There are a lot of comments, attitudes, and expectations in the startup community that are not always appropriate, relevant, or that even make financial sense. And for chicks, the Malepreneur perspective is sometimes totally off the mark. Interesting, sure, but not always on the money.
Now, if you have read any of my work, you’ll know I don’t identify as a feminist. In fact, the politics of gender are ridiculous and unnecessary. I don’t like being identified as The Female Who… and all successful people I know who are also women are the same.
Despite this, there are one or two things about being a chick that are important, often neglected, and cause dissatisfaction and difficulty.
The first of those is that women like to care. And however you paint that “caring”, it exists. It is true that most of the women I know enjoy being able to cook for people, like keeping a clean house, like to look after their men, keep up their relationships, enjoy eing able to make things, pride themselves on being able to be traditionally feminine.
Society tells us all the time that this is wrong, soft, stupid, sexist. That we ought to be able to have families, careers, hobbies, and fun, and look fabulous ALL the time, and it’s just total bullshit. You can’t. You can have a family or a career. You can’t do both at once, it’s not possible.
Or rather, you can, but you’ll do each of them half-arsed and always feel like you’re missing out on something, or that you’re inadequate. Then you’ll go home and read shitty magazines that tell you that you’re inadequate, and watch bad TV to relax. On that TV, and in that trash, are women that are impossible to model.
The second thing is that outsourcing your life is not always appropriate. Malepreneurs love to say, just outsource everything because there’s no time. Get your meals cooked for you, get a cleaner in, have someone else wash your clothes.
Well, hang on a fucking minute.
The first thing you have to do is make a choice about your life and how you really feel about how you want to live it. Don’t believe anybody who tells you that anything should be anything. I have friends who are happy being polygamous and that’s their bag. I have friends who are happy being stay at home mums, and that’s their bag. I know women who work full time, and study, and look after their families as well. If caring is part of that, then for fuck’s sake listen to your soul.
Therefore, listen to a malepreneur and only take from it the things that apply to you.
For me personally, I do not believe that outsourcing your meals is an appropriate option, if you’re a female who like to feel like she’s caring for her family, has low income or likes to know exactly what she and her family are eating. I don’t believe that taking one hour out of your day in total is too much time away from your business.
I also don’t believe that taking 5 minutes to clean your shower and bathroom every morning, or putting the dishes away, is taking vital time out of a business. Sure, if you leave your cleaning and everything to one day of the week like a total slob, then 8 hours is a big chunk of time. That speaks more about your inability to function, than it does that you’re busy.
For the rest of us, what’s five, or even 15, minutes out of your day to clean up after yourself? For fuck’s sake, get a grip. You’d pay someone to do that for you? You lazy, lazy fucker. Get out of bed 15 minutes earlier instead and save yourself the money.
For all of these people who see cooking, cleaning, washing their clothes, planning their meals, and doing all the things that are part of life for every person you meet as being a waste of time, I would like to know how you spend that time instead.
Do you spend it reinvigorating their spirits with connecting with people, spouses, children? Do you spend it staring at the clouds and letting ideas occur to you? Do you spend the time reading?
Or do you spend the time working?
And the second question is, are they married, partnered, or single? My bet is that 90% of them are single. Menial chores are always more boring when you are only supporting yourself.
All the things are part of life, not a waste of it
If you can’t take half an hour to do a week’s worth of shopping (it only takes half an hour when you have a complete list and a meal plan), and spend an hour a day cooking and cleaning up, because you are working, you actually need to step back and consider your life. Especially if you’re partnered or in a family. You can think of that time spent as being negative, or you can see it as actually looking after yourself and the people you love.
You’re an idiot if you spend your entire life working, and away from the people in your life whom you care about. When you die, the things you value are the people and the love; work is nothing.
But more to the point, menial chores are the best lesson on earth. If you’ve never used this perspective with yourself, you’ll resist the idea, for sure. However, menial chores can teach you an awful lot about focus, positivity, being present, the importance of routines, and good management.
If you are able to be 100% present when you are doing your chores, then for that five minutes of the day you are being one hundred per cent in that moment. You will find yourself more interested in what you are doing, will likely find a considerable amount of beauty in even splashing water. It teaches you how beautiful life really is.
And get creative. So what if you clean the shower while you’re in it? It’s the ultimate productivity hack. I clean mine one wall a wash; it takes 30 seconds, and boom! It’s done.
Finding your way to being positive about the things that underpin life teaches you how ordinary life feels when you feel good about it in general, and not “turned on” by something pleasurable. Chase happiness, not pleasure.
Keeping a routine for your household makes it easier – times a thousand – to keep a routine in your working life. One influences the other.
Stellar management skills are required to manage two budgets, two to-do lists, two sets of chores. If you can’t do it, start at home: It’s the best place to learn!
More to the point, taking an hour or two in the evening to cook, chat, eat, clean up, and rest, is good for your soul.
Entrepreneurs battle with the swings and lows of startup life as it is. If you can leverage your home life as lessons, as down time, and as rejuvenation – all of which the above can do for you – then you will worry less, eat better, feel good, and breeze through life more easily. Turn off the shit on the TV and do something of value.
Wait until you’ve got massive cashflow, and are actually rich, before you outsource these things. Until then, it’s just another expense, and you’re missing out on fabulous lesson time.
And if you’re a woman, I recommend you listen to that part of you that says caring is important. Because it actually is. If you squash it, you’ll end up on antidepressants, or drink too much, end up in therapy, party too much, feel anxious, and like you’re not adequate. Society tries to make you into an impossibility, and you just need to say fuck it, and be who your nature says you are.