Maybe I’m being overly dramatic, but let me tell you, I’ve been more infatuated with my husband these past several weeks of hiring our cleaning lady than in this past year. A cleaning lady just makes everything better*.
* I want to preface this post by saying that I realize that housekeepers may not be very prevalent in the Midwest or other parts of the country, but in southern California, it is very common. While I understand that it is still a luxury, I would say that hiring a housekeeper in southern California is akin to having a snow plow service in the Northeast. Sure you can shovel snow yourself, but isn’t it better to have someone else do it for you?
When we first moved into our place, we both did our best to divvy up the cleaning duties equally. That lasted all of about a month before Eric hurt his back and couldn’t do much of anything for five weeks. I don’t blame the guy for hurting himself, but you can’t deny that everything fell on me.
Then, he started working part-time, which would make you think that he had extra time to clean, except he was working the night shift, 7 pm to 7 am and he would spend his days sleeping. On the days he didn’t sleep, he’d be studying for countless fire tests and prepping for interviews.
Now, Eric is going to school full-time and working full-time. He has very little free time.
I get all that. I understand all that. But try telling yourself that when you’re spending your free time cleaning up by yourself week in and week out. I just don’t think it’s fair that I have to be responsible for all the day to day stuff, in addition to working a full-time job myself. We’re supposed to be a team, right?
In Midlife Crisis at 30, I felt Katherine said it best when she described the household-work dynamic between her and her spouse:
“We make all major decisions together. But when it comes to practical, daily-life stuff–like cleaning the house, grocery shopping, making dinner, running errands–there is nothing equal about what’s going on. Even though we both have demanding careers, somehow I am in charge of everything that my mother was, too–and she was a full time housewife.”
This is ultimately what I feel like sometimes.WE both work full-time jobs, we should both be sharing household responsibilities equally–but there is rarely anything equal about it.
I manage all our day to day affairs, I take care of the grocery shopping, the bill paying, the day to day tidying up, the loading and unloading of the dishwasher, the walking and feeding of the dog. I schedule all the doctors’ appointments, all of Bentley’s grooming appointments…Today, I even took care of rolling over Eric’s IRA from his old job.
You may think that I should just let him handle this stuff, but the last time I let him take care of it, I ended up spending an extra $8 to fax medical receipts because he waited til the last minute–even though I had been reminding him for three months.
I love, love, love my husband and I understand he is a very busy guy at the moment, and it’s not really his fault. I get all that. But I don’t feel like I should have to metaphorically pay for it and get stuck with having to manage everything just because he’s busy. In the spring, I’ll be going back to school too and I’ll still be responsible for the day to day duties.
So instead of festering in resentment, I hired a cleaning lady. Because that takes care of the one major thing I hate to do.
She comes every other week, and the house is spotless. It feels so good to come home to a clean house and just relax. I know that it seems like an extravagance, especially when I’m still working on paying down $20,000 in student loans. BUT– at $130 a month, I truly believe our cleaning lady is worth every single penny. And I will delay my debt repayment if it means saving my sanity.
Would you ever hire a cleaning lady? Do you feel like you’re in charge of more household stuff even though you both work full-time jobs?
Photo credit: Anne Worner.