Is it wrong to not only employ outside help in your home, but to actually enjoy and appreciate the fact that you do?
A friend of mine, “Miss Rigby,” is a professional cleaning lady. Not young in terms of her years, but very much so in terms of her spirit, she has about a half-dozen clients close to her home. They live in abodes of up to 6,000 square feet, they have kids, elderly parents, pets, jobs, businesses – and they all have homes in various states of uncleanliness. Miss Rigby can spend anywhere from two to seven hours in their homes, cleaning everything from bathrooms to baseboard to antique bric-a-brac. Some of these folks are very good about paying, even paying a full hour’s rate for part of an hour’s work. Some of them have a tendency to “forget” to leave a check altogether.
Miss Rigby loves the good payers, and wishes a pox, a plague and warty toes on the others. And she has replaced a few clients who treated her like property to be loaned to others, a potential thief, or a low-caste being with the intelligence of a Pet Rock. Some have left “test dirt.” Some have left their toddlers at her feet – while she’s trying to remove child grime from their floors.
That’s no way to love the cleaning lady. Or anyone else who’s paid to help you keep your house and your sanity.
A few of my acquaintances say they base their current level of (relative) sanity on the fact that they have outside help, be it with cleaning, yard care, weekly manicure or child care. It’s not so much because they cannot do these chores themselves. The extra time gained from delegating the job (and paying well) mattered to them. Here are some of the things they said:
“I pay $70 every other Thursday for a cleaning lady.”
“Seventy dollars is not bad. I’m thinking cleaning and lawn care will probably be the first two things we hire out after we have kids. I’d feel a little weird having strangers in my home, but it’s worth it to me if it meant the floors were mopped.”
“Seventy-five dollars every other week for the housekeeper, $55 every week for massage, $200 for a six-month yoga membership. All these things help me function better.”
“My cleaning lady/part-time nanny who drives picks up my son from school on the days I work. It’s a huge help, because otherwise he would have to take several buses each way. Definitely helps me keep my sanity.”
So if you have the luxury/necessity/demand for outside help, good for you. You are providing employment and giving yourself some extra life-time as well. Just be nice to these folks. You never know where they will start feeding steroids to your dustbunnies.