Cleaning Help: A Call for Courage!

I’m such a sucker when it comes to people working for me. I’m no good at getting favors, and I really am a guilt-laden Jewish mother. Generally speaking, I enjoy cleaning my home myself… I love the feeling of scrubbing and scouring the tile and then standing back to see the sparkly finish. That said, I am not particularly fond of scrubbing out the toilet, heaving the fridge and oven out of place to clean behind them, or tediously dusting and wiping down each and every wooden blind in these rooms. I’ve made an attempt at getting cleaning help many times, especially after I had a baby and had less time on my hands for cleaning and only time for upkeep, but I never managed to stick to it (apparently there are many reasons women shy away from getting cleaning help, I remember getting a good laugh out of a friend‘s blog post, “The Malady of a Maid“). I’d have a girl come in and work for a few hours, then I’d walk into the bathroom and feel like it was so far from clean. My control-freak nature kicked in, and I just wanted to nix the whole thing and do it myself. I wanted to use my natural products (as I wrote in this post – Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day line rocks!!), and I wanted to clean without spreading bacteria from room to room, surface to surface. I’d watch them clean, and cringe at how they used the same dirty rag from the kitchen to the bathroom to the living room etc… It wasn’t fun, and it never lasted.

Every year when I buy a new planner and get ready to transfer information, dinner menus, shopping lists etc. to the new year’s notebook, I take a pen to an index card and jot a few things I’d like to accomplish/have/institute by this time next year. I stick it into the last week in December, and hope that I can keep to some of those resolutions. Throughout the year, I take a glance at the card and wonder about how/if I’m managing to keep up with myself and my expectations. On this years card, along with a few other things was “cleaning help – once a week”. I decided to jump on it and give it another round. I hired a girl who works for my mother-in-law (and other people here in the community), knows milk/meat, good with kids (just in case!), and kind. She’s cleaning as I write this… and she’s fabulous! She came right in and got to work, was happy to use my (a lot less harsh= a bit more elbow grease) natural products, and she’s using separate mop heads and rags for the bathroom and kitchen – without me even asking!

Now comes the hard part: how do I get rid of my guilt? I can’t stop feeling like I should be cleaning with her! I just feel bad that she’s so hard at work while I sit here “working” peacefully on my laptop sipping a latté and watching Freida play in her room! I can’t relax! I know in a moment I will jump up and start cleaning out my closet, or put in a load of laundry… I will, no doubt, start organizing my “Costco pantry” and wiping down the shelfs. I can’t just sit here!

I have already offered her three drinks, set a plate out for her to eat breakfast (since we were), and told her she can feel free to take anything from the fridge… For me, there seems to be such a fine-line between getting too friendly with them, and not being nice enough to them. I don’t want my daughter to feel like we have a “maid”, and I don’t want my “maid” to feel like I forgot she’s a person. I’ve heard too many stories, and seen too many women cry to one employer about how horribly they have been treated by another employer (I’m talking frum families here, ladies!) I know I’m being overtly sensitive… just can’t seem to get passed it.

I need desperate help from you other homemakers out there – how do you relax while the cleaning help is going full force?? Do you, in fact, take it easy and sit complacently playing with your children? Or do you find it easier to leave the house and spare yourself the awkwardness?  Is it truly awkward to begin with, or am I simply a delusional cleaning-help rookie?

P.S. Is this the hottest toilet brush or what?? Normann Copenhagen just released the latest in high-design toilet scrubbing: the Ballo Toilet Brush. Contrary to other toilet brushes on the market, this Danish design is begging to be on display! Named after the Italian word for “dance”, this sleek cleaning tool wobbles on its curved base and comes in four playful (yet muted and blend-able) color options. This is one toilet brush you will not yearn to flush down the drain…!

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