Listen instead

There’s a long list of daily household chores that usually requires more time than we have to dedicate to them. I’ve debated for a long time if it’s worth my money to hire someone for the different house chore areas. The hugest chores for me are trying to keep up with the laundry for seven people, and trying to prepare healthy meals while catering to the seven different people’s eating likes/dislikes.

It has become an internal debate for me because I’d feel guilty for having someone do “my job”. I’d probably end up doing half the job anyway. I’d want to leave them with a clean area to work in, not completely grass/food-soiled clothes to clean, meals planned and no missing ingredients for the meals, and so on. So really I’d end up having to take more time to prepare for the “helper” to make their job easier. That undoes any hopes I had to gain some time back by hiring them. My most important reason to have the extra time is to be able to concentrate more on my children’s development. That triggers a thought that children learn by example and experience and they do need to be prepared for when they will be on their own. Since I have 5 young children, I have to keep them involved in whatever I’m doing to have that personal time with them and to keep them out of trouble. It’s been cute to watch four of my young girls work together to get the laundry out of the washing machine and into the dryer. If I gave that job to someone else, my children wouldn’t learn how to do those chores I’m no longer doing and wouldn’t learn how to schedule a time to accomplish ALL of the chores. Also, I couldn’t bring myself to spend our hard earned money on something I already know how to do. I would feel like I was just throwing that money away.

There have been times in my life that I have needed that extra assistance, but family and friends have kindly stepped up to fill in where they can. I do try to pass it on as well, sometimes giving back to those who have helped me, but often to someone new.

I do think there’s value in using those services when needed, but at this time in my life, my above reasons for not hiring a housekeeper speak louder than any reason that would make we want to outsource some of my duties.

It’s hard to put a dollar value on the time saved or education given to your children (whether done through experience from doing the chores with you, or time freed up to dedicate more time to your children). Another thing to take into consideration is a common misconception young people have these days. They think they can start life on their own with all the great frills and toys their parents have. They see those items as the norm and expect them to be part of their life as soon as they move out. What they didn’t see was the hard work their parents had to go through to get to that stage. (See a previous blog on Teaching Kids About Money).

How do you balance getting the necessary chores done and still have time with family or time to do what you want without incurring expense?