Whenever I get a nagging feeling that I should be seeing to some undone chore, I take a moment to question whether it really does need doing—and, if so, whether it needs to be done by me. Though my husband and kids are fully capable of doing many household tasks themselves, too often women are expected to be everything to everyone, the one-stop shop for household management. Pressed for time and low on patience, many of us will just bend down and pick up the dirty sock because then we know it's done. Deciding not to deal with this kind of stuff will help you realize just how many things you do because you think you're supposed to. It will also free up a lot of your time—and show your family that your needs are important, too.

When one of these chores crops up and you find yourself wondering whether you ought to do it, ask yourself these essential questions:

1. Will not doing this affect our safety, health, or well-being? No? Then let it alone.

2. Is this task futile? For example, I refuse to iron or fold laundry—why bother, when it will all wind up in a heap one day later?

3. Most important: Is this my job? If the answer is no, step away from the broom/dishpan/laundry, and make sure the responsible party knows it's his or her problem, not yours.


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