Fire the MAID, Hire the COACH- Making the SHIFT

I confess I was sort of late learning to ride a bike. I was so girly, I didn’t want to fall off a bike and scar my legs (don’t judge me). By the time I got the courage to learn how to ride a one speed bike, most of my cousins I wanted to ride with had moved on to the ten speed bike.

It was bigger and better, yet a little more complicated. The ten speed bike came with gears that I could shift to adjust the bike, making for a much easier ride up or down a hill. That feature alone made the ten speed bike better than the one speed bike. If you have ever had to walk alongside your one speed bike instead of riding it while going up a hill, you know exactly what I mean!

Moms, can you imagine life in one speed? I can. I did one speed for a while, but the journey got hard. Living life in one speed wasn’t intentional. It was subtle—very subtle. I imagine I was like most moms. My husband and I brought that beautiful bouncing baby girl home from the hospital and I went into action—feeding, changing diapers, bathing, changing clothes, combing hair, doing laundry, packing baby bags, and on and on and on. I did it day after day, month after month, year after year, and I neglected to shift. It just became natural for me to do it all, even after I had my second child. I was too exhausted as the mom of two young girls, only 18 months apart (yeah, almost twins). I did manage to make some minor adjustments along the way, but I can’t say I had actually shifted gears. I didn’t even realize I was supposed to shift gears. The realization came when my 7-year-old niece came to stay at our home for the weekend. She was about the same age as my girls, but she was extremely independent. She took showers (not 30 minute baths with the perfect water temperature, bubbles, and toys). She had selected and packed her own clothes, managed her own hair fairly decently, and much more. I was SHOCKED! It had never occurred to me that my girls were at the age where they could do more for themselves. Somewhere along the way, between the hustle and bustle of life, and the longing to just get things taken care of, I had become like a maid, an unpaid maid I should add.

That day I did what any good mom would do- I FIRED the MAID, and HIRED the COACH! This revelation did not mean I would no longer serve my kids, it just meant I would start training them as well. I honor and respect the position of a maid, and in no way am I putting it down, but in the life of a mom, the maid must be a seasonal position. You must know when to shift gears and start coaching instead. A maid does everything for you. A coach trains, instructs, and prepares you. Prepares you for what? They PREPARE you to WIN the upcoming game (of life). Once the game begins, the coach isn’t allowed to get in the game and play for the player. At best, the coach can give guidance from the sidelines. A great coach uses practice time to show the player what to do, watches them do it, and then gives them any needed correction or further guidance until they can successfully do it on their own. The coach is satisfied from seeing the player use the preparation he or she taught them, and score big during the game! Just like game day comes for the player, the day will come where your child will be on their own, putting all your instruction into action. Prepare them NOW to WIN when that time comes. But keep in mind, WINNING TAKES TRAINING!

That ten speed bike I mentioned earlier is much like the life of a mom. As our children grow, we have to make the necessary adjustments for a much easier ride. I have seen it time and time again, you know, that burned out feeling you get when you don’t shift gears. That is because LIFE IS NOT MEANT TO BE LIVED IN ONE GEAR. Most of the time when the moms I know get burned out I ask them what are their responsibilities and what are their kid’s responsibilities around the house. I have usually found it’s the mom doing it ALL! Some moms do it all because they got in one speed and stayed there. Due to a lack of knowledge, they missed the shift. Other moms do it all because they don’t want to teach and train. They figure it will save them time and frustration just to do it themselves. That way they know it will be done right. Then there are some moms who have a need to be needed by their child. They attach what they DO for the child with their VALUE to the child, so they joyfully do it all. Moms, please know you are an invaluable treasure simply because of who you ARE, not only because of what you DO for your child. You are valuable just because you are their mom. Remember, when you do it all, you rob your child of the benefit of being responsible and knowing HOW to do things. If the President and First Lady of the United States make their daughters have responsibilities in the White house, why can’t our kids have some responsibilities in our house? Let’s evaluate where we are now so we can make the SHIFT!

Evaluate What – Make a written list of what your household responsibilities are. The best way to get a complete list is to write down every household related thing you do over the next seven days. Seeing it in writing will give you much more clarity than just thinking about your responsibilities in your head. If you’re exhausted just looking at the list, you probably need to shift!

Evaluate Why– Look at each task on your list and ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Is it because your kids are infants? Is it because your kids are too busy (this busy kid thing will be in an upcoming blog)? Do you pity your kids, and think giving them responsibilities is unfair? Be HONEST with yourself. There may be some good reasons. There may also be some not so good reasons. It’s okay, that’s why you are doing this evaluation.

Evaluate Who & When– Who can do what you are doing? When can they start? This is about establishing age appropriate duties for your kids. If your toddler can take toys out the toy chest, they can also put toys back in the toy chest. Have you ever observed all the duties a child has at their school? Even the kindergartener has to empty their own lunch tray. Why can’t they empty their dinner plate at home? Can your 7-year-old access the cabinets? Have them help put away clean dishes. Maybe they can put canned goods neatly in the pantry. Are you still waking your kids up every morning? Why not get them their own alarm clock without a snooze button? Are you still telling them when to get in and out the shower? Put a timer in there; let them set it to 10 minutes before they get in the shower; when it goes off, they have to get out the shower. Can your child fold towels, move clothes from the washer to the dryer? Do they know their colors? If so, get a dark, white, and bright-colored laundry baskets and have them sort the clothes accordingly. Teach them to make their bed correctly, instead of you doing it for them. You get my point, right coach? Show them how, do it with them, watch them do it, make corrections as needed, and then let them have it. You will always OVERSEE everything and hold them accountable, but you don’t have to DO everything.

SUPERMOM Tip– Making the necessary shifts can help you not to burnout quickly. It’s not about making lazy moms, but making responsible kids! Coach your kids on how to do things for themselves. When game time comes, they will be ready, and you will be proud to watch them WIN!

What are your thoughts? Have you been the maid for too long? Do you plan to implement these steps? I enjoy your feedback and comments.



  1. Being a mom is more than a full time job, your post is so poignant for motherhood or any other career choice. I once heard the quote “only do what only you can do”, its definitely food for thought, i have a long way to go. thanks!

  2. This is a great reminder for all of us who subscribe to the “if you want something done right, do it yourself” school of thought. I constantly have to remind myself that I’m self-sufficient because my mom TAUGHT me how to take care of business. While I love doting on my children and I’m a proud wearer of the Supermommy cape, I would be doing my girls (and myself) a great disservice by not teaching them to be independent. Thanks for putting this in the forefront of my thoughts as we head into the weekend – perfect coaching time!

  3. WOW! Confirmation that I am moving into the right direction. As a part time single mother ( my husband is in prison) I was just discussing give the kids chores with my husband. He is in the process of making a big chart for the girls and I to have hung in the house. My girls do not like getting up in the morning and putting on “cold” clothes, so I would iron them. I have since taught my 8 and 5 year old how to carefully iron their clothes. They enjoy doing it! Thank you so much for this, it really is a blessing for me. Being separated from my husband is hard enough, and he knows that, but he is the Man of the house even from behind the prison doors. The kids and I respect and love him for that. He saw where I was ruining my health taking care of everyone, and put a stop to it. With much prayer, we are getting things in order at home.

  4. Raymona Ellison says:

    Great blog! This was a very timely reminder for me! There is such a big gap in my girls that sometimes I find it easier to do things for my 7yo that I would have had my 19yo and 16yo doing on their own with no problem. One of my favorite “moms” used to say: “A good mom is always there for her children to lean on, but a GREAT mom makes sure her children don’t have to lean”. Thanks for the reminder!!

  5. Such a great article with wonderful advice! I am mentally and physically taking notes. I am glad you mentioned toddlers in your article. My daughter is only 22 months old, but she has been emptying her plate in the trash and putting it in the sink for 6 months now (a practice started at daycare). That opened my eyes that sometimes, it’s not too early to start! Keep the articles coming!

  6. Keisha Merritt says:

    Wonderful read!!! As the mommy of a toddler I can honestly say this was very helpful. Thanks SO much for this Blog!

  7. So easy to get stuck in the “maid gear”… Great tips!!

  8. Does this work for husbands too? If so, what’s the secret?

  9. You hit the nail on the head with this one! I was wearing myself out trying to do everything you mentioned not to do. LOL I have a four and a half year old and an almost two year old. I was always picking up behind them. Finally (after three years or so of doing this!), I realized that my son picked up behind himself at daycare and school, so why can’t he do it at home. So, I started telling him that at home we have the same pick up rules at school; after taking toys or books out, put them back in their proper places. He did not like this at first and literally kicked and screamed about it. I finally told him that he couldn’t get a toy or book if he would not pick up afterwards, so he does 95% better. Also, we sing the “Clean-Up” song for those difficult moments, and that seems to make the situation better. I even started (just three weeks ago, though) letting him get himself dressed after bathtime and for school. He LOVES dressing himself. As a matter of fact, my husband tried to dress him after bathtime last night and he had a fit saying, “I can dress myself, Daddy!” Apparently, I forgot to inform him, but quickly chimed in and said, “Yes, he does; he’s been doing that for weeks now.” My husband was so proud.

    I am working on those things with my daughter as well. She usually does stuff easily after she watches her brother. Even her babysitter (my mother-in-law) commented the other day on how she puts stuff back in its proper place after she is done playing with it. She will be two next month and we’ll work me on her dressing. She tries now, but doesn’t have the coordination for dressing. Undressing is not issue. She does that in a hearbeat (even when we don’t want her to). LOL

    Thanks so much for sharing your words of wisdom. I really appreciate it and am glad that I can use a lot of this stuff now since my kids are still very young. May God continue to bless you. Have a great day!

  10. Shalonda Richardson says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this article. It was directional and helpful as my ever growing 6-month old continues to grow. Hopefully this transition will come easy having read your story and the other comments as we grow out family. I always appreciate your insight. Can’t wait for more!!!

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