The familiar adage about parenthood is true: It takes a village to raise a child. These days, families are more self-contained than they have ever been. The rise of the nuclear family throughout the 20th century meant the decline of support from extended family and friends. While our parents, grandparents, and those who came before them may have relied on the help of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and neighbors, parents today are expected to be more independent. With extended family scattered across countries and even continents, modern parents shoulder much of the burden of parenthood on their own. However, while traditional support systems may have declined, the demands of parenthood certainly have not.
Arguably, parents, today are expected to be even more involved in their children’s lives than parents of generations past. Further, with the increase of single parent-led households and dual-career couples, it’s no wonder many parents experience near-constant burn-out and exhaustion. While outsourcing often catches a bad rap, no parent should ever feel guilty about getting help when they need it. Here are seven tasks every parent should outsource without guilt.
The rising cost of childcare has made full-time care an unaffordable option for many. However, you should never feel guilty about getting help with childcare when you need it. Whether it’s full-time care in the form of daycare or a nanny, help from family, or even just a date night babysitter, parents should feel confident in their ability to rely on other trusted care providers when needed.
Keeping a clean house can be one of the most stressful aspects of life with kids. No matter how hard you work, it can be difficult to keep up with the constant tornado of daily activity. Many people believe that only those in higher income brackets can afford to hire a housekeeper. However, professional cleaning services frequently provide an option for every budget. Do your research. Talk to friends and family about services they may have used. Even just hiring help for a monthly deep clean—or before a holiday or gathering at your home—can help ease the cleaning burden.
In the haze of early parenthood, meal planning often falls by the wayside. However, thanks to the Internet, there are more affordable meal planning options than ever. Several apps even provide free planning with many of the same benefits as their premium packages. Instead of wracking your brain or wasting time searching Pinterest for new meal ideas, download a free meal planning app. Answer a few questions about your family’s nutritional preferences, and within minutes you’ll have a calendar of meals ready to go—and one less item on your to-do list.
Once you’ve planned your meals, you can save even more time by utilizing a grocery delivery or drive-up service. The typical weekly shopping trip can take hours—hours that busy parents simply don’t have at their disposal. Instead of battling crowds and hauling your entire family to the store, save yourself the headache and order online.
Many dry cleaners offer free home pick-up and drop-off. If your dry cleaner isn’t on your normal commute, delivery is a great option to explore. Furthermore, if you are tired of staring at a towering pile of laundry every weekend, consider utilizing a laundromat’s wash and fold service. Typical wash and fold services run anywhere from one to three dollars per pound of laundry, so while costs can add up quickly, the occasional splurge may be worth saving your sanity.
Automatic Bill Pay
Automatic bill pay is free, so signing up for it is a convenient, cost-effective way to eliminate a good chunk of mental clutter. You have enough on your mind—let the machines take care of it.
Household goods restock
Instead of running out of household staples like toilet paper, diapers, and laundry detergent, subscribe for regular home delivery. There are several great sites online that offer subscriptions at the rate that best suit your needs. Don’t feel guilty about automating and outsourcing. Your time and happiness are valuable—and important for your family.