Hiring Help is Not a “Tip” For Getting it all Done

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My real life: some days there are dirty dishes…everywhere.

In the past two weeks I’ve read two articles with headlines something like “Tips For Getting It All Done and Being in Bed by 9” and “Productivity Hacks for Moms.”

These articles promote spending quality time with their children, while carving out time to exercise, fix healthy meals and get eight hours of sleep. Great! What tips do you have for me?

Oh. Those headlines should have read like this: “How The 1% Gets It Done” and “I’m In Bed by 9 pm Because I Have a Nanny that Cleans and Does Laundry.”

Let me get this straight. Your “tip” is that you pay someone to clean, do laundry and help you “prep for dinner”?

I’m sorry – these are not “tips” or “hacks”  because last I heard the definition of “tip” is “a small but useful piece of practical advice” and a “hack” is “a clever solution to a tricky problem.” Hiring help is neither of these things and something most of us can not do. The majority of families do not have a line item in their budget for chef or nanny.

It’s a bit of a fairy tale, I would say. It’s definitely not my real life.

Fairy tale life:
My nanny watches my children, cleans, and does laundry…while I work.

My real life:
My children are in school all day, so I don’t need childcare. Sometimes my boys have to wear dirty clothes because there’s no clean laundry. If you came to my house you would might see dirty dishes, books, toys, dog hair, crumbs…

Fairy tale life:
Someone comes to my house and preps healthy, organic meals and helps me plan dinner.

My real life:
We eat a lot of scrambled eggs, grilled cheese, frozen stuffed pasta and homemade flatbread pizza. And by homemade, I mean I open the flatbread package, pour pasta sauce on it, top it with pepperoni and cheese and pop it in the oven. We often run out of fresh fruit and vegetables because I don’t make it to the grocery store. I do use the crockpot a lot, so there’s that.

Fairy tale life:
Since I don’t need to cook or clean much, and someone is watching my children, I can go to yoga or hit the gym most days.

My real life:
My alarm is set for 5:15 a.m. so I can exercise. Ask my husband how often I actually do that. If I wait until evening, it doesn’t happen either. I do try and take the dog for at least a 15-minute walk.

Fairy tale life:
I’m in bed by 9 p.m. so I can get a good night’s sleep.

My real life:
Ha ha! That’s a good one…in bed by 9 p.m.

It’s great that you can afford help. In fact, I’m jealous. But next time, call it what it is…and it’s not “tips” or “hacks.” It’s resources, money and fairy tales.

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Moms Who Work: No More Guilt

IMG_4785 I always feel guilty for working outside the home, but the summer guilt is especially harsh. I feel like my two boys (above) don’t get to have a “real” summer…sleeping in, pool days, doing whatever you want, whenever you want…

I’ve written about it before, but this year seems even worse. My 12-year-old has “aged out” of many camps, but isn’t old enough for others. For the last three weeks, he has basically been on his own. He does have some activities like Lego Robotics Camp, a stop motion video camp and a couple of soccer camps, but that’s it. My 11-year-old is still able to attend the all day camp at our school district’s rec center, but this is the last year for him.

They say they are fine, and like hanging out by themselves.  Of course, who doesn’t when you get to play Minecraft and eat Cheez-its all day?

Then I read this Forbe’s article: Kids Benefit From Having a Working Mom. The article says girls who grew up with a working mother are more apt to hold a supervisory position and earn higher wages. But I was more interested in what it said about boys of working moms:

“As for men whose moms ever worked outside the home, they were more likely to contribute to household chores and spent more time caring for family members.”

My husband is the best. He does A LOT of household chores, and did a lot of caring for the boys when they were younger. Although I was a stay-at-home mom,, we would switch off who got up at night with the baby, even though he had to go to work in the morning, and I didn’t. And believe me, he still does his fair share of chores like laundry, vacuum, and cleaning bathrooms. He also chips in with the “childcare” situation, picking the boys up from camps and driving them around.

Guess what? He grew up with a working mom.

Plurals

According to this MediaPost article, the newest generation is the Pluralist generation. The oldest of this group is 15, the youngest are newborns.

I had always wondered what my boys’ generation would be called. I’m a Gen Xer, the generation younger than me is Gen Y or Millennials. My parents are Baby Boomers.

So why “Plurals”? According to the article, “it reflects the lack of majority in today’s American society… based on immigration projections, Plurals will be America’s first generation to be pluralistic, or have no majority race…Plurals are being raised in the environment of change and, in their 30s and early 40s, they will be the ones managing the transition into a truly pluralistic society.”

This generation only knows the consumer-centric Internet (Amazon, Google, YouTube and Facebook). They are (or will) experience the changing definition of marriage and family.

Now, my observations based on my boys, ages eight and nine. (I know some of these apply to Gen Y…)

  • Mom and Dad have always carried a cell phone and have always been able to take a picture or video, text, email, play games and browse the Internet on a phone.
  • They learn to type in 2nd grade. (I learned in 9th grade.)
  • Their school projects involve a laptop and multimedia dimensions.
  • Watching “live” television is not the norm for them.
  • It is second nature to “swipe” something…and I’m not talking about a credit card.
  • They just “know” how to use an iPad, play Angry Birds and “Google” something.
  • There has always been an app for that.
  • The school state tests are taken on computer, not with a #2 pencil (fill in the bubble COMPLETELY).
  • Their school lunches are electronically deducted from their account. There is no need to carry lunch money.
  • They only know Promethean or smart boards in the classroom. School is not taught using chalkboards, whiteboards, overhead projectors, film strips or a big TV and VCR.
  • Pictures have always been digital. And take as many as you want! We can always delete them.
  • They use the Internet to research, not the Dewey Decimal System.
  • Encyclopedia? Don’t you mean Wikipedia?
  • A cassette tape plays “old-fashioned music.”
  • You have always been able to “Broadcast Yourself” on YouTube.
  • They have always been able to email Santa and “track him” via NORAD on Christmas Eve.