Do you remember that old Mitre 10 ad from oooh, 2009? The one with Michelle A’Court telling her TV ad bloke “If you don’t do something about this yard… I’m going to PAY someone!“? There’s a snippet in this little bit of nostalgic treasure – Mitre Ten 35 Years.
Do you remember his reaction? Hilarious! He imagines a hunky stranger working wonders in his yard and Michelle’s character going all gooey eyed over the hunk’s DIY abilities.
Classic! Also classic Kiwi – Never Pay Anyone To do Something You Can [Should] Do Yourself. It can be a total guilt trip, imposed on us by other’s opinions and disapproval but also we DO IT TO OURSELVES!
Now, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. If you can do the Thing that needs doing, you like to do it, or don’t mind and have the time, great!
But too often I’ve seen my clients struggling desperately with too much work. Work they really hate, don’t have the time to do or exhaust themselves getting done. Telling themselves they should be able to do it all! Our time is so precious. What do you want to do with the time you have?
Christchurch born Tracy is a stay-at-home mum (for want of a better phrase… I’d rather say family manager to be honest). She has a seven year old dance-mad girl, a boy just over five who has food intolerances, an 11 month old girl who still isn’t sleeping through the night and an adored old golden retriever called Goldie. Her partner works long hours and coaches their son’s soccer team on Saturdays. She’s a crafter and a self-described tea fanatic and adores taking her kids to the beach and she’s really, really, tired. Despite often feeling like the walking dead, her knowledge and understanding of her children’s needs and wellbeing is phenomenal. She is THE expert on growing her babies into healthy, independent and happy people.
She demands so much of herself. She previously worked at management level in retail in England and plans on working in the same field part-time in the future. She has very high expectations of her own capacity to get things done and feels like she should be able to do everything that her family needs her to do in their home, just like her mum did. She works hard at cooking, cleaning, laundry (so much laundry, she has laundry nightmares!), keeping the family finances organised, play dates, organising swimming, soccer and dance lessons, navigating all the things she has to do for school, medical and vet appointments, walking the dog, staying in touch with her parents, shopping… you name it, she is going to do it all by herself! Exhausting.
Keeping her home clean is important to her. The only problem is, she loathes cleaning. Loathes it. With a passion. More than anything in the world she would rather be enjoying her children while they’re small, teaching them to make things themselves, playing at their local West Auckland beach and having some time to have a social life too. But she seems to be eternally vacuuming (stupid vacuum cleaner!) and dusting and mopping and cleaning and washing windows and wiping benches, over and over again. She HATES cleaning.
When she called me in to help her declutter the “incredible amount of toys, Liz I’ve had enough, I can’t see the carpet in the playroom!” we had a chat about her life. As she gleefully tossed Macca’s give-away plastic (crap) toys into a big black bag she told me that she was feeling a bit grumpy. She felt taken for granted, undervalued and exhausted. We worked out that the one thing that would completely change the quality of her life was to reduce the sheer amount of cleaning she did, but still keep up the standard that she liked. She doesn’t mind the rest of it, because she reckoned it’s her job right now, managing a busy family of five.
So Tracy is her family manager. And what do smart managers do when they have a job that they don’t want to do, or recognise is not one of their strengths? They outsource or delegate. In this case Tracy did not have the choice to delegate so she decided to outsource. She looked at how often she could afford to have someone come in and do a deep clean of the kitchen, bathrooms and the floors. Weekly, monthly? She decided that once a fortnight was affordable and would make a massive difference to her life. Maybe not as much as a weekly clean or A LIVE-IN HOUSEKEEPER… we can dream… but pretty great nevertheless! And it was. It was heavenly, she looks forward to that week with elation and she prioritised the extra time with her kids that she longed for.
And you know what? She didn’t feel guilty about it after her eyes opened to the amazing job she was doing raising their three children and managing their home.
What do YOU loathe doing? Personally I hate cleaning my car. So I budget for drive-through carwashes (fun!) and a car valet service twice a year. (It’s a bad look for The Tidy Lady to have a grubby car!).
How does the idea of paying someone to do something that is a chore for you make YOU feel?
Paying Someone To Do Something You Don’t Want To Do.
Would you happily hire:
A pool guy?
An au pair?
A lawn guy?
A home organiser?
Without a twinge of guilt? That you “should” be doing it yourself? And if you’re ok with one but not another, why?
Everyone deserves to live their best life now. Whatever your priority is, family, sports, your art, reading, volunteering, your pets… you can choose to value yourself and your precious time by outsourcing jobs that you think completely suck!