outsourcing makes me a happier mum

A few months ago I asked myself: How did I get to this place where I think that I can do it all?

Perhaps this is a question you ask yourself, wondering how you became so overwhelmed and depleted?

Personally, I go through phases where I’m unfulfilled; mostly because I’m trying to do too many things and I’m not doing any of them well – not even well enough. These phases are often related to my children’s ages and stages and I can recall exact patterns where babyhood and toddlerhood challenges me. Starting solids? Messy and time-consuming! Teething alongside trying to walk? Frustrating and loud! Eighteen-months-old and right in the thick of separation anxiety? Personal space non-existent!

The last few months have tested me as I’ve unsuccessfully juggled work and motherhood. Well, that’s not entirely correct. I have juggled it but it’s been difficult and unenjoyable and frankly, not sustainable. And so, to lighten my load and practise self-care, I’ve started outsourcing. And I’m doing so with gratitude, not guilt.

It’s one of those decisions that I procrastinated over for months and yet, when I eventually found the space and energy to organise help, it was an almighty relief.

It started with Poet’s party in July; I outsourced most of the cooking and the cakes so that I wasn’t in a frantic pre-party headspin. As a result I actually enjoyed the party instead of falling into an exhausted heap once the candles were blown out. I did the same with Che’s party earlier this week and in doing so I supported a local business, thoroughly enjoyed my big boy’s day and revelled in the opportunity to devour butter cream and sponge with a big cup of tea.

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve started taking my work to the library so I’m not attempting to type with Percy banging on the keyboard. Separating my work space from my home space has been beneficial too – for someone that finds it difficult to focus, it’s made my work time exponentially more productive.

And just these past few weeks I’ve made a point of organising babysitters a fortnight in advance. Knowing that I have free days coming up has gifted me a calm that I haven’t experienced in some time. Just today my kids spent the day with family friends; two 14-year-old girls who I have known for the past ten years. Together they made a bamboo teepee, had a tea party and read tea leaves, created a spy game and made up dance routines to the Annie theme song. Subsequently, I responded to emails uninterrupted, made three important phone calls, ran errands, did a bit of grocery shopping and had a very enjoyable business meeting. A productive day for me and squeal-inducing excitement for the kids.

A few years ago I really did think that mothering and working from home and keeping the house tidy and baking cakes and engaging the kids in craft activities was possible on any given day. But it’s not – not in my experience, anyway. And I’m not going to strive for that kind of a lifestyle anymore.

So I come back to the present and start¬†letting go of ideals, honouring my strengths and my weaknesses and asking for support when I need it. It’s reiterating to myself that perfectionism is not sustainable and it’s most definitely not a fast-track to happiness.

Today when I came home, knowing that work was done and the kid’s cups were full, I had such an enjoyable evening with them. Good chats, a yummy meal, heartwarming cuddles and only a little bit of squabbling (maybe a bit more than a little bit but rose coloured glasses are most definitely on).

So here’s to knowing that we’re doing our best and sharing the load with others – family, friends, paid help, cleaners, babysitters, neighbours – no mother guilt attached.

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Showing 13 comments
  • Jacinta

    Omgosh, I want to, I so want to! But that little guilt fairy just won’t stop whispering in my ear! In the words of Elsa I need to “let it go”!! (Can you tell I have 3 Disney mad girls!) I think I’ll just read your article once a week to remind me to do just that!!

    • Jodi

      I get it, I do. What does your guilt fairy whisper? x

  • Cassie Dowding

    Love this! I too struggle with perfectionism, ideals and maintaining all that encompasses motherhood! I love how you’ve found freedom and more time in outsourcing. It’s very inspiring!

  • margaridaa

    Thank you for sharing! I am going through lots of strugling being a solo mama with a 3year old girl starting my own business in a new city with no family, less than a hand full of friends with not so simple lifes (!) and it was so important to read your experience. Thank you!

  • Kitty

    We all need to get better at delegating tasks as mums. My absolute idol (although I only met her as a baby!) Was my Great, great aunty Winnie (My daughter is partly named after her!). She was married to a Baker and worked the associated tea rooms. She was an accomplished seamstress, made amazing outfits, hats, rugs etc. Her husband weaved cloth, they were amazing and appeared to literally do it all. However, all her linen has their name sewn in, which my Mum tells me is because they would send all the laundry out to be washed. Bread, even after the bakery would be brought in (not worth the effort in baking and having the oven on, better to be using the communal effort of the bakery! etc. and I am sure there are other examples. I think we live in a world where we think women used to do it all (albeit without work, and electronic hoovers etc.). I think we have always asked for help from the community when we need it and we should get better at that again! (Much easier to preach than to follow my own advice!)

  • Celia

    I love this. It is me to a tee, including the working in the library part due to a lack of focus trying to work at home. I too am a big believer in outsourcing, and what I loved about this post is that it is not just me struggling to do it all! Thanks x

  • Erin

    Such a good reminder.

  • AJ

    YES to all of this! Sigh… I need to get off the guilt-train about having someone come clean my house (but you only have ONE kid! And sometimes you have babysitters! Suck it up and scrub that bathroom!). But you know what? I’d rather go sit in a coffee shop and come home to a sparkly house. Even once a month.

  • Maree

    Man I love how on point your articles are for me!

  • Kim

    Amen to that Jodi. xx

  • Tara

    Love this Jodi. On occasion, another Mum asks ‘how do you do it all?’ and I am very quick to respond with a resounding ‘I don’t!’ I truly believe the adage that we can do anything but not everything and the more us mamas share openly about that, the more I think we can overcome those pesky feelings of guilt and unhealthy comparisons. Thanks again Jodi.

  • Bee | Better than busy

    Letting go is so liberating! We recently decided to outsource the lawns so that hubby can spend Saturday morning with the kids (great fun for the kids, especially as they get alone time with me during the week) and I get to spend the morning working on my business “uninterrupted” (although I should probably start going to the library as well!).
    I finally gave in and let family make a birthday cake for my daughter’s birthday (27 December – really tough date for us to cater!) and it made so much difference to my stress levels!

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