Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Oh Hello Clean House, I've Missed You - PYHO

A year and a half ago I cried my eyes out as I said goodbye to my beloved cleaning woman, Maribel. She had been cleaning our house since before I had children, or even a dog, possibly before I really even needed her, but I could afford her.  She was truly a cherished part of the family. 

I loved having her come every other week and clean my house top to bottom and it was a necessary luxury for us.  For me.  My sanity needed a cleaning woman's help.

You can read about me having to let her go here.  I was very traumatized.

When push came to shove though, I was abrubtly shoved into the rubber gloves and Clorox of attempting to clean my house while chasing a rice dumping toddler and running little boys from one activity to another. Turns out all this is very challenging.  Alex's promise to help with the cleaning was difficult for him to make good on, since you have to actually be home to help clean.  Not too much cleaning happens before six am and after 10 pm. 

Here is what happens when I am forced to clean myself.  Not good.

Our weekend cleaning sessions essentially turned in to an exercise of how cranky can Mommy be while trying to scrub a toilet and Daddy pretends to know where the vacuum is stored?  Turns out very.  Very, very crannky.

So with the slight break in our financial valley, I quickly snached up the new love of my life...San Juana.  I love her immensely. Possibly more than Alex.

Last Monday she came a little before nine and left close to 10 pm.  She cleaned the bottom of our bathroom trashcans, climbed on a ladder to get the tops of everything in our house, she lined up shoes and  tweezers and remotes, and left a sprinkle of joy on everything she touched.  I had to stop myself from grabbing her into a fierce embrace every time I walked by her.  She was just making everything so pretty, and she didn't ask me to help at all.

Stella also fell in love with San Juana, but due to an inability to pronounce any two part words, renamed her Juan.  I'm not sure Juan is a favorable name for a Hispanic woman, but San Juana was very nice about it.  She also was very nice when Stella chased her down with a diaper and package of wipes yelling, "Juan!  Poo poo!  Juan!!!!!  Poo!!" 

I didn't allow San Juana to change Stella's stinky diaper, much to Stella's dismay, but I loved that San Juana simply smiled at Stella and asked her if she wanted to come live with her. Could this cleaning Goddess actually take my children too?  She is a dream.

I'm honestly not really sure we can afford to keep her, but I also don't know if we can afford to not keep her.  This past week I have kept up with the laundry, vaccuumed when needed, wiped off counters and cooked all our meals...and that's the end of what I can handle.  I can not handle toilets and scrubbing and mopping.  I need a moment without my children, primarily a moment without Stella, to unleash necessary cleaning measures for this crew. 

But when would I read all my magazines and watch my stories?

(Kidding. I actually have a stack of unread magazines mocking me daily, but they are pretty low on the list of priorities currently.  And I haven't watch a soap opera since 1993.) 

(Fine, I set my DVR to record Guiding Light until it went off the air 3 years ago and I possibly cried when it ended, but no soaps since then.  I'm a busy woman.)

The truth is though, I feel guilty.  I find myself explaining how much I need San Juana to anyone and everyone who will stand still within ear shot.  I want people to know that I'm not lazy, I'm not spoiled, I am simply in over my head currently...and I don't like it.

I know a lot of people have someone clean there house, but a lot don't.  I feel like I genuinely need it to feel a sense of peace in my home with these children.  I shouldn't even ask, but am I nuts?

I'm linking up to Shell's Pour Your Heart Out.  Check it out here.


Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Leslie, I remember having Rosa help me out every two weeks and boy o boy do I miss her as well. As you say, husband is no help and I have a lot of other things I want to do. I bit a bullet this past weekend and did under the desk, behind the toilet,--those places. Hated it, ok? Cannot afford to have her all the time, wonder what I can manage with your inspiration.

Kimberly said...

You are not crazy. If I could justify having someone come to help clean, I totally would. Instead, I'll keep on pretending not to notice the fact that even though I've swept the floor twice in the last 24 hours, there's still a pile of dog hair under the bar in the kitchen. And so much dust on the bookshelves that I could draw in it with my fingers. Gah. Guess I should stay up late and clean.

January Dawn said...

A clean home is very underestimated in the whole "Happy Wife Happy Life" saying. Enjoy it, bask in it and DON'T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT.

Heather said...

I couldn't live without my every other week cleaning lady. Her name doesn't even come up when we discuss cutting costs. If I could I would have her every week, but for now every other week will have to do.

Katie said...

We recently moved and I kept telling myself that the new house isn't that much bigger than the old one. Until I tried cleaning. It takes me days to get everything clean, then I have to start all over again. And I don't even attempt to clean behind things. I will keep cleaning myself but even Tim sees how much there is to do (he's always at work too so he's never been a factor in cleaning) so we agreed to get someone to come every few months to do deep cleaning stuff. I would LOVE a regular person though. Enjoy it and don't feel guilty.

Eternal Lizdom said...

I can't afford a housekeeper, my husband and I both work full time, my husband is a packrat, we have commitments to church, cheerleading, friends and family throughout the week, and we try to use our weekends for family fun time. So housecleaning simply isn't a priority. Most areas get a good thorough cleaning twice a year. Main areas are kept clean enough. Can't keep up with the clutter and I don't try to anymore. We have clean clothes, dishes, clean bathroom.

I just had to let go and be ok with a different standard. There will be a time when I have ample time for cleaning and that's when I will look back and remember the fun things we did as a family when we had our time together.

Kmama said...

Oh, I absolutely would have a cleaning lady if I could swing it. And by swing it, I mean, not have to give up anything else that I currently indulge in. Maybe someday.

Anonymous said...

Wow - if she lined up your shoes and tweezers and remotes, you must find a way to keep her, even if you have to go out and clean someone else's house to afford it!

Mel said...

We haven't hired a cleaning person to help yet,but I think about it ALL THE TIME. The Mister and I both work full time and, frankly, I deal with the bathrooms largely by ignoring the filth. I need help. As a mother of three yourself, I say this: smart mothers know what their boundaries are. They use all of the tools at hand to accomplish what they need. If what you need is your housekeeper to help you feel better about managing your house, then let go of the guilt. She needs the job and you are paying her to help you; you both win in this situation. Yes, it is a blessing to be able to afford this help, so just give thanks for that blessing and allow yourself to enjoy it. And see if she can come to my house.

momnextdoor said...

My Mom hired a cleaning lady the moment she went back to work full-time. She's been fortunate to be able to keep her (I think it's been almost 20 years now) and she wouldn't be able to function without her. You are crazy but not because you feel guilty for having some help. If I could afford it I would JUMP at the chance!

But really, no need to feel guilty. It's what is right for you and your family and if it helps with the crazy then even better!

(I'm jealous)

Shell said...

I would possibly sell a kidney if it meant I could have a housekeeper!

The Preppy Girl in Pink said...

She lined up your things?! She climbed up on a ladder?! This isn't just your usual cleaning lady. This is the Saint of all cleaning ladies! Do whatever you can to keep her just so I can live vicariously through your clean house!

Mary @ A Teachable Mom said...

No way are you nuts! I'm in love with your cleaning woman too! She sounds like a gift. Enjoy your gift! We have someone clean once a month and it's awesome but nowhere near enough to keep this mama happy and sane. I think your sanity is worth it! Great post!

alanna rose said...

You are absolutely not nuts!
I am *this close* to hiring someone, but feel too guilty to actually do it...

Mary said...

I love a clean house too. Somehow a clean house makes me feel as if my mind is more organized. And let's not forget that women who clean houses need those jobs. I once did that very job and I was happy to have it. But every once in awhile I read the poem below because you just have to leave it all. Thanks for your post!

Advice to Myself by Louise Erdrich

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don't patch the cup.
Don't patch anything. Don't mend. Buy safety pins.
Don't even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don't keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll's tiny shoes in pairs, don't worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don't even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don't sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we're all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don't answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don't read it, don't read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

Toni said...

OMG, Hold on to this woman! My cleaning lady comes on Wednesdays and although she doesn't do a great job, it is the one day during the week that I can relax a little bit after work.

Emmy said...

My sister had someone come clean her home every other week and she only has two girls that are 13 and 16 but it is something that she wants and they can afford it so she does it. And yea if you need it then good for you! We have someone come take care of our lawn as yea we just don't get to that, so that is what was necessary for us.

Adrienne said...

Good for you! I think it's important to know our limits and we go through season of being able to handle a load (of laundry) or not. Don't feel guilty! Your kids need you more than anything else, and if having someone come and help do what you can't get to, then so be it!

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

We have been talking about a cleaning lady, and I think you convinced me! Just being able to stay on top of the little things would be nice. ENJOY IT!

Ashley said...

I have tried everything in my power to persuade my husband that we need someone to help with the cleaning but to no avail. Now to make things worse, we are thinking of sending my son to private school so there is definitely no extra cash such luxuries. I might even have to go back to work.... I just cant fathom how it's all going to fall into place!

sboone said...

Of course you're not crazy. For some reason, a clean house makes me more sane, more stable. If it lightens your load, I think that is great. Because taking care of three young ones is a major deal and you don't want to have to be worrying about cleaning when running around with them. On Monday is when our cleaning crew comes. I am such a sweet person on MOndays. I guess that I should be able to just let it go, but I can't. I'm not made that way!

Crystal said...

If I won the lottery, the first thing I would do would be hire a cleaning woman