1) Taking care of the home
Getting a cleaner is one of the most common ways of delegating life’s chores and one I’m most familiar with. It’s a tough business though. I finally set up an appointment only to be stood up. It’s so frustrating to hear people endlessly complain about the lack of jobs when at least in the lower brackets I’m crying out for someone. It’s not just that I’m struggling to find the energy after working and looking after my stepsons two days a week but we have one of these baths and at six months pregnant I can’t actually bend over the edge to clean it. I’m also struggling to get a garden to commit to cutting the tree in the front garden. But I’m optimistic. I’ve another cleaner appointment in the morning and a flyer came through the door from another gardener. Surely someone will agree to take my money soon.
2) The big work stuff
I’m a big believer in hiring experts. It’s somewhat important that I believe that since I sell my expertise and I can’t sell what I don’t believe in (this is why I sold lots of Nikon when I worked at Jessops). So I have an accountant and a web developer. I also spend a fair bit of money to someone to host my website. It’s very cheap and apparently easy to do yourself but when my web developer started asking questions about my domain I sent him to the guy I pay. At my hourly rate it’d be madness to do it myself. Sure it takes my host guy seconds but it’d take me ages.
3) The small work stuff
Once I started valuing my time and paying people to do the stuff I could only at an absolute stretch do myself I started to think more about the stuff I could do myself but it would make sense to outsource. This was a turning point in my business as I realised if I worked with other people and took care of marketing and client relations I could offer better and more varied service. While that was about teamwork I’ve recently hired a VA (virtual assistant) who is building me a spreadsheet. I’m pleased with what I’ve seen of his work so far and am hopeful of what Avani might do for me in the future. It is somewhat annoying that getting an assistant in India who can manage complex research tasks is easy as pie but someone with a ladder in my home town is difficult but what can you do?
4) Child care
Here I start to perhaps go a bit far. Driving back from this morning’s breakfast networking meeting I was hit with yet another wave of exhaustion. The boys were sitting quietly in the back of the car but I just felt drained at the idea of the next 8½ hours I was responsible for them. A friend had mentioned that Blooms had a good soft play area and I figured that a cup of tea there might be a good place to start. I wrote the vital emails while the boys started to fight then packed them into the car.
Would they be getting a long play, enquired the eldest. Hell yes they were going to. I hoped to stay until we needed to go to A&E or they absolutely needed feeding. The youngest popped out briefly to complain that a little girl had thrown a plastic ball in his face. I pulled him briefly onto my lap, heard him out then gave my standard “no blood, no foul” answer and sent him back in. There was also a toilet break which is rather frustrating when there are two of them and one of you. I had to send the youngest back to get his brother as the toilets are a short walk from the entrance to the play area. But beyond that, 2½ hours with a pot of tea and my book as they played behind soundproof glass. Bliss.
I had observed some helicopter parenting where odd people were electing to stand the other side of the soundproof glass and watch their children but shrugged them off as odd. The exit was in my peripheral eye line and I looked inside (from my seat) every twenty minutes or so until I spotted them. I only noticed the signs saying children must be supervised at all times when I went in to call them so we could go home for lunch.
Maybe a giant glass cube full of squashy plastic isn’t a nanny substitute?
The husband sent me a link to a story in The Telegraph this week that suggests that the recipe for happiness is an enduring marriage and an affair with lots of sex. Was this the final step I wondered? It turned out that the husband was convinced we are going to have an enduring marriage and all we need to do is have an affair with each other and we’ll have won the happiness lottery. Hmm, that sounds great in theory but le cinq à sept (“the magical space between 5pm and 7pm when men see their mistresses”) is currently filled with things like him mowing the lawn and asking which week we’re on for the bins as I approach the end of my physical limits and put the last of the days effort into unloading the dishwasher.
Wasn’t he adding to the workload instead of reducing it? Wasn’t he wilfully misunderstanding the article and was just being too lazy to register on one of those affair sites?
Um no. I had simply lost my mind through lack of sleep.
Fingers crossed about the cleaner though.