May I just say that ‘delegating with love’ is one of the best phrases I’ve ever read and has been an ultimate game-changer for me. As I sit in my apartment, just one day before Henri’s and my trip to visit my father, my little brother, my big brother, and my stepmom in Florida, I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to come home to an apartment that is both spic and span (wonder if that figure of speech has derogatory, prejudice, origins. Hmm…that’s a whole other blog post). There is nothing like coming home from a relaxing and fun vacation to then screeching in fear brought on by your ‘shambly’ home (yes, I turned shambles into an adjective/adverb. Call the word police). I know, you’re thinking, boo hoo, first world problems, but seriously, it’s a bummer after traipsing through terminals, baggage claim, and taxi lines with no partner or companion and a curious, antsy toddler. The last thing you want to do is play Cinderella to a co-starring upside down home. I’m all about the gratitude and abundance attitude, and I know I should just be glad that I’ve landed safely and that I have a pretty sweet apartment to come home to. But a girl just wants to rest her traveled head and luggage-mangled body when she lands.
Luckily, I’m fortunate enough to have someone who loves me and my family just as much as they would love their own. My mother’s home attendant is a Godsend, and as any strong, able-bodied, New Yorker, she has a side hustle. She cleans a mean house for some extra cash, and at quite an affordable rate, I may add. At first I was apprehensive about her cleaning my home. She started doing so technically for free when my mother was home with me in my first apartment, just a few weeks after the baby arrived. At that point, she was really there to support my mom and make sure she was of sound mind and body. That meant cooking and cleaning while I handed off the baby to mom so I could nap, shower, run an errand, or pump. She also knew that I was a single mother and for the most part on my own to care for my little bambino. Fast forward to the transition back to work. The extra help was needed more than ever. My mother was the first to demonstrate the ‘delegate with love’ technique, but I didn’t realize what it was then. I hadn’t read Tiffany Dufu’s book, Drop the Ball, nor did it exist, to discover it’s magnificent branding. I simply thought it was asking someone for a favor, and I wasn’t especially good at that. Often while growing up, my mom sought help, favors, bartered, and conjured alternative means. My mom did pretty much everything on her own, but she had a way of asking for a hand without seeming selfish, needy, or desperate. Well, mom asked her good friend and aid to pitch in when she could and her aid was delighted to. I was taken aback and immediately offered to pay her what I could, which wasn’t much. I would even do a little cleaning up on the mornings she came so that it wouldn’t be so burdensome. Sometimes, I still do. But as time passed and I got more comfortable asking her to focus on certain parts of the house and help with laundry, the more I appreciated her and her craft. No one can clean like this woman. She is an invaluable team member, and she, like my mother and I, is a single mother. She came to the United States when she was a young girl, fell in love, and had children. Unfortunately, the father of those children did not stick around for long, which left her to work hard and raise her children on her own. We’ve never gone into deep detail other than she worked her ass off to make sure her children had the necessities.
Every time I come home to her signature work, I let out a sigh of relief and a big welcoming breath in, then immediately text her my gratitude and what it gave me room to do. I want her to know how much she’s contributing to my success. There would not have been a book, or this blog, or an ability to spend the weekend doing what I love to do with my son, without her. Now, on top of working toward the launch of my social business, writing my next book, completing coursework, pitching ideas and receiving coaching, I still am working full-time, overtime, and raising a child. I need her, my mom, my sister tribe, my co-parent, my coworkers, and my mentors more than ever. The beauty of it all is she has become a part of my own extended family. She attends most if not all of the celebrations we host. She also makes a phenomenal rice pudding. Many times my mother and I have told her to go into business for herself, start her own cleaning company, or at the minimum raise her rates, but she hasn’t. She loves to clean—it’s her meditation, solace, side-hustle, and passion. Well, that and dancing. She can dance for hours.
I guess what I’m getting at here is, someone is always happy to help and may even find joy in doing so when you delegate with love. At first, it was uncomfortable for me to accept our family friend’s help. At first, I felt I was taking advantage, but she always offered. Perhaps she saw that I could use her help. Maybe she sees a little of herself in me, or maybe it’s that unbreakable bond of sisterhood and motherhood. Whatever her reason for pitching in, it does not go unappreciated. Right now, I can’t afford to pay her much, but her grandson is just a year younger than my son, so I’m always sure to offer her all the cute and barely-used clothes Henri outgrows (because he grows a foot a second), or get her a thoughtful Mother’s Day card, birthday gift, and Christmas gift. I’m always sure to send her a note or text of gratitude. Literally, as I wrote the first half of this post, I paused to send her a huge thank you text. She also found the hair gel I thought Henri hid on me, so she gets an extra love shout out. Love you Illy! It’s okay to need help, to ask for help, to delegate tasks to those in your circle of trust so that we can push through and free up our time, resources, headspace, and hands in order to grow, thrive, and most importantly, to allow others to do the same.