Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Would You Ever Get a Housecleaner?

A few months ago, my aunts, sister, and I were sitting around chatting about the domestic life when our oldest aunt revealed that she regularly pays someone to come and clean her house. I thought that was interesting considering how much we pride ourselves in maintaining a neat household and handling so many of the chores (a role that was beaten into us girls since childhood). I might have grown up detesting every facet of the domesticity and argued against women being expected to cook, clean, and raise children, but I've since accepted that taking care of those you love actually feels good. So when a few days later A. randomly asked if we could get a maid to come do our chores, I was immediately opposed to the idea. But why not if we have the money for it and it would save us time, energy, and stress, he asked. I thought on it for about a second and listed off my reasons:

1. The size of our house and lifestyle does not warrant paying for a housecleaner. Our junior 2-bedroom apartment is not that big and there's no reason why we can't handle cleaning it ourselves.

2. There are other supposedly frivolous things we can't get and so based purely on pride, we cannot add this unnecessary expense. Agree to cable and then maybe we'll talk.

3. This is just an excuse for you to not handle your end of the chores. If I can pick up after myself then so can you.

4. Even though they're being fairly compensated for their work, I would feel guilty about making someone else clean my home. Are they going to judge me? Are they going to look at me and think, "Wow, what a waste of a woman. She can't even mop her own floors."

5. And the biggie: I was afraid of coming across the Latina stereotype I grew up with and have her do my dirty work for me. It just didn't seem right.

In fact, I was so uncomfortable with the idea of hiring someone to clean my home that I wanted us to immediately drop the subject and begged A. to never bring it up again. I might have said we could revisit the idea when we land ourselves a mansion, but even then I silently sent a wish into the universe that I'll never have to put myself in such an awkward position.

Fast forward three months later and I notice a subway ad for Handy, a home cleaning and handyman service you can book online. I checked out the site and upon seeing how easy it was to schedule a cleaning (and take advantage of their 2-hour cleaning for $29), I decided to try them out. I won't even tell you how many Oh, really's came out of A.'s mouth when I told him my plan, but I hushed him and said it was just for research.

Our housecleaner was set to visit yesterday afternoon and the whole week leading up to our appointment I allowed ourselves to be a little more lax on the chores. It helped that we were busy with social engagements and preparing for our weekend getaway because otherwise I would've driven myself mad with how cluttered our apartment was becoming. And sure enough when yesterday arrived, I spent the hour before the housecleaner arrived picking up clothes, putting papers away, tidying up our kitchen counters, and making sure we didn't come off as slobs. Plus, I wanted her to focus on cleaning countertops, sweeping, and dusting surfaces instead of putting things away.

She arrived right on the dot and after a quick tour of the apartment and some direction on what I would like done during her visit, I left her to do the chores while I continued working in the office. It was a little weird having someone buzzing around in the back of the apartment and there were a few times when I wanted to go take a peek out of curiosity, but I didn't want to be a weirdo hovering around while she did things I could clearly do myself. So I stayed at my desk pretending to look really busy and justifying the whole situation in my head with "See? I just have too much to do!" Even if I felt like going into the restroom to pee or grab something from the fridge, I stayed in that room like a socially awkward penguin.

Two hours later, she packed up to leave and took out my trash. She also asked where the recycling went to which I said, "It's in the basement, but don't worry about it! I'll just take it down myself!" I just couldn't bring myself to inconvenience her any further. Go! Leave me to my messes!

All in all, she did a good job even though I was expecting more than just a Swiffer wipe across my floors. Would I hire a cleaner again? Probably not while I'm in this apartment unless we have a huge gathering coming up and the house looks like an absolutely wreck. But even then…meh. Our house is just rarely bad at all (thanks to my neurotic self being home all day long) and if it ever gets to that point, we can rally. While it was nice to walk into the bathroom and kitchen and have it all sparkling clean without having to take time off my other to do's, I still feel that I could do it all myself. Now if only that wasn't immediately followed by intense feelings of resentment at actually doing it all myself, we'd be good!

Tell me: Have you ever hired a housecleaner? If not, would you ever pay someone to regularly clean your home?


  1. No housecleaner for us, but I definitely won't oppose of getting one. More than half of the families I know with young children have cleaners. I was like you before, thought it was frivolous - why pay someone when I can do it myself? I am cheap so I am still holding out, but I do think had we have one, my husband I and would probably augue less, have more quality time with the kids, and our house would be overall cleaner (because there are some things we just don't get around to clean).

    1. I can definitely see how having a housecleaner when you have kids makes sense. You're probably picking stuff off the ground and they're right behind you undoing all that work! A. also brought up the housecleaner option so I would stop nagging him and complaining that there's so much to do around the house. I don't mind the chores, it'd just be nicer if he initiated more. It reminds me of the part in The Break-Up: "I WANT you to want to do the dishes!"

  2. Someone once told me they hired a housecleaner for to keep their marriage together (or something like that). I myself, had a housecleaner for over a year. I did pick up before they came but it did help keep the house cleaner. Other than their surface cleaning I had time to do more intricate cleaning of items like the oven, the baseboards, and the coffee pot. I do have caveat this by saying it was every other week and I have a pretty large two-story home and two little ones. You shouldn't feel bad for allowing your life to be a little easier.

    1. Perhaps when I'm in your shoes (large house, kids running around), I'll be begging for some help.

  3. I think I would do it, if I could afford it. My aunt does it (she's 75 and widowed) and I think my sister does it. I hate housework!

    1. Haha! Yes, my aunt is probably like I've paid my dues. It's time to relax!

  4. I ditto ChicagoLady's comment "I think I would do it, if I could afford it."

    My place is a tad messy.


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