In other news of my recent life: I finally broke down and hired a cleaning service for home.

I cannot tell you how much this has drastically changed my mood. It was such a long time coming, because basically I had to admit to myself that I was failing at doing everything, and that it didn’t make me a terrible person. I am not sure why I have this instilled belief that housekeeping has to be entirely on me, but I do. My own mother did stay at home when we were kids, up until I was 15 and my father died, however she had no housekeeping skills whatsoever, so this did not mean that she necessarily instilled in me a belief that housework was either A. important or B. fulfilling. In fact, quite the opposite, and yet I had enormous guilt and self-esteem issues tied up in my inability to keep my home nice.

Anyhow, it all came about when I had an old friend visit for the first time in probably 6 years. She got here for a visit right as we were transitioning to new office space, after having worked from home for a couple of years. For the three weeks before she arrived, I was almost never home. I turned a blind eye to everything there, and was totally unprepared for her visit, to the point of having to find clean sheets to make the guestroom up only AFTER she’d gotten there.

We had a perfectly lovely visit, and then on our way to the airport the final morning she suggested gently, and with the nicest of intentions that I should hire some help. I was completely mortified because I’d wanted her to have a good visit, and then I was embarrassed in the extreme that she’d been subjected to our household chaos, but I am grateful that she said it. We talked about it for a few minutes, and I threw out all of my usual reasons for not doing it.

Elliott wouldn’t like the privacy disruption. (I actually thought this, but as it turns out, he had no such qualms.)

It’s too expensive, how can I mentally justify that? (I get a massage about twice a month, mani/pedis twice a month, hair salon every 6 weeks, so really, I’m going to use that?)

I should be doing it all myself, shouldn’t I? (I work 50+ hours at the office, volunteer several more hours per week, and have the competitive sailing hobby. When am I doing this?)

And if not, shouldn’t my three teenagers be pitching in more? (I’ve found from experience that the job of getting them to do housework takes roughly the same amount of time and energy as doing it myself.)

After thinking about it for a few days, I was having a conversation with a friend about it, and it turns out ANOTHER friend of ours was in the midst of a start-up cleaning business. And so, I finally broke down and did what I should have done about two years ago, when life became truly busy. I got help. It’s only maybe 3-4 hours a week, and at this point I’ve limited it to the lower floor, but the difference it’s made in my life is phenomenal. I no longer feel stressed out upon entering my home after an 8-10 hour day. I no longer have an issue with impromptu dinner invitations to friends, because I know a disaster doesn’t await, and I won’t have to clean for a full day just to make it look passable. It’s amazing to me that so few hours can make this big a difference.

(In case you are reading, thanks S. for the nudge I needed to do this. I’m grateful.)


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