Chodesh Tov, Ladies! Over the past few months, I’ve gotten numerous emails asking “how I do it all”. First of all, the answer to the question of how I do it all is, “I don’t!”
I don’t do it all. I outsource and delegate, a lot! Why? Because I think it’s better to allocate my time to the things that:
- are really important to me,
- only I can do
- fill my soul!
I might stir some feathers here, but ladies, who said we’re supposed to do it all, or that we should do it all!? What kind of impossible standard is that?
Just take a look at the ancient poem describing the epitome of a Jewish woman sung at the Shabbat table on Friday nights: Aishet Chayil. Did she do it all? She certainly did a lot, but she didn’t do it all. If you read the poem closely, you’ll notice that she did what she needed to do, and she delegated the rest! She wasn’t doing it all. In fact, she was akin to a CEO.
Delegate and outsource is the name of the game. Sure, how much we can delegate and outsource is going to vary throughout our lives with the fluctuations of our income, our work responsibilities, number and stages of children, etc. But, in general, I think the principle stays the same: fill my days with more of what I’m needed for and what nourishes me, (like parenting, my marriage and my work), and less with things that others can do better, or just as well as me.
Yes, designing our lives like that might require some creativity – financial, strategic, and else. So? We’re creative women! Plus, this is 2019! And I don’t mean that in a “get rid of the shackles way.” But, rather in that you can pay someone to do your laundry, and you can set your oven to have dinner ready by a certain time, and you can order your groceries online, and you can, and should set boundaries at work (and at home!)
I’m not pretending to be Mrs. Aishet Chayil, yet. I can only hope to be as righteous. But, I am saying that she’s an awesome paradigm to follow.
So, I do do a lot. But, I do NOT do it all.
I have a tremendous amount of help, both at home and with work. I know I’m privileged and don’t take that for granted. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll tell you that sometimes I drop some balls and let go of stuff, in order that I stay true to the principle – focusing my time and energy on the things that are most important to me and for which I’m needed the most.
Nobody else can be a wife to my husband, and a mother to my children. And a happy one at that! And for some aspects of my work – like creating content – well I am kind of needed… But the rest of the stuff? Whatever I can give to someone else, I will. And in the event I can’t, well, I might just let it go…
And to anyone who suggests that I should be doing laundry, dealing with broken websites or sautéing onions (three tasks I utterly dislike, and I happily delegate), well I’ll just point them towards Mrs. Aishet Chayil, and tell them, around here, I’m the CEO.
What about you? Do you feel like you need to do it all, or are you comfortable letting go of a ton of stuff too? What do you let go of?
Azriela Jankovic says
What you are saying strikes a chord with me in many ways. When we were raising our kids in Los Angeles, it seemed very much the standard to outsource tasks at home – from yard work, to laundry, to window washing… you name it, there was a task rabbit available. After making Aliyah, I noticed a lot of teens helping around the house as well as men and women alike really getting into household projects. I’ll always remember seeing my neighbor, an executive career woman, leaf blowing her front yard. I was a bit bewildered by the sight, and then began to realize that she was thoroughly enjoying herself! Since it is harder to find that task rabbit over here, and the costs are a bit more prohibitive, I have actually come to enjoy different tasks around the house that I didn’t used to. So, yes- outsource if you can and want to. But if there is any chance that a family member can tackle the job, there may be a sense of self reliance and even enjoyment that could come from it.
Yes! Excellent point. And 100% agree with you that outsourcing does not necessarily always mean paying someone else to do it. Sometimes it involves other family members. Period. That’s part of the boundaries. Deciding what you can do solo, and what you need others in the family to pitch in to do, is super important. My kids also, while very privileged for we have help, know that motzae Shabbos and Sundays are theirs. Nothing happens around here until we’ve ALL pitched in and gotten the house back in order. We have a contributions raffle and they each get to select 3-4 tasks (depending on the Balagan). They love having guests and well sometimes, they might not love the cleaning up afterwards, but it’s part of being a family :-) And I love the scene of the executive enjoying her leaf blowing because yes, I can imagine that one would find delight in certain tasks at some points in life and I think that’s why it’s important to recognize that this will all fluctuate as our income, work load, stages of kids etc fluctuate as well. But, the idea remains the same, try to do as much of what you find joyful and where you’re really leaving your mark. Realistically, we can’t let go of everything we don’t enjoy – and I don’t think that’s the point – but we can definitely delegate a lot more than we think so.
Agreed! Between finding joy and delegating, we are all set. Happy international women’s day, and chodesh tov! 😊