Dirty secrets-my love hate relationship with hiring a cleaner

By Janet Richardson

“Good moms have sticky floors, laundry piles, messy kitchens and happy kids.” How many times have we seen this quote on the walls of homes we visit and all over Pinterest? I wanted to believe it was that simple. That was until the day my sock literally stuck to the floor of my kitchen. I had to tug it from what I’m assuming was maple syrup or it could have been lollipop residue..the possibilities are endless.

I believed that I was juggling everything pretty well. Taking care of one kid then two kids, cooking, laundering, cleaning. Everyone was fed, clean, happy, entertained and cared for. Did I look good..NO! But I thought everything else looked pretty good. Sleep deprivation might have been a contributing factor is overlooking certain things but I digress.

On that sticky day I begin to consider my husband’s gentle then not so gentle suggestions that we hire a cleaner. I asked around, got a couple of referrals. Then I dragged my heels actually setting it up. Excuses abounded, weak ones. What was my problem? My load would be lightened, my house would certainly be in better shape, she came highly recommended, what was keeping me from making the call? The simple answer is that in my mind hiring her was proof I was failing at my job. I had dropped and shattered one of the balls I was supposed to be juggling one handed and now someone else better had to take over.

This job isn’t like other careers where you get an annual review of your performance. In the business world if your performance is on par, you maybe get a raise and more vacation time. Or if you’re not doing the job to your employer’s satisfaction you get written up and if goes in your permanent file. Or they might even let you go and search for a more qualified candidate. I had been good at my previous profession but in an aspect of this one the company would be seeking to rehire.

So I pulled the trigger and the cleaner began to come with her little crew to “deep clean” while the kids were at school and my husband was at the office. Initially I didn’t know what to do with myself. It’s my house. Do I stay? Do I leave? Do I offer coffee or excuses? They see everything that been pushed not swept under the rug. They see my literal dirty secrets.

As time passed my perception of the service she provides changed. I came to think of her as part of my village. We all have a village of people that make our lives run more smoothly. We have teachers to teach our children, doctors to get them healthy again if they get sick, trainers to get a better workout at the gym, and my favorite the magical repairmen that fix suddenly broken appliances. She wasn’t here because I was failing, she was here because this job was too big to handle alone. She and her crew can handle it because they are professionals and this is the only part of my home they are responsible for. They don’t have to fill out permission slips, chauffeur everyone everywhere, help with homework or volunteer at school. They aren’t raising my children or being a partner to my husband. They aren’t a homeroom mom or there for my family and friends. Heck, they aren’t writing these words now, I am.

I’ve made my peace with this company restructuring. I can accept outside help. I am a better mommy, friend and healthier person because I expanded my mind and my village. I was granted extra time and sanity. FYI it looks pretty darn good around here as well and added bonus no one has gotten stuck to the floor recently. I let go and found more happiness and she found some really interesting long missing treasures under the couch cushions. I would have gotten around to looking there eventually…NOT!!!