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 Post subject: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:18 pm 
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I don't really know where to post this (I almost posted it in the General Health & Nutrition forum because it's definitely affecting my mental health), but since it's mainly about paying for a service I chose The Mall.

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Hi, my name is poopiebitch, and I'm considering hiring a cleaning service. (HI POOPIEBITCH)

I don't know why I find it so embarrassing to admit that I want help cleaning my house enough to pay for it, but I do. I feel guilty and weird, like I'm failing at my "job" as... a wife and mother? An adult human? A person who is perfectly capable of cleaning things myself? And of course that makes me feel guilty and weird because WHOA Holy Archaic Housewife Baggage, Batman.

I probably (definitely) don't need to justify why I want help around the house, so of course I'm going to anyway. I work from home (baking 25-30 hours a week), am the primary caregiver to a preschooler 24/7, and I do all of the shopping/cooking/cleaning in our house. When I say all, I mean everything except my husband's laundry. We're settling into a new house right now (everything is moved but I'm still unpacking), and during this sudden transition (and in the process of deciding what to do/where to go) I realized that I kind of hate baking for a living. Then when I further examined why I now hate something that I used to love, I found that it's because it takes time and energy that I feel I "should" be spending elsewhere. I can keep my home cleaned to my high standard, I can earn money by baking, and I can have down-time to spend alone/with friends/with my family/sleeping - but I can only have two of those three at a time. If I stop baking, then we lose a source of income that we need in order to live in this house. If I don't spend time taking care of myself and my relationships, then I remain as miserable and exhausted as I have been. If I stop cleaning, then our home descends into chaos and is a huge source of stress for me. I simply can't continue with the status quo, and the only one of those things that I can outsource is the cleaning.

So I'm looking for advice I guess? Does anyone have any experience in hiring someone to clean for you? Pretty sure I want to use a service rather than an individual for insurance, tax, and background check purposes. I guess I'm also kind of hoping to be absolved of the guilt I'm feeling for not being able to Do It All.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:43 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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I think your reasons are totally understandable. No reason to feel bad if you're making a decision so you can focus on your family and earning money (for your family!). There are probably a lot of things people could technically do on their own but end up paying others to do,because priorities - I go to the carwash instead of washing my car by hand... so many people in my neighborhood have lawn mowing service for their not huge at all yards. There's no shame in it at all.

When I was growing up and my mom went back to work full-time she had a cleaning lady come to the house once a month (i think) just to help and do a deeper clean on the bathrooms and kitchen. Looking at the situation as an adult I'm sure that was immensely helpful and made keeping up with the house the rest of the time much easier.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:44 pm 
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I've never done it but dude, of course you should get a cleaning service if it's in your budget, you are so busy and hiring someone to clean is a really simple thing that will improve your quality of life and that's awesome!

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:49 pm 
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Pb! Do not feel guilty! Having a clean home makes life so much better. You do a lot and baking is basically making a living by making a mess of your home. My mom is a musician and never had a traditional 9-5 job, but whenever we could afford it we had a housekeeper. I think we just always had individuals paid under the table, but we got recs from people. You should not feel bad at all!

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:55 pm 
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DO IT.

Poopie, I have very few long term life goals. One of the ONLY ones is that I want to someday hire someone else to clean my house. LIVE THE DREAM.

ETA: also also, my grandmother cleaned houses when I was a kid and I often went along with her. It impressed upon me that 1) totally normal people have their houses cleaned, 2) everyone is dirty, even really nice looking rich people, and 3) there is a financial value to cleaning. No need to feel embarrassed about that!

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:43 pm 
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Poopie! Hire someone! I felt super guilty at first but it's so worth it. Pretty much every one of my coworkers has someone clean their house because it's impossible to work, have a family, have relaxation time, and deal with household stuff. Think about what your time is worth (dollar-wise) and how much more productive you can be if you don't have to do chores.

I use Homejoy. They're based in SF but I believe their services are nationwide. It's kind of like Uber for house cleaning. It's great because you don't have to talk to anyone to arrange a cleaning, you can write all your requests on the form (instead of verbalizing them) and you can schedule everything through an iphone/android app. It's also a little cheaper because there's less infrastructure--if you schedule every 2 weeks it's $25/hour. I do 3 hr cleaning + $20 tip. For my sanity I'm willing to pay $100!

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:17 am 
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DO IT. Seriously. My husband and I used to fight all the time about cleaning - we both work full time. The service was a godsend. We got a great service who pays their workers well and generally employs artists who are looking for work to pay the bills until their art takes off, and uses nontoxic cleaning supplies. They only come for two hours every two weeks, but it makes a huge difference. They don't do dishes/laundry, and we just have them do the common areas (if we did bedrooms, the higher total square footage would push us to a higher rate bracket, and I'm not comfortable with someone cleaning our bedroom anyway), but it's so great to come home and have kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room, hallway floors cleaned, rugs and stairs vacuumed, tub wiped out, doggie dustbunnies removed, dusting, etc.

I felt bougie about it at first but having these basic tasks done allowed us to focus on laundry/dishes and deeper cleaning projects. And we have so many fewer fights about cleaning. It's the best money we spend every month.

Also, I can't believe that you work from home AND clean/shop/cook AND raise a kid??? (I mean that in a good way!) Does that come with tights and a cape?? I have no idea what your particular situation is, but my husband and I used to struggle with how to divide up the housework too. Maybe there's another way to reframe how shopping/cleaning/cooking could be more of a shared responsibility? The cleaning service will definitely help, but you'll get even more bang for your buck if it's possible for husband to be integrated into some of these activities in some way...?

I don't know if this is a helpful example, but take meal planning - to make life easier, we just use the latest issue of Cooking Light. I pick out/veganize five dinner recipes for the week that I'm pretty confident we'll both like, write them on a white board on the fridge, and make a grocery list from that. My husband and I go grocery shopping together on Sunday (admittedly kids might change that equation). During the week, since he gets home earlier than me, he uses the meal list to start dinner (he just picks whatever recipe he wants on the list.) Most of the recipes are 30-45 min prep time anyway. We're still working on a consistent process for washing the dishes after (sometimes we both do it, sometimes one of us does it, sometimes it doesn't get done), but gives you an idea of how it can be done.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:49 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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If I had the money (and if I actually lived in my own flat, I guess...) I'd totally do it. My brother only recently came around to getting a cleaning help now and then even though he & his fiance both work full time and are hardly at home enough to do it on their own. I guess the main thing that he finds difficult is the fact that you have to clean your place enough so that someone can actually clean it.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:05 am 
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There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a cleaning service for any reason. My OH and I had one for a while because we worked full time and didn't like doing housework in our spare time. We didn't do it for long because we didn't like the way the cleaning was done, couldn't find one that only used natural products and two different people from the same service left the back door open (actually open, not just unlocked) after taking rubbish out, so we decided to suck it up and do it ourselves. But assuming you find a good service then absolutely go for it.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:14 am 
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Seriously, i think many of us grow up with baggage about it. By paying for someone else to do it you are saying that it has value, which I think is a good thing.

Another thing, as another person who works from home, it is important to get help. I still can't get over my baggage and hire someone, but I have set a rule since I started working from home- it gets done at a specific time, if I have time, and if not, it gets left for the rest of the troops to do on the weekend. Just because my office happens to be located here doesn't mean all the work around here is my responsibility.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:03 am 
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Do it! Don't feel guilty!

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:29 am 
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We hire cleaners and I feel guilty about being able to afford it (maybe guilty isn't the right word, but it makes me aware of my privilege) but I definitely don't think of cleaning as something we "should" be doing ourselves. Hiring the cleaners is an investment in our marriage! I'm the kind of giant slob who doesn't notice or care about the mess, so my husband would end up doing literally all the housework and that is obviously not fair.


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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:30 am 
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You guys are the best. I don't know why I expected any judgey responses, the PPK is the nicest place ever.

I wish I could get my husband to help, but after 15 years of marriage I've learned that it just won't happen. I've tried everything, every trick from every relationship counselor, every cleaning blog, every marriage book, everywhere I could possibly find. The one that I *thought* would do it, was getting him to agree that we would list out every single responsibility in our home, then each take a copy and rate each task on a scale of 1-5 with how important it is to us that it gets accomplished. Whoever rates a task highest assumes responsibility for that job. Either he played the system like a boss (plausible), or he truly doesn't give a single shiitake whether anything gets done, ever (also plausible), because I scored higher on EVERY SINGLE CHORE other than his personal laundry (hence that's the only thing I don't do). Eventually I gave up, because fighting over it was worse than doing it all myself. I've even managed to let go of most of the resentment. Well, some of it anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:32 am 
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It's ridiculous that there's so much baggage around hiring a housekeeper/cleaning service and zero around, say, paying someone else to change the oil in your car. I am perfectly capable of the latter but I don't choose to bother with it and I don't ever worry about judgement. Anyhoo, it sounds like a good solution for you and I don't think you should feel guilty for a red hot second. I have thought about it in the past but with a partner who willingly pitches in, I've got higher priorities for the money it would cost.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:24 am 
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Does your husband feel guilty for not helping out with anything at home? Why isn't he trying to do it all?

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:13 pm 
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FWIW, cleaning was a really big issue at our house too. It wasn't the only issue we dealt with, but we've had a lot of progress on it with couples therapy. Usually cleaning is only the symptom - there's a lot more at play that at least in our case took a really skilled facilitator/counselor to help us sort out.

I'm sorry that you have to deal with this - it really sucks to not have something you need acknowledged, and it sucks even more than he hasn't been responsive to the obvious effort you've put into trying to make it easier for both of you. If couples therapy isn't an option, I would say you have even more leverage to ask for more cleaning services than you might otherwise. Obviously, everyone's situation is different, but when we faced this decision, I felt that was patently unfair to both disagree with paying for a service and refuse to do any of the work oneself. My husband was against the idea of hiring a cleaning service at first, but we decided to try it for a month, and now he thinks it's the best investment than we ever made.

I don't know if couples therapy is a nonstarter, but if not, your insurance (assuming you have some) will usually exclude marital counseling - however, in my albeit limited experience, couples therapists bill it as individual therapy with another person in the room.

Good for you for looking into the cleaning services option. I'm really looking forward to hearing how it goes! Have you found any good services yet?


Last edited by dandykins on Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:15 pm 
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pandacookie wrote:
Does your husband feel guilty for not helping out with anything at home? Why isn't he trying to do it all?


yeah, that's what I wanted to say, too. If anyone should feel guilty it should be your husband! I hope he's fully supportive of hiring a housekeeper. if we weren't pretty evenly matched when it came to housework, I'd probably want to hire someone, too. it's too much to expect 1 person to clean up after 3 people.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:51 pm 
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We have a cleaning lady ... she comes in twice a week to clean the bathrooms, dust & do the hovering/vacuuming ... she works 8 hours in total ...

I clean the kitchen, do the laundry /ironing ... my husband does most of the grocery shopping (with a list from me) & all the garden work etc. ... it is just the two of us here ...

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:45 pm 
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Having someone clean my house is like the ultimate dream. If you can do it DO IT!

Think about it, for a thousand years it was someone's whole job to clean the house, take care of the kids and cook the food. Even these people would often hire help because that's a lot for one person to do! If you are doing all of that plus another job then of course you are stressed out.

One way I've read to look at it is to total up how much you would "really" make a year if you outsourced all the services you do. A typical housewife would earn about 118K a year plus your salary that you are making baking. It's only because our society undervalues "women's work" that you are in this pickle to begin with. Here's a link http://www.salary.com/mom-paycheck/

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:00 pm 
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We have a service come in twice a month, and we're discussing increasing that amount since we've been sick so often lately.

At various times I have paid someone to change my oil, fix things in my house, mow my lawn, or do my taxes. I'm capable of doing all of those things, but I sometimes outsource them. The only difference with housework is the cultural voice in our heads telling us it's wrong. Screw that voice. So long as you pay someone fairly and treat them with dignity, there's nothing wrong with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:05 pm 
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totally off topic, but can i just say I'm super impressed that people in here know how to change their oil! i wish i knew anything about cars.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:01 pm 
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We bought a Roomba. C is allergic to the cat, so vacuuming is essential. It took a ton of pressure off me AND it's entertaining to watch.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:28 pm 
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You guys are so right. Of course. I'm going to get some estimates and see how doable it is for us. Otherwise, I'm TOTALLY getting a Roomba! Damn if I don't hate vacuuming and sweeping.

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:37 pm 
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If I could afford it, I would totally do it. And I just hate cleaning and am bad at it, so at least you have a valid excuse. There is a weird stigma around hiring a cleaning service. I don't know why. My ex hired one because he was having an awful time keeping up with the cleaning after coming home and being stressed at work, and it made him feel so much better just having a clean bathroom once a week that he didn't have to deal with. But he acted totally sheepish when he told me about it. No way! Just do it!

But don't do what my mom did when she hired a cleaning lady when I was in high school and make your family pre-clean so your house doesn't look too dirty. Wouldn't want the cleaning lady to see a *gasp* dirty house!

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 Post subject: Re: Thinking about hiring a cleaning service
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:41 pm 
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We have a Roomba! Its pretty fun. We got it to help with allergies too. It isn't as good as the regular vac, but I can run it a few times a week in the living room and hallway. We really need it run in my gf's bedroom, but instead I just don't go in there and sleep in my own room. Too doggy and un-dusted (ad cluttered for Roomba) for my breathing.

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