I have a confession to make: I have a maid. She comes to my house every week with a team of 3 to 4 other women and cleans it. She’s been coming regularly for seven years, and I love her.
But sometimes I feel ashamed that I can’t/don’t keep up on the housework all by myself.
The other thing I feel conflicted about is whether or not having a maid has made my kids lazy. I think it may have, but chances are good that they would’ve been lazy either way.
I think about my maid a lot during the week. I wonder if she’ll notice the little projects I do around the house — closets I organize, clutter I purge. Sometimes I have a really bad week and the house really goes to pot. I wonder if she’ll think I’ve lost it or if she’ll take the state of my home as an indication that I am having a hard week and feel sorry for me. When I dust or vacuum (“extra,” because she does this for me every Thursday), I feel proud and hope she notices.
Unbeknownst to my maid, I’m in a co-dependent relationship with her. It’s not exactly healthy, but here we are.
I never planned on hiring a maid. It sort of just happened. She lived across the street from me and noticed that we were moving. She was launching a housecleaning business and offered to deep-clean for us when we were all moved out. I was seven months pregnant with my fourth child at the time and very impressionable. We ended up hiring her for the deep-clean, and then she came to our new house and gave us a bid for weekly housecleaning.
My husband was all for it. The house would never get dirty! It was an investment in the maintenance of our home! Something old-fashioned in me wasn’t sure. At the time I wasn’t working and was a full-time stay-at-home mom. Shouldn’t I clean my own house? Probably. And maybe you just judged me. I certainly judge myself. After all, what exactly do stay-at-home moms do besides clean their houses? But my husband talked me into it. His job required a lot of travel so he couldn’t help out around the house much, and it was a way to alleviate any contention between us about household jobs.
Here we are seven years later, and I’m still not sure the effect this will have on my kids. Sure, they still do the dishes and clean their rooms. They mow our lawn, shovel snow, and clean the car. Our big “chore day” is the Wednesday before the house gets a professional cleaning. (It’s true that you have to clean up so the maid can clean.) But my kids don’t regularly scour sinks or scrub toilets. They have, and they know how to do these jobs. We take a turn cleaning our church and keep messes at bay during the week, but, I don’t know. They’re probably spoiled in some ways by having a maid. I am too, probably.
Still, it’s glorious. It’s a luxury — I know that — but the peace of mind and happiness I gain from living in clean surroundings make me a nicer, more easy-going mom and a happier person. Some people get massages. Some people take “girls’ trips” to the beach. Some people smoke weed. I have a maid. Because of my tendency to get a little down when I’m living in squalor, I’ve decided that what I gain in well-being makes up for the possible laziness this choice has engendered in my children. You fret about it, but I’ve heard that a good thing to do for children is to let them get used to the feeling of tidy surroundings. When they go to college or get married and move into their own homes, they won’t feel comfortable in a chaotic mess so they will take care of their living space. Who knows?
Either way, at least my house is clean.
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