How to Know When to Outsource Work to Save Your Sanity
This is Karen. She’s my housecleaner. She’s a superheroine.
Because she saves my sanity every. Damn. Week.
That’s why my advice to you is this: Get yourself a housecleaner.
Ohhhh … I can practically hear you saying this is too extravagant. I can hear you making excuses.
“I’d feel guilty wasting money on a housecleaner.”
“Good wives and mothers clean their own houses.”
“Not cleaning your own house is just laziness.”
Puh-leeze! It’s time to get over that nonsense!
Sacrificing Your Happiness Is Soooo Outdated
Our mothers and grandmothers had to do it ALL. They cleaned the house, did the grocery shopping, cooked the meals, cared for the children, and coordinated every single household need.
Some of these women worked outside the home, but more often than not, running the house was their job (and a full-time one at that!). But slowly, things started to change. Women started entering the workplace, earning paychecks, and contributing to the household finances.
Yet … they never fully left behind the household responsibilities. You know what I’m talking about, right? I’ll bet a lot of you reading this went to your full-time job today—and then came home to start your OTHER full-time job.
And ya know what? This double duty is probably why you find yourself irritated all the time. Why you snap at your kids or partner. Why you feel too tired to exercise. Why it’s easier to grab a pint of ice cream or a Hostess cupcake (yes, I admit that weakness!) than a piece of fruit.
It’s why you wonder what happened to the “old you” that was free, happy, and smiled a lot. (Ya know, back before the whole spouse and kids thing!). There’s literally nothing left of you at the end of the day.
It’s because you keep trying to DO it all, to BE it all. And you’re sacrificing your own happiness and wellbeing.
Do you really want to spend your weekends mopping, scrubbing, organizing? Checking items off a to-do list that never really seems to get shorter? (Hey, if this is your thang … great. But if it’s not, you need to consider another possible solution.)
Do you really want to keep depriving yourself of life’s greatest pleasures just because you feel guilty about accepting help?
Come on, you know what you really need, girlfriend! You need more damn pleasure and joy in your life, and one way to get it is to start outsourcing … to a paid service provider, but also to your partner and kids (mine’s been doing his own laundry since the 5th grade!).
How a Housecleaner Saved My Sanity—and My Marriage
Pre-housekeeper, I’d walk through my house seeing every little thing that needed to be cleaned. My shoulders would tense, and my chest would start to hurt. I’d start feeling overwhelmed, and the pressure would build around me.
Then the nasty thoughts would start: “Does Scott really not see the refrigerator needs to be cleaned out? Does he not notice the counters are littered with his salad fixings from the night before? And look at those floors! We’re living in filth. I feel like such a loser.”
Inevitably, those nasty thoughts would come out, and I’d gripe at my husband about how filthy the house was. He’d fail to share my concerns. I’d get more irritated.
This scenario played out over and over and over. And then, I hired Karen.
Oh, the magic of having someone come into my home and vacuum and mop all of my floors … deep clean my kitchen and bathrooms, dust every surface. Countertops were sparkling. The microwave was never spattered. The house was spotless and smelled amazing.
I pay for this service, but honestly? I’m not sure I can put a price on just how valuable it was to hire Karen.
1. It Helps Me With My Work. My time is valuable. I’m running two companies, and I have meaningful work that I’m trying to put out into the world. Karen saves me 4-6 hours of cleaning time every week. And that’s 4-6 hours I can spend doing work that is important to me and others.
2. It Saves Me Stress. When my house is cleaned and organized, I’m simply happier … especially when someone else has been the one to do the cleaning and organizing! And even when the floors start to look a little carpeted with dog hair or the mirrors are a little spotty, I don’t stress. Because I know my housecleaner will be there soon to take care of it.
3. It Gives Me More Time—for Myself and Others. Pre-housecleaner, I’d spend up to six hours cleaning the house. Post-housecleaner, I can devote that time to taking my grandkids to the park, enjoying a real date night with my husband, grabbing dinner with a friend, taking a walk, reading a book. I believe in using your resources wisely in ways that enhance your life. And bottom line, time spent with family, friends, yourself, is worth sooooo much more than the money spent on a housecleaner.
4. Bottom line: I really just don’t want to clean my house! There I said it. I don’t want to clean toilets and vacuum floors. And even one day, when I’ve retired from my go-go-go lifestyle, I still won’t want to do it. I have so many wonderful things in my life, and I want to spend my time ENJOYING them!
Reevaluate Your Priorities—See What Really Matters
Maybe you don’t mind cleaning your house. Maybe it’s cooking that sucks up your time and energy. Consider a meal delivery service (yep, I do this too! LOL!).
Maybe you’re stressed from handling the household finances. See if an accountant or bookkeeper couldn’t offer you some relief.
It’s easy to tell yourself that spending money on this kind of help isn’t worth it when you can do the work yourself. But if you’re losing your joy, your spark, your sanity, then it’s time to reevaluate your priorities—and accept help when and where you’re able.
I’m also aware that not everyone is as lucky as I am to have the luxury of “outsourcing” certain tasks. If your budget doesn’t seem to have much wiggle room, get creative. Consider getting rid of cable TV and using the savings to hire that housecleaner or pay for that meal delivery.
Share your feelings with your partner, and tell them they need to take over at least half of the household responsibilities. You might even turn to your social circle —this friend group found a unique way to tackle their to-do lists together and forge even deeper bonds!
I hesitated to post this because I knew how “privileged” it might sound. But I can feel your frustrations. And they feel a lot like the kind I used to have before I hired Karen. (Full disclosure: I don’t know if this was a good decision or not, but I had a housecleaner back in the day when I still had credit card debt. LOL!)
My goal, as always, is to support you and encourage you as you take small steps toward reclaiming more joy and peace in your life—in whatever way works best for you!
P.S. If you’re thinking about asking your partner “for permission” to make a change like hiring a housekeeper—DON’T! Consult? Yes. Ask for support? Absolutely. You are an equal partner. You make good decisions. And you have every right to get what you need to live your best life.