When I was younger, I had no idea what a “homemaker” was. Like, just run the vacuum a few times a week and make lunches – how hard can it be?
Fast forward and whoa. There are so many moving parts to a family. Mentally, you’re keeping track of a million things. Permission slips, clothing requirements, laundry (MY GOODNESS THE LAUNDRY), pets, illness, report cards, bills, in-law’s birthdays, mortgages, insurance, car maintenance – and that’s really just a snippet of what is running through your house manager’s mind at any time.
All of these things take time out of a precious day. When my kids were younger, and I worked full time outside the home, we had someone at the house taking care of the kids – and their messes. Then they graduated to daycare. The benefit of these is that NO ONE is in your home all day making messes to clean up. And of course, when you’re working full time, you also feel a little more justified in paying out a little bit to have someone take care of the cleaning.
Now I work part time with three kids in school. Life is constant chaos and for the most part, my home stays somewhat clean, if only because with three kids and two dogs, someone is always spilling or – let’s say, leaving bodily fluids – on the floors and carpets, necessitating sporadic but regular cleaning. Plus, I have no intention of paying someone to make my home sparkling when it is sure to only last the first 30 seconds of my children coming home. Or, honestly, myself – I sure love to spill coffee, apparently. So I have avoided having a cleaning service, when I need more of a pick-up-your-shhhhhtuff service…
For me, what gets me behind and feeling overwhelmed is the more random things like my garage becoming a dump zone, my fridge being home to the remnants of an overly-ambitious trip to the produce aisle, cobwebs on the windows and tumbleweeds under the couch. Things I could take care of (I think) if I wasn’t interrupted by a soccer practice, dog emergency, swim lessons… you get the picture.
Like most decisions, actions and discussions about parenting, there is a lot of judgment around outsourcing your drudgery (aka, hiring a “cleaning lady”). ESPECIALLY when you’re working part-time. If someone else can get my house in order, why can’t I? How did our parents do it all? (Well, mine had a cleaning lady and no internet.) I try not to pay too much attention to those voices inside my head. If something helps, it can’t be bad.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from momming all these years, it’s that we all have different abilities and motivation. I am personally filled with dread when I hear words like “bake sale” or “holiday decorating”. I’m not sure that anyone gets too excited about the words “cleaning your toilet”, but there are definitely people who are able and enjoy keeping their home orderly. For some reason the corners of my house collect things like rocks, binder clips, and banana peels on a regular basis, and I need a little help. So it’s time to outsource and get some help with my odd little jobs, if only to let me get a few more things crossed off my list. Of course now I have to make the list. Where do I start?!