Monday, March 26, 2012

The Speed of the Hub

As many of you know, I read the book Flip the S.W.I.T.C.H. by PJ McClure. Every once in a bit I get emails of his blog posts. It's good stuff, but one thing he said hit me right between the eyes:

"The speed of the Coach is the speed of the team."

Whenever I get my rear back into my sewing room, I want to make that a wall hanging, and a T-shirt!

Why? Because this coach has been particularly lazy and it's showing in my husband and kids- especially the kids!

A stay at home parent is the hub of the home. everyone is watching to see what you're doing before taking any action themselves, and I can tell you, the only action they've been seeing me do is beat the levels of the latest computer game. Not a very good model for leadership.

Yet I wondered why my kids aren't keeping to their schedules and doing all of their work- whether that was chores or schoolwork. I can't even yell at them for dropping the ball, because I never tossed it to them in the first place! I was too busy sitting on the bench and barking orders.

But that quote helped make changes in the past two weeks. And I'm seeing a lot of changes in my family in return- and all of them are good.

Let's start with the first example. Two weeks ago, I was walking my daughter to school and she asked if she could have the school breakfast. "Didn't you have breakfast with Dad?" I asked, since he was usually in charge of the morning meal, spending time with the kids before work. "Yes, but I'm still hungry." she replied. She's not one to over-stuff herself, so I was curious. "What did Dad give you for breakfast?" I asked with a raised brow. She saw the brow go up and knew that it meant someone was going to have a talking to if I didn't like her answer. I assured her that it wasn't she that was going to be on the chopping block, but she still hesitated as she confessed- she loves her Daddy and didn't want to see him murdalized by her mother. But she also knew she had to come clean or face the Wrath of Mom. In the end it wasn't such a hard decision- she threw Daddy under the bus. "Mom, he gave me leftover mashed potatoes and a roll."

Egad. He didn't even toss in some raisins this time.

Now, before I read that particular comment from PJ, I would've probably murdalized my husband, prepped something for everyone to heat up the next day, and left it at that. However, something was nagging me to do more for them. I was slacking off and I knew it. So I decided to knuckle down and sacrifice a little extra rest (not sleep, but rest- I was up earlier anyway, either reading or folding laundry upstairs) to start making everyone breakfast in the mornings.

Don't get me wrong- I don't think this is for everybody, but it was what we needed for our family- for so many more reasons than leftover mashed potatoes and a roll. Suffice it to say, these people needed me, and I wasn't going to drop the ball this time.

I have to admit, in the beginning the effort was harder than a one-legged man winning a butt-kicking contest- I was tired, and the kitchen was a mess because I forgot to do the pans the night before. So at first breakfast was a bit late. But we all ate and everyone got off to a good start. 

The shiny rubbed off rather quickly, and by day three, I was getting more and more negative feedback.

They wanted something different, so I started to expand the menu. My son, the Culinary Wonder of the Universe, informed me of every snafu I'd made in my meals, simply because he can. There was not enough salt. Too much pepper. I don't eat crunchy home fries Mom (that I didn't mind so much, because I love them!) Then my husband started to make suggestions on how to improve on the dishes I'd served. We do that to each other anyway (it helps us become better cooks), but by the end of the week, I was beginning to feel very unappreciated.

But then came Monday. And I began to notice something.

The kids were getting up earlier on their own. These same children whom I could blast an air horn in their ears and never see them stir, started setting their alarms and were getting dressed before they got downstairs for breakfast.

Most times, they even brushed their teeth. I almost had a heart attack over the scrambled eggs!

And here's the kicker- while I was making everyone breakfast, they spent the extra time getting their morning chores done. Done. As in finished. I didn't have to yell at them once! In fact my son pointed out that when he does this, he has more free time right before getting on the bus- and that means less incidents at school because he's relaxed. Hallelujah!

The Speed of the Coach- in this case, the Hub, is the Speed of the Team. It's true. I just proved it. 

If this quote resounds in you like it did me, take a look at yourself as the Hub, and see what can be done to make things better. You never know unless you start really looking at your situation, and are willing to put in an honest effort to make those changes. The results might just surprise you!

Kids who are up on time, ready for school and have their chores done- and are happy about it? Who said miracles don't happen anymore! And despite all the hard work, the Hub is happier too!


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