House work has always been touchy subject between my husband and I. When we were young and first married the house never got cleaned. Seriously it was like a frat house. In all fairness, I was a waitress so I was working crazy hours at night and he was doing shift work and we were both tired and grumpy all the time. Then I had some medical issues that temporarily forced me to stop working and I took over the house work. Then we fought about money, but the house was clean. When I went back to work the same problems arose. Neither one of us honestly and truly felt like it was our responsibility. We stopped fighting about money but the house was always dirty so we fought about that instead.
fast forward a few years….
We had moved to The Netherlands and although I had worked a little my husband and I agreed that it was probably best that I just stayed home. With all the “money making” pressure gone I embraced the stay at home life. The house was always clean and dinner was always on the table. I learned to knit. Married bliss, 1950’s style.
Then I had our son..
This was a hard transition but we managed for about a year. The house was messy but mostly clean. Meals were still healthy but fast and made without any effort.
Then I got pregnant again (or as my British friends say, “fell pregnant” which I absolutely love) and after a while I was put on “restrictive movement”, this is basically one step away from bed rest. This was because of some concerns for the baby. The idea is that I sit as much as possible and do no heavy lifting and limit going up and down the stairs. Impossible with a toddler running around the house.
My husband is great. He is very supportive. We are a team.
It was the same fight. He had worked all day and didn’t want to come home and clean on the weekends. I wasn’t going to get on my hands and knees and clean a toilette, Dr’s orders. Both sides were completely understandable but that didn’t make it any easier. First I threatened to have someone come in and help with the cleaning. Honestly, we really couldn’t afford it so the threat generally worked for a short time. Then the fights would start again.
The way I saw it, I had very limited time to rest during the day and I should spend it resting not scrubbing. My husband felt that he went away all day for work and when he was home he wanted to spend time with his family and not scrubbing. Again, both very reasonable.
Then one day I saw a FB post from a friend of mine saying that her cleaner was looking for more houses in our area. Honestly, I didn’t even talk to my husband about it. I called her and invited her over for a chat. I was weary because I have always made my own cleaning supplies and used only all natural ingredients. I was sitting at the table chatting with this lovely British woman and she told me that she had skin allergies and that she preferred to not use harsh chemicals in her cleaning. It was like a miracle. So I hired her. I was hugely pregnant with some health worries. I wasn’t going to scrub toilets!!!
We have had some trouble affording my lovely cleaning lady, to be honest. We don’t eat out anymore and I am very careful with our budget. She now comes 2X per month and cleans the house. She scrubs the bathrooms, cleans the floors, and generally cleans the house. It’s amazing. My husband and I no longer fight about the cleaning (we fight about other things but that’s just married life).
Whatever we have to do to afford this lovely woman is totally worth it. My husband and I no longer fight about the cleaning (he still doesn’t pick up his dirty clothes so we fight about that but I think that’s normal). I know that if I have an impromptu play-date I don’t have to worry about the state of the toilets and my husband doesn’t have to spend his valuable family time cleaning.
I still vacuum very regularly and wipe down the bathrooms. Honestly, I couldn’t leave things to be cleaned 2X per month but having this extra help relieves so much pressure. Plus I know that on the night before she comes we have to pick up the entire house. All the toys get put away, amazing!!
It feels extravagant and in a lot of ways I know it is, but it’s totally worth it. When both kids are in school I assume I will take over the job once again. For the time being I love the fact that I have the help. I love the fact that my husband is so understanding and really knows how hard I work. I love the fact that I know that 2X per month my entire house will be cleaned (except the dusting, the windows, the kitchen, the toys and the laundry. I still do all of that.)
To us, life is about choices. We choose to have more time and less money. We can take our kids to the park on the weekends instead of cleaning. Dinners out are rare but we spend lots of time together.
It’s amazing. I would highly recommend it.