How to Make Decisions as a Mom and Career Woman – Determining Value of Required Tasks in the Household

Choosing which tasks should fall to you and which should be delegated to others in your life depends on value. Value isn’t all monetary, either. In fact, that is only one factor.

The questions to ask yourself when determining value are:

    Am I capable of the task?
    Does doing the task myself give me great satisfaction?
    Is the task worth my time, if I give it an hourly rate based on my hourly rate as a professional?
    Can the task be accomplished reasonably well by someone else if I delegate?
    Is the return on investment higher if I complete the task or if someone else does?
    Does my quality of life improve if I do this task?

Using this decision-making paradigm, I am able to quickly make decisions about my household and better manage my own time.

Here are examples of my choices based on the questions above:

Four Things I Don’t Do

1) Clean the house.

I’m capable of it and I appreciate a clean house, but it doesn’t matter to me if I’m the one pushing the vacuum or not. A professional housekeeper can accomplish the task faster, more effectively and for less monetary value than if I do it myself.

The hours I save provide a high return on investment because they let me focus on client correspondence/services for existing and new clients instead.

That, in turn, let’s me spend more time with my family, rather than trying to accomplish correspondence and housekeeping: both tasks that take me away from my family.

Therefore, hiring a professional housekeeper improves my quality of life.

With a 6 out of 6, I use a professional housekeeper.

2) Grocery Shop

I am capable of it, but it’s just a chore to me. If I do a grocery pick-up service, where I order the groceries, pick them up and put them away, it’s no additional cost to me, but saves me significant time.

A grocery store employee can select and package my groceries as well as I can (yes, even the produce).

I can focus my time away from work and home on other errands I need to attend to and pick up groceries on my way home. I can also take the time I would use grocery shopping to do meal planning.

My quality of life is improved because shopping in a store takes energy and causes me stress/anxiety. There’s no reason for me to spend time in the store AND time “recovering” mentally afterwards at home. My time is much better spent with my family and clients.

6 out of 6: I am a more effective person by delegating the grocery shopping task.

3) Keep a “To Do” List

With all of the moving parts in my life, I am not capable of functioning without a list of some sort, but a traditional “to do” list isn’t my thing. It used to be, until I realized I never finish it and I would forget to add things to it, making me feel unsuccessful on multiple levels.

Instead, I started using a combined system of alarms and the Reminders app on my phone.

Repetitive tasks go off automatically and are permanent placeholders in my phone. Then, I don’t forget them (especially the things I only need to do every 2-4 weeks!) and don’t spend time putting them on a list each day or week. If I don’t need to do the task, I simply mark it complete.

For “one off” tasks, I designate a time to do it and set an alarm on my phone. That way, I can’t forget and, by setting time aside for it, I know it will get done!

In this case, I delegate my to do list to my smart phone, which is zero additional cost to me and it improves my quality of life vastly because I don’t have to worry about what I might be forgetting!

Another 6 out of 6. Done!

4) Put my Child in Day Care

My husband and I considered day care at first. We quickly realized it would result in rarely seeing our own child. We would not be the people raising her.

In addition to my work during the day, I teach horseback riding lessons when everyone else is off of work…. evenings and weekends. My days off are Monday and Friday. Day care would certainly free up my day to do farm and office work, but I wouldn’t be raising my own child.

My husband wouldn’t get to spend much time with our daughter either. With his 48-96 shift schedule (a 6 day week) most days wouldn’t work out well. For example, when he works Monday/Tuesday (8am Monday morning through 8am Wednesday morning), he’d still get home Wednesday morning just in time to take our daughter to day care.

Then, she’d go to day care through Friday, he’d see her Saturday, but not me because that’s a work day for me. The next shift, he’d work Sunday/Monday (8am Sunday through 8am Tuesday), we’d run into the same problem. Then, he’d be off of work for 4 days, while our daughter was at day care. “Family time” would be non existent. To top it off, we’d still need a sitter on Sunday that week.

Knowing it would be the harder, but more satisfying route, we opted out of day care, including partial day care. If our daughter went to day care even just two days a week, we’d still run into the same problems.

It took a lot of sorting, but we opted to keep our daughter home and bring in a sitter when needed. The end result? Our daughter gets a sitter for 3-10 hours a week and the rest of the time, she is with one or both of us.

How our schedule works and the type of community/clientele I keep so my child can stay home (believe it or not, I have lost clients due to these family-oriented practices), warrants a blog post in itself, but the long and the short of it is, my husband and I both have full time jobs AND spend significant time with our daughter, raising her ourselves.

This is another 6 out of 6! A no-brainer!

Four Things I do myself

1) Take recycling to drop off

We live in a rural town. There is no such thing as recycling pick-up at the curb, not to mention that our “curb” is 8/10th of a mile from our house.

I refuse to be a person who skips out on recycling. Our environment is just too important.

Every week, when I do my other errands, which I’ve managed to reduce to just the bank, post office, grocery pick up, farm store and drug store, I take a trunk full of recycling to our local recycling center.

2) Mani/Pedis

My feet live in boots and my hands live in dirt, water, hay, etc.

My hands need constant attention, including frequent splinter removal, almost daily nail care and callous maintenance so my hands are functional, but still look and feel soft. A professional manicure, even with gels or acrylic, lasts about a week when asked to hold up to the farm work.

Instead, I took the time to learn what works for my hands and how to trim/file my nails to reduce breakage with farm work. I color my own nails as needed (every week with paint or every 3 weeks with wraps).

In addition, one of my favorite evening alone-time activities has become mani/pedis.

Unless it’s a social activity with girlfriends, I don’t go to nail salons.

3) Groom My Dogs

On the muddy farm, this is a must. I can’t do the job of a professional and I can’t do it as often as I would like, but the amount of time it takes to drive my dogs to a groomer and then for me to stay off-farm for the duration of the groom, typically makes a professional groomer not worth my time. My dogs like grooming and are content to have one of our “quality time” tasks be bathing, trimming and brushing their coats!

4) Color My Own Hair

This is another alone-time activity I love to do….. especially now that the hair color kits have so many options, including using a cap for highlights. I used to have it done professionally, but time and cost got in the way. Now, I go in if I want to make a major change, but otherwise, I do it myself!

Having a well run household is critical to “having it all.” Don’t be afraid to delegate the non-essential tasks!

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