Growing up, my parents instilled in me a deep respect for hard work. They impressed upon me that there is honour in every honest labour and that every person’s contribution is valued, regardless of their job title.
So when the idea of outsourcing a weekly house clean bubbled to the surface, my initial reaction was one of horror.
I actually enjoy cleaning (when I’m on my own, with music blaring).
I don’t consider housework to be somehow “beneath me”.
I believe housekeeping is an honourable labour.
So how could I possibly marry my need for a housekeeper with my deep-seated belief that I should never outsource this task?
If you’re anything like me, you probably have a few specific objections to hiring a cleaner. I’m going to share my objections with you today, and tell you how I overcame them.
Objection Number 1: Pina coladas.
Earlier in the year, my husband wanted me to get a cleaner to take the pressure off a bit. He kept telling me how much better I’d feel by outsourcing a weekly clean and even offered to make the call for me! I told him that I would feel bad having another woman cleaning my house. His response:
“My Mum used to have a cleaner come once a week to vacuum and mop, and mum didn’t sit on the verandah sipping pina coladas while the other woman worked.”
Light bulb moment. Of course I wouldn’t be sitting down sipping a cocktail and watching soap operas while someone else cleaned my home. What a funny thought.
Instead of drinking cool beverages on the verandah, I spend the time deep cleaning the kitchen while Sharon cleans at the other end of the house. Once she makes it to the kitchen, I shuffle all the kids off to the school room to read books while she finishes off. I thrive with a clean kitchen and happy kids, so it’s an enjoyable way to spend those 2 hours!
Objection Number 2: What would my kids think?!
I was also worried about what my kids would think. I desperately don’t want my children to grow up thinking that there is no honour in housework or that this is a job that was somehow above their mother to do.
My sister pointed out that perhaps they would value a clean house more once they understood that we had paid someone for their time to clean it. I don’t know if this is the case yet, but maybe as they grow older and their understanding of the value of time and money improves, they will start to get it.
But at the end of the day, it’s not as if I don’t do any housework! I still vacuum on a Monday morning and clean the kitchen every day, plus a plethora of other little jobs that don’t fall into Sharon’s weekly clean. The kids still have to be responsible for their own things, as I don’t expect the cleaner to pick up my children’s toys. She is not a servant or a maid.
When all is said and done, she’s only here for 2 out of a possible 168 hours in the week. We have to take care of our home for the other 166 hours.
Objection Number 3: But it costs money!
Shock, horror. Outsourcing housework costs money. While I don’t hesitate to outsource business tasks, it was hard for me to commit to outsourcing something for which I knew I wouldn’t be able to recoup a return. When you outsource a business task, the expectation is that it will free you up to do stuff that only you can do, and therefore is the best use of time and funds. When it comes to the home though, it’s not quite as simple to justify. Well, it wasn’t for me!
But some things can’t be measured in dollars, and a clean house is one of those things. While I wouldn’t consider myself a “clean freak”, I do think it’s important to do a decent clean of the home once a week -even if that clean isn’t all in one hit, but rather one room at a time. It makes me feel better, function better and stay organised.
With homeschooling commitments taking precedence over housekeeping, I would struggle to get the house cleaned in a timely manner that satisfied those needs. Some days, it could take 6 hours just to get a room vacuumed, because I’d be interrupted by a myriad of other demands on my time and attention.
At the end of the day, my sanity is worth more than my cleaner’s rate, and I love knowing that we’re supporting another woman’s family and small business. The return on my investment in a housekeeper is immeasurable by any monetary standard.
Objection Number 4: Too proud for my own good
Part of the reason I didn’t want to get a cleaner was simply pride.
I’ve never been one to care what people think – it was more about me. That soft inner voice that whispers:
You should be able to manage this.
You teach mothers how to thrive and yet you outsource your own cleaning! You hypocrite!
Look at all those other mothers with more children and greater commitments than you -they cope!
Part of thriving is understanding our own strengths and weaknesses. It’s also about creating boundaries.
This long journey to saying yes to getting a weekly cleaner has reinforced for me the need to stop comparing myself to others. To stop falling into the compare-and-despair trap.
This journey has helped me to swallow my pride and to teach my children that it’s more than ok to accept help when you need it.
I don’t do it all.
I know that we won’t always need a cleaner. But right now, in this crazy busy beautiful phase of life with little ones who need so much of my time and attention, we need one.
Right now, I need a cleaner to come once a week. She helps me thrive.
And in case you feel you need permission to thrive, let me tell you:
You have permission to do what you need to do to thrive with those beautiful babies of yours.