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

August 8: Busy at Work, Busy at Home, and NO Mother’s Helper (again!)

Oh, Mondays. These used to be really rough for me but my weekend was not that spectacular so I welcome getting back into a normal routine. We did not do much of anything on Sat or Sun. The highlight was taking the kids to a nearby park and having all four of them tear down the little, medium, and big slides. Twin Husky was flying down the medium slide head first, laughing his butt off. Both Twin husky and Twin Crazy would go down the little slide and then topple over onto the bark ground which they thought was hysterical, and me and Big Bro thought even more hysterical. The weekend was very cold and gray. Twin Husky got some more biting practice in. Poor Twin Crazy, and also Red. They are beginning to fear him.

 Highlights of the morning:

  • Red woke up first and climbed into our bed, playful. She seems like in a great mood
  • Red and Twin Husky make it down with Hubby for breakfast
  • I hear Twin Crazy screaming… because she woke up alone in her room.  She was really pissed off that she woke up and her brother was not there.  She feels like she’s missing out on something.   I fetch her and she has a good time combing her hair and my hair.
Twin Crazy is pissed that everyone is downstairs except for her
  • I wake up Big Bro and start to gather clothes for the day. He has definite opinions. He needs to have a picture on his t-shirt or else it is rejected. We have so many plain t-shirts that just never get used.
  • downstairs the Twins are busy eating applesauce, bananas and Cheerios. They are talking up a storm and having fun with Red.
  • Big Bro is in a great mood.
  • Getting them dressed was no problem. Red and I played a game where I was helping her with her socks but she kept giving me the foot that was already “socked”.. “I don’t need THAT guy [referring to her foot], I need THIS guy [referring to her other foot].” “I’m giving you THIS guy”. “No, I need THAT guy.” It was really cute. She is in a great mood. She even had time to put on a tattoo that she was excited about.
  • I gathered clothes for daycare for Twin Husky [this is something that I should do the night before to make the time more efficient in the morning….]
  • Shoes on! Let’s go!!!
  • Red says she wants to see Daddy go on the ferry and then all of us go to Big Bro’s school. I say we can only do that on days that I work from home. That does not seem to satisfy her much.
  • Drop off #1 went without a problem. She whisked them away because it’s really cold outside
  • Drop off #2 went well. Big Bro brought in a book “101 Dalmatians” and his teacher said “Cool! Great book. Do you want me to read it?” I love that place. We will likely have Red start in the same school in September.

Today for work I will need to double-task and hustle. I am double-booked in the AM where I need to get a deck ready for distribution for an internal team, yet I also have an internal call to strategize for a new proposal we will be developing. It will be hard for me to multi-task on this so I need to hit-the ground running when I get into the office to get the first done before the second begins. But I’m hungry. I guess it will be more coffee and trail mix. Later in the day I will need to reach out for more business development for the meeting in October. WE have a status call tomorrow that I will need to be ready for.


Highlights of my Working Day:

  • Ran into the office, did not have time to eat (trail mix) or put on make up…. I updated the go-to-market materials and quickly sent off to our internal team – I had just 20 minutes to do this since I had a call at 9:30
  • 9:30 conference call to discuss the potential proposal that we will likely bid on; it will be a very big project across regions and we have 2 weeks to pull it together. Three directors and I got together to talk about the business need and think about what work we’ve done that we can leverage approach / thinking of the business issue. It will be very interesting if we get it.
  • Quickly put on some make up and grabbed trail mix. Headed to next conference call
  • Internal call on the go-to-market materials I sent that AM. I received some great feedback and spent the next several hours incorporating. Grabbed some lunch take-out and ate at my desk while working. Sent all materials to our team and our partner.


Today went reasonably well. I think I do better (mentally) when working in the office vs. at home. I was busy, had the heater on in my office so I was nice and toasty, and I was extremely comfortable in my garb (nice soft long sweater, leggings, high heels — sexy but comfy).

Me and hubby are headed home now; ferry is great, sun is finally out. Dinner? Just talked about this with hubby and we are leaning on spaghetti and meat balls (Costco). I’m looking forward to pick up with the kids and hearing their squeals (Twins) when we arrive.

 Dinner and Bedtime:

  • Pick up for Big Bro went great; Pick up for Twins and Red went fine. Today they drew outlines of their hands. Our daycare provider does the minimal in terms of creativity so I was surprised at this and made a huge deal over it.
  • We started dinner – pasta and meatballs. Kids were really hungry/cranky so we gave them some raisins and crackers to hold them over.
  • While it was cooking I started to dance and play follow the leader with all the kids to our electric keyboard. It was a lot of fun.
  • 6:30 came and went. It looks like we were stood-up again by our new Mother’s Helper. I have two loads of laundry in our back bedroom that need to get folded, more laundry to start, and an entire sink of hand-washables. *I&^$*&^(*#^$)(&^
  • Everyone ate well. Even Red. So much so that Hubby made the kids ice-cream cones. Ryan was very frustrated that he wanted more. Threw himself down on the ground with a tantrum.
  • Hubby went out front with the kids so Big Bro could ride his electrical jeep and the rest of the kids could run off the sugar. It was freezing. It’s so cold out here where we live.
  • I in the meantime cleaned up from dinner, started doing more laundry, and got the PJs and milk out for the Twins
  • Bedtime for Twins was fine. Singing twinkle twinkle and itsy bitsy spider. Twin Crazy likes to take part with her hands. Twin Husky was too cranky to participate. Both “brushed their teeth” which was cute.
  • We usually do a round of kisses with the Twins but Twin Crazy did not want to get near Twin Husky. I guess they were fighting a lot today and I think she may be scared of his biting. When he gets pushed to far he lashes out with his teeth and does a throaty grunt.
  • Big Bro was great tonight at bedtime. I read him a book and he caused no problems. He laid down with his head in my lap and I was loving it. Red was a different story. There were issues with her and the potty, and issues with her getting into PJs. Then she came in and out and put the hallway lights on. Then she came out and needed a towel to dry her hands. As I type this she is now out saying that she is scared. “Just pull that blanket up to your chin honey…. you have to go to sleep now.”  I think I hear her now sighing and dreaming, upstairs, at the top of the staircase landing.    Don’t tell me that she’s asleep in the hallway!


Today ended just fine. The house is a mess but we had fun with the kids. Laundry is going, this post is done, and I will now put another ad in Craig’s List for yet another Mother’s Helper. This time I’m going to stress dependability and will probably ask for references.


Till tomorrow –


– Mama K

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