We Are Both Right

Our Two Cents: Feeling Guilty About Hiring a Maid

©lusi /stock.xchng

Hiring a cleaning service should make you feel more relaxed, not hyper-stressed! ©lusi/stock.xchng

Dear Amanda and Suzanne:

Am I the only mom who would feel guilty hiring a maid? Just today another friend mentioned her cleaning lady in conversation and I started to think that I’m the only one still making myself crazy trying to keep up with the house and the kids and my job. Maybe it was my upbringing, because no woman in my family ever had a housekeeper. I can totally picture my grandmother and her sisters passing judgment on me if they even knew I was thinking about having someone else clean my house. But I’ve been tempted lately just to have someone come in every other week to clean the bathrooms and mop the floors. So tell me, am I really the only one having this issue? I’d love to know what your readers think.

–Messy Mommy

Suzanne:

We must be cousins. No really, check the family tree.

Maybe it’s just the generation we’re in — born to moms who could shoo us out of the house and spend the day scrubbing floors from the basement up while we roamed the neighborhood on our bikes. Now we’re lucky if we can manage a quick swipe of the kitchen counters in between soccer practice and gymnastics, scouts and piano lessons. And of course, we feel guilty because we’re not living up to standards of what a clean house should be (compared to what we grew up with).

Then just when you think you have found a solution, in the hopes that you can keep up both ends of the juggling act and most importantly be there for your kids, the guilt creeps in — again. Your mom or great-aunt or grandma or whomever catches wind of your plan, and asks you who you think you are to be living like a rock star.

I know how you feel.

And with that, I say go for it. If nothing else bothers you about getting some help with the cleaning (except maybe the cash you have to shell out) then you need to at least try it out. You will be able to decide if it works for you, in your specific situation. That way, whether or not anyone else understands, you can stand your ground.

And the matriarchs will get over it, especially when you invite them over for the homemade pasta you cut and cooked with all your extra time (just kidding).

Amanda:

After our son C. was born, my husband and I hired a maid for a few weeks, just to give us some time to focus on our new son. We didn’t know what we would be in for with a newborn and thought it would be a nice luxury. It was. Too nice. I think it spoiled me. It was so wonderful to walk through the house when they were finished — everything sparkled and shined. And the smell — it smelled like hotel (which I love). I was so sad when we decided that I was OK to start the house upkeep once more.

We never went that route again — not because we didn’t want it, but because from a financial standpoint it just wasn’t practical. But if I ever came into any kind of serious money, the first people I’d call would be a cleaning service. (Then the travel agent. And a chocolate delivery service that will import me all the Cadbury I could possibly eat.)

I remember feeling such relief that the house was one less thing I had to worry about. That I could “indulge” in sitting and holding our newborn rather than feel like I had to get up and mop the floor. I was able to relax. These days I don’t have an infant to hold, but I do have a toddler to play with and kids to read to and practices to attend and dinner to make and laundry to fold and — well, you know what I’m talking about. We’re parents. We’re busy. Help would be nice. And if we muggles aren’t going to get house elves anytime soon (Harry Potter! Woo hoo!) then it’s going to  have to come in another form.

So I have no guilt — none at all — about asking for and hiring help in that department. Although at the time, I do remember feeling funny about it and wondering what certain relatives would say, but now, a decade and three kids later, worrying about what other people think about how my house gets clean is not even on my radar.

I say, if you have the financial resources, hire the maid and buy yourself a good pair of earplugs to drown out the protests of your envious relatives.

*********************

Would you ever consider hiring a maid or a cleaning service? If you use one, how do people react when they find out?

Got a question you need more than one answer to? Send us a note at advice@wearebothright.com.

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