values and Priorities When It Comes to Managing Your Time:
This is something I talk about when I speak about managing time. But it can’t be emphasized enough. It is important to know what you believe and desire to spend your time on when you are evaluating whether to say “yes” to a new task or responsibility. Tiffany shared that she asks herself 4 questions to evaluate what she will say “yes” to which included her life purpose and desire for her children.
I highly recommend that women read this book. There is so much to be gained from Tiffany’s story and perspective. I have highlighted the things that were most helpful for me, but there is so much more in Drop the Ball.