Why Hiring a Housekeeper Is One of the Best Things I Ever Did

There’s this notion—especially in today’s society and with social media—that moms have to do everything. They need to keep the kids fed, dressed, and alive, all while making sure they don’t get too much screen time and educating them at the same time (by playing, getting creative and artistic, and letting them run around); they need to keep the house clean from clutter, and everything dusted; they should always do all the laundry, and keep the floors clean; they need to wear makeup, get their hair done, put on clothes (other than yoga pants), and look “put together”; they need to have breakfast ready, lunches packed, and dinner on the table at night; they also need to schedule some “me” time from time to time, and by all means, they most certainly need to have enough energy at the end of the day to make the husband happy…if you know what I mean.

All of that, my friends, is not possible. (And if you say that it is, I say that you’re lying.)

When my husband deployed over the summer I was at my wits end trying to do everything and keep myself sane at the same time. I almost failed at the sanity part, but I luckily decided to do something about it. I figured out where I needed to change things in order to make life easier on myself. When I sat down and evaluated where I was struggling, one of the biggest challenges that came to mind was keeping the house clean.

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It wasn’t the clutter that bothered me, because I could handle that (or at least move piles of stuff around enough to make things clean enough for our lifestyle); it was the floor situation. Our dog was shedding beyond what I could sweep, and the toddler was making messes everywhere her tiny toes stepped. Cleaning up when she was around was worthless, and I was worthless after she went to bed—that was my time relax; I had no motivation or desire to clean.

I felt silly broaching the idea of a housekeeper with my husband—I was supposed to be able to do it all, after all, isn’t that what a stay-at-home parent does? But when I finally suggested it, he was more than on board. To start my search for someone, I asked around and found a gal who appeared good on paper. She came over, gave me an estimate and we set something up for the next week. I was beyond excited. Unfortunately, she didn’t work out (personalities and work styles didn’t match my expectations), so I started asking friends who they used. I was hesitant to ask people I knew, because it seemed like a personal, taboo topic (and honestly, I hated to admit that I couldn’t do it all on my own), but it turns out that many of my friends have someone come by to help them clean; I was shocked and relieved to discover that they didn’t do it all on their own. I suddenly felt so much more relaxed and normal about needing some extra help.

On the high recommendation of a close friend, I found a new lady to do the job. Her price was reasonable and after the first time she cleaned, I knew she was a keeper. Right now she comes over every two to three weeks, and she cleans the floors, the counter tops in the kitchen, and the bathrooms. She’s here for about three to four hours and does an outstanding job. It’s so good that I actually try to eat out or bring in take out for dinner the day she cleans, because I try to prolong the the cleanliness of my kitchen for as long as possible.

I’ve had people ask me what I do to prepare for her coming over, and it’s not a whole lot. Since she cleans the floors, we do pick things up off the floor and put it elsewhere (usually the couch, bed, table, etc.), and I’ll try to make sure that the dishes are put away and the counters in the kitchen are cleared, but that’s about it. I’m sure she would pick things up, but I’d rather she use her time to do what needs to be done. I don’t necessarily “clean” up for her, so you won’t see me sweeping or busting out the vacuum before she arrives.

Most of the time I also leave the house while she’s here. I take Julia to a mom’s morning out program and I go somewhere to write. That’s my me time, and I thoroughly enjoy it. If I do stay home, I usually keep to one room—the office, typically. Whether I leave or stay, I definitely try to take Julia somewhere since she’s at the stage now where she’ll just follow our housekeeper around and make things messier for her.

I know some friends who have a housekeeper come over have them do a lot more than us (some do laundry, make beds, fold towels, dust everything, etc.), but this is what works for us right now. I’m glad I started having someone come over while I was pregnant, but before I have two under two, just so I could get a feel for how things work. If I thought keeping up with a house was hard now, I can only imagine what it’ll be like to keep things clean with a toddler and a baby!

Do you have a housekeeper come over? 
What was your breaking point and deciding factor to call in extra help? 
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15 Comments

  1. I loved reading this! We are moving this summer and expecting our first child in March. I would love to have someone come every two weeks or so and just get the stuff that is most time consuming and that I hate to do….bathrooms and floors being the big things. You've inspired me to factor this into our budget. 🙂

  2. I would love to have someone come clean my bathrooms. I hate the bathrooms. I may just have to look into this now. And you're right, so many people actually use housekeepers and they just don't talk about it lol.

  3. I hate vacuuming with a firey passion. Our dog sheds like crazy and every week I have to vacuum. Luckily it is just my husband and I at the moment but something tells me when kids come along I am going to be begging for a housekeeper for that alone!

  4. Oh, if only I could get a housekeeper! Just to mop my kitchen and dust, really.
    I laughed so hard at the first paragraph. I don't do 99% of all that in a day — I don't know that I would live to see tomorrow if I did. And when I do do a lot of it, A.} my hair doesn't get done {I dont think it ever does, other than a messy bun} and I don't get out of yoga pants and B.} My kids are enjoying cartoons while I do it. After reading an article on ScaryMom today … I don't feel bad about it at all. Not anymore!

  5. Dan and I were about to re-visit the idea of a housekeeper when he lost his job. Obviously we couldn't afford it on just my income and our savings. Once we have our own place in Georgia, whether that's a house or an apartment, we will discuss it again.

    I originally brought it up last summer because I'd had it UP TO HERE with the uneven distribution of housework. I explained very clearly to him that not only was the amount of housework I had to do unfair, but the fact that he literally only cleaned if I asked him to do so stressed me out majorly. He promised to do better… but he didn't improve all that much by October. But like I said, that's when he lost his job.

    During his unemployment, our split of housework was definitely more even, and I just accepted that my working full-time + housework took much more time each week than his housework + job hunting. I didn't want to stress him out more since I knew being unemployed was hard enough on him.

    But he started his new job today HOORAY which means that once I'm down in Georgia, and we have a new place, he gets to decide on pitching in more with cleaning without me having to ask or paying for a housekeeper.

  6. I have a lady come every two weeks and I LOVE IT. She cleans the things I don't want to clean (shower, stove, floors) plus everything and anything I ask her to. She spends four solid hours cleaning up and it's amazing. It's going to be such a help as I get bigger and then when the baby comes. Housekeepers forever!

    (Though I stay home when she's cleaning. My husband is paranoid.)

  7. Depending on where you live, it is SO affordable to hire help! When we were living in Washington State I had someone come every other week for three hours. It was amazingly fantastic. When we moved to San Diego it was too expensive to hire someone. When we lived in Northern CA, it was hard to find someone and when I did it was awesome. Living overseas, everyone has a housekeeper or help come in weekly or every other week. It's just part of the culture – acknowledging and accepting that you can't do it all. I love it.

  8. Good post!! I've been surprised to see how taboo it is to hire a cleaning service or to get any help at home at all. I had a friend end up in the hospital from exhaustion because she tried to "do" it all with three kids–one was a newborn that she had later in life. When I encouraged her to hire a cleaner, she was horrified, believing that only "rich" or "lazy" people would do such a thing.
    It's really just a matter of determining how valuable is your time with your children/ your spouse/ yourself (everyone needs 'me' time), and then determining whether that extra $50-150 (or whatever you pay) is worth taking away from that time. I'd sooner forego eating out than losing our housekeeper, but then again I enjoy cooking with my husband. Likewise, if you hate cooking, but like cleaning, order a meal delivery service and do the cleaning yourself (though I've calculated those plans–much more expensive than a housekeeper!).
    I see no reason in needing to take pride in "doing" it all; just re-code as "managing" it all. You managed the cleaning–great! No shame in not doing it yourself as long as you've ensured that your housekeeper is thorough.
    Thanks for bringing up this great topic!!

  9. I've thought about a housekeeper so many times since starting our family last year. It's challenging to work from home (specifically to create family boundaries that respect my time and mental space for working) while raising Small Shaw and having Nick so busy with work and school. It's such a relief to read that you let someone help out. Thanks for telling us about your experience!

  10. You know, when I was watching the Dick Van Dyke show on Netflix, there's an episode where Laura's housekeeper quits, and her whole life goes to pot. This is a woman with ONE school age child, doesn't work outside the house, and still needed someone to come 3 times a WEEK to keep from losing her mind.

    I try to remind myself of that episode whenever I start to feel overwhelmed as a housekeeper….which, with a baby who's decided she's a lap baby now, is basically every day.

  11. One day I will get a maid to help with the cleaning. I know it would clear up some of my time that I could be spending on my daughter and me time.

  12. I love your positive comments on hiring a housekeeper! I am always struggling to keep my house clean, we have a giant dog who sheds everywhere as well! I think I will look into hiring someone to help out. I can’t wait to have clean floors.

  13. What you wrote is so true! I have a cleaning company and I wish I could bottle of this and share it with everyone! Thank you for writing it. It makes me feel fulfilled to know that I am really helping people and not just scrubbing toilets! You’re such a blessing!

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