In Praise of Outsourcing

MP and her son Connor

MP with her son

My husband and I have been squabbling over outsourcing for years: laundry, housecleaning, lawn care. For him, it’s about money. For me, it’s about time.   

The details change, but the logic is the same: He argues that the $120 per month we’d spend on housecleaning ($1,440 a year!) could be spent on, say, a vacation.
I understand that. But for me (and many women juggling 60-hour workweeks and parenting and exercising and looking stylish and so on and so forth) hiring someone to do all the stuff you don’t want to do isn’t a luxury. It’s an investment in our quality of life.
My job consumes so much time that any hour I can take back—to spend with my son, watch Downton Abbey, call a friend, and (ahem) snuggle with my skeptical husband—is worth almost any price.
So I’m thrilled to know that the rise of niche concierge services means there’s lots of help out there, if I need it. I’m not talking mere laundry services or lawn mowing or someone to scrub the tub. (Though those are all great, too.)

These days, you can hire your own personal assistant to help you with everything from travel plans to dropping off dry cleaning. You can score a personal chef to take charge of a dinner party or a holiday meal. Says Marisa Cohen, a writer in New York City, “I outsourced my holiday meals to FreshDirect this year (fully prepared; I just popped everything in the oven to heat up). My mom would never have done such a thing, but after seeing how relaxed I was at Thanksgiving, she is lamenting that FD doesn’t deliver to her house on Long Island.”

Not comfortable with someone in your kitchen? You can find someone to walk your dog when you’re working late nights. And speaking of pooches, you can even hire someone to pick up those little bombs in the backyard on a regular basis. Who knew?

I’m not quite ready to hire an elite child-care service or hire a valet, Downton-style, to pack for my next business trip. Yet. But FreshDirect on a busy night could be something even my husband would appreciate.
Hey, many hands make light work, as my mom used to say. For more ways to help yourself, check out this cool infographic.