Work Mom: How much is your time worth?

How much is your time worth
Work Mom: How Much Is Your Time Worth?

You Can’t Do It All

The Weatherman is amazing when it comes to sharing household chores and taking care of the kids, and when my Momma is here during the week caring for our Sweet Sofia she helps out a ton too – so much so that without her I’d be forever buried in laundry.

Even without all that help there is still a ring on the bathroom floor where the toilet cleaner wand once rested, my girls’ playroom was an EPIC DISASTER the day the woman I once babysit and housesat for came by to see my home last weekend, and let’s not even talk about the pictures I’ve been meaning to hang for the last 5 months.  And, if I’m going to be real (and I am) two labs in a subdivision size parcel equates to a LOT (literally) of poop in one week.  I’m happy for the coming warm weather but we really need to get that yard under control before the girls start heading out there on a daily basis.  It’s just gross.

How Much is Your Time Worth
The playroom after a good cleaning.
There is no such thing as perfect. You cannot do it all, so stop trying. #WorkMom Click To Tweet

With both of us working outside of the home, active in our professional communities and church, there is little time left for much else after we care for the girls.  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is where it’s at folks (food, water, shelter and lots of love.)

“Julia, you need to figure out how much your time is worth.”

Unidentified best friend (only slightly older, but much wiser)

‘Affordable’ is a subjective term – I know that.  And so when it comes to examining how much your time, your energies and your effort is worth begin by thinking out of the box.

Early in our marriage, when Eva was about a year old,  I became a task master when it came to Mom2Mom sales in our community.  There was one particular gal that had mastered the art of organizing and hosting them and as soon as her sale announcements would come out I was registered.  Money was tight for us and I saw the sales as a form of good stewardship. I pressed and folded my girl’s outgrown clothes, bagged them in freezer sized bags labeled with the price as soon as she grew out of them.  For several years I would make between $600-$800 per sale after clearing my registration costs and any shopping I’d done for the kids.  I would take that money (the sales timed nicely with the changing seasons) and use it to buy clothes the kids needed.  Over time my job changed, life changed and it wasn’t as easy for me to take the time to plan and prepare for the sales.  Now, I sell some at the neighborhood garage sale with less than a quarter of prep and a lot less money – or I donate them and take the tax write off.  My time now is just not worth the effort and time of prepping for once of those sales and then spending a day to setup and another to be there at the sale.  On the other had, I’ve also been know to trade a new or like new pair of shoes for our share of babysitter expenses for small group.

Here are a few things I’ve decided over the years it’s worth my time to pay for:

  1.  House work:  Look, I actually find cleaning therapeutic.  And, my favorite way to clean the shower is to load it up with chemicals before my run and then come back and give it a good scrub (and me as well) afterwards.  But, the truth is I can’t keep up with it all.  I need someone to help with the constant crumbs on the floor and someone willing to turn my laundry after I set it to wash at bedtime and then head off to work before putting it in the dryer.  It’s so nice to come home after a long day at work to a clean house – even if it’s just surface clean.  Maybe you don’t have the money to pay someone to come in – well, why not help a friend one week and then you assist her the following?  I once dated a guy whose older sister had four children close in age and as any momma nows that means a boatload of laundry.  I was a college kid at the time and she would pay me to come over and help her and I could do my laundry as well.
  2. Dry Cleaning Pickup: I know this is along the same lines in the first in theme – but guess what?  This option is free – at least in my neighborhood.  A couple years ago my local dry cleaner started doing pickup in neighborhoods.  They leave you a hook for your door and a bag with a tag linked to your account and credit card.  Twice a week they drive through the neighborhood looking for bags to pickup and also dropping off clean dry cleaning. This does require a little more planning when it comes to your attire for the week but beats the mad run on the way to or from work at the Dry Cleaners.  Like the say, time is money.
  3. Online Grocery Ordering:  Not only has this saved me time – but it has also saved me a lot of money.  My local Kroger grocery store offers a program called “ClickList.”  This program takes the information gathered from my frequent shopper card inputs my shopping history into categories like: “frequently purchased”, “purchased on last trip”, and “on sale now.”  Usually on Friday nights, after the kids have gone to bed, I go through the program and order my groceries for pickup the next day after my run.  When I get to the store I park in a designated spot, call the number on the sign and the groceries are carried out and loaded into my car.   With the Kroger ClickList program I believe the first 5 orders were free and afterward each online shopping trip costs me $4.95; I can also order and pickup my groceries the same day.  It’s easily some of the best $5.00 I’ve spent.  Even better though, shopping online has cut each shopping trip almost 50% in cost as I stick to my list and don’t buy things I don’t need.
  4. Store Bought Cupcakes:  They’re a good thing and there’s no shame.  If someone asks if they’re homemade proudly tell them you made the money that paid for them.  Or, take the cupcakes out of the plastic store container, place nicely on the cupcake carrier you registered for (along with crib sheets) and carry them in as though you did channeling your inner Sarah Jessica Parker a la “I Don’t Know How She Does It.”  Either are acceptable.

I used to get lost in the description of the Proverbs 31 Women.  In my mind she set the bar (perhaps an impossible one).  But then, many years later,  I realized something.  She worked hard and diligently, was wise and well respected, but let’s not forget that she wasn’t doing it all on her own.  She wasn’t perfect, she couldn’t do it all.  And, neither can you so breathe a bit.

She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.  Proverbs 31:15

Servants.  Notice the plural tense of the word.  I have two dogs, but they definitely don’t count as servants, even if they’re willing to lick the dinner plates clean.

4 thoughts on “Work Mom: How much is your time worth?

  1. I’m totally on board but I don’t have dry cleaning pick up. #jealous

    I also realize how blessed I am to have a budget that allows for the other three. For moms who do not have that type of budget, I tell them to lower the expectations and ask family members to contribute. I sometimes worry my kids don’t appreciate the fact that we don’t have to spend Saturday scrubbing the house and they don’t always have to go the grocery store with me. As they age I will expect them to fill in the gap’s and will make sure they can do all these things well – prayerfully with cheerful hearts ♥️.

  2. Dry cleaning pick up… GENIUS!! There is wisdom in knowing what you can handle and what makes more sense to sub-contract so you can do what only you can do! Lot’s of great tips in this article! Blessings!

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