You just can’t find any time in your day, and you’re not even getting you needs met, or the recycle taken out. You need to outsource some responsibility! Kids can like helping, and in fact they are wired to do so. Look it up, you can help them help you! It’s time to get the kids to help, and it’s time to take a second look at your so-called “obligations” and say no to the least appealing ones.
Yes, I feel your skepticism… so don’t give up quite yet. Hear me out!
Kids can and should help out around the house. This will buy you some weekly time.
Surely you have noticed the things that your kids like and don’t like doing. Start by seeing how close you can align their chores with things they like. Or in some way associate their chores with something they like. Rewards, for example.
Surely there will be protests, and you’ll need to stick to your guns. Do just that. Research definitely shows that doing chores and helping a house run on a weekly basis is extremely good for many aspects of a kid’s lifelong learning.
Read this paragraph slowly. In one, really long, nerdy, and complex sentence, here it is a HUGE tip... Research shows that staying calm, loving, and non-reactive while teaching your kids- and being a broken record while acknowledging their feelings (until not being a broken record seems truly appropriate)- is pretty darn effective.
Self-confidence for life is built through helping out around the house, along with the ability to think things through. Cooperation is an invaluable human trait that is innate, but also can be encouraged and strengthened if this” muscle” has been resting for a while and is out of shape and grumpy.
But again, the easy way:
Start by matching each person with what they like to do, and go from there.
My parents let us pick our chores to some extent. I didn’t mind washing sinks and counters and I chose that. Both of my sisters absolutely hated that job so it worked out perfectly. Nobody wanted to vacuum, so everybody had to do a little bit instead of dumping it all on one person. We rotated weeks and one person would get the week off from vacuuming every week. Break incentives!
Full disclosure… I got paid $7 a week to vacuum a non-carpeted hallway and wash four sinks and 2 counter tops. And help clean a family room by either dusting or vacuuming. Then I got a raise to $10 a week! Money is a fabulous incentive. That was good money as an hourly wage for the late eighties and early nineties!
Looking back, I’m definitely grateful for that as a privilege. Both learning to do chores as non-optional and also being paid to do so. You can do this for your kids! The reward does not have to be money. And don’t forget the reward to YOU. More free time, and better rounded kids!
Extra praise, touch, and encouragement are all great incentives for increasing positive behavior. Learn which one of the “5 Love Languages” speaks most profoundly to each of your kids, and use it on them to get best results! Don’t go too over the top, but make them feel good and capable! Obviously, you would never withhold love as a punishment.
All this considered, what can your family help you out with? Take some time brainstorming this.
Laundry, dusting, vacuuming, dishes, mopping, or feeding/watering/brushing/walking/cleaning up after the animals? Plant and garden care, organizing, cooking, food prep, cleaning the kitchen, unloading/unloading the dishes, unloading/putting away groceries, cleaning bathrooms…
Drivers can go shopping and run errands. Vet? Bank? Groceries? Returns? Teach ’em all about this wonderful life, while getting them some driving practice and freeing up some time for yourself!
Outside of the family, how could you reach out to people in your community?
Can you trade a date-night-babysitter-service with your neighbor, and make the kid sitting a play date for your kids?
This way you and your neighbor both actually end up getting something that is of high importance in your values. Something that will bring more peace and joy to your family: personal time with your partner. Hey! Here we are enjoying the process again all of a sudden! Waddaya know?
It may take some initial coordination and thinking, but once you start to play this refocus game right, it starts flowing pretty easily.
It may sound intense, but you could even double up by making that play date a dinner-cooking play date
and have the kids make dinner. Get creative and get everyone having fun!
And sometimes you need dinner without a date or cooking!
Another idea to get dinner cooked for you is to swap-cook with your neighbor one night, so you both have a new, ready to reheat dinner the next night as well!
Here’s how it works: you and your neighbor (or the kids) could both cook double or triple portions of whatever is already for dinner, and trade leftovers. That’s it! This would open up a bunch of time because it means no cooking and cleaning for a night while you enjoy the fresh leftovers. You could create a lot of free time every night of the week if you scale up! If you get several neighbors involved, all cooking large portions and sharing. you can have freezer meals for quite a while after an event like this!
And you can’t believe how much you bond with your neighbors by swapping food. My heart is warmed right now remembering how it feels!
You’re going to need a new hobby with all this time you are collecting. Consider alternative transportation.
- If you take the bus all over the place, it takes longer sometimes, but ALL of that time is ALL YOURS to catch up on emails, mobile banking, journal or proposal writing, list making, meditating,
- If you ride a bike to work you have just built a workout into your day without adding much time… ultimately saving time, WHILE eliminating another item off of that “to-do” list, and adding minutes to your day.
- Carpooling can take a bit to arrange, but becomes unbelievably convenient if you take the effort to figure it out. Start thinking about whether or not this could work for you. Think outside the box though! Do not just automatically say no. Double check the immediate response that says it’s too much of a pain. Note: Morning personalities and punctuality habits are important to consider in order to keep the peace.
Take 10 or 15 minutes to brainstorm how it could actually work, without feeling obligated to actually follow through. Make it a brain game- a brain teaser! It could work, but how?
Now… go ahead- get into the daydream, and make a list of tasks you would love to outsource. Just for fun!
This definitely applies to you! Don’t walk away! 😉 This will change your life if you give it some time and thought.
There are so many service trading websites that you can get signed up with.
You let them know tasks you are willing to do for other people- in exchange for tasks you need done for you! You can spend time doing something you love while something you don’t love gets done for you. Sounds sort of excellent, right?
If you are liking this idea of trading services check out our 10-week modern sustainability coaching program! In addition to 2 whole days on bartering and trading services and goods, you will receive 10 other lessons worth of futuristic green your life practices to really move you toward your values. Fill out the black free offer opt-in on the sidebar to the right, or find it at the very bottom, depending on your device!
Never underestimate the power of hired help, automation, and doing less.
There ARE people out there who will cook or clean your kitchen and put away your laundry. Look for those services, too! They come in all price brackets, even for trade! It may be a very worthwhile investment. Trust your gut and only hire someone you truly would trust to be alone in your home.
And for simple yet effective automation, you can order basically everything you need online- preferably through more Earth-conscious companies than Amazon. Put your bills on auto pay, and set a date/time every month to double check that you aren’t being overcharged for anything.
And really. Truly. DO LESS OVERALL. Take the kid out of piano or soccer if it’s really wearing you out for some reason. Do not volunteer to help out any further until you feel centered on yourself again. No more soccer carpool momma. No organizing the school or office bake sale. No helping a colleague catch up on back work. Host events less often in your home. Mow the lawn less. Weed the garden less. Clean less. Take action on only the most important emails. Let things relax a bit…
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