A few years ago, I attended the festival of dangerous ideas and got all fired up during a discussion “have we outsourced ourselves?” – Arlie Hochschild author of several books including: We Have Outsourced Ourselves was saying things like “Mothers these days outsource the washing, the ironing, the child minding, the child rearing, the cooking, the cleaning, they have outsourced themselves” – my blood started to boil a little, so clearly I had to stand up and add my 2 cents. I was a new mother, Baby Sienna was 6 months old and I had booked a nanny for the day to be at this event. My husband was playing golf, I was at an event that was stretching my mind and my daughter was at home, asleep for several hours, I was home in time to breastfeed her and I didn’t feel the least bit of mother guilt, not for lack of Arlie’s attempts. I asked her “Would you rather me lie on the floor, looking into my child’s eyes, reading to her, playing blocks with her or would you rather me leave her on the floor alone while I do loads of washing, ironing and cleaning?”, she said “You can do both”, I replied “You are clearly not raising children in this day and age, these days everything is about trade offs and choice, we are overwhelmed, the world has gone mad, so it is all about choice and outsourcing and asking for help! Today I choose to be here while my baby is sleeping at home with a trusted nanny, I choose to get a cleaner in once a week to help keep on top of the housework, I drop my husbands shirts off to be washed and ironed to save us both time and I spend a hell of a lot of time connecting with and nurturing my adorable baby who benefits the most from having a happy and present mother”. I didn’t want to bring age into it, but a 75 (now 77) year old woman telling women how to raise kids today without thinking of the construct, the change, the current environment seemed a little strange. I got a standing ovation, and my inner child did a little happy dance as I took my seat again.
Outsourcing is not a dirty word. We need to learn to identify process blockages at home and work and ask for help. Too often I have seen people limping along trying to manage best they can with little space to think let alone problem solve their capacity issues. This happens in large organisations, in small teams, in start ups and in 1 man bands. It happens at home and it happens at work. Fast forward on, I am a mumpreneur with 2 kids who juggles and works from home. I have a cleaner once a fortnight, get uber eats once a fortnight and drive through McDonalds once a month if the kids (aka hangry monsters) look like they need food stat and I haven’t pre-prepared dinner, yes, kill me now, I feed my kids chicken nuggets and apple slices every now and then to prevent a life culture implosion. Oh yea and I have a work-wife (more on that shortly). Why? because despite being incredibly productive and excited about all of the adventures in my life, I cannot do it all and I cannot do what my heart desires well without assistance. My home is one of equality, my hubby is a living legend, he cooks, he cleans, he gets up for the girls in the night, he is SO much better at keeping the laundry under control than me. We play to our strengths and manage to thrive (most of the time). Since launching our new business www.thewondertribe.co – my challenge to him has been to navigate the tensions of working from home with genuine flexibility and balance. I’ve had nearly 10 years experience experimenting with flexibility and had forgotten how tricky it is to intitially adjust. He found quite quickly that the throws of life beckon when working from home, it is easy to allocate time to housework instead of work-work, it is easy to lie in each day if you haven’t set yourself priorities and it is easy to try and do it all when you’re a small start up. I have encouraged our tribe to make sure we find our happy, for me that means daily coffee breaks, monthly accupuncture, energy healings, a personal trainer once a week, for him that means heading to the driving range and golf outings. Something indeed has got to give for us to be able to enjoy these simple pleasures, so we leverage our work wives to help us http://www.eslifestyle.com.au – Xanthe and Mandi help us carve through our to-do list so that we can still have a little fun, pick up our kids at 4pm and enjoy the benefits of working for ourselves. Last month, Xanthe helped us style the stall for One Fine Baby, the month before she booked all of our travel and accomodation for various work trips, each month it is different but it takes the pressure of us, which means happier humans, better parents, better workers. Oh and they are not offended by being called work wives – wives are universally amazing after all.
So 3 years on, I still 100% believe in outsourcing because all of the science is catching up, if we are overworked and overstressed we will burn out, we model this to our children and they too will burn out, before we know it, the human race will burn out. Take a moment today and wonder – what could you outsource that will create more harmony and flow in your life? If you hate cleaning, invest in a cleaner – you may think you can’t afford it, but the energy you spend doing things you loathe takes away energy from doing things you not only love but bring value to your life culture. Apply the same thinking to work! What do you need to gift to someone else to help boost your productivity? Do you need to hire a contractor or permanent human to help the tribe thrive? (incidentally if you do, we can help with that 🙂 Stop thinking “I need to do everything myself” and start thinking “what can I outsource?” with services like Air tasker, Fiverr and http://www.eslifestyle.com.au – it has never been easier to boost your productivity and restore harmony and balance in your world.