Outsourcing: how parents get sh*t done

Outsourcing-Parents are always busy. Always. It doesn’t matter if you have one child or five, there are always things to do. If you’re a working parent, it just goes up to another level of busyness. So how do you get shit stuff done? I see it as you have two options.
1. You lower your standards and expectations.
2. You outsource.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Type A personality. I like to be able to cross things off lists. I’ve tried the whole “just relax and enjoy the adventure that is parenting, no one cares if you have a sink full of dishes / overflowing laundry basket / enough dog hair on the floors to create a whole new creature”. After trying this approach for a few days, I just about lost the last of the marbles I was so desperately trying to grasp on to.

I’d run around like a headless chook, trying to get everything done. A messy house stresses me out. Cleaning is somewhat soothing. Weird. Crazy. I know, but stay with me.

Our seven year old has been bugging us for ages about wanting to earn pocket money. I never got pocket money until I was in late primary school. We’ve always been of the belief that as a family member, you have to chip in and do chores around the house, without the expectation of some sort of financial compensation. We’ve done reward charts in the past – when our eldest has helped with his chores, like putting his shoes away, tidying his room or helping to feed the animals – he earned stickers. After a certain amount of stickers, he gets a treat. Along the lines of his choice for dinner, an outing somewhere, watching a movie, etc.

But now I’m seeing a opportunity. An opportunity for me to start to actually relax a bit more. And with the juggling I’m about to start doing with a new full time job and some freelance work, this could work out very well. And cheap 🙂 Time to start outsourcing…

flickr feet up
image credit: flickr.com

Take tonight for example. Seven year old raised the question of being able to earn some pocket money, so I thought we’d give it a trial run. I was preparing dinner, the toddler was being his usual tornado self, and the house looked like, well, like a bit of a shit storm. I was going to tidy it all up after the kids were in bed, but I made him an offer. Vacuum the floor for me while I get dinner sorted.

He was off like an Olympic runner at the starting line. Granted, he had his own bizarre method for vacuuming, involving random directions and almost tangling himself up with the cords. (A Dyson stick vac would be very handy right about now…) He got stuck around the dining table and almost knocked the fish bowl off the book case (screw you, fish dude, we got a fish bowl and fish!) But he did it.

The floors were now clean  and tidy, and I didn’t have to do them.

He was thrilled with his financial compensation.

Winner winner, chicken dinner.

I don’t see it as child labour. I see it as being a contributing member of a family unit. As parents, we provide our children with everything they need, but I refuse to raise children who grow up to become free-loading members of society. Who expect handouts without having to earn them. Its about responsibility, an understanding of what needs to be done for the family to function.

He can figure out how to build a city in Minecraft, he can use an iPad: he can therefore use a vacuum cleaner.

I cannot do everything.

I am not Wonderwoman. I am trying to accept this.

Although I kind of wish I was Wonderwoman. She can rock a pair of boots AND a tiara.

Do you outsource chores to your kids?
Are you also envious of Wonderwoman?

Make sure you’re following Life, kids and a glass of red on Facebook for extra giggles and snippets of silliness!

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT, Epic Mommy Adventures for #TurnItUpTuesdays and Honest Mum for #BrilliantBlogPosts

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30 thoughts on “Outsourcing: how parents get sh*t done

  1. Oh my gosh! I totally outsource. Have to in order to maintain a somewhat controlled house, as well as my sanity. I always had chores, for which I received an allowance, when I was a kid. We have a rotating list of things the kids have to help out with, along with keeping their rooms somewhat clean. If they complete a certain number of chores per week, then they get paid. If they don’t, mom keeps the money. I have discovered, however, my definition of “clean” isn’t quite the same as what they believe. Sigh….

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  2. I always gave them chores to do though often it meant I would have to redo washingthecar or windows .my list was limited because son was asthmatic & allergic to pollens , dust , dnder, e numbers to list a few so I flipped my thinking and taught them both to cook at age nineand eleven they had a few dishes theyloved to cook. It was a great team ecffort in the evenings. Theycooked when I had to clean.

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  3. Yes Yes Yes! Outsourcing! What a clever way to put it. I love when the kids get excited about chores. I think at around 7, 8, or 9 years old there is novelty in using the vacuum without mom’s help, picking up toys or shoes, or helping fold laundry. For me, the hard part is letting go of “my way” of doing things and accepting that it wont always be perfect. We’re working on it though. Great post!!

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    1. Letting go is always hard, especially when you’re a bit of a control freak and perfectionist 🙂 My seven year old has now told me he would like to try and clean the glass door window – happy to let him have a go! (The toddler will put his hand prints all over it in about 5 mins anyway!)

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  4. I’ve always been of the opinion (also what I was brought up with) that mum and dad don’t get paid for chores, so neither should the kids.

    Recently I’ve been thinking though, if we want our kids to become entrepreneurs then paying them per task is perhaps not such a bad idea…

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  5. I used to be someone who had trouble asking for help. I had trouble accepting that I “needed” help therefore I sure as hell wouldn’t ask for it. But after my third child was born, and my eldest was not yet three, I decided to get on board with outsourcing and asking people for HELP. It’s been a game changer!

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  6. Awesome. You are so like me in how we believe in parenting, and also the cleaning freakish thing. If kids want to help – let them. And yes, I think it’s another lesson in how earning money works. So when they are old enough to actually do a good job with their chores, why not outsource work to them – for a fee of course. Great idea 🙂

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  7. Outsourcing is a way of life over here- it was actually my Mum who couldn’t believe I was doing things for my children they could do for themselves like making beds, putting clothes away and dishes in the dishwasher. We give a little money for bigger jobs like helping in the garden or washing cars. It’s a great idea!

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  8. It is a brilliant, brilliant day when chores are a possibility. You learn to live with the half-arsed job and just enjoy the ride. I pay $10 a week for the car to be cleaned inside and out. It’s worth every damn penny. x

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  9. My seven year old loves doing the windows – which is unfortunate as he cannot actually reach the top ones. Must introduce vacuuming as a solid alternative. He might even FIND a few coins along the way (I’m sure there must be change under the couch).

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  10. I wish my kids responded with such enthusiasm, even with financial incentives. Folding the washing is my bug-bear with our almost teenager and her six year old brother is flat-out putting anything away (actually she is flat-out putting anything away most of the time). Sigh. A cleaner is very much on the cards for me as I’ve taken on more yoga teaching and trying to fit that in with work and the kids.

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  11. I wonder how long he will continue to be excited about vacuuming 🙂 My five year old has always been a great helper and I’m getting her to do more and more. She hasn’t asked for financial compensation just yet, so fingers crossed that stays the case for a while 🙂 #teamIBOT

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  12. I often get my doing jobs. In fact after dinner I don’t do anything. The kids (7,9,12) clear the table, do the dishes and clean the kitchen.
    If I did it all I would be a crazy person. Crazy and miserable. And kids need to learn. The more they do, the better I say.

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  13. We outsource the occasional, tiny bit to the kids. SHould do more really. For us it’s more a case of outsourcing childcare from time to time so I can get the housework done (I’m a stay at home dad!). #BrilliantBlogPosts

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  14. Love this…we’re still on the stickers / reward chart thing at the moment, which works quite well. My little boy especially just loves hoovering – and he’s so much more thorough than me!! And both my kids (age 5 and 7) are super motivated by reward charts. Quite happy to pay when they decide they’d prefer money, but they’re happy with stickers at the moment – yey!

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  15. I’ve started doing this with the 4 year old. She recently decided that she needed her own money, as she was sick of me telling her no to stuff all the time. For a few pennies a day, I’m getting all sorts of things done #brilliantblogposts

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  16. That’s IN-sourcing and keeping it in the family. I loved your post and subscribed.
    I have started insourcing early on and well, it is going “allright” as my little one is only 2.
    You inspired me to press on (and teach her about money and how she can make some of her own, lol). =)

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