I’m an old mom – I didn’t have my kid until I was 40. I had been married, had a fine career, traveled, etc. I knew some stuff. So I figured I could work out the whole “have it all” thing. No problem.
Problem! Baby, house, job, husband, friend, gardens, laundry, dishes, dinner…I actually could do it, but I sucked at it. Everything was (in the words of my father) half-assed – I felt like a failure in every aspect. It was pretty low point in my life, about when my son turned 3 (the 2s are nothing, by the way). I was at my wit’s end.
At about this same time, we moved into a new house and had done some renovations. I invited my real estate agent/friend over to see what we had done to the house. She hung out, perfect in her blow-out, designer clothes, fabulous shoes and fantastic heart. She was amazing: three kids, a husband running his own business, her own top-notch real estate agent business. I could barely take a shower.
After chatting for 30 minutes or so, I finally broke down in tears about how sucky I am at everything. She was so kind and calming. I finally just asked her, how do you do it all? She cocked her head and smiled a little bit and said, “Oh, honey…I outsource everything!” She proceeded to tell me about the cleaning lady, carpooling, the nanny, the lawn service and stack of takeout menus in the kitchen.
It was a light went on in my brain. It was okay to ask for help, it was okay not to do everything myself, it was okay to feel overwhelmed. Outsourcing was the best advice I ever got…and I took it: we have a cleaning lady come every other week, we eat out at least once a week, we use after care programs at school. And life is so much better – I am so much more relaxed and happy and able to enjoy my son and my husband and my life.
I know not everyone has the resources to access this kind of outsourcing and that life looks different. But there are still ways to outsource: local and county services, school programs and, family, friends and neighbors. The ultimate lesson is to ask for help. Even with help you’re still doing it all – someone has to coordinate all those helpers, keep the schedule, mind the store.
Bottom line: If there’s help to be had, I’ll take it.
– Libby Bingham
Libby used to have a stuffed bear named Alan as a child and recently found him in her parents’ attic. She now understands what it means to “love the stuffing out of something.” You can reach her here.