Mothers need help. A lot of it. As I started paying more attention to how I was spending my time and where my focus needed sharpening, I realized this was an area I needed to work on if I was going to have the time and energy to devote to defining and being successful in not just setting but accomplishing personal goals.
Some of the more heated “debates” I have had with my husband have been rooted in my feeling overwhelmed. I may have even quoted The Breakup where Jennifer Aniston’s character exclaims “I just want you to want to do the dishes.” How noble of a man, to want to want to do the dishes, right?
Wrong. No one wants to do the damn dishes.
It’s not that he doesn’t want to help; my husband helps with more than I could possibly give him credit for. It’s that he is not compelled to complete these things, these menial tasks that seem so overwhelmingly important, in the way that I am. I thrive on lists. I have grocery lists, laundry lists, rotating chore lists, to do lists, future gift lists, project lists, writing lists, inspiration lists, reading lists…I over-utilize note apps to take the incessant check lists out of my head. While this helps to control the madness, the spiral of endless things that need to be done, or could be done, is maddening.
For example, a clean home is essential to being happy, comfortable, calm and able to relax for me. I can become completely unhinged about cleaning our home and because of this one of the best things I ever did was hire a housekeeper. There are people out there who make a living off of doing the shit you do not want to do, and are more than happy to do it for you. As soon as I realized (OK, to be honest I should say that as soon as my husband pointed out) that the time I was spending to clean our home was time I was taking away from actually spending quality time with my family, I acquiesced.
I had a hard time admitting that I needed help at first. I, the doer of all of the things, needed to clean my house just so. The house was “my responsibility”. And how could I admit that I couldn’t do all of the things? Blasphemy.
The truth is, I wanted to do everything for everyone. I wanted to be everything to everyone. In one of those funny ironic twists, that wasn’t helping anyone, least of all myself.
To be as honest about it as I can be, there was a part of me that scoffed at the thought. Who was I to hire someone to clean my home? Did I think I was too good, above doing household chores? The answer is no of course, but that definitely crossed my mind and it is because I was concerned with how it would be judged by others. My mother, for instance.
Eff that noise.
No one can put a price tag on the time that you can spend doing the things that are actually important to you. There is no better trade off. If you’re still having trouble justifying this, take a different approach – you’re helping that person earn an income that will help them obtain the same goals that you likely have with your career.
This is not just limited to house cleaning; one of my favorite services is Hannaford to Go. Considering there are no bonafide grocery stores inside of a 30 minute radius from where we live, grocery shopping can consume the better part of half a day. If you can outsource a significant drive, a significant time consuming task, by all means do it. I have gained three hours on my week simply by ordering my groceries online and having my husband pick them up on his way home from work.
Seek the help. None of us can build more hours into our days, we must make the hours and how we are spending them count. Outsource that which does not serve you and your goals.