Dave chats with author Kate Christie about he knew book Me First its release most timely given the current Covid 19 situation.

Without warning, COVID-19 has thrust us into a very new way of living and working. Parents are scrambling to navigate the new paradigm of life locked away at home, with family in tow, while trying to work, maintain the household and stay sane. But now is the perfect time to create a new normal by ‘insourcing’ household tasks across your family unit, says author Kate Christie. 

Kate, a time management specialist and author of the new book Me First, says “now that you and your kids are almost completely contained, there has absolutely never been a better time to “insource” – and now that you have a captive audience, you can start today.” Insourcing is the exact opposite of outsourcing (where you hire an expert to complete a task for you, such as cleaning). Insourcing is where you identify everything you currently do for the people that you live with that they can do for themselves. Kate says that the list of what your family can do for themselves is endless, and here’s her tip tips to enforce it:

 

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1.  Break insourcing into two types of tasks

  • The “It’s your stuff, deal with it” tasks: for example, clean up your floordrobe, hang up your towel, put your rubbish in the bin. Regardless of their age, if your kids can walk they are capable of tidying up their own belongings. And if your two year old can put away his shoes, your 40 year old partner can do the same.
  • The “Family is a Team Sport so let’s all help out” tasks: for example, clear the table, stack the dishwasher, vacuum the floor, put the bins out.

 

2. Stay strong

When you see a wet towel lying on the bathroom floor, it drives you nuts – ‘How many times do I have to tell them!?’, you think. And then what do you do? You pick the towel up and hang it. Is it any wonder that your family don’t hang their towels up for themselves? From now on when you see a towel on the ground, kick it out of the way and keep walking (and remind the offender to hang it up).

 

3. Habit breaking

You are breaking two habits here: (i) the habit of your family who are used to leaving their stuff lying around the house because they know you will pick it up and put it away and (ii) your habit of picking it up and putting it away. Refer back to #2 and stay strong.

 

4. It’s easy

Don’t kid yourself that it’s easier for you to do everything rather than insist that your kids help out (after all it only takes 5 minutes right?). NO. IT. DOES. NOT. You need to do the maths. If you spend twelve minutes a day tidying up after your kids, that’s 73 hours of your time a year!

 

5. Complaints

Every day I need to remind my kids of their chores and, from time to time, I also have to manage their complaints. Recently when I asked my teenager to vacuum the kitchen, he whined ’Oh My God, are you trying to kill me?’. Um, no, I just want a clean floor and no rats. ‘You take being a mum way too seriously’, he added. I think he meant that bit about trying to teach him important life lessons such as team work, independent living, contributing to society and how to use a vacuum cleaner. ‘Surely, ‘ he finished, ’your job is to make your kids happy and their lives easier ?.’ Bahahahaha. My witty retort was along the lines of, ’Vacuuming won’t kill you mate, but if you don’t do it, I will.’  Big laughs from mum.

 

Kate says that “Yes you will have moment’s of Mother’s Guilt but I can absolutely assure you that a 10 minute vacuum won’t cause your child to become a statistic.”