Staying Sane: Couch monster

This past week involved a lot of shifting around my little living room.   This was to make room for the Christmas tree.  I bought the cheapest, fake tree I could find.  So, it is actually quite long and skinny.  Which is AOK by me, since my little living room can’t really hold a lot of tree.   Anyway, dealing with the small space and trying to free up room by the windows to make room for a gorgeous, decorated, tall skinny tree was in order.  And guess what we found while moving the couch sectionals around the space…

  • 1 remote control
  • 1 piece of art from the kids – a picture of a hand-drawn fire truck that was beautifully drawn and colored
  • 5 bouncy balls, 1 golf ball, 1 other random ball
  • an assortment of Lego pieces
  • 1 pair of rabbit ears
  • the equivalent of a bowl full of popcorn and unpopped popcorn seeds
  • a hair clip
  • countless bits of crayons
  • some plastic toy bugs
  • about 5 marker caps
  • 1 empty bottle of children’s play nail-polish
  • some kids books
  • a few puzzle pieces
  • massive amounts of fuzz
  • likewise, lots of hardened coal-like guinea pig poop





So, if you are driving yourself crazy trying to find that little “do-dad” that either you are missing, or worse yet, your child is missing (and thus throwing a tantrum and falling to pieces), there could be a possibility that the couch monster that was at my place is now at yours.   It might be worth a look under the couch to see what kind of gold could be lurking…

Have a great week everyone –

– Mama K

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, 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 (Hubby hates when I do this because he thinks we spend more money this way) and I am also a HUGE fan of 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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