Do you ever struggle with feeling guilty about needing some extra help around the house? Why is it so hard to ask for help? Why do we think we have to do it all ourselves? Why can we relax our standards for other people but at the same time raise them on ourselves?
I do not always have the answers to these questions and struggle with them just like you probably do. I have my different reasons from day to day (pride, failure to plan, fear of inconveniencing someone, desire for control), but I have challenged myself to ask for help more often by giving myself permission to NOT do it all. More than anything, I have lowered my standards for the betterment of my sanity (and everyone else’s in my household, for that matter.)
When I was pregnant with my second child, I was basically put on bed rest. Up until this point, I had been responsible for the cleaning of my home exclusively. At one point in a previous life (aka, before kids) I was working full time and had a short stint of having a house keeper during a very busy season. But, ever since, I have been the dish washer, dust bunny catcher, bathroom scrubber, floor shiner, and kitchen degunker extraordinaire. And I felt like because I “stayed at home” that it was in my job description to clean the whole house by myself every week. Once this bed rest period was upon us, my husband was taking on the extra care for me and our daughter, and I was forced to ask friends or pay a babysitter a little extra to mop the floors. I was still clinging to the idea that I could not hire a house cleaner because part of my “job” was to clean the house. If I could not clean it, then I must be failing at my role! Can anyone relate?
minor somewhat major breakdown, I had a little epiphany that most of the underlying reasons behind my cleaning difficulties, had very little to do with my capabilities, and much more to do with my time and my pride. Yep, my pride. I clung so hard to the “ideal” that when I failed to live up to my own self-imposed prison, I blindly threw myself at the failing cycle over and over again, because I could simply not let my pride down. I needed help. I was struggling. And, one of the best ways to give me an additional 5+ hours back in my week, a huge physical energy boost, and relief from a monstrous emotional burden, was to hire a house keeper. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!
Once we get over the mental and emotional hurdle of asking for help, many times we still struggle with budgeting the added expense of outside hired help. When there are some many things vying for your money, it can feel like it is rarely okay to spend anything extra on yourself. We have a hard time justifying it when it feels luxurious and unnecessary. But, if we look holistically at our lives and consider hiring help as an investment in our time and energy rather than a luxury, we are now making a completely different decisions.
When is it truly okay to hire help?
In our household, one the two biggest areas where we hire help, is cleaning the house and landscaping. The last thing we want our Daddy doing on the weekend, is spending hours trimming bushes, raking leaves, and mowing the lawn. In the heat of the summer, this leaves him hot, tired, and dare I say, grouchy. Sorry, Babe. It also did not take long for me to realize that I could spend hours ‘cleaning’ the house and never really get to the true cleaning. It was like a dark cloud hanging over my head all. the. time. Rather than embracing the messes inherent to creative young kids, I would feel uneasy at best and angry at worst. It quickly became apparent that if I could let go of the deep cleaning, I could significantly lower my stress and gain some much needed time.
One little side note. I know lots of women who put their children in mother’s day out or preschool and spend the WHOLE time cleaning their house while the kids are gone. Why not hire some help cleaning the house first, so that you can actually enjoy some kid free hours doing what you love or freeing you up to take the kids to that special kids event? It baffles me that our pride can be so strong that we would hire out childcare for our preschool children before we hire out help cleaning our home. Just something to think about.
So before you dismiss the idea of hiring some help, here are 5 benefits of not doing it all yourself:
1. Less stress and increased sanity
2. More energy and focus for other things
3. Lowered expectations of other family members
4. Ability to give someone else paying work
5. Appreciation for what you have and the ability to enjoy it
In part 2 of this series, we will look at five filters to help you decide if and what to hire help for.
Join The Conversation: Do you ever struggle with feeling guilty about needing some extra help around the house? Do you ever place yourself in a self-imposed prison of expectations? Have you enjoyed any benefits of hiring some help? You can leave a comment by clicking here.