House + Work = No Housework

As a full-time working wife and mother, I’ve often been overwhelmed with the demands of keeping a squeaky-clean home, producing appetizing, fully nutritious, home-cooked meals, having the time and energy to engage my son in intellectually stimulating activities, and, above all else, keeping a squeaky-clean home.
Oh, and did I mention keeping a squeaky-clean home? Because that’s really important to me too.

One obvious solution is to hire someone to come clean my home, which would take a huge chunk off of my overflowing plate, and might even contribute to making me a *little* less crazy. (No guarantees, though).

But, similar to my issues with getting a pedicure (why would ANYONE have goodwill towards me if I’m sticking my toes in their face and having them clean, massage, file, and paint while I sit there? Especially since I have, uh, larger than average feet that have been beaten and battered by running (black toenail syndrome, anyone?), which probably makes it infinitely less pleasant for the poor woman trying to keep her face from contorting with disgust and more than a little concern.

Back to cleaning my house.

So, I find that no matter how bad things get, and how busy I am, I haven’t been able to justify (to myself) hiring someone to come clean for me*.
(This is EVEN after my husband explicitly told me: “Let’s hire someone to come clean the house.” What he didn’t say was “Before one of us kills the other one.”)

Part of that is the conflict between the image of the highly capable, perfect wonder-mom that we see on TV shows and movies, and reality.

Ideal TV world: Mom can easily juggle a full-time job, while also being the perfect cook, disciplinarian, fun-loving parent, and sexy, energetic wife who keeps a squeaky-clean home with little effort or complaint.

Reality:
Frazzled mom gathering her things while preparing her child’s lunchbox, rushing to leave for work before the sun rises, doing a full day’s work, leaving after the sun has set, running to get to daycare/preschool before it’s too late, then rushing back home to try and get some food into her family’s hungry bellies. Dinner’s done, it’s bedtime, and instead of “stimulating activities”, she spends half an hour fighting with her child about why he needs to go to bed. Clean up, do the dishes, then collapse on the couch with 2 brain cells left intact and no energy to be the energetic, sexy half of a couple.

Still, I do not want to pay someone to clean my house. Why? I don’t know. Many reasons. I’m not comfortable with it. I don’t think we live in a large enough home to justify it. It makes me feel inferior (to Perfect TV Mom?) and weak. I should be able to do it all. Right?!
But I have never been as busy as I am these days, and I have never had to spend this many hours away from home on a consistent basis. This leaves me with only enough energy to take care of the basics during the week (sometimes not even), until I can get to my weekend ritual of turning the house inside-out.
 
I constantly wonder whether I would have this same level of struggle with the whole concept of hiring a housekeeper if I lived back in the Middle East, where hiring/having a housekeeper is standard procedure.  In some social circles, I feel like it may even be expected.

In any case, I’ve come to the point where I realize something needs to change. It will probably boil down to either a change of work/job, or a lowering of my standards. Knowing me, I will probably drive myself crazy before I’m able to make a decision.

* Disclaimer: A couple of years ago, back in sunny Southern California, (where I will inevitably someday return to, BTW) I DID indeed hire someone to come clean for me. This was only for a very short stint of time, where I had her coming in once every two weeks for about 3 hours at a time to clean.
At that point my son was about 18 months old, and I thought I might go crazy with the “lack of help” around the house. In an act of pure rebellion (I’ll show him!) I decided to outsource the cleaning so I could focus on my baby when I was not at work, but even then, it just didn’t feel right. Even though the lady was more fabulous than I, with cute Coach bags on her arm, coordinated outfits, hot jeans, and perfectly highlighted hair. Shouldn’t make a difference, but hey, I’m human, and after hearing that she was doing this to add to her income and not because she was completely desperate for money made me feel a little better. Also the fact that she was picky about her “clients” and didn’t just take anyone’s business.  

However, at the time our place was barely 900 square feet, i.e. 84 meters squared, and it just seemed absurd that I couldn’t handle it on my own. (Even though the tiny space was part of the reason why it was such a challenge keeping everything in order, since cleaning is MUCH harder when everything and everyone are all piled on top of each other and you have bruises on your body from constantly bumping into everything.)

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6 Responses to House + Work = No Housework

  1. rodney says:

    If you don’t hire a person to clean your home within the next 48 hours, then i will do it myself. i have your address and all the information needed to make this happen. Soooooo ‘Wonder Woman’ do yourself and your family (all of us :) a huge favor and hire someone immediately…..as in ‘Right Now’!!! You hear me???

  2. Angela says:

    Amen, Brother Rodney!

  3. kinziblogs says:

    You do it, babe. I was the hot housekeeper for a time, I loved cleaning other people’s houses for a huge amount of money

    At this point ;) you do what you need to do to make life work.

    Hopefully, they are a little cheaper in UT than CA, too

  4. halasaleh1 says:

    Update: I’ve taken the first step and gotten the phone number of someone who cleans houses! Progress! :)

  5. Pingback: Housework UPDATE! « halistic

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