When I first started staying home, I wondered if we really needed our cleaning lady anymore. Instead of holding down a full time job and shuttling all of the kids to their bazillion activities and the like, I was now the Chief Operating Officer of our household (as well as the resident neat police) and I figured that I would be able to maintain the cleanliness of our home. I like to pride myself on being neat and organized, so I figured that I could (and should) take on the role of cleaning lady. I planned to assume all of the duties of a stay at home mom and cleaning, of course, is at the top of the list.
I called our cleaning lady and told her that I would like her to come just once a month (hey… baby steps! we have had a cleaning lady for the last 9 years so I needed to take it slow) and that I would be able to handle all of the cleaning outside of that. For that first month, I cleaned every day, around the clock. I was a sweeping mad woman. I scrubbed toilets every day and wiped down counters. I also straightened beds, swiffer-jetted floors, folded laundry – you get the point. I was doing all of this cleaning but our house never really felt or looked clean. And, because I was doing all of this work, I was a royal pain in everyone’s butt. Mess up the kitchen that just took me 4 hours to clean? You might get cut. Pee on the floor in the bathroom that I just scrubbed? Are you out of your mind?
I was so annoying to my family with my new proprietary ownership of all things clean in the house that I would literally suck the life out of any room that I entered. If the kids went to bed and left toothpaste spit in the sink, I would stand outside their rooms seriously contemplating waking them up just to clean it. If my husband left his shoes out, I would angrily throw them into the closet with the force of a javelin thrower at the Olympics. If my kids or husband didn’t rinse their respective bowls and put them in the sink, I would feel tears well up in my eyes while I muttered that nobody appreciates me. Crazy, right?
Now I know that a lot of people can’t afford the luxury of a cleaning lady, but if you can afford it, I suggest that you get one, like for real. Is cleaning the house hard in and of itself? Not really but it is time consuming. and when you have 4 other messy people living in your house it can make you feel like a gerbil in one of those hamster cages.
After trying this cleaning experiment for a month, I am happy to report that we are back to having our lovely cleaning lady come every other week, and I am in a happier place for it (and I suspect my kids and husband are happier for it too). Having a cleaning lady is certainly an extra expense and I realize that so I have decided to make sacrifices in other areas. I will become an extreme couponing expert. I also plan to go longer a period of time before paying to maintain my eyebrows. I have started growing herbs in our yard, and I am even willing to do my own bikini wax (gulp!). But our cleaning lady is the one budget line item that must stay, for the sake of all involved. I am thinking that having a cleaning lady is a lot less expensive than paying the monthly fee to have me committed to the nearest mental hospital.