I am sure if you are asked if you love your children? You will answer “Yes of course” Do you know what part of your parenting is outsourced?
So that’s what I thought when we were asked that at a parenting conference I attended recently titled “Parenting Outsourced”. The speaker went on to ask us how much of our parenting we are outsourcing? How much of our parenting responsibilities have we handed and transferred over to someone else? Outsourcing and transferring responsibility are two very different things though several times we make it one and the same thing.
What is Parenting outsourced?
As parents it is not realistic to expect that we can do everything for our children and also care for all aspects of the home without some assistance. This can be based on a combination of factors such as time constraints, personal likes and preferences, other demands etc. Pastor J gave a good example about how when she got married she and her husband agreed to save up for a washing machine because she didn’t like to wash. She was able to then spend her time doing the things that she likes to do and probably that she is better at than washing (lets remember that as wives and mothers we are measured by more than just tasks and chores in the house).
On the parenting side, though we can outsource domestic chores like housekeeping, cooking and washing there are certain responsibilities that come along with being a parent to our children we cannot outsource just as there are certain aspects of taking care of our spouses needs we would not dream of outsourcing.
Children are our responsibility, entrusted to us by God to train them in the way they should go so that when they grow up they will not depart. Though we can get help and outsource certain parts of our parenting responsibilities, we are still responsible for how our children turn out. The staff we hire to care for our children will not stay with your children nor your family forever so it is imperative we keep this in mind.
I think this mindset really should guard the way we look at how we make decisions to outsource different tasks that need to get done.
Parenting Outsourced Guide
- What tasks are you outsourcing
- Why are you outsourcing
- Who would you like to outsource to
- What characteristics do you require
- How to measure the outsourcing relationship.
You need to determine these. Theses are easier to deal with and measure when you have a vision for your family and how you expect your children to turn out.
What tasks are you outsourcing?
Decide what you are outsourcing and make sure not to over-burden any one person. Is it domestic chores like cooking, grocery shopping, cleaning or laundry? Or other things like driving, teaching the children a sport or language? A person who is hired to be a full time nanny and also required to do all the grocery shopping, cooking and laundry will most likely come up short on the most important role she is in your house to play – tending your child. Find smart ways to manage all the demands, for example instead of going to the market every week you can shop in bulk, you can also make use of the services that do grocery shopping for you. If you can afford it hire someone to do housework and someone else to take care of children.
Why are you outsourcing?
Lack of time? Inability to play the role or work demands? Or you want to have time to play the role of wife and mother and spend more quality time with your family? You should know why you are outsourcing. There are certain things you would not consider outsourcing such as breastfeeding or being a spouse. Knowing why you are outsourcing certain tasks helps you to stay focused and make the best decision.
Who would you like to outsource to?
This is where you need to take sometime to think about what type of person you want? Is it a professional nurse, older woman, relative, professional cook or nanny? educated person who can read and write? You must think about this aspect and determine who you want. You should not have an illiterate administer medicines to young children where she cannot read the instructions. If it is an older nanny you hire ensure that she is agile enough to play with very young and energetic toddlers.
What characteristics do you require?
When you do a proper criteria of what type of assistance you want it then helps you determine the characteristics required. E.g. the type of person you require for a baby might be very different from the type of person you need for a school aged child. Measure the amount of time you have to hand hold or supervise the domestic staff you get. If you have very little time to supervise because you have a full time job you might want to be sure that you get someone who has vast experience caring for children (specific to your household).
How to measure the outsourcing relationship?
If you are in an office you would give reviews and provide feedback to the staff you have hired. Some offices also do a 360 degree feedback where employees are required to give reviews on their bosses. I think it is important to review your domestic staff. Start by making it clear what is expected from them when they are hired; give feedback and adjust as necessary. If you expect them to use a washing machine show them how to use it, do not assume she knows.
Your nanny might be good with children but bad at making egusi. It doesn’t mean you should scream at her if she cannot cook egusi. You have a couple of options here, either you teach her how to make it, you get someone who can make it well or you make it yourself. If it is not working out by all means look for someone else who can fit what you require. You should also do your part. If you promised to let her take time off twice a month then do not deny her this without letting her know ahead of time. Your staff needs to trust you to give you her best. My motto is everyone has different strengths and therefore we are working together as a team.
You can outsource but remember that the parenting responsibility still lies with you. If you cannot treat your domestic staff with respect then they should not be working with you. They have rights and they are taking care of your most prized possessions your children.