It’s school pick up time and groups of mums are chatting together. Jen looks around furtively. Is anyone else in ear shot? She lowers her voice “Maree, someone told me that you have the name of a good cleaner?” Jen has gone out on a limb and is hoping for information instead of judgement. After all, she works part time and the kids are in school, surely she should be able to keep her own house? Maree does’t look judgemental. Maree looks relieved. “He’s okay,” she whispers, “but he just does surfaces, if you want a really good cleaner, talk to Deb.“
I am coming clean (pun intended) – our family pays someone for a fortnightly tidy. Many of the families I know have a fortnightly cleaner. But we all seem slightly embarrassed by it. Like we are spending money on a luxury we shouldn’t. I don’t think we should feel like that. It’s not that easy to run a household and every thing that can help should be welcomed with open arms.
Seven reasons I don’t not feel embarrassed / bourgeoisie / guilty about employing a cleaner – and neither should you.
- It’s a lot- it’s okay to ask for help. Here are just some of the things I do – organise our family, get everyone to school and care on time, work on and in my business, write, pay bills, look after the dog, try to look after myself, make the meals, tidy after the meals, make sure homework is done, listen to readers, bathe kids, put kids to bed, read, do the washing, folding and putting away, tidy, shop, organise presents, parties and the family social life, help out at school, cook, ferry kids around to sporting commitments, appointment and play dates, see my friends and family when I can and so the list goes on. I bet your list looks similar. I have finally realised – it’s okay to ask for help. There is a lot that goes on in my life and if I can get some assistance in one area, then I should accept that graciously, gratefully and without guilt.
- I value my time. Well, I am trying to get better at valuing my time. With the time that I would have spent cleaning, I can do things that are more important to my family. To me.
- I can tackle the bigger cleaning jobs (eventually). I constantly feel like I am in some kind of cleaning ground-hog day. I never quite feel like I have everything done and can move onto the bigger jobs. The drawers that need to be cleaned out. The walls that need a good scrub. The oven that needs to be cleaned. Having a cleaner helps me keep on top of things and it makes those larger jobs at least seem possible. Even if I haven’t quite tackled them yet.
- It’s a household expense – not a mummy luxury. Here are some things I consider luxuries, just for me: a massage, a manicure, a coffee with a friend without kids, a facial and a girls weekend away. Child care and cleaning are not a mummy luxury. The measure of whether we can afford them as a family is not whether my wage covers the cost. The measure of whether we should invest in those things as a family is whether they improve our life as a family. They do.
- I tidy for the cleaner. When I was younger my husband and I would host dinner parties and get togethers on a fairly regular basis. They always acted as strong incentive to tidy up. Our social life has moved into parks, child-friendly restaurants and the daylight hours. But I do have a fortnightly marker that acts as an imperative to tidy the place up. Thankfully.
- I can get the kids to clean their toys by making someone else the bad guy. This was actually a tip from my lovely neighbour. It’s amazing how quickly toys are returned their correct locations when you threaten that the cleaners will throw them away if they are left out.
- The feeling when you come to a house not cleaned by you. Oh my goodness, that feeling when you step into a sparkling house. I know it will only last as long as until the kids get home. But in that five minutes, I grab a magazine and a cup of tea and I pretend that the house always looks like that.
Give Away Time!
Are you in the market for a nice tidy house, not cleaned by you? The clever people behind HomeHello have a 3 hour cleaning voucher to give away to one lucky Melbourne or Sydney based reader. (Sorry, they aren’t in other states at the moment).
To enter, tell me in the comments about the biggest mess you have ever had to clean up. I’ll get an impartial party (i.e. my husband) to choose the most creative entry. If you live in a place other than Melbourne or Sydney, I’d still love to hear you messy stories. If you don’t want to enter the comp, just say “No Comp Please”.
THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED
HomeHello have not paid for this post. I support Australian small business and that’s why I am running this competition on their behalf.