I work from home while taking care of my two little girls. Usually it means I'm working early mornings, late nights, and anywhere I can squeeze in a hour or so between diaper changes, feedings, burping, potty trips, kissed owies, reading, cooking...you get the idea. It gets particularly challenging when I have a deadline. For some reason my two-year-old just doesn't understand deadlines. Go figure. When I start stressing out over an impending deadline, my husband loves to suggest I hire a babysitter. Brilliant idea! We have three available right on our cul-de-sac. The babysitter will come, I will work, and my deadline woes be damned. Then I open my eyes, take a look around, sniff the stale air of my dirty house, and quickly equate the babysitter-cleaning-time-saved-vs.-time-spent-ratio. It goes something like this:
Time saved = Hours babysitter comes − Time spent consoling sad toddler who doesn't want mommy to go − Time spent frantically cleaning to make the house presentable − Time spent nursing baby (babysitter can't do that one)
Let's fill this in with the figures from a typical day:
Time saved = 3 hours − 15 minutes − 1 hour 15 minutes − 30 minutes
Time saved = 1 hour
Now it gets tricky. You see, I've now paid the babysitter for 3 hours. Is this three hours of pay less than my pay for the 1 hour of productive work time? Yes, but not by much. Call me lazy, call me crazy, but sometimes it's just not worth it. Now I've tried explaining this to my husband, but he still loves to throw out the babysitter as the answer to all of my problems. One day it will be. I'm hoping once school is out (when my babysitters are readily available) I'll be far enough along in my project to knock that 1 hour of frantic cleaning down to a solid 15 minutes. And that will make for some pretty sweet math.