5 Tasks To Outsource:
Adulting Hacks for Working Moms
How i maintain sanity (or something like it)
plus, i’m giving 10 lucky people 20 minutes of their lives back [see task#2]
One of the ways I successfully stay sane as a full-time working mom of twin infants is by outsourcing some of the tasks that I feel take up a lot of my time and energy. Don’t get me wrong, I love to DIY, but I prefer to craft, quilt, and write, as opposed to trim hedges, dust baseboards, or spend an hour on hold with the cable company. [Oh, the perks of adulting.] So, as a result, we are those people that pay people to do stuff for us.
We do not do this because we are entitled, rich, or spoiled. My husband and I both work hard for our incomes and try to live a budget conscious, modest daily life well within our means. However, it is totally worth it to us to outsource certain necessary things. When deciding what to outsource, I am usually taking into consideration the hourly cost versus my hourly work wage. I ask myself: how many hours do I have to work to pay for this luxury? Is it worth my time to do this task myself? How much is it worth to me to not have to do [insert unpleasant task here].
Outsourcing Tasks that are Essential to My Sanity
Task #1: House Cleaning
This, to me, is worth far more than my hourly wage. I enjoy organizing and nesting, however the actual cleaning is a task I do not enjoy, and frankly, I’m not very good at it. Twice per month, our house is cleaned top to bottom. Our cleaning person focuses mostly on the areas of the house that are used the most: the kitchen, bathrooms, floors, surface dusting. She also keeps up with the things I would totally forget about, like baseboards and windows. Furthermore, she has her own enviro-friendly cleaning supplies and tools. Best of all, she gives me back time to spend with my family, because honestly it would take me four times as long to do what she does! If you are a working parent, I highly recommend hiring a cleaning person. I don’t recommend it if you are the type who has impossible cleaning standards (no judgement!), or the type who finds cleaning therapeutic.
Task #2: Scheduling and Other Mundane Tasks
You may already know that I work the night shift. This means that I am often sleeping during the day. However, being a mom (and an adult in general) comes with a lot of mundane administrative tasks, such as scheduling appointments, arguing with the cable company, making grooming appointments for the dog, and researching whether it’s customary to give your mail carrier a Christmas tip (it is, btw, but it must be <$20 and no cash allowed).
Fancy Hands has changed my life. This company is essentially an online assistant. You log on to the website or app, type in your question or task, and the task is assigned to someone who takes care of everything for you (and usually very quickly). Not only have they taken care of all the aforementioned mundane things, but they’ve also helped with more fun things. This includes planning a surprise for my husband’s birthday, researching international flights, and finding baby swim lessons. You can even have them take care of purchasing items (such as flowers for delivery, take-out food, etc) <$50. According to their time tracker, Fancy Hands has made 314 calls, spent 10 hours on the phone, and saved me 23 hours overall. The cost is $29.99/month for 5 tasks, and they roll over!
Want to try Fancy Hands? I am giving away one free task to the first 10 people to email me at amanda @ amandasgreatidea.com.
Task #3: Lawn Services
Since my husband works extended hours in the summer, his free time is limited. My babies were born last April and came home from the NICU in late May/early June, so for obvious reasons, my time was limited as well. Enter our friendly, neighborhood lawn man John. Last year, he did some mailbox advertising to build a client list for lawn mowing. He is an older gentleman who loves using his ride-on mower. His grandson works with him and for $20 cash, the grandson scoops the dog poop and John gets to ride his mower. We have paid them for some extra services like tree trimming, weeding, etc.
I am thrilled to budget for this weekly splurge. We do not have to purchase a mower, maintain it, or store it. They are a reliable team. The added bonus is that I don’t have to listen to my husband complain about his seasonal allergies that act up for at least 4 days after mowing the lawn.
Task #4: Snow Plowing
We live in Western, New York, a land plagued by daily lake effect snow and occasional blizzards between the months of October and April. We pay $250 per winter season for our snow plow man to plow our driveway whenever snow accumulates >3 inches (up to 25 times per season). He repairs any damage done to the lawn from the plow, and will come multiple times during the same snowfall. This is great for someone like me who works in a field where snow days don’t exist. We just made it through our third winter here and have never reached the maximum of 25 plows. No matter what time either of us has to go to work, we know that our driveway will reliably be accessible. Also, there’s no worrying about trying to “dig out” during or after a storm.
Task #5: Clothes Shopping
If you would have talked to me 5 years ago, I would have laughed in your face if you told me you didn’t have time to shop for clothes. I come from a long family history of “professional shoppers.” My family jokes that shopping [and bargain hunting] is hard-wired into our DNA. Since I’ve entered the professional work force, and now have become a mommy, I no longer list this skill on my resume. As we speak, I may or may not be wearing a pair of Old Navy yoga pants that have lasted through two moves to new states. My latest idea of clothes shopping has been picking up some new thermal shirts from the clothing section at Costco. To try to save money, last fall I created a small capsule wardrobe. But after having lost some weight, I need some new threads.
Stitch Fix is something I started using several years ago when I was working in a job that required professional dress. This was pre-children and pre-mortgage, so I justified this fun service every month. Stitch Fix is essentially a company that will curate 5 fashion items for you. They ship these items to your home with a postage-paid return envelope included. You try on the items in the comfort of your home, and see how they fit with your other wardrobe pieces. You keep what you love and send back what you don’t. As long as you keep one thing, the styling fee of $20 goes towards your purchase. Keep all 5 items and you get a discount! They ask for your feedback before and after every fix, so that they can really get your style just right. I’ve got one arriving soon, and I can’t wait to unbox it and share with you! And get this, they even have Stitch Fix for men, and my husband has a box on the way. We’ll see if he let’s me feature him in a post…stay tuned!
Your Time is Valuable, Mama!
Listen, I know that it is not easy to be superwoman. But ultimately, you are going to be a better mother, employee, spouse, daughter, sister, etc if you feel in control of your life. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and perhaps the tasks I’ve listed are things you love to do. My point is, you don’t have to do it all. If days go by without you doing things you actually enjoy doing, find the time, one way or another. Leave me a note below to share how you find extra time in your day.