Too often everything in the home falls on the shoulders of the mother. The mental load is huge and expectations are high. Mothers now are expected to work as if they don’t have kids and raise kids as if they don’t work.
Research shows a woman’s workload increases when she gets married. Even more once kids are involved. The amount of us that are doing almost everything at home, working full time, doing most of the child things plus all the paperwork and mental load things is huge. Burn out is real and this is why.
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What is Insourcing?
Insourcing is getting others who live with you to do things. In our home, we are of the view that we all live here so we all need to pitch in. This means we take turns cooking dinner, my kids pack their own lunches, whoever cooks dinner doesn’t have to clean, laundry is alternated etc.
Although there have been many times where it slips, for the most part, having this approach means the actual chores within the home are shared. The mental load is another thing though.
How do you get Everyone Else at Home to Help More?
The younger you start, the easier it is. As soon as my kids show any interest in any house chore I was doing, I involved them, even though it meant the task took longer.
Some examples, as soon as my son could walk, he wanted to help his older siblings take the rubbish out, he wanted to help load the washing machine and push the buttons. By encouraging this, I know he will turn out the same as his older siblings.
His older siblings are 13 and 15, they each cook 2 nights a week, clean the kitchen after dinner, take the rubbish and recycling out. Once a week other chores such as the bathrooms, floors etc are rotated and they do these. We all live here so we all help and they don’t complain, they just do it.
Involve your kids! It can be a pain in the beginning, messier and slower but it is worth it. My kids have been capable of everything including cooking dinner since age 7. My nieces and nephews are the same.
At one point, things slacked off at home. My son was a few months old, I was the only one providing financially, we were trying to get a residency visa, did a 3 week road trip in the middle of Covid to get all our stuff from another state (Noosa to Melbourne and back) and so people could meet my son.
I ended up doing everything and I was exhausted. So much paperwork for the birth of our son, registering Mr Aspiring Millionaire, the visa, Medicare, tax, stuff with the teens. It broke me.
Enter Fair Play, a deck of cards that really helps show just how much each person is doing, the mental load we carry etc. There is a book and cards. Both are so useful in visually showing and getting everyone in the family to see what the reality is when it comes to who does what and how much needs to be done.
Life Admin Hacks
If there was ever a book that would save you time and money by helping you organise everything from doctor appointments to tax, this is it. Life Admin Hacks covers every aspect of your life and budget, and provides you with resources and systems to streamline it and make your life easier.
It is a must-read book for everyone.
This was a game-changer in our house. While my family has been pretty good with splitting chores, no one really understood how much was required to run the home and our lives efficiently.
Once I set up a family calendar and started putting things in, time blocking and allocating what needs to be done, they realised how much I did. Every appointment and task from car maintenance to the dentist was put in.
A family calendar also helps everyone see if there is time to go to a friends or accept an invitation etc. We know what we are all doing and when so nothing is double booked or forgotten.
We shop once a week and plan our meals around what is in season and on sale at the market. Before we shop, I cook what we have left or organise it into things so nothing gets wasted. For example, any vegetables that are too soft will be used in a soup or spaghetti bolognese or similar.
The foods made from what’s left at the end of the week are typically meals we can freeze to use on a night we don’t feel like cooking. It prevents us from getting takeaway on those nights and prevents general waste.
A meal plan makes it easy for the kids to know what they are cooking and when. It also enables us to teach them more recipes and for them to make decisions about what they want to cook or learn to cook.
This one is still a juggle and a work in progress. As most of my work has always been done around the kids, it was taken for granted that I would do the bulk of the childcare. However, with a toddler and a baby, Mr Aspiring Millionaire working long hours and sometimes away overnight, it got tricky.
With no childcare available, we had to work out options and routines to make this work better until the youngest two get into childcare or we get a nanny. Otherwise, I won’t be able to work much at all and all our goals will be on hold.
The way we’ve ‘insourced’ childcare, for now, is the kids all play together at times. Our toddler thinks he is one of the teens anyway and they love teaching him things. Then on weekends or if Mr Aspiring Millionaire finishes early, he looks after them for set times then so I can work.
Our main reasons for doing it this way until we can get childcare is so I can still have an income, the kids are all close and the older ones do not feel like permanent babysitters. It’s important to us that it is play, not constant childcare when they are with their younger siblings.
With the rest of the chores such as washing, sweeping, mopping, the bathrooms, ironining etc. I do some during the week, around the younger two. The older two chose their chores and we aim to do all the big chores on one day so it doesn’t feel like constant work.
Since we all live here, we all help. By having that attitude and the kids being raised that way, insourcing this has been relatively easy.
What and How do you Insource?