Today, I feel at peace with the world. Somehow my load seems a bit lighter and I have less stress. And I only have one thing to thank for this feeling of bliss. Hiring out an essential household duty… In other words, I have a cleaning service. A service which started as a nice one-time gesture from my husband after our son was born has turned into a monthly occurrence. So tonight is that one blissful night of the month when I get to go to sleep knowing my house is spotless (or as close as it’s going to get).
As a child, I am pretty sure I assumed only celebrities and really wealthy people had cleaning services. I think my family got our home cleaned once as a gift, and probably because my mom had been sick and couldn’t get around well.
So, it appears I have ‘made it’. But let me be clear here, I don’t think something like having a cleaning service should necessarily be considered a luxury. My time is valuable, and there is not always enough of it. As a working mom with a lot on her plate, I find it well worth the weekend I get back, that time not spent scrubbing the bathrooms. Just as I have things I am good at, the women who clean my house are efficient cleaners. It takes them a few hours to do what it would take me an entire day to do. And they have the benefit of not having a toddler in tow.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, I completely advocate for outsourcing something – even if it is something small. It doesn’t have to be a cleaning service. As I have mentioned before (and so have others on my blog and elsewhere), having a mother’s helper is a true blessing. And it’s a very small cost. You could even save yourself some time by hiring a neighborhood teen to mow the lawn. Think about how outsourcing something can give you back time and sanity. And you might find it is worth the cost for you.
Here is the lowdown on the expense part of cleaning service (I hate talking about money, but figured I needed to include this part as a reference). Our ‘plan’ is as follows:
Every other month they do the floors, bathrooms, kitchen and stairs. This visit is $100. This cost is based on our home’s square footage and the amount of bathrooms (there are three in our house). And we live in an expensive area of the country, so the cost could probably be less in other areas.
On the alternating months, they do the entire house (for $160). This includes dusting, vacuuming the floors, including the stairs, straightening up a bit (I do put clothes and my son’s toys away so they can maneuver around better), the whole shebang. If I leave sheets out, they make the beds. Today, they brought in a package that was on the porch and brought the trashcans back up to the garage (both a pleasant bonus since we tend to get high winds around here). I have called to switch up which month they are doing what, based on when we have relatives visiting.
So even on the expensive months, the cost is basically $40 a week. Yes, I realize this is a lot for many people. I am fortunate enough to be able to cover this cost (we started with a quarterly cleaning, but I since received a raise allowing us to cover monthly cleanings). But I also spend 9 – 12 hours (or more) a week commuting to the job that allows me to afford this. That 9 – 12 hours is time I’m commuting instead of being home and having time to clean. So, for me, it makes sense. And believe me, no part of me misses doing the floor to ceiling cleaning myself.
In one particular episode of one of my favorite podcast series, guest interviewee Tiffany Romero speaks about how outsourcing some tasks can even be a way to invest in yourself. To hear more of her interview, visit the Brilliant Business Moms site (she covers a lot of other useful information for business owner moms, as well!).
Update: I listened to another great podcast which talks about outsourcing. Start at 33 minutes to hear what Chris Brogan (and others) have to say about this topic.
Have you been able to outsource one of your regularly occurring tasks? If so, how has it changed your daily life? If you have unique (and possibly inexpensive!) ways you’ve been able to outsource something, please share them in the comments below, as well.
This post is linked up at Sharing Saturday.