Back to the two days I have to spend with my children, husband, friends and family...
The short time can wear a bit thin!
A big factor that I increasingly integrated after the birth of my daughter, is outsourcing. That’s when you delegate tasks to others, most commonly for a fee. Before I had my daughter I thought the idea of paying for things I was completely capable of doing was ludicrous. I’d never hired anyone to clean, paint, watch my previously non-existant children, let alone buy my food or wash my clothes. Now, I can say that I’ll happily outsource every one of those tasks, lol. I’m only one person and yes, everyone has the same 24 hours. But not everyone has the same village or resources. The expense can be high for premium services, however, with some frugality and creativity, those tasks that can free up time and energy can totally be taken off my plate.
If I spent 30 minutes getting my kids ready to go to the store, or to be left while I go without them, my shopping trip has already doubled in time. If they come with, add another hour of car seats, snacks, potty stops, negotiations and extra caution, lol. That’s another hour and nothing has even hit the cart yet. Instead, Amazon Prime with the Fresh benefit is an extra $15/month for unlimited deliveries, plus a well earned tip each time. I can certainly not buy coffee in the mornings (for all time!) if in return I get 3+ hours and untold amounts of calmness restored in my life. I also use Instacart at times and in the past I’ve tried Peapod, Safeway and Prime Now Delivery. I also have a butcher box subscription for most of our meat.
I also discovered that I need a “mother’s helper” and not a baby sitter, on a regular basis. For a few hours a week, she is me, lol. She comes and watches the kids while I do stuff, or she does stuff so I can actually enjoy time with my family. Trying to cook, while keeping both kids safely away from the stove, while playing pretend, while doling out random snack bribes and not burning anything up... is not my idea of quality time. I’ve tried it every which way, and get stuck in this place several times a week. So if I can pay someone I like for a few hours a week to either fold clothes in the “clean room” lol, or take the kids out to play in the dirt while I calmly fold clothes (& listen to music or watch adult tv and catch glimpses of them out the window) - it’s almost priceless. I just wish I discovered the right term for this person 2 years ago. Womp womp.
So this outsourced work usually occurs on the weekends so that both my husband and I get a break, or at least to just enjoy our family without some of the turmoil and time pressure. I don’t outsource any of the things I do enjoy. I like to cook, once the food is here, lol. And I like to garden, and even wash clothes (it ends there, I hate folding/drawer-stuffing and I will not iron - teenage me still smells the spray starch of many hours toiled). I also like to do my hair and my daughter’s hair. But I’m totally an advocate for outsourcing anything unpleasant or time/labor intensive so long as the budget allows. This “sanity” budget means that I’m willing to cut certain things to give myself something more important - a break. I’m only one person (Mom, wife, director, professional, artist, dreamer...) so like I tell my daughter all the time, “be nice to yourself.”
I’ll post more about budgeting in the future. I’ve been in a lot of life stages, and the one I’m in now has it’s own set of challenges!