Staying Sane: Pay for help!!!!


It seems that life these days is so much more complicated than it has to be.  When I was growing up, it seemed that life was less complex and we had a steady stream of visitors, neighbors, and relatives in and out of our house almost daily.  It seemed like we had that “live in a village” type of set up where folks helped each other out, and our family was all close-by.

Fast-forward 35 years.   People are more remote than ever – which has its pros and cons.   We are far away from both of our families and we live in a bigger city where we do not have that “village” community.  People tend to stick to themselves during the week.  Me and Hubby cannot rely on close family or friends to care for our kids (or care for us).  We also both work full-time — so everything falls on us.  And everything DID fall on us, until about a year ago when we came to terms with our situation and said THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE – we need to start delegating our load and paying for help.   I also wrote about how you shouldn’t expect to be able to do everything   and that you need to rely and team with your partner.    Well after these two important points, another way to “stay sane” is to think through EVERYTHING that can POSSIBLY be outsourced within your means and then cross those responsibilities off your list. Daycare is a tricky one since you likely have to work (I’ll talk about that in a separate post).  But think through what you do on a daily basis, weekly basis, monthly basis….. the task could be a candidate for outsourcing IF:

  • the task does not necessarily need to be done by you or your partner
  • having the task done by someone else will not impede your relationship building with any of your children or your partner
  • the task can be done quicker, faster, easier by someone else
  • the cost of outsourcing the task is worth the time it frees up — either for yourself, for you and your partner, or for you and your children
  • the cost of outsourcing the task is worth the convenience and/or improved quality of life it enables
  • you or your partner do not gain personal satisfaction with the task
  • your budget can allow for it; the cost of outsourcing is worth it compared to other things you could spend your money on

From our own household and talking with other working mothers, here are some ideas and approaches on delegating work loads and paying for help (obviously the reality will depend on your budget and tolerance for spending):

  • Housecleaning.
      • Find a housekeeper that is flexible — find one where you can call on them to clean your house when you want, and at whatever frequency you need. If you hire one less often, you will still need to the tidying between visits but the housekeeper can do the deep cleaning, dusting, special projects that you know you will never want to do.
      • Hire a younger college student to do the basic cleaning tasks you can’t keep up with (sweeping, mopping floors, cleaning the bathrooms). Post on “gigs” section of Craig’s List for this kind of help.
      • In our house, we hire a housekeeper about 1x a quarter (we need to go every other week I think. We have a Mother’s Helper who comes during week nights to help with dinner clean up, laundry, and general straightening up.)
Pay for help!

Pay for help!

  • Laundry.   Consider a Mother’s Helper (see above) or dry cleaner where you can pay by the pound. Someone mentioned blueskycleaners.com, a service where they pick up and drop off and use environmentally friendly methods (it is more expensive but saves time since they do the pickup and drop off of clothes).  Some nannies will also do laundry, make breakfast in the morning, lunch, and keep the house clean (however they are very expensive).
  • Shopping.  I like to outsource grocery shopping to Safeway.com (Hubby hates when I do this because he thinks we spend more money this way) and I am also a HUGE fan of Amazon.com for just about any other shopping I need to do — they sell everything imaginable.
  • Mother’s helper to help with homework (our eldest is in Kindergarten so this does not apply to us yet — but I would want to take this on personally)
  • Washing the car (Hubby loves doing this – he always has. And now he loves doing this with Big Bro and Red by his side as they “help”).
  • Cooking (maybe some nannies can do? We don’t have a nanny and we would never be able to afford a personal chef).

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our dual-working families could afford to have teams of people at our fingertips so we could enjoy our time with our kids??!?!?!?!??! Of course our budgets are NOT endless, which is why we are probably working in the first place. I think the key is to figure out what are the things need to be done but you and your partner choose NOT to do to free up your time to spend with your kids, get some alone time together, or get some alone time alone! It’s another balancing act but one that I believe pays off. The extra money spent can be well worth the stress relief and freeing up of time to do the things you and your partner WANT to do. In the end I think it’s well worth it, within reason.

What other things can be outsourced in your home? What works with your family? What hasn’t worked? What other information can others share????? 

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

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Comments

  1. [Mama K] I love your blogs! It makes me want to help you, I work more during the Holidays, Im @ Williams Sonoma.,Maybe we can work something out after that. I would love to come and spend a whole day or two helping you and have a nice dinner for you all when you get home. Wish you lived by more fam. Your closer that my daughter in LA and I know they could sure use help being so busy. I love helping them out when I can too. Take a deep breath your in my prayers for endurance and peace. Enjoy the day, Barbara Palermo 916-813-3935

    • Thank you Mama B!!! We need all the help we can get! It has been ages since we’ve seen you and I think you still have to meet some of our kids! Thanks for your nice note — I’m keeping this up almost daily. Would like to build an audience (if anyone really is using this) and would like to build/partner to bring services to help working mothers. I need an audience first – so this is a blog for now. With recipes, ideas, tricks etc. to help working mamas. So glad you reached out. Hope to see you soon. Mama K 🙂

  2. I don’t know if this counts but carpooling saves our family a tremendous amont of time. I think as your children grow, you will automatically become involved in more of a community. Preschool, elementary school and after school activties are where I’ve met some of my closest friends. Only having to drive one way or drive once every 3 weeks to an activity is a huge help. Of course, you’re like me so you can probably only fit one more kid in your van!

    • Yes — it absolutely counts!!!! I’m just not there yet with my kids’ ages so didn’t even THINK of it! Great — another thing to offload! Thanks Mama N. You always have good adds. Hope you are doing great and that I get to see you soon.

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