I have finally snapped. Finally said “enough is enough”. Declared that I can take no more. I am sick of living in an untidy, and in some areas dirty, house. It has been building up for months and this week as I stared mucky fingers prints on the cloakroom door, knowing they had been there for ages, I burst into tears. I had reached the point where I couldn’t take the shame of the state of our home anymore.
So I bit the bullet and found a cleaning lady. I had been thinking about if for ages as the feelings of shame and despair rose but had been put off by stories of sub standard work from well known franchise type agencies; complicated payment structures where a part of the fee was paid by direct debit to an agent and the rest in cash to the cleaner; and of having a random stranger in the house. There was a thread in a group on Facebook for local parents and somebody else asked the question “can anyone recommend a cleaner?”. One name was mentioned over and over again.
I called her. She came round. She said the things I wanted to hear and that was it. She told me they would sort things out, not just clean. They would sort cupboards. Tidy bedrooms. She wouldn’t just fling a Hoover round. She would come in and sort us out. that was it. We had ourselves a cleaner.
I was ashamed of myself then though. Why couldn’t I do it? Why was our house a mess when I know others who have full time jobs have houses that are virtually show homes? I have pretty high standards and for months the house has fallen way below it. And that made me fed up, annoyed, less inclined to do anything about it as I just didn’t know where to start. Or have the time to clean it. I cram so much into my days that cleaning get shoved down the priority list. There is always something else to do before tackling four loos. Resenting the fact that Mr B and the kids didn’t see it as a priority. And despite doing things when they could it was never going to be enough. We are lucky to live in a large house. It needs hours spent on it on a weekly basis.
I confessed to friends that I was now “one of those women who employs a cleaner and who you are all now going to hate” . I was staggered by their reaction. Far from hating me or calling me a lazy cow everybody applauded my decision. Said they would do the same / had done the same. That it has saved their sanity.
Phew. Thank God for that.
And then it dawned on me. Why should I feel ashamed of spending £50 a week on something that makes me feel better? That means we all get to live in a clean house? Nobody else in the house has the time or inclination to do any of it on a regular basis so why am I the one feeling guilty? They have a day off, they stay in bed or do their own thing, when do I get a day off?
No, sod it.
I won’t feel guilty about it anymore. I don’t smoke. I rarely drink (contrary to popular opinion I really don’t drink more than about one glass of Martini a week). I don’t go out with mates for dinner regularly. I don’t lunch at work or expensive coffees on the way from the station every morning. If I did any of those things I would spend far more than £50 a week, surely? And I wouldn’t feel guilty.
So why does having a cleaning lady make us feel guilty?