It’s kind of crazy if you think about it. That we hand off the supervision and the teaching of our kids to other people…often for very little money. Now, this is not a comment on anyone’s life choices, especially single parents or people struggling to make end’s meet. This is more of a middle class indictment.
Consider these dad cliches: the green thumb who won’t let anyone mow his lawn because they can’t do it right; the gearhead who always changes his own oil; the Mr. Fix It who insists he doesn’t need one of those crook general contractors to remodel his kitchen.
These seemingly self-sufficient parents are the same people who will entrust a 13-year-old neighbor with the safety of their precious children without a second’s thought. Right now, there is almost certainly a person reading this who refuses to hire extra part-time help at the office because it would be too expensive, meanwhile they have a full-time nanny picking their kids up from school. People who would never hire an employee to replace them at work would gladly hire someone to replace them at home. When you think about it like that, isn’t it maddening? Why on earth don’t we all instinctively spend our money in a way that allows us to spend more time with the people we love?
Obviously, it’s not that simple or that easy. It’s important for our kids to spend time with other kids, to develop relationships, to learn from other adults. And the reality is, we all have to work. We all have to make sacrifices. We have to pick and choose the things we can spend money on. That’s why childcare is a fact of life. It’s why raising a kid has always and will always take a village. It’s just strange that we’re so ready to outsource the care of our children, yet we micromanage or refuse to delegate totally inessential tasks that would give us more time with them—all while we tell ourselves that our family is the most important thing in the world to us.
Try to take a minute and think about when and where you are falling prey to this contradiction. Ask yourself where you might be able to buy yourself a little more time…and then spend the money! Spend it so you can spend less time doing chores around the house, and more time just being at your house with your kids.
Delegate. Automate. Outsource. Spend the money and take the time, so you can take care of your kids more often.