Want to work from home? Find help.

avatar
by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and is currently traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

Above is a collection of pictures Tate drew me last week. It’s a series of four; Things Mom Does. She’s in her crayon period.

(And just so you know, that’s not me playing Atari on the bottom right.)

It speaks into the many things on my plate; the perpetual balls I’m juggling in the air at any given moment. A few weeks ago I got this Facebook comment from a reader:

It’s a great, honest question. But the part that speaks volumes to me is Delina’s quip, “Tell the truth.” I see a theme prevalent in our post-modern parenting culture — not so much that we can or should do it all, but that we should do what we can with our individual finite limits, and call it a day with our expectations. And if we hire outside help, we’ve somehow failed in a basic area of Homekeeping 101.

Do I have help? I absolutely have help, and I’d love to tell you about it. So do lots of other bloggers and writers, and I think there’s absolutely, positively no shame whatsoever in parents who choose to enlist outside help for their myriad tasks.

If you can’t tell, I have an opinion on the matter.

What I do

First off, let me tell you that currently, my “only” help is my husband, Kyle. But he helps a lot. We’re both blessed to work from home, so we share the parenting and household workload. I’m going to share my specific work schedule next week, so stay tuned for that.

But yes, he does a lot, and likewise, I do a lot to help him with his work. In essence, everything we do is “our” work. We love being together as a family, so we pursue most things as a unit. We have almost all three meals together, we clean the house together, and Kyle and I change about the same amount of diapers daily.

Along with having a regular contributor each Wednesday on the blog, I also have a virtual assistant who organizes guest posts, moderates comments, and responds to HARO requests, and Mandi Ehman also serves as the network’s ad manager. I’ve delegated these things so I can focus on what I love best: writing. Even with that, I only publish actual content on Mondays and Fridays. Weekends serve for a blog sponsor’s giveaway or links for you to explore.

What I’ve done

When we lived overseas, we could more easily afford regular house help. A good friend of ours worked in our home twice a month, helping cook, clean, and babysit. It wasn’t often, but on the days she was there, I was able to plow out a lot of work. Plus, she did a lot of the deeper-cleaning tasks such as windows and floors, so I could cross that permanently off my list during the season I was inordinately busy.

And while I wrote Organized Simplicity, I had a mother’s helper come two mornings per week so I could write. Close to my deadline, she came three mornings. I retreated to our bedroom to write, and she was in the rest of the house with the kids, occasionally taking them to the park or for a walk. I couldn’t have done it otherwise.

What I’ll do

This fall, I’m adding homeschooling to my plate. I’ll probably also start slowly on my next book, and Kyle will be starting a new position with his work. One of my first goals when we arrive in Oregon is for me to find a mother’s helper — there’s no way I can manage otherwise.

I’m hoping for a high school girl who can come over about three times per week (and if she’s homeschooled, perhaps she can do mornings) to help with caring for the baby, taking the older two to the park or to after school activities, and to generally help out around the house while I write.

SLM is also at a point where we acknowledge that to take it further, we’re going to need to devote more man hours to keep it growing healthily. I can’t really devote more time than I already give, so this means Kyle will take on more responsibilities. He’s already doing a lot, but he’s up for rolling up his sleeves for more. As revenue grows, he’ll be more able to justify spending more time on it. Our goal is for it to be our family’s main source of income in a few years.

What others do

I’d love to help dispel the myth that my fellow pro bloggers effortlessly run a successful business while taking care of perfectly-groomed children and an immaculate house. Here’s what others have to say:

• Kat of Inspired to Action says, “I just hired a house cleaner. I only have her come once a month for a couple hours, so it costs about $30. …While I doesn’t necessarily save me a lot of time (only three hours) the emotional boost of not having to do my most disliked chores gives me more energy to pour into the things I do like to do.”

• Stephanie Langford of Keeper of the Home says, “I have a mother’s helper who comes over one afternoon each week. She watches the kids and does some light housework (vacuuming, mopping, etc.) while I go to a local coffee shop to get in a few hours of uninterrupted writing. Occasionally, during seasons when I’m feeling really overwhelmed, she’ll stay an extra hour or two, or come a second afternoon.”

• Meagan Francis of The Happiest Mom says, “I almost always have some kind of outside help, but it varies depending on our situation and my current workload. For example, in the fall and winter I was busy finishing up the book and working on some other assignments… We had a sitter about 8 – 10 hours a week at that point. Now Jon is home almost every Wednesday and often another day during the week, too.”

• Mandi Ehman of Life… Your Way and the new ebook How to Have Your Cake and Eat it, Too says, “I have what I like to consider ‘inside’ help, since my husband, Sean, is a stay-at-home dad. I worked at home full-time out of necessity for more than four years without any outside help, but it wasn’t easy. We rarely left the house, and my kids watched more TV than I would have liked. These days, when someone asks ‘how I do it all,’ I tell them the truth: I don’t. I don’t change diapers during the day. I don’t make breakfast or lunch. I don’t do dishes, vacuum or mop. So, yes, I have lots and lots of help, of the very best kind!”


Sherry Petersik (and John and Clara) of Young House Love

• Sherry Petersik of Young House Love says, “[My husband] and I both work on the blog full-time as well as being full time stay at home parents, so that basically means that we switch off when it comes to tending the blog, doing house projects (that we then blog about) and taking care of our one-year-old daughter Clara. We usually tackle projects together while she’s napping or asleep for the night. And during the daytime one of us is on Clara-duty while the other is on blog-duty. It’s kind of crazy but somehow it works!”

• Lisa Byrne of The Well-Grounded Life says, “Right now, we are back down to no outside help, but for the past six months I hired a sitter to watch the kids in my home so I could work for 15 hours a week.  This really allowed me to hit the gas and go into high productivity and content creation mode.  I’ve found I’ve had to be loose and flexible around the ‘seasons’ of my business, in order to allow for the seasons of my family’s needs and of the availability of help we have.”

• Emily Freeman of Chatting at the Sky says, “As soon as I signed a two-book contract, I hired someone to come twice a month and help me clean. Without that help, my floors would never get mopped, my house would never be dusted, my mirrors would never be windexed and I would be a general ridiculous mess. I do not homeschool my kids, so I’m able to write while they are in school.”

• Katie Kimball of Kitchen Stewardship says, “I use a 12-year-old mother’s helper for about 2.5 hours a week, every Tuesday morning while my older child (of two) is in kindergarten. I work like a madwoman to try to get so much done while she’s here!”

• Melissa Michaels of The Inspired Room says, “There is NO WAY I could do all I do by myself. Being a full-time blogger and pastor’s wife at a start-up church, I am busy all the time. My blog is our main financial support at this time, so it is imperative that I keep it going! I have to delegate, and really should delegate even more than I do… I have two college-age daughters, one of which has become my blogging assistant several days a week. While I still do all the writing myself, my oldest daughter helps me tremendously with organization, research, creative input and even setting up posts for me. …My husband does almost all of our housekeeping, much of the shopping and meal prep, a lot of our errands and takes our 10-year-old son to and from school every day so I can keep up with my growing business. …I also have three different people who help me at various times work on coding and maintenance of my blog behind the scenes. I am certain I would blow up my blog without that support, and I could not grow my business without that network of support.”

My point

It’s this: Many, many people use the help of other people in their lives to thrive. If you read a blog and you wonder how on earth that person is able to do X, Y, and Z, I guarantee you they probably have additional help.

I know I’m convicted after reading my friend’s lifestyles. I acknowledge that I need more outside help than I currently have.


Aimée Wimbush-Bourque of Simple Bites

My friend and SLM colleague Aimée Wimbush-Bourque of Simple Bites says, “I currently function with zero outside assistance. Note I said ‘function,’ not thrive.’ Six months ago I felt like I was maxed out, yet since then I’ve taken on several more writing gigs and other side commitments. Duties at home don’t fade away when I take on more work, I just get spread thinner than a sheet of strudel dough. I realize that it is not healthy, and am looking into options for getting some help.”

Jen Schmidt of Balancing Beauty and Bedlam told me, “Every professional blogger comes to a crossroads in determining what outside help if any, is necessary. It was eye opening for me to find out that many of my good blogging friends had virtual assistants (sometimes two or three), cleaning ladies, and mother’s helpers come to their aid. I remembered thinking, ‘You don’t do it all?’ What a encouraging revelation that was for me.

Your Application

If you want to run a business or blog outside the home, realistically understand how many hats you’ll have to wear to keep it running. There is absolutely ZERO shame in asking someone else to wear a hat or two several times per week.

If you can’t yet afford outside help, lower your expectations and pile on the grace for yourself. You’re not made to do “it” all — no one is. Be gentle on yourself, yet acknowledge that it means you’ll need to work quite a few hours to keep your business running. I’m right there with you right now.

And if you’re an avid blog reader, rest assuredly that no one has her act completely together. If reading blogs discourages you, it might help to know that the professional blogger you love most likely has help from somewhere.

I was going to end with this thought, but Meagan Francis said it so well, I’ll just quote her instead (she also wrote a fantastic post last week on the subject):

“I used to feel really weird about ‘outsourcing’ certain parts of my life to outside help. I had this idea that MY mother did it all, and all the generations of women before HER did it all, and therefore I should be able to do it all, too. Then I started paying attention to the housewives in the 18th and 19th century women’s fiction I love, and realized — wow, all those women had help! And not just wealthy British ladies, either: people of all classes, even the tough-as-nails (and not rich) pioneer women often had a girl in the kitchen or sent out their ironing.

“I have come to realize that being an efficient homemaker isn’t about doing everything yourself — it’s about managing the home and all the tasks that go along with running it. That means knowing what makes sense to do yourself, and what you either don’t enjoy or don’t have time for so you can delegate.

Do you have outside help? If not, would you like some? Where can you look?

Join the Conversation

Like This? Subscribe for free and have it delivered to your inbox.

Comments

  1. Oh yes, I most certainly do…

    My husband and I split all the chores. I order groceries online and they are delivered to our home. I cook dinner, Zack normally cleans up. I also have 2 assistants that come over and help me with with my sewing business, and 1 more assistant that helps me with the blog end of my business. Having 3 assistants is new for me, but I can already tell it’s going to be amazing.

    The power of teamwork is amazing ~ personally and professionally.

    Thanks for the post, Tsh! :]

  2. Very helpful, Tsh, thanks. I’ve been going too long without help and writing late at night. I struggle with spending money on outside help when my writing money is so little. (freelancing, copywriting and I just started monetizing Imagination Soup.) When did you get help? Were you making money yet or was it before? Thanks!

    Melissa

  3. When my children where younger I had outside help off and on. I would hire teens to come watch my children so I could grocery shopping or put attention toward deep cleaning my house. Sometimes I would hire help to clean my house for me.

    Also…when things would get overwhelming or I was falling behind on laundry, I would hire a baby sitter for a couple of hours and take all my clothes to the laundry mat and get it all done in a couple of hours instead trying to do it all one load at a time at home. I also took advantage of the laundry service and dry cleaners from time to time.

    For me it’s not a big deal for a SAHM to hire out some help. It’s actually sometimes needed or even practical. To think we are a one woman show is in my opinion unrealistic.

    My children are older 17 and 21 so outside help isn’t necessary. But if I needed it, I would get it.

    I encourage you young moms to get help when you needed it whether it be from a family member, a teenager looking to earn a few bucks baby sitting or cleaning house, or a laundry mat.

  4. How appropriate to share this on Mother’s Day. For some of us mamas, it’s the only day of the year that we allow someone else to take care of a few things for us.

    We’re fortunate that my husband is home with our children and takes care of errands, cleaning and most household responsibilities. I work full time, volunteer at my kids’ school, and founded Feed Our Families last year. It’s alot most weeks to just stay afloat.

    This was so helpful for me to see that many of the women I admire so much are letting outside help get them the time they need to juggle all that they do. Mommy guilt can sometimes convince me to do it all but I need to remember to put my cape away and ask for some assistance.

    Thank you for this wonderful Mother’s Day gift.

  5. I like how empowering this post is! I often get questioned by friends & family why I don’t do all the cooking & cleaning since I’m a “stay-at-home-mom”. Well, for one, I consider myself a “@ home” mom with many responsibilities that I manage and needing to delegate. My husband, like yours, is also a great helper around the house (I’m very lucky!). I hate to cook (he doesn’t mind) so he cooks the majority of the dinners for instance. I do most of the housecleaning, but he pitches in to help sometimes. Since we do it together it makes is less of a “chore”.

  6. I love this! I live in a culture where almost everyone has full time help – and I don’t, and people either seem to think I’m mad, or some kind of superwoman! I’m not either – but I do send all hubby’s shirts out to be ironed, and I do use a babysitter one morning a week, and I do get a team of professional cleaners in to deep clean once every 6 months – it’s the best $300 I spend – and all of it put together helps to keep me sane! And plus, I have an amazing husband and we work together as a team pretty well!

  7. thanks so much for the tips and info.. very encouraging.. I REALLY appreciate your
    transparency… I am new here.. I look forward to knowing you better..
    Blessings.. tamara

  8. I really appreciate this post Tsh…

  9. Tsh, I am totally loving this post – your honesty, and that of the other outstanding women is refreshing!
    Although I do not ‘work’ from home, I am a SAHM who is also studying – and hoping to up this from part-time to full-time once finances allow. Up until the beginning of this year I did this mainly while my little one was asleep, though this year she has shortened her sleeps from 3 hours (yes, I was extremely lucky!) down to between 1 and 1.5hrs, which has meant I don’t have as much time to study during the day. As I don’t study well in the evenings, mainly as my computer and study area is in the lounge-room (due to room availability) where my father and mother generally have the telly on during the evening when the little one is asleep, this is not a very good option. I made the (hard, for me) decision to put my little one into childcare for one day a week, and after almost 10 weeks she is really enjoying her time there – not necessarily at the beginning of the day when I leave her there, but after about 5-10mins she is really involved in what is going on, telling me at the end of the day “I had FUN!”
    This one day a week, where she is not ‘underfoot’ and wanting attention while I am trying to get my study done, has allowed me to focus on my ‘work’ and allowed her more age-related social time while teaching her some skills I may not have covered or spend much time on. It has worked well for us and I am now hoping this will mean that when she begins Pre-school, the ‘leaving her’ will be easier than it would have been if she’d stayed here. Also that I will be able to finish this degree a LOT quicker than if she’d been here with me everyday.

  10. avatar
    Margaret Master says:

    Our guilt about help in this culture is so interesting. Pioneer, puritanical, sacrificial mother history. Even the comments while celebrating getting help, I hear a tinge of guilt and need to justify. I have lots of help…but dream of different kinds of help, or rearranging… I know that I am lucky to be able to afford it, although I do make tradeoffs. Even then I still feel a bit guilty about it. But I say embrace it. Now I will go clean up so the cleaning lady can really mop and scrub today!

  11. I love this so much, especially Megan’s quote about the history of women’s help–it used to be ingrained, women helping women. Women would work together, play together, and raise their kids together. Now somehow, we think we need to do it all, and even worse, others seem to expect that too.

    I currently don’t have help, other than my husband and I trading off, but I know something needs to change. I currently work two jobs, one from home and one at night, but I’m pursuing a life-long dream of writing, which would be job #3…unfortunately, my children and chores don’t realize that! The largest obstacle for me is good old cold hard cash…I’ve never had to pay for a babysitter–was that difficult for you to “justify” paying for help?

    • Yes, it was hard at first. But then we did simple math, and realized that my having time to write would generate more income than what we would pay her, at least per hour. It’s not exact, of course, but it all evened out eventually. We just counted it as a business expense.

  12. avatar
    Heather says:

    Hey Tsh,

    Believe it or not, I’ve survived the past 10 years of working from home with zero help from virtual assistants, babysitters or cleaning ladies. See how I said “survived”? LOL. Though, my husband DOES help a ton with the kids when he’s home at night and on weekends.

    Although, I did take a page out of your blog and hire contributors this year and that hasa been WONDERFUL. It’s given me more time and it’s given The Mogul Mom fresh content from some amazing mom entrepreneurs.

    I really have to find a regular VA to moderate comments, handle emails, etc. I’d love to hear more about how you pay her (hourly, weekly, on retainer, etc.).

    Thanks for sharing, Tsh! Can’t wait to see your schedule…

    Heather

  13. I love this discussion! I read about this topic with much interest over on Meagan’s blog and find it fascinating– so many of us feel guilty for having help. But we can’t do it all… but we “should”… but maybe we should lower our expectations… but…

    Lots to think about!

  14. I am so thankful that you’re writing this series. I do have help – my husband is a huge help and totally supportive of my blogging time. I also have a VA who works for 1 hour each week. But most of my writing is done while I supervise my kids. We homeschool and the juggling of that can be tough sometimes. My goal for the summer is to find focused writing time for me.

  15. avatar
    DebbieRN says:

    Absolutely spot on! I think this generation of young talented mothers is finding the right solutions for their families. I am so proud of my son’s family and yours, too , Tsh. And I have driven eight hours to babysit one weekend to be part of the helper team. What joy that is!

  16. Tsh, much needed post. Indeed, I depend heavily on my husband being home. He takes on much of the parenting, housekeeping and farmwork. And my kids are now in school fulltime so that’s a big chunk of time! When they were younger, I did depend too much on tv and I didn’t get as much done. Most of my writing biz took off after they started school.

    Other true confessions, dishes languish in the sink and much of our housekeeping is done in big Saturday cleanups with everyone in the family involved. I’m also working on being more diligent about getting my kids to do more daily chores.

    That being said, I’m desperate for more info on virtual assistants – where to find good ones, what tasks to assign, rates, etc. I look forward to hearing more on this for you.

  17. On the way to work this morning, I was listening to the radio and they were interviewing an entrepreneur who had just won a Top 40 under 40 award. She offers personal concierge services. Calling her is on my list of things to do today. There are so many things on my little “to do” list that I would love to pawn off on someone else because they need to be done, but don’t add any value to my life. I’m happy that I can support a local successful woman entrepreneur, while at the same time unloading some of my baggage and having more time to refocus on what is important.

  18. This was very refreshing to read — thank you so much for sharing that insight. As a relatively new SAHM hoping to re-launch my blog and also do some freelance writing gigs for some additional income, I was stressing about how I’m going to be able to do it all, especially with such young children (a two-year-old and a seven-week-old). This made me realize that I don’t have to and got me thinking about how I will eventually “outsource” things in my own world.

  19. BRAVO! I have very rarely read about anybody needing outside help, (except for virtual assistants) and finally the truth comes out. I am so happy. I have contemplated for months whether to get some housecleaning help, and now I feel a bit more confident in my decision. Thank you. I started my business with my husband right alongside me, and now that he is working again, things have gotten so stressful in my life. I know that I need help, but I wanted to do it all by myself. LOL. I cannot wait to read the rest of your articles.

  20. Wow, what a great and refreshing post! I must confess that I’ve struggled a lot with guilt for having house help. I live in Asia where house help is very affordable, and we feel that it’s a good way to support the local economy because there are tons of people looking for house help jobs. However, deciding to hire help was a big hurdle for me, I was even afraid that our helper would think I was lazy! Guess who was my biggest champion in this decision – my husband! Now that we’ve had several years of having house help, we truly LOVE it – not just because of the help itself, but also the relationship with our helper, and her relationship with our son (who was a newborn when we hired her). We didn’t realize how much he benefited from having another caring adult in his life, he adores her and learns the native language from talking with her too, what a bonus!

  21. I am so glad and so thankful you are doing this series! It truly is an eye open and also is helping to take the pressure to be perfect in it all of our shoulders a bit. Thank you for taking the time to write about this. I know it will help so many understand the world of blogging, and also, how to strive for what you want.

  22. I love this series. This is helping me figure out how to handle my blog and writing career. This is is awesome.

  23. Right now I do not have outside help, but wish that I could. There’s just no way I could take on more work with my to-do list of chores I have to take care of. But I know that when my son is in school, I’m working like crazy.

    For parents of more than one child, it’s an extra challenge. I cannot imagine caring for a preschool or younger age child – having help is a MUST before they enter school.

    Very good article.

  24. This is a wonderful post! Before I quit my day job, we paid someone to clean once a week. It was amazing what that did for my sanity! On one hand, it was hard to part with the money, but on the other hand I didn’t have to spend my free time cleaning. It was such a relief.

    Now that I write from home, I try to keep balance between home and work. That means I may not be able to focus on my writing as much when the kids are out of school – but at the same time, I remind myself that is one of the benefits of quitting my day job: Being there for my family.

    Peace to you!
    Melissa Gorzelanczyk

  25. I currently do not have help but if I had a younger child (younger than my kindergartener) then it would be a must. Before my son had his first year of school, I only had 3 hours of work time per day when he was in preschool. I was very limited with my work time then and still am with his school schedule.

    I look at it like this: when he is in school I am utterly focused and am likely as productive as somebody at an office job where they spend 8 or more hours.

  26. Great post. We are also all home together since my husband’s engineering job allows him to work from home and we homeschool. My blogging is just for fun, but there are days that I could use a mother’s helper for Dr.’s visits and errands. What do you look for when considering a helper for your family and how would you go about looking for one? We are going to be using a homeschool covering this fall and I am hoping to find new families with older daughters.

  27. I would love outside help. For childcare, my mom is available from time to time and my sister sometimes, but for any household chores mostly my husband and I have to handle things on our own. This means that certain parts of our home will practically be no-go zones. (In a month or so I may tackle the ultimate project simplicity task: our extra bedroom/storage room/unused office/disaster area). Since my husband’s full time job covers just enough to pay the bills and my temporary part time work from home job covers emergencies (like extra doctor co-pays and minor home repair disasters) and my writing and blogging has yet to produce any significant income, hiring help is not an option. My husband tries to help when he is home in the evenings, but his job is very high stress and he has his own writing projects to pursue in the evenings as well. I would love to hire outside help, especially if it meant being able to hand my daughter over to another stay-at-home mom I trust so that she could continue to stay home with her children. It’s kind of a catch-22. If you can afford outside help, it’s usually because your business has expanded enough that you can afford it, but if you don’t have the help then you have a hard time investing the time needed to grow your business.

    • Have you thought about swapping sitting with another mom? At my current stage I’m hiring childcare 8 hours a week, b/c it’s right where I work, but I also swap with another mom regularly! A few years ago it gave me work time and her school time, 2 mornings a week each; now it’s less regular, for date nights, dr’s appointments, etc. The beauty is, you’re in kid mode anyway, and sometimes they really help to entertain each other… Plus my friend is just a great person and very different from me… Spending time with her enriches my child.

  28. Sorry to pick, but this is pet peeve of mine: it bugs me when men are described as “helping” with their own kids, as if the job is inherently 100% Mom’s and she just delegates a bit of it to Dad. (Along those lines, it also annoys me when men are described as “babysitting” their own kids.)

    That being said, this is a great post and thanks for getting input from so many bloggers. I’m familiar with most of them, but I’ll have to check out the rest.

    • I agree, I don’t like it when Dad “babysits” — he parents. But I’m okay with using the word “help,” because I help, too. I don’t mean he helps me in my primary role of parenting. I mean we help each other — I help by doing my part, he helps by doing his. My kids help around the house. We help each other run our home and family in a way that’s important to us.

      I know what you mean, so there’s no real reason to split hairs. :) Hopefully you get what I mean, too.

  29. Tsh,
    I love this post! My husband and I both run businesses from home, so we have the same challenges as well. As I am growing my business and starting new online endeavors, I am beginning to outsource more and more work to others. I loved reading the variety of ways in which each of the women you featured, is running her business.

    But most of all I love that you are demystifying the idea that “we can do it all”. We just can’t! I have had to let some things go in my life, and choices have to be made in order to do what I love.

    Blessings,
    Denise

  30. I’m not a work from home mom (yet) so I have no outside help. And as I transition to that role as wahm I probably won’t have “house” help as my husband will be working from home also. We plan to tag team it. Also, our youngest is 8 so the load lightens, even though we do homeschool.

    My biggest “beef” with work at home moms who have very public blogs about homemaking, mothering etc. is when they don’t come clean about outside help.

    Damien calls it the new Martha Stewart syndrome.

    There is absolutely no shame in not doing it all, obviously. But when people (it seems to me women do this more than men) come across as doing it all and having it all together without sharing who helps them make that happen I feel taken advantage of (for lack of a better description) as a reader.

    I’ve learned, like you said, that no one absolutely does it all, though they may appear to. So I no longer let those things bother me (though they once did).

    Thanks for another peek behind the scenes. Another honest to goodness post from you on how you do it.

    Said it before, say it again. I’m loving these posts.

    • I so agree with you! There are some bloggers out there who claim they homeschool and have 5 kids and blog everyday and have picture-perfect living rooms and kids lounging on white furniture calmly learning Bible verses. Yeah. What.ever.

    • Well said, Renee. I’ve felt “taken advantage of” by some of those blogs. When I see all this awesomeness out there I want to try and emulate it. It’s good to know all the tools I need in my toolbox in order to succeed.

  31. Yes, I most certainly do….and I’m thinking of adding a mother’s helper when summer rolls around and my favorite sitter has some extra time.

    I work part-time out of the home, too, and my parents are amazing when it comes to helping with my kids–that helps everything else to fall into place. I really resonated with this article on that topic in the WSJ:
    http://blogs.wsj.com/juggle/2011/04/24/working-parents-secret-weapon-grandparents/

  32. Thank you! I am so easily frustrated about how little I can accomplish in a day. My oldest just turned five and I am five months pregnant with number four. All the encouragement about not needing to do everything could not have come at a better time. I’ve just decided that my garden and canning might have to be small this year, so I can be ready for new baby and my first year homeschooling!

  33. I loved the practicality of this post.for me.now. Thanks. It was interesting to read about the variety of way people get help and hopeful for me when my blog gets to the point where I can quit my P/T day job. Thanks!

  34. Great post!! Lot’s of valuable information!!!

  35. Tsh, I love you for answering my question, but I love you more for TELLING THE TRUTH! I think mothers do each other a disservice when they pretend that they have it all together and I thank you (and the other bloggers) for not putting on a facade that you, alone, do it all. You are all an inspiration, and confirmation that I need help if any of the ideas in my head are ever going to make their debut. :)

    When I was pregnant with my twins, my midwife insisted that I get help in housecleaning (to ward off pre-term labor), and my mom joyfully paid for that. I realized how much more peace you have in your life when you have help (and a clean house that you didn’t clean yourself). I’m learning not to feel guilty about having help when I can, or the chaos that ensues when I cannot.

    Again, thanks for so thoroughly and truthfully answering my question!

  36. I am so glad that you shared this Tsh. So many women do wonder how “other women” get “it” all done. And the fact is, we either have help or we may just barely be eeking by. I had a house cleaner twice a month when I was working full-time out of the home. Since I cam home last year, I have been doing all the cleaning myself (or not really at all, lol!) As I have built my blog and expanded my writing and now expanding even more into speaking and coaching, even though I am technically not earning a profit yet, I am considering having the cleaning lady come back, at least once a month so the floors get mopped, lol!
    My kids are all older now, and my husband will pitch in with cooking and laundry as well.
    I am really enjoying this series of how you have made it work for you and that you aren’t superwoman after all!
    Bernice

  37. I enjoyed reading your very appropriate, well-considered defenses of hiring help, and if I could afford household help, I surely would get it (also if I didn’t think I’d stress myself out cleaning the house before the help arrived!).
    We had a German exchange student once who seemed convinced we were richer than we were; the first thing I remember her shocked comment once she arrived at our house was, “You mean you don’t have a MAID?” She said that in Germany it was considered the right thing to do, that if you could afford it you should hire one to give a less-advantaged person a livelihood. That seems like another validation of it. On the other hand, I’ve considered asking neighbors if I could clean their houses…to be on the receiving end of that equation.

    • Yep, I’ve found that many, many cultures still use “house help” regularly. This is true in most places I’ve been.

  38. I’m so happy to be having my cake and eating it, too – as Mandi so wonderfully has written. It’s amazing to be able to follow my passions and dreams and I couldn’t do it nearly as well or as happily if I didn’t have help.

    Love this series, Tsh!

  39. Thank you. I cannot tell you how my pregnant, mothering a two year old all while trying to write a book self needed this.

  40. I am loving this series you’re doing on your work. Your willingness to share the {cold hard truth} and dispel the lies our accuser tells us (perfect kids, perfect house, etc etc) is wonderful- really bringing into the LIGHT! I’m personally working on merging my two blogs and adding a third so I can unify/integrate and move forward with some homeschool coaching. I have a technical question and was wondering where/if to ask it. So I’ll try here. Your “network” of blogs— are they actually separate blogs using same wp template- or are they one utilizing the categories/sub-categories features. Any tips on how you made that happen? Thanks again for the transparency,
    katherine

    • They’re all separate blogs using the Thesis theme. I customized it a ton so that it looks like one big site (sorta) with tabs at the top for toggling back and forth. But each one stands alone on the back end.

      • Thanks : ) So you’re not only a writer, but a techie, too! {wink} If I could ask one more question- do you use WPMU or manage them each individually? Trying to “figure it out” before I dive in and realize I wasted a bunch of time when I find an easier way.
        God bless,
        Katherine

        • Nope, just plain ol’ WordPress. I tinkered with the idea of WPMU, but I didn’t love it. I manage them individually, but I don’t deal with each of them daily — the editors are in each of their sites most of the time.

          Hope that helps!

  41. I love this post and the encouragement NOT to try and do it all. Good food for thought as I consider both my work and home life with babe #2 on the way! I mentioned it in a reply above, but babysitting swaps with other @home moms who need some regular time for whatever are a great no-cost option to find focused work time that may not even take much extra energy, depending on how the kids get along… Sometimes they really help entertain each other, and you can still get lots of regular home stuff done as you care for them. Then you also get some precious girl talk moments at drop-off/pick-up, and your child benefits from all the ways your friend brings different strengths into her care taking!

    • I think that’s a great idea! We used to do that for date night babysitting, too, before we lived near grandparents. Each Thursday evening someone would take their kiddos to a house for the other couple to go on a date. The kids had fun together, and it was honestly even easier than if they didn’t have friends to play with. Then the next week, we swapped, and the other couple got a date.

      We hope to find people to do this again with in a few months. :)

    • I tried this and it didn’t work for us. My friends kept flaking out and it drove me nuts. But I LOVE the idea.

      • Finding the right friends to do this with is definitely key! What’s made it work with this particular friend is that she is just as motivated as I am to get time for certain things, and that we have parenting styles similar enough that we can really feel good about sharing our kids with each other. It’s a fun and encouraging relationship!

  42. I just recently started a blog and hope it one days makes money. I am fortunate to have a baby that is a good napper and a husband that is a great helper!

  43. I totally agree! And thanks for this reminder that it’s not “cheating” to get outside help. In fact, having someone help with just cleaning, allows you to spend more time with your kids when you’re not working on your business instead of trying to fit that in too and feeling guilty. Getting outside help is what helps a work at home mom maintain her family priorities while still getting her job done!

  44. I just wrote a post for Mother’s Day about not worrying how we measure up as moms. In it I mentioned that June Cleaver had a maid!

  45. I love love love this article! I am going to pour over it again when my kids go to bed. It is inspiring and reminds me that when I can’t get that load of laundry put away for the second day in a row it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong with me! hahahaha

  46. We used to have house help, fewer kids, AND my husband had more time to pitch in with household duties. Now he is too busy with outside work so that I can be a stay-at-home parent. We cannot really afford to pay for help now either, but I have on occasion swapped childcare with a friend. This allows me to get things done without distraction. It’s helpful even though I’m not earning income from home.

    Just the basic household tasks can be overwhelming for one parent. I have to be careful not to let discontentment creep in now that our circumstances have changed. My husband would love to help out more, but he simply does not have the time. Many of my friends lean heavily on their husbands, and it is easy for me to wish for more help from mine. But I’m not sure it’s always right to expect a spouse to pick up the slack–there needs to be a mutual agreement. Friends and paid help are a good way to lighten everyone’s burden. Too many people are trying to be superwoman and superman.

    This post was an important reminder that we can’t do it all. When we try, our health and relationships suffer. Thanks for pointing out some better alternatives!

  47. Regarding the cost of hiring a mother’s helper: I recommend this even for moms who don’t “work” from home — i.e. for an income. There are so many sanity-saving reasons to do this, but this one trumps all: It’s much cheaper than therapy!

    Having done both, I know of what I speak. ;-)

  48. Are you moving to Oregon? If so, Welcome!

  49. Thanks so much for your transparency! I think our foremothers would think it very strange that we have such hangups about “help.” Until the early 20th century, nearly every European or American family at lower-middle class or above had at least one live-in servant. And even working-class, poor, and pioneer families usually had “help” from older children within the household, adopted orphans, and/or ad hoc servants like washerwomen. Not to mention the way women just helped each other, as others have pointed out.
    Live-in servants started to disappear in the 20th century, but families still often hired someone to come in every day or several times a week to clean, cook, babysit, etc. This pattern didn’t die out until post-WWII, and even then, upper-middle class families still routinely hired help for specific jobs or occasions (and in the American South, where I live, all but the poorest white families had full-time domestic help well into the 1970s).
    So we shouldn’t think there’s anything new or unusual about not being able (or expected) to “do it all,” even if homemaking is your only job.

    • Maybe we’ve all bought the lie that our foremothers needed help because they had to do it all by hand sans appliances. And so since we have all of the modern-day conveniences (dishwashers, washing machines, stoves that don’t need wood, etc.) we should have time to do it all. I am sooooo tired of hearing about how someone did it with 14 kids and no help and a husband who worked 3 jobs. *sigh* If it’s true, I feel sorry for her, I don’t look up to her.

      • It may be a case that if they had 14 kids the eldest did a great deal of ‘help’ around the house, rather than the mother doing everything. If you have ever watched the programme about the Duggar family, the elder children definitely do a great deal to help with household tasks, childcare and homeschooling, and even the younger ones have chores to do.

        We are lucky enough to have been able to access a volunteer who comes for a couple of hours each week to help me get chores done, it sets me up for the rest of the week. My husband washes up each evening and does a lot of the bedtime routines as this is his only time with the children midweek. We also have ‘Dad’s in charge’ time at weekends so I get some quiet time or time to concentrate on a project. He is in the UK armed forces and will be deploying next year. We have already agreed that his extra pay for being away will be used for either childcare or a cleaner, as there is no way I could not keep on top of everything by myself.

  50. Thank you for this post. I always felt embarrassed that I couldn’t keep our home clean.

    When I was healing from my last c-section we brought in some to help. It was such a blessing. I’m going to look into that again.
    I work from home about 10 hours a week and mostly do it while my children nap. Then I blog at night after they have gone to sleep. If it wasn’t for my husband I don’t think the dishes would ever get done. He amazing.

  51. I would LOVE to have help! Someone to clean my house once or twice a month would be fabulous! And someone to watch my kids for a whole day once a week would also be fabulous! We home school so my 4 kids are with me 24/7. They all (well, not the 2 year old) have daily chores but … well, an 8 yr old boy just doesn’t get the floor swept like it needs to be. I dream of one day being able to hire helpers!

  52. You’re moving to Oregon? What part? I’m near Portland and would love to be a helper ;)

  53. I really appreciate reading this honest perspective! And I also appreciated the quotes from others. I know that I can’t do it “all,” and I’m really okay with that. However, I get more frustrated that I can’t seem to do even half of what I think I should be able to accomplish or what other in similar situations seem to be accomplishing. I work full time with a 45 min commute each way. No kids yet. My blog is mostly to help me personally and not for profit, so I don’t even have as much to worry about there. (Although I have recently started to spend a little bit of time promoting it, more than anything because the more readers, the more helpful and encouraging it is.) I also have quite a bit of weight to lose and have just realized that I MUST prioritize that. Really by the time I get home from work, exercise, shower, cook a VERY simple dinner, and blog, it’s time for bed. Not to mention the days when I have other places to be in the evenings, I just rush around like crazy and the house gets to be a wreck. Almost NO cleaning gets done on weekdays. When I have busy weekends, the next weeks meals are often frozen dinners because I don’t have time to prepare food for the week. I feel guilty about that sometimes, but I realize that I shouldn’t.

  54. First time on your blog, and I think I’m going to like it here. I do have someone come in to clean my home every other week. Here’s another reason why there should be no guilt in it – if you’re fortunate that you have the financial means to bring in someone to help (whether it’s childcare, running errands, cleaning, whatever) you’re sharing your good fortune. You’re helping other people, usually people from your own community, be able to earn some extra money. I don’t see how you can feel guilty when you look at it that way, although even if you didn’t look at it that way, there’s no reason for guilt.

  55. Thanks for this post and for encouraging mommas to heap grace on themselves. I’m a full time graduate student with a full time working husband, 2 year old daughter and another baby on the way. If we didn’t outsource something, our life would be a disaster, and we prioritize this luxury because it makes our lives saner. It’s great to hear how others manage the flexible working/parenting/writing lifestyle and to know that it will always be in a state of flux!

  56. I’ve had a housekeeper before and I really miss her. She just stopped showing up one day and I haven’t found a replacement yet. But I would like to get some help dealing with some of the generic blog stuff, like approving comments, responding to product pitches, etc… I recognize that I’m a bit of a control freak, but I also don’t really enjoy spending hours each week approving comments. No clue where to find someone for this type of work or how much to pay.

  57. Absolutely agree that getting help or delegating can really help your business or work venture to thrive. It’s nice when the home/family work is all consider “our” work but even then it’s necessary for some outside help especially when both of us have our own businesses to run. But when you get the balance to work just right, the rewards are so worth it (such as being able to sit down and eat dinner all together at night after co-cooking it!) I loved how you said you were all able to have almost all three meals each day together. This truly is an important (and often overlooked) aspect of family life and family bonding.

  58. I’ve thought about this some more and I’d like to add one more thing. I feel MUCH better about people when I know that they cannot do it all. Martha Stewart drives me nuts with her perfection, but I take a deep breath and remember that she has a staff. And now I know that some bloggers I read and even identify with in some way also need a little help along the way. You have validated me just by having this discussion and I thank you.

  59. Tsh, you and I spoke about this at Blissdom on that last day while chilling at the tables with our #tribes and I’m so openly happy to admit I have help. I could not work full-time, run my blogging business, brush my teeth and function without some help. Hiring someone to come in once per week to help me maintain the laundry, clean and organize the home has made my life and sanity so much better. I live for “cleaning” days! Because I work full-time as well as run a blogging business I need to utilize child care and a nanny (our neighbor) to help make all the hours I work possible. It seems like a lot but my hours are flexible and I have a home office which gives me the freedom to not miss events at school, special moments and to enjoy being a working mother. It is about finding a balance and sometimes that means finding the balance for that moment, hour, day or week! Without help and admitting I need the help and a virtual assistant or outsourcing particular projects I could not do what I do.

  60. This is exactly what my last post is about! I’ve decided to put my son into daycare part-time, so that I can work at home. It’s not just about getting work done. He needs so much stimulation! I’m hoping it will help give me the energy to be the mom I want to be when I’m with him, instead of being worn out all the time.

  61. I tried to do it “all” with running a small science education/entertainment business at home. When my 2nd baby was born 2 yrs ago I got rid of my business because I wasn’t doing anything well and was just stressed about everything. I think about starting that gig up again. Since stepping out and away from it all I can see a lot of things more clearly and one of the major things is that the business would be much more successful if I had hired help.

  62. I wouldn’t feel any guilt about having outside help, but we just can’t afford it! We are blessed to have lots of family nearby, so I do have babysitters for appointments & such, but I try not to impose on them too much. We have all six of our children (ages 12-3 weeks) home all the time, & while my oldest are a tremendous help with chores, I have to agree with a previous poster: there’s quite a difference between 8-year-old-boy-clean & mom-clean! I’ve realized that there are seasons when I can get extra projects done & keep up with the normal responsibilities, & then there are times when I can barely seem to keep everyone fed & clothed decently! It sometimes bothers me that I am so inconsitent, but my life changes so much even while it stays the same. The ages, stages, & number of my children is constantly in flux, & the more material considerations take a backseat to meeting the people needs of the family. It’s a lot of work to keep the balance between material needs & relational needs. Thanks for giving people a look “behind the curtain”, so to speak!

  63. I just became a stay at home mom in March, right before having our second child. I SO needed this post even though my goal hasn’t been to work from home and earn an income per se. I am trying to get my new blog up and going and am open to the possibility of earning an income from it, but we’ll have to see how it goes. Meanwhile, I’ve been really struggling to do everything and have felt like a failure when I can’t get it all done. I think it’s important to realize that whether you “work” at home or your work IS being home and tending to the house, there are going to be times when you simply cannot get it all done and there should be no shame in that! Thank you for posting all the other blogger’s insights to how they get help. It’s always good to know that they don’t run their amazing blogs AND keep a perfect house at all times with no outside help! Makes the rest of us feel more normal!

  64. As I mentioned in a previous comment, Tim & I share all of the household duties – cooking, cleaning, laundry, potty training, homeschooling. Etc.

    We’re in this together – 100%.

    Someday, I’d love to hire an ad manager. Can you tell us more about that? What exactly does your ad manager do? How much do you pay her? Etc.

  65. An encouraging post for sure. Those last few few words from Meagan were so freeing as well! Why do we all feel we need to do it ALL?! My biggest guilt factor is not in letting my house go (I’m usually ok with that…for a while anyway!), but in letting other people be with my children too often…silly I know! They do go to a playschool once a week for 2 1/2 hours or so and then I usually go out to a coffee shop at least one night a week while my husband is with them, but other than that we don’t have anything consistent. Between trying to fit in exercise and grocery shopping and all of the other “stuff” of life, sometimes I feel like I’m always “running away” from them!!! Grrrr…It’s all about trying to find the right balance for your family and it is encouraging to know other moms are in the same boat….

  66. Tsh, I love how to share truths from the heart. Thank you.

    I have to say that you just being asked “tell the truth”” about whether you have help, bothered me.

    Why would anyone attempt to run a successful business with zero help? (And if not from the outside, from a supportive partner or relative…)

    There should be zero guilt or justifying getting outside help. We’re not meant to do it all. We were meant to live near other female relatives and close friends who can watch the kids, cook with us, help us fold laundry. And, have a little iced tea on the porch at the end of the day.

    We have to give up the idea that we have failed if we’re not fried.

    And me? I am a freelance writer and blog publisher. I don’t currently have outside help, but I have a kid in school much of the day and a husband who does a great deal at home and as a parent, so I manage.

    I could do much more professionally — and something about my growing bottom — if someone else cleaned my toilets. So, count on it: In time, that someone will be hired…and I will rejoice and make room for doing even more professionally.

    Zero guilt. Zero justification.

  67. I really appreciate this post.thanks for inspiration and i am going to read it thoroughly its looking interesting.

  68. You could try doing surveys. When I was in need of money I would always do surveys.
    They pay very good. And you always have extra spending money.
    Go to this website. You can make money by taking surveys and playing games.
    http://www.treasuretrooper.com/897027

Speak Your Mind

*