Why I Have a Cleaning Lady, And Maybe You Should, Too! www.theshortesttallman.com

Why I have a cleaning lady, and maybe you should too!

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Fun fact: If my son was a girl, he would have been named Alice!

Fun fact: If my son was a girl, he would have been named Alice!

This may make your head spin.  File this under, “this works for me and my family; if you’ve never considered it, you should.”  So, before you pass judgment on me (ha!), read this post:

There was a time, not so long ago, that if a peer of mine had told me they had a cleaning lady come, I would have thought they were nuts.  Waste of money, total luxury spend, totally unnecessary.  Now, if you were a fancy schmancy type, that I could understand.  But a regular joe such as myself, I couldn’t imagine that.

Then I received the best Christmas present I believe I have ever received.  We were gifted a gift certificate for D, the housekeeper my in-laws hired.

At the time, we were in the process of buying our current home, and I was about halfway through a pregnancy.  I was stunned, quite honestly, and hardly gave a reaction because 99% was extremely excited, and 1% of me was “oh crud, they think I need a cleaning lady.”  Actually, it was probably 90/10.  or 50/50.  lol.  I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t have that thought in the back of my brain!

Regardless, we were given this magical gift.  We didn’t contact D for a few months, waited until we were settled and felt prepared to have her come, because as I quickly learned, there is work involved with having a housekeeper.  I’ll explain in a bit.

The first time she came was to do an empty-house clean of our new home right after we closed on it.  So I guess we did contact her for this one time job before having her come regularly.  If there’s one thing you take away from this post- that is a beautiful thing.  We walked in to our new house knowing it had been expertly cleaned.  No, the carpets weren’t steamed, but at least everything was legit clean upon our arrival.  That was a beautiful thing at 7 months pregnant with 2 other children.

A few months later, we were ready to have her come regularly.  She comes bi-weekly, is here for roughly 3 hours, and she charges $50.  Say what??

Stop and think for one minute what this all means.

Both my husband and I work, and my husband’s hours are rather excessive and somewhat unpredictable.  That leaves me by and large with the housework, which I am mostly happy to take on (or, rather, I am happy to take on most of it).  Doesn’t make it easy though.  I don’t know about you, but with 3 kids and working, dishes/cleaning counters/laundry just about sucks up any cleaning time I have apart from OCD cleaning.  There is a huge amount of work trying to conquer the comings and goings of 3 kids going to 3 different schools, PTA responsibilities, activites, and playtimes.  I have to leave for work in the morning at 7am, so I just simply don’t have the energy nor desire to stay up late cleaning.  Or blogging.  (it’s just been so long so I’m up late blogging tonight because I have missed it so!)  Speaking of blogging, there’s the fun parts of life, like blogging, playing, screwing around on Facebook, and relaxing in front of the TV, so juggling it all and keeping a clean home is just too much.

Now, I certainly don’t have the cleanest house on the block.  I’ve never been exceptional at keeping home.  But, I have come to the point in my life where it literally feels like I’m drowning if my house gets too cluttered.  I find myself taking deep breaths and lifting my head up as if I’m actually drowning in water.  Everybody has a different threshold for that, at different points in their life.  At whatever that breaking point is for you (could be a crumb on the floor or the “Hoarders:  Buried Alive” crew has come to your house to film an episode), once that line has been crossed, maybe you’re like me and the stress just starts breaking you down.

This is where D comes in like Superwoman and saves the day.  Or, at least like a glass of wine, takes the edge off.

She cleans all the floors, dusts and wipes all the counters (the ones that aren’t covered with shit- my dresser in our bedroom is a disaster always, so I’m sure she doesn’t bother haha), does any dishes that are out, cleans the mother trucking stove which I never ever clean, and the bathrooms.  The bathrooms.  She cleans all 3 of our lovely bathrooms.  You can also read this fact backwards- I don’t clean my bathrooms, because she cleans my bathrooms.  You can poopoo on me if you want, I know they really ought to be cleaned once per week, but I will honestly admit I do not clean them on the off weeks (unless of course we have a sick person in the house or obvious 911 clean ups).  So- all of the tasks that she does, I don’t have to do.  And really, with 3 kids (and work, although the work part of keeping home is less an issue as the 3 kids part!), how often am I realistically mopping?  cleaning the stove??  Now, like I said, it’s a 2-3 hour visit.  She’s not scrubbing every single surface with a toothbrush.  But she’s making a hell of a dent.

I mentioned that there is some work that goes into D coming:  you have to prepare your home for her so that she can do her job effectively and efficiently.  You can’t have clutter everywhere, because she’s not your maid, she’s there to clean.  If you want a maid, you can hire one of those too, and listen I would not judge at all, I will admire!  Anyway, she’s there to clean, so you have to prepare your home so she can do that.  This usually translates to Thursday nights, making sure things are decent enough for her to work.  There have been times that I haven’t picked up as much as I should or like, and I feel kinda rotten about it because I would imagine it’s a little frustrating for her.  But, she’s super nice and she has 2 grown children of her own so she knows sometimes things don’t quite pan out.

So, now that you’ve heard my story, and if you were a judge of those who hired a housekeeper, do you still think I’m crazy?  Is it something you’d ever consider?  Do you have one and you now can’t live without him/her like me??  Honest to goodness, we don’t have cable currently, and if it were to come down to D or cable, I’m sticking with D!  Maybe not forever, but at this time with what we have going on, it is just wonderful having that extra help.  Another thing to consider is family- a friend of mine hires her mom to clean her home.  It helps that the mom loves cleaning, so it’s her “thing” to begin with (not all moms are into that).  But, it’s something to think about.  We try to look at it both ways:  we hire her to clean AND we hire her to enable us to have more time doing the things we love and spending quality time with our kids.  Honestly, having a housekeeper help out helps me be a better, less stressed mom.  (BTW- a few years back, I used to pay a tween to watch my kids while I cleaned… sure it was cheaper, but it’s also a little backwards, don’t ya think??)  Having a housekeeper has been great for our family, and if you’re feeling bogged down with some of those tasks that you can’t escape from and it’s taking away from family time and other worthwhile activities, give it a thought.  You don’t have to blog about it, you can keep it a secret 🙂