"Outsourcing involves the transfer of the management and/or day-to-day execution of an entire business function to an external service provider."
I picked up a local parenting magazine last week, enticed by the announcement on the cover that "It's Easy Being Green." The article on going green was useful and nice to see in a mainstream magazine. On it's last stop before the recycle bin, I flipped through the magazine and came across a snippet about how to have your babysitter teach your children to bake cookies because you are too busy.
Really? Are we, as a generation of parents, too busy to set aside a half an hour every few weeks to bake cookies or pancakes or something simple with our children. As a whole, we already outsource most domestic duties. Gardeners care for our yards and housecleaners for our homes. We trade in cooking for take out or pre-packaged meals. Many children spend more time at day care than home and a fair share are cared for by sitters when they get home from day care.
Isn't baking with our children the last true bastion of parenthood? Some of my fondest memories as a little girl are baking with my mom - rolling out cookie dough on the antique Hoosier or nibbling hot granola out of the oven or licking the beaters after we whipped up buttercream frosting. Shouldn't teaching our children to pour in the flour or stir in the chocolate chips be sacred?
If not, it may be time to re-think our lives. What is it that is keeping us this busy?
A friend opines that when people say they "are too busy", what they are busy doing is watching TV. She has a point. The television and it's cousins, the computer, Blackberry, and iPod, take much of our attention off of living, in general, and our children, in particular. Might we, as a generation, turn off Grey's Anatomy and spend that hour including our children as we cook dinner or bake cupcakes for their school party?
Electronics, alone, though are not responsible for our current predicament. Even if we all gave up our cell phones and laptops, we would still be too busy - and it wouldn't be because we were gardening or cooking dinner. No. I believe shopping is to blame for our inability to teach our children to bake a basic batch of cookies. We are too busy buying, but, even more, we are too busy working so we can buy. And if we're not working or buying, we're thinking about buying. We're watching, reading or listening to commericals to feed the urge to buy. We're surfing the Internet, trying to figure out what to buy, where to buy and when to buy. We live to buy.
If we stopped spending, made do and only purchased what we needed - really really needed - how different would our lives be? How much less hectic? We might be able to work less or stop working entirely. We might be able to start mowing our own lawns again and planting our own gardens. We might find the time to visit the library, to repair the broken blender, to take the worn out shoes to the cobbler, to mend the ripped pants. We might shop at the farmer's markets rather than Whole Foods. We might even start cooking again and, then, we just might find the time to teach our children to cook.
If we stopped spending, we could stop outsourcing and then, what would our lives and, more importantly, our children's lives be like?