Monday, June 25, 2012

A guilty little luxury

Today I took advantage of a little luxury I afford myself from time to time, although it's been over a year now since I indulged. I paid someone to come clean my house.

I have a friend I've known for maybe 15 years and when my children were younger and I had babies/toddlers/preschoolers, she'd come babysit once in a while for a couple hours so that I could get my writing work done in my downstairs office. A couple times she walked to the park with them. Once she was even brave enough to take them to a movie. She's a former teacher and super patient and sweet. I loved having her come over on occasion and the kids loved to have her over, too.

One day, she told me that she wasn't going to do babysitting anymore. She had started working part-time at her church doing cleaning and had started doing housecleaning. She said the pay was better than babysitting. So, I thought...hmmm...maybe I should pay her to come clean for me once in a while. It's just a few dollars more an hour than babysitting and the kids would still get to see her and it would sure help me out. And so that's what I did. She'd come over maybe once a month, sometimes a little longer than that. I'd give her the jobs I don't like to do or am not very good at. She always mops the floors and then does whatever else she can accomplish in a two hour time frame. Sometimes I give her a list like I did today and she just goes until everything is marked off or the two hours is up.

I don't know why I went so long without having her come over. Money got a little tight for a while and I always feel a bit guilty knowing that the cash could be going toward bills or groceries or gas, but I consider it money well spent. It also motivates me to get more cleaning and housework done. I can't not be doing work while she's working, so I always set off and do laundry or clean closets while she's here...sometimes organizing things or doing a task or normally wouldn't make time for. Today I cleaned out two closets and a dresser and folded and put away 3 loads of laundry. And after she left I did some more. Things are in pretty good order for the moment.

I admit it. I am a pretty lousy housekeeper. There's always a little bit of clutter around that I just get used to. Always a stack of mail on the coffee table. Always a couple magazines or newspapers in the dining room. Often a box of Legos in the corner of the living room. Many days, there are little clumps of dust bunnies that gather in a corner that I walk by over and over. I really wish I was a neat freak and lived in one of those houses that look like a museum where you don't want to touch anything or sit on any of the furniture. But, that's just not meant to be - not in a house with five kids. And on the rare occasion that things look pretty clean and organized, I don't like myself. I look at a clean room and I do not want my kids in it. I walk behind them griping at them to clean things up and put things away and I expect it done that very second. I blow up as one walks down the hall eating a muffin and leaving a trail of crumbs in his path. I don't want them to eat because I don't want to see a dirty dish in the sink. I don't want them to get dressed because I like seeing an empty hamper. I become a drill sergeant. And I'd rather not be a neat freak than a bitchy boot camp drill sergeant, so I'll just have to live with it. But it is nice to indulge once in a while and let someone else clean the floors.

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