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I’m here to tell you how to insource! As a busy mum you probably already outsource to an expert the tasks you don’t want to do, or don’t have the skills or time to do.

But outsourcing is simply not an option right now when we are self-isolating – the cleaner can’t work from home.

Now that you find yourself working from home, with your kids starting to climb the walls with boredom, and the mess getting messier, it is the perfect time to introduce your family to ‘insourcing’.

To insource is where you identify everything you do around the house for the people you live with that they can do for themselves, that you don’t have to pay them for!

The 5 Basics of How To Insource

1) Family is a Team Sport (and happily, you are the captain).

2) The younger you start your kids insourcing, the better – little kids are enthusiastic, compliant, and they don’t (generally) back chat. If you leave insourcing until your kids are teenagers, you will be fighting a much harder battle.

3) You are not after perfection, you simply want to instil in your family the habit of helping out without a fight.

The dishwasher may not get stacked exactly the way you like but that’s OK; the beds might not be perfect but at least the doonas are off the floor.  No-one expects a 6 year old to tidy like a pro, however by the time they are 15, they’ll be a pro and what’s more, they won’t argue when you ask for her help.

4) Everyone is responsible for their own ‘stuff’ and their own room – they are capable of tidying away their belongings; hanging up their towels; making their beds; and cleaning their floor and wardrobes.

5) Identify the family-based chores and divide them up and rotate them – for example, feed the pets; load and unload the dishwasher; vacuum the kitchen.

Beware Of The Traps

But there are two main traps – let’s not kid ourselves here.

Trap One:

The ‘Oh MY GODDDD, my kids have left their towels on the floor again! How many times do I have to ask them to hang their towels up? Honestly, I am not their [insert swear word of choice] slave!’ trap.

And then what do you do? You pick up the towels and rehang them. You know you do this. Is it any wonder that your family don’t pick their own towels? If you were living in a hotel where the towels you left on the bathroom floor were collected, washed, refreshed and rehung every day, you would probably leave your towel on the floor too.

I am not blaming you. I am just telling you that you are a major part of the problem.

Solution: Stay strong and be consistent, because you are breaking two habits: (i) the habit of your family who are used to leaving their ‘stuff’ lying around because they know you will pick it up and put it away, and (ii) your habit of picking it up and putting it away.

Trap Two:

The ‘It’s really no bother – it only takes me five minutes to do!’ trap.

No, it does not. It’s time for a reality check — the little tasks that you think only take five minutes actually eats up hours and hours of your life. For example, if you spend 10 minutes a day putting away your kids’ washing, that’s 60 hours of your time a year.

Solution: From now on, when you see your family’s stuff lying around just begging you to pick it up, clear it away, tidy it or make it magically disappear, take a deep breath and back out of the room and quietly shut the door.

Insourcing is all about creating independent and resourceful human beings as opposed to dependent and helpless ones. After all, my sons are going to grow up to marry your daughters, so let’s do them all a favour.

Kate Christie is a time management specialist, best selling author, global speaker and the founder and CEO of Time Stylers. Excerpted with permission of the publisher, Wiley, from Me First, by Kate Christie. Copyright (c) 2020 by John Wiley & Sons Australia, LTD. All rights reserved. This book is available wherever books and ebooks are sold.

For more information about Kate go to www.timestylers.com

What tasks would you like to insource? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • I really do think it’s important to let our kids learn how to do things for themselves.

    Reply

  • Doing their own clean up instead of leaving it for me

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  • If they can just start by cleaning their room putting everything in place tidying up the room and vacuuming that would be fantastic

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  • I have spoken to my teen son about now helping with cleaning his areas (eg. bedroom, DJ area, and bathroom), and cooking one night a week – suggested a night when I’m working. We’re onto it!!

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  • Yeah I fall into those traps!

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  • Hubby works full time so I’m still the one that does the house work but he does help occasionally

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  • I’ve got 4 kids (5 if you include hubby) & I make all of the older kids help out. They know where dirty clothes go, how to hang towels & clean their rooms. As they have gotten older, I’ve increased their chores / responsibilities. I continually remind them, I’m their mother, not their maid! Everyone is expected to pull their weight in our household.

    Reply

  • I am doing and praying my kids this for years. But i am glad my eldest son doing it properly now.

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  • I only in source making their own beds and putting away their ironed clothes/sorting their socks

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  • Perfectly timed article – thank you I have a teenager and a 9 year old so I need them to start lifting their game and helping out – thank you for the article

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  • I would like my child to be bring their plates to the kitchen sink more often.

    Reply

  • My kids like to help me espessialy outdoor.

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  • I got photos this morning of my grandson raking up leaves in the backyard, mum had to supervise though. So cute with his kid size rake and shovel, loafing it all into his Tonka dump truck :)

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  • The only thing that I insource is home improvement projects. I’d love to have someone come in and clean the house from top to bottom once a month.

    Reply

  • It’s a great post. Hope it will work for you. Afraid I just closed the door on my eldest son’s room – he never learnt to pick up and put away and still doesn’t do it now.

    Reply

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